Sam McManis

Provisions: What the traveler should buy, read, consume


• “Fifty Places to Paddle Before You Die,” by Chris Santella

$24.95, Abrams; 223 pages

We won’t keep you in suspense: Yes, California made the list. It’s the Tuolumne River, prime spot for kayaking and rafting with a Class IV+ degree of difficulty. But you probably already knew that. Paddlers will want to pick up the book to learn about rapids in such far-flung locales as Bhutan, Fiji, Zimbabwe and Montana. The photography, by the way, is killer.


• Patagonia Nano-Air Jacket and Hoody

$249 (jacket)/$299 (hoody);

Oh, the annoyance of layer adjustment when you’re on a mountain hike or climbing or just hanging out. One minute, you’re too cold, so you put on a layer, which makes you too hot. Patagonia has made an attempt to rectify this niggling problem with its new Nano-Air jacket (and hoodie). It’s pricey at $249/$299, but, then again, what is the price of comfort? Patagonia touts its nylon jacket produces “an airflow up to 40 cubic feet per minute,” yet says there’s insulation enough not to lead to chill.


• Sierra Club’s “6 of America’s Most Dangerous Hiking Trails”

Because we aim to freak you out, we pass along this gem-of-a-list from the Sierra Club’s magazine just a few weeks after we ran an item about “America’s Deadliest Landmarks.” No need to thank us.

1. Devil’s Path, Catskills, N.Y. (slippery rocks, 14,000 feet elevation gain and loss)

2. Rover’s Run, Anchorage, Alaska (bad weather, twisty trails, lots of bears)

3. Mist Trail, Half Dome, Yosemite (even with cables bolted into the granite for the final 400 vertical feet, the trek to the top has claimed lives)

4. Skyline/Muir Snowfield Trail at Mount Rainier, Wash. (often unexpected storms on a snowy 2,800-vertical-foot climb; 90 climbers have been injured or died)

5. Bright Angel Trail, Grand Canyon, Ariz. (110 degree heat on 9-mile climb. But it’s a dry heat)

6. The Maze, Canyonlands National Park, Utah (Scores of people have gotten lost; hence the name)


“Most of us are continually disenchanted with our circumstances. It seems impossible not to keep thinking about the people one envies, the ones who made it big. Our countries appear to be intolerably badly managed, dispiriting and coarse. The new supermarkets are unsightly and there’s nothing uplifting on television. There seems so little to be grateful for from day-to-day. That is why we need, perhaps more urgently than we need to go to Florence, to take a trip to Comuna 13 (a crime-ridden neighborhood in Medellín, Colombia).”

– Alain de Botton, philosopher and author

Compiled by Sam McManis,