Posted November 2, 2017
The first recorded mountaineering expedition occurred in 1492. According to Pastemagazine.com, the first recorded mountaineer was a fellow named Antoine de Ville, who climbed Mont Aiguille in the Vercors near Grenoble in southeastern France (best known as the locale for the 1968 Winter Olympics). Safe to say, de Ville made his assent without the help of modern climbing gear and clothing – a lot of it made with the help of natural gas and oil – which have made climbing popular among today’s outdoors enthusiasts. Put another way, climbers everywhere should be grateful they don’t have to do what they do in old-fashioned wool outerwear and leather-soled boots.
Mountain and rock climbing, though not the same, are related in the way they surmount the obstacles of sheer rock and the forces of nature – and in the way energy makes them safer and better. In the United States, the state of Idaho is among the best places for a climber to get their thrills, boasting impressive ranges such as the “Seven Devils Mountains” and the Sawtooth Range.
Posted October 31, 2017
Posted October 26, 2017
If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck and sounds like a duck – then it’s probably a duck, right? With Arkansas’ annual duck hunting season drawing nigh, the old saying probably is on the minds of thousands of state duck hunters, looking to extend a treasured tradition in these parts. Energy will give them a hand.
Between November and January, millions of ducks traveling along the Mississippi Flyway descend on Arkansas’ rolling prairies, flooded timber and serene wetlands – to the delight of the state’s 87,000 duck hunters. They’ll be dressed in camo and waders. They’ll deploy floating duck decoys and arm themselves with shotgun shells. They’ll sit for hours in duck blinds, perhaps with their loyal retriever. Energy will help them make the most of the opportunity.
Posted October 24, 2017
Long-time residents of Washington state joke that the western part, between the Cascades and the Pacific Ocean has two seasons – a rainy one that keeps forests of evergreens ever green, and a dry one that begins promptly on July 5, the day after soggy Independence Day festivities.
More seriously, Washington’s seasons, its climate, elevations and other factors combine to make great grapes – ultimately making the state the country’s second-largest premium wine producer in the country. Natural gas and oil help make it so – playing essential supporting roles in wine-making just as they do in so many other aspects of modern life, all across the 50 states.
Posted October 19, 2017
Autumn is nature’s showiest time of year. In Virginia, as in other states, lush, green forests give way to the unmistakable colors of fall – with leaves in many parts of the commonwealth reaching peak right about now. There’s nothing quite like the season’s display of fiery colors against the deep-blue autumn sky. It’s a sight to see, free of charge – and there’s perhaps no better place to see it than in Virginia’s Shenandoah region. Here are just a few of the many ways you can get outside and take it in – all of which are made possible by the unsung wonders of natural gas and oil.
Posted October 17, 2017
“Life consists with wildness. The most alive is the wildest. Not yet subdued to man, its presence refreshes him.” – Henry David Thoreau, “Walking,” 1851
In the wilds of Maine this time of year, you’re running out of time to climb Mount Katahdin and reach the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail. Winter is coming, and soon the weather will begin to close in on Baxter Peak, nearly a mile above sea level and the mountain’s tallest point – where the A.T. starts its 2,190-mile meander across 14 states, to its southern end in northern Georgia.
The Appalachian Trail is rustic, rugged and wild – maybe wilder than even a soul as solitary as Thoreau would fancy. One section of the trail just south of Mount Katahdin, called the Hundred-Mile Wilderness, might be the wildest of the wild for the challenges it presents even to experienced hikers. Since its birth in the 1920s, the A.T. has tested the mettle of tens of thousands of outdoorsmen and women of all abilities, including the uber-committed types who do the trail in its entirety – called thru-hiking. There are no electric lights on the trail, no vehicles, yet energy is with every hiker looking to their wild out.
Think: shoes, tents, backpacks and outerwear for the trek from Maine to Georgia, or whereabouts in between. The popularity of traveling the A.T. from end-to-end has skyrocketed, with 6,342 hikers completing thru-hikes since 2010 – more than a third of the total hikers to date. To make it through difficult terrain and changing weather conditions requires preparation – to stay warm and as dry as possible with durable gear produced from natural gas and petroleum by-products.
Posted October 12, 2017
Want to start an old-fashioned scrap? Ask which state has the best barbecue. Some will say North Carolina, others Tennessee and still others Texas. All of them belong in the culinary kerfuffle. Then there’s Missouri, which just might top them all. In the least, the “Show Me State” – according to a couple of surveys, here and here – might be home to the city with the country’s best BBQ: Kansas City.
Again, you can eat great BBQ in a lot of places, but probably none is better than what they serve up in KC-MO. Perhaps it’s a holdover to KC’s hey-day as a cow town, when its stockyards covered 55 acres – actually straddling the Kansas River into Kansas City, Kansas, as well. (Below, KC’s stockyards in 1909.) At its peak in 1923, Kansas City’s yards received more than 2.6 million cattle and more than 2.7 million hogs. Only Chicago’s were bigger.
The living legacy to those days is some mighty-fine BBQ eating. Energy helps make the feast happen – in all its tangy, greasy glory.
Posted October 10, 2017
It’s early fall in the Mid-Atlantic, and memories of summer weekend jaunts to the Jersey Shore are still fresh – because, as Springsteen put it, “down on the shore everything’s all right.”
Here’s what’s alright: Folks loading up the car, filling the tank with gas and hitting the Atlantic City Expressway in droves, because there’s no more popular shore point than historic Atlantic City. The Boss again:
“Put your makeup on, fix your hair up pretty, and meet me tonight in Atlantic City.”
Atlantic City is the shore, it’s the Boardwalk – the one with a capital “B.” It’s shops, amusements and games of chance. It’s historic. Atlantic City street names were appropriated by “Monopoly,” still one of the most popular board games ever.
Atlantic City certainly lives up to its “Do AC” slogan. Pull through Ventnor or Brigantine, onto Atlantic Ave, into “America’s Favorite Playground,” and you’re instantly greeted by emporiums and casinos. A couple of blocks in the distance, the Boardwalk attracts beachgoers, bicyclists and beach tag checkers. This town doesn’t mess around when it comes to the tourist experience. Natural gas and petroleum help ensure that A.C. brings the heat year-round.
Posted October 5, 2017
We’re a hardy lot, we humans, often displaying enormous determination to keep moving forward in the face of steep challenges. Paratriathlete Allysa Seely, though, takes determination to another level entirely.
Seely made history last year by winning a gold medal for Team USA at the summer Paralympics. Eight years earlier she lost her left leg below the knee after surgeries and associated complications in the course of treatment for three separate disorders, two involving her brain. (Read more about it in this interview with ESPN.) She refused to stay down – and energy supported her steely resolve.
Posted October 3, 2017