Monster trees, cobalt lakes, gushing rivers, the fat-tire autobahnall of this, and it was just a fraction of what the Great Smoky Mountains have to offer in the fall. BY DAVID HOWARD
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Cooler. Drier. More colorful. Less crowded. At autumn's best climbing spotsfrom Arizona to New Yorkit all comes together in October.
Like Spider-Man versus Dr. Octopus, triceratops versus T. rex, it was deet against all comers in an insect-repellent showdown. Plus: Texas paddling, European skiing, and more.
Need to Know
It was the first major international adventure race in the U.S. since 1995. The $250,000 purse was the richest in the sport's history. So why was everyone so irked about Primal Quest? BY ROB STORY
Then & There
How do you raise a 150-ton gun tower from the bottom of the sea? Very, very carefully. The incredible salvage of the U.S.S. Monitor.
What's slacklining? Think wilderness tightrope walking, 2,900 feet (880 meters) above the ground. Think flips and 360s. Think: crazy.
Timothy Leary meets Paul Theroux in Breaking Open the Head, by Daniel Pinchbeck; the heroism and folly of North Pole expeditioning in Ninety Degrees North, by Fergus Fleming. Plus, the American West in reality, legend, and art. BY ANTHONY BRANDT
Give 'em the boot: Heavy-duty hiking footwear is back in voguenow with sneakerlike comfort and light weight.
These svelte, sturdy, affordable, palm-size gadgets can tell you which way to go, wherever you are. They're called . . . compasses.
See what you've been missing with these new image-stabilizing, photo-taking, high-power-zooming scopes and binoculars.
The Leading Edge
In the midst of a perfect turn, his skis tracking like lasers, he had a revelation: Personalized gear begets boosted performance. The new way to see, hike, and bike better. BY STEVE CASIMIRO