Sports & Outdoors

Where Nature and History Collide

Here are a few state parks in Pennsylvania that offer nature at its most dramatic and some history of what life was like long before barcodes, internet and smart phones. McConnells Mill The park wraps around a restored 19th century gristmill that ground buckwheat, oats and corn with the force of the wild stretch of …

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Fallingwater and Bear Run Nature Reserve

Southwestern Pennsylvania now has a world Heritage site. Fallingwater, designed in the 1930s by Frank Lloyd Wright for the Kaufmann family, was inscribed this summer to the UNESCO—United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization—World Heritage List. It’s in good company: the few structures in the United States on this list include Independence Hall, the Statue …

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Snow Birds Fly Away—to Pittsburgh

When we hear of snow birds this time of year, the first thing that comes to mind is probably grandparents in Florida. “At least,” we think to ourselves, “they have the good sense to fly somewhere warm.” The same might be said of a bird that I never see except in western Pennsylvania’s coldest months: …

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Bring on the Steeler-less Playoffs

Playoff tickets were punched for 12 teams on Sunday, with a handful of crazy finishes having major implications. For the second consecutive year, the Steelers are on the outside looking in, capped off by perhaps their ugliest loss in either season. Steelers Corner It was an entirely forgettable month for the boys in black and …

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The Dream Fades

The wheels are coming off, but the ride’s not over quite yet. Against a five-win team without postseason aspirations, the Steelers fell one score short for the second consecutive week. It was an afternoon filled with failure after failure to capitalize on golden opportunities. Despite the defense keeping the Jets to within a single score …

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Duck De-Nastied

Winter is just days away, and with it the frigid conditions in a number of NFL cities. The Chiefs and Broncos already know first-hand, playing through six inches of snow in Kansas City’s blowout win. While not quite as imposing at Heinz Field, a brisk 30 degrees awaited the visiting Buffalo Bills at kickoff. Along …

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Trying to Save a Horse

There have been phone calls in my life I wish I’d never received. I was cold and wet from swimming in an Irish lake when I returned to the house to see my husband standing in the driveway. Waiting for me. That wasn’t normal. My father had called. My mother was dead. She was unloading …

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Duck and the Defense Bring Home Another

The fireworks were on full display Sunday. Through the first 13 weeks of the season, teams had scored 40 points or more on 19 occasions. This week alone, five teams accomplished that feat, with a handful of 30+ performances sprinkled in. The Steelers have yet to eclipse the 30-point threshold, but the wins keep on …

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Duck Delivers

Two teams have separated from the pack through 13 weeks; the Saints and the Ravens have established comfortable three-game advantages. The rest is completely up for grabs. With only four weeks to go, five division leaders are separated by a single game. The stakes are a little higher when December rolls around. With New England’s …

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Back to Quack—Steelers Soar in Comeback Win

What a strange year it has been. In a season they’ve been down at halftime to two separate winless opponents, the Steelers currently occupy a playoff spot. Their quarterback is an undrafted rookie, their most valuable player a safety that wasn’t on the opening roster. Sunday’s 16 – 10 victory wasn’t without its struggles. Then …

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Pathway to Pain

I’ve always been enchanted by the idea of a days-long hike—to head off into the woods with nothing but a pack and the possibility of adventure, much like Bill Bryson in my favorite book, “A Walk in the Woods.” But with two kids and crazy soccer schedules, I really can’t afford to take six months …

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The Urban Deerhunter

Every July, along deer trails in pockets of forest in and around the city of Pittsburgh, Dan Krivanek and his buddies hang a bevy of camouflaged infrared LED hunting cameras in the crooks of trees. They also strew cut up apples and feed corn. Then, back in his Bridgeville borough home a few miles away, …

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The Steelers, the Browns and the Uglies

Yeah, that happened. Week 11 had its fair share of quality football, but all eyes were on the helmet swinging fiasco in Cleveland. The Browns took down the Steelers 21 – 7 on Thursday night. Ultimately, it’s hard to see how anyone came away as winners. Steelers Corner By now, it’s been discussed and dissected …

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The Unlikely Factors That Led to the Steelers Surge

Six teams got the week off on a Sunday full of whacky results. NFL parity was in full effect in week 10, as three different teams got nipped by one-win bottom dwellers. Baltimore embarrassed the hapless Bengals in Cincinnati to stay atop the AFC North. Over their bye week, the Bengals announced they would be …

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The Home Team Wins—Everywhere

An undefeated was defeated, a winless got a win, and the Steelers kept the dream alive in week nine. Aside from the Chargers’ stymying of Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, there weren’t many surprises on a day in which every home team emerged victorious. Despite a slow start to the game, the Steelers squeaked out …

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All Smiles in Steel City

We’ve eclipsed the halfway mark, but nothing is quite set in stone. Only two teams maintain a three win advantage within their division (Saints and Patriots), while another four divisions have one win or less of separation. One underlying story that’s beginning to take shape is the race for the #1 overall pick in the …

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Controversy Waiting in the Wings? Steelers Bye and a Look Around the League

Week seven is in the books. Injuries piled up, and a few rainy cities produced some sloppy results. The 49ers trudged through the mud in Landover to remain perfect against Washington while the Falcons continued their free-fall in Atlanta against the Rams. The Steelers were off, but are now heading into their Monday night tilt. …

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The Price of Nature’s Beauty

Second in a three-part series: Even modest exploration of Pennsylvania’s state parks and forests reveals their gifts: hidden waterfalls that appear along hiking trails, imposing rock formations bolted with anchors for climbing, lakes created by dams for swimming and boating on warm summer days, and rivers and streams stocked with fish for the catching. Some …

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Flying High: Duck Hodges Victorious in Debut

A mix of ho-hum performances sprinkled in with a few eyebrow raisers made up the week six slate. The unbeaten 49ers and Patriots took care of business, the Saints kept marching on, and the Cowboys’ spiral continues. Even Washington got a win, albeit to the Dolphins. One thing is for sure: nothing is set in …

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Memoirs of a Quehanna Chief

“Wanted: Young men, college graduates, comfortable outdoors.” ­—Uniontown Evening Standard I was enthralled by a classified ad that appeared in late March 1976. To work in some way conserving the outdoors where I’d grown up fishing, hunting and foraging wild plants was how I’d always envisioned my life. But what job could this be? The …

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NFL Dilemma: Replay vs. Slow Play

The NFL has a unique problem on its hands. While other sports are coming up with clever ways to speed up their games, the NFL has managed to make their product slower. Some of it is for the better; referees should be empowered to make the correct call and replay allows them to get it …

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Hunting Ginseng

“In passing through the mountains, I met a number of persons and pack horses going over the mountain with ginseng.” —George Washington’s Diary, 1784 I am grateful for the locals who taught me so much about rural life. Our mail carrier showed me morels, our babysitter taught me about “onion snow,” and last fall, Gary, …

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