News

National Parks are Fee Free the Next Two Weekends

Posted by on Apr 14, 2017 @ 9:18 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

National Parks are Fee Free the Next Two Weekends

The National Park Service has long encouraged visitors to avoid peak crowds by planning their trips in the spring. And to give you even more impetus, here’s another good reason to visit this month: free admission. For four days in April, 2017 — April 15, 16, 22 and 23 — the National Park Service will waive entrance fees at the 118 national parks that normally charge visitors. The fee-free days are all part of National Park Week, which is celebrated from April 15 to 23. In total, 10 free days are offered in 2017. After April, the other...

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How to Be Mindful on a Hike

Posted by on Apr 14, 2017 @ 9:11 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

How to Be Mindful on a Hike

“Hiking in nature provides an opportunity to tune in — both to our own experience and to the world around us. While it can be easy to get lost in thought or daydreams while hiking, the simple practices of mindfulness can draw us more closely into our experience of the natural world.” — Khalila Archer, program director at Inward Bound Mindfulness Education. Start by paying attention to each step. Simply notice each time your foot makes contact with the ground. Notice your body, moving through space. Feel the contact of air against your skin....

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Trekking the Danakil in Ethiopia

Posted by on Apr 13, 2017 @ 8:37 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Trekking the Danakil in Ethiopia

After a three-hour hike, you crest the ridge. Before you is the glowing caldera, filled with dancing fountains of lava. Ethiopia is increasingly making its mark on global tourism. Once just the province of dedicated Peace Corps workers and intrepid backpackers, newly built roads and new hotels are opening it up to the broader tourist market. But even for the most veteran traveler to Ethiopia — who has already visited the baboon-infested northern highlands, the nearly inaccessible mountain monasteries of the Tigray Region or the rock-cut...

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Artist’s brilliant National Park posters advertise a grim future

Posted by on Apr 12, 2017 @ 12:20 pm in Conservation | 0 comments

Artist’s brilliant National Park posters advertise a grim future

Drawing upon the WPA’s classic National Parks posters, Hannah Rothstein’s new series envisions our natural treasures ravaged by climate change. With a wry and poignant twist, artist Hannah Rothstein has reimagined the great WPA posters once used to lure visitors to the splendors of U.S. National Parks. Where the original might have promised Yellowstone’s campfire programs and nature talks, the new version offers dying trout and starving grizzlies. Welcome to the National Parks of the year 2050 if climate change is allowed to stake its claim....

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The ecological disaster that is Trump’s border wall

Posted by on Apr 12, 2017 @ 7:09 am in Conservation | 0 comments

The ecological disaster that is Trump’s border wall

During the campaign, it was easy to scoff at President Donald Trump’s promise to build a “big, beautiful” concrete wall along the US-Mexico border. It sounded, well, preposterous. But now the prospect of a border wall is quite real. Trump intends to request $4.1 billion over the next two years to build it. The Department of Homeland Security is reviewing proposals for designs that are “physically imposing in height” and “aesthetically pleasing in color.” There’s a long debate over whether physical barriers on the border actually curb the...

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Helping You Find Uncrowded National Park Trails

Posted by on Apr 11, 2017 @ 12:49 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Helping You Find Uncrowded National Park Trails

The road less traveled—it’s an old adage, sure, but also advice worth taking when it comes to exploring U.S. national parks. After all, our beloved parks are crowded: Last year, they had a banner year, with 325 million visitors enjoying (sometimes free) time in the great outdoors. Particular park trails, though, are more crowded than others, and in 2016, 24 million people traveled the U.S. National Parks’ “most popular” trails—a more than seven percent increase from 2015. That’s where GPS wearable TomTom comes in. In an effort to...

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What to do if you encounter a mountain lion while hiking

Posted by on Apr 11, 2017 @ 7:37 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

What to do if you encounter a mountain lion while hiking

“You never know what you can encounter [while hiking],” said Mike Keckler with Idaho Department of Fish & Game. “That’s one of the things that makes [wilderness] so special.” While we may want to stop and snap a couple of pictures, Keckler says we should be aware of potential dangers – especially when it comes to mountain lions. “Always be aware of your surroundings, take the time to look around and just be thinking at all times,” Keckler said. “[Wilderness, particularly in the...

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Great Barrier Reef: Two-thirds damaged in ‘unprecedented’ bleaching

Posted by on Apr 10, 2017 @ 12:18 pm in Conservation | 0 comments

Great Barrier Reef: Two-thirds damaged in ‘unprecedented’ bleaching

Unprecedented coral bleaching in consecutive years has damaged two-thirds of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, aerial surveys have shown. The bleaching – or loss of algae – affects a 1,500km (900 miles) stretch of the reef, according to scientists. The latest damage is concentrated in the middle section, whereas last year’s bleaching hit mainly the north. Experts fear the proximity of the two events will give damaged coral little chance to recover. James Cook University said governments must urgently address climate...

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Coal Companies Ask Trump to Stick with Paris Climate Deal

Posted by on Apr 10, 2017 @ 7:15 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Coal Companies Ask Trump to Stick with Paris Climate Deal

Some big American coal companies have advised President Donald Trump’s administration to break his promise to pull the United States out of the Paris Climate Agreement — arguing that the accord could provide their best forum for protecting their global interests. Remaining in the global deal to combat climate change will give U.S. negotiators a chance to advocate for coal in the future of the global energy mix, coal companies like Cloud Peak Energy Inc. and Peabody Energy Corp. told White House officials over the past few weeks,...

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Pisgah National Forest grows with Mills River purchase

Posted by on Apr 9, 2017 @ 11:50 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Pisgah National Forest grows with Mills River purchase

Just in time for spring trout season, anglers get an extra section of pristine river to savor. And the gift extends to all nature lovers who now get to roam free on a new – and critical – slice of Pisgah National Forest southwest of Asheville, NC. Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy, Trout Unlimited, the U.S. Forest Service and South Asheville landowner Tom Oreck recently closed on a decade-long effort to protect the 84-acre Big Creek Lodge Tract in the Mills River Recreation Area of Henderson County. Recreation and conservation groups...

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An Argument for Caution in the Wild

Posted by on Apr 9, 2017 @ 6:42 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

An Argument for Caution in the Wild

BY MARJORIE WOODRUFF HIGH COUNTRY NEWS Taking a hard look at the soft line between acceptable risks and ‘what-were-they-thinking’ risks. Six: That is the number of times I’ve frantically dashed out of a slot canyon because it started to rain. Once that happened when I was leading a well-advertised Sierra Club hike to promote wilderness with a capital W. We had hiked in four miles to the start of the narrows and set up camp when it started to rain. “Change of plans,” I announced, and hiked everyone back out. Did I get a modicum of flak? Just a...

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North Carolina regulators approve solar microgrid in Smokies

Posted by on Apr 8, 2017 @ 11:51 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

North Carolina regulators approve solar microgrid in Smokies

Duke Energy got the official go-ahead for a renewable energy project that’s drawing praise from some of its most frequent critics. The “microgrid” system, atop Mount Sterling in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, represents Duke’s latest, small foray into linking solar energy to battery storage – a combination that experts say is key for the expansion of renewable energy. At Mount Sterling, about 40 solar panels could generate up to 10 kilowatts of power, twice what a typical home would need. Energy produced during the day will be...

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Inside the dangerous and unpredictable behavior of wildfire

Posted by on Apr 8, 2017 @ 7:14 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Inside the dangerous and unpredictable behavior of wildfire

Aircraft N2UW has flown through all kinds of weather. The twin-propeller plane is sleek, petite, and so packed with scientific gear for studying the atmosphere that there’s barely room for two passengers to squeeze into its back seats. Monitors show radar reflections, gas concentrations and the sizes of cloud droplets. The plane has flown through tropical rainstorms in the Caribbean, through the gusting fronts of thunderheads over the Great Plains, and through turbulent down-slope winds that spawn dust storms in the lee of the Sierra Nevadas....

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U.S. land agency website drops hiking photo to give coal top billing

Posted by on Apr 7, 2017 @ 12:16 pm in Conservation | 0 comments

U.S. land agency website drops hiking photo to give coal top billing

The U.S. government’s public lands website has revealed a new face, a wall of coal, as the Trump administration underscores its promotion of an industry that has seen hard times. The Bureau of Land Management, charged with overseeing programs on vast swathes of public lands, including cattle grazing, coal leasing and recreation, changed the banner photo on its home page sometime this week, web archives show. The banner of the agency, an arm of the Interior Department, is now dominated by a photo of a man and his truck dwarfed by a coal...

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Blue Ridge Parkway Announces 2017 Season Opening Schedule

Posted by on Apr 7, 2017 @ 9:12 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Blue Ridge Parkway Announces 2017 Season Opening Schedule

Chances are that you, like many, have already been enjoying the Blue Ridge Parkway during this unseasonably warm winter. The park unit welcomed more than 1.2 million visitors in January and February of this year alone, that’s 400,000 more than the first two months of 2016! But the scenic route truly comes alive starting in spring, and the National Park Service has announced its 2017 official opening dates for campgrounds, visitor centers, historic sites, and more. From back country trails and camping, to favorite picnic areas and full service...

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Camelback drummer creates public show while hiking

Posted by on Apr 6, 2017 @ 4:50 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Camelback drummer creates public show while hiking

While many in the Valley of the Sun have seen the Camelback Mountain Christmas tree, some may not know about the Camelback drummer. A TV helicopter caught the drummer’s performance during sunrise on a recent morning. Ken Koshio takes his music all the way to the top. He is a Taiko performer and an expert in the Japanese style of drumming. Koshio said he hikes to the top of Camelback Mountain in the heart of Phoenix, AZ almost every day, but on this morning he decided to take his drum with him. When the helicopter was overhead, he said he...

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The Risk of Lyme Disease on the Appalachian Trail Is Going to Be High This Year

Posted by on Apr 6, 2017 @ 7:19 am in Hiking News | 2 comments

The Risk of Lyme Disease on the Appalachian Trail Is Going to Be High This Year

Ticks carrying Lyme disease are rampant in the forests of the northeast, and the Appalachian Trail goes straight through the thick of them. This year (2017), a host of variables is coming together that could increase the likelihood of contracting the disease while hiking the trail, says Richard Ostfeld, a disease ecologist and senior scientist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, New York. In 2005, Ostfeld and his team compiled 25 years’ worth of data into one of the most comprehensive field studies on the...

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Land, water protection favored by both GOP, Democrats in NC

Posted by on Apr 5, 2017 @ 12:23 pm in Conservation | 0 comments

Land, water protection favored by both GOP, Democrats in NC

Apparently protection for forests, parks, family farms land and clean water trumps all when it comes to taking political sides. This is according to a poll released April 4, 2017 that shows residents from all political parties across North Carolina support land and water conservation. Seventy-three percent of the 600 registered voters polled said they would support funding at the $100 million level for the state’s three publicly funded conservation trust funds. The three trust funds are the Clean Water Management, Parks and Recreation, and...

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Nestle pipes water from national forest, sparking protests

Posted by on Apr 5, 2017 @ 8:42 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Nestle pipes water from national forest, sparking protests

Dressed in bright colors and holding homemade signs, protesters are aiming to draw drivers’ attention to an effort to get Nestle Waters to stop piping water out of the San Bernardino National Forest. Local activist and organizer Glen Thompson said many people, including himself, are angry that while Nestle paid to run water pipes through the national forest, the company pays no fee for the water rights. “In other words, Nestle receives millions of gallons of water that rightfully belong to the citizens of California at nothing,” he said....

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Get Free Admission to U.S. National Parks Later this Month

Posted by on Apr 4, 2017 @ 12:00 pm in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

Get Free Admission to U.S. National Parks Later this Month

National Park Week is America’s largest celebration of national heritage. It’s about making great connections, exploring amazing places, discovering open spaces, enjoying affordable vacations, and enhancing America’s best idea—the national parks. It’s all happening in your national parks. Travelers who want to enjoy the warmer weather in the outdoors can take advantage of free admission to U.S. national parks for two weekends this month as part of National Park Week. In 2017 fees will be waived April 15-16 and April 22-23 at...

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Hiking maps go mobile: Feds unveil digital backcountry guides for Alaska

Posted by on Apr 4, 2017 @ 6:45 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Hiking maps go mobile: Feds unveil digital backcountry guides for Alaska

Navigating Alaska’s backcountry has become a bit easier — or at least, more digital. The Bureau of Land Management Alaska has started unveiling free digital maps that users can download to their smartphones and open in a third-party mobile app. The app can use GPS technology to show the user’s location on the map, even if that person is without cellphone service, said Lisa Gleason, a BLM Alaska spokeswoman. Gleason said the federal agency released its first series of digital maps on March 27, 2017 posting them online at...

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Wildland Trekking Continues to Sponsor Meanderthals

Posted by on Apr 3, 2017 @ 12:27 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Wildland Trekking Continues to Sponsor Meanderthals

For years, I shied away from advertising here at Meanderthals, choosing to place the focus on hiking and conservation rather than garish commercialism. I know that you would much rather look at scenic photos from the Smoky Mountains than flashing, blinking promotions that smack you upside the head and eventually simply get ignored. Over the years I have turned down numerous opportunities to put those ads on these pages. None of them matched want I have in mind for Meanderthals going forward. That was until 2015. I welcomed Wildland Trekking...

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Oil Shouldn’t Have to Spill to Get Us to Fight for the Environment

Posted by on Apr 3, 2017 @ 6:49 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Oil Shouldn’t Have to Spill to Get Us to Fight for the Environment

Those old enough to remember 1969 may recall that it was a very good year for music, moon landings, and the New York Mets. But it was a spectacularly bad time for the American environment. On January 28 of that year, an offshore oil drill violently ruptured six miles off the California coast. Over the next 10 days, nearly 1,000 gallons of crude oil spilled into the Santa Barbara Channel every hour. Much of it seeped onto Central Coast beaches and the shorelines of the pristine Channel Islands, killing thousands of birds, dolphins, seals, and...

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Fossils stolen from Death Valley National Park

Posted by on Apr 2, 2017 @ 11:56 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Fossils stolen from Death Valley National Park

Ancient fossil footprints have been stolen from Death Valley National Park. The park announced that scientists who visit the area to document the fossilized animal tracks discovered the theft recently and reported it to rangers. The fossils formed 3 million to 5 million years ago after animals walked across what was once a muddy lakeshore in the park that sprawls across 3.4 million acres in California and Nevada. Park Superintendent Mike Reynolds says it’s illegal to collect fossils, rocks or anything else in the park. “The purpose of...

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Gov. helps open hiking trails at Crow’s Nest Natural Area Preserve

Posted by on Apr 2, 2017 @ 8:46 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Gov. helps open hiking trails at Crow’s Nest Natural Area Preserve

Exploring Crow’s Nest Natural Area Preserve’s mature forests and scenic overlooks by foot has finally gotten easier. Nearly a decade after its nearly 3,000 acres nestled between Accokeek and Potomac creeks in Stafford County, Virginia were dedicated as a preserve, eight miles of hiking trails have officially opened to the public. They can be used Thursdays through Sundays. Gov. Terry McAuliffe was on hand for the ceremony, and helped unveil the new “Hiking Crow’s Nest” sign. It features a map showing the trails through some of the best...

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John Muir Way recognised as one of Scotland’s Great Trails

Posted by on Apr 1, 2017 @ 12:19 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

John Muir Way recognised as one of Scotland’s Great Trails

The John Muir Way has officially been recognised as one of Scotland’s Great Trails. The 134-mile route which runs between Helensburgh and John Muir’s birthplace of Dunbar on the east coast, now joins other world famous paths which have been honoured with the prestigious award. The John Muir Way is the 28th Long Distance Route to be awarded to accolade by Scottish Natural Heritage. Since it’s launch in April 2014, which marked the centenary year of the Scots-born conservationist’s death, the route has fulfilled the key...

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Preparing for the National Trails System’s 50th Anniversary

Posted by on Apr 1, 2017 @ 7:04 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Preparing for the National Trails System’s 50th Anniversary

In 2018, America will celebrate the 50th anniversary of our National Trails System and a nationwide celebration is underway! This celebration will kick off at the International Trails Sympsium on May 9, 2017, in Dayton, OH. This anniversary is a golden opportunity for all Americans to not just celebrate trails – all trails – but to learn about them, enjoy them, and protect them. For the next two years, the anniversary celebration, Trails50, will engage the American public with lively and interactive social media campaigns and events in their...

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11 New Cloud Types Named—First in 30 Years

Posted by on Mar 31, 2017 @ 11:27 am in Conservation | 0 comments

11 New Cloud Types Named—First in 30 Years

When satellites first began taking photos of our Earth it revolutionized the way we saw our atmosphere, providing images on a grand scale from above. Now the advent of personal tech, such as smart phones, is giving us a new perspective on the sky from below. This increased use of technology is what prompted the World Meteorological Organization to add 11 new cloud classifications to their International Cloud Atlas, a globally recognized source for meteorologists. A far cry from simple white puffs, these 11 new cloud types roll, dip, and...

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Exploring Canyonlands National Park in One Day

Posted by on Mar 31, 2017 @ 7:22 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Exploring Canyonlands National Park in One Day

When visitors come to Moab, Utah, they’re usually there to see the famous arches of Arches National Park, the world-renowned mountain biking, or the amazing river rafting. Canyonlands National Park seems to be an afterthought to many people. “Oh, there’s another national park here? Cool, let’s drive out there for a couple of hours to check it out.” If you really want to see all of Canyonlands National Park, you really need to spend a few days, or more. Why? The park is divided up into three “districts”, none of which can be easily accessed...

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Smokies vacation haven still thriving in wake of wildfires

Posted by on Mar 30, 2017 @ 12:10 pm in Hiking News | 0 comments

Smokies vacation haven still thriving in wake of wildfires

It’s a spectacular drive northward along Highway 441 from the small town of Cherokee on the North Carolina side of Great Smoky Mountains National Park to Gatlinburg on the Tennessee side. In the lower elevations, the spring wildflowers of mid-March, mostly trillium, pop from the ground offering bits of color that soon disappear the higher you climb toward 5,046-foot Newfound Gap at the center of the park. At the highest elevations, patches of snow and ice among the fir and spruce trees prove that winter still hangs on. As you approach...

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Nearly 80 hikers rescued from Phoenix trails so far in 2017

Posted by on Mar 30, 2017 @ 7:07 am in Hiking News | 0 comments

Nearly 80 hikers rescued from Phoenix trails so far in 2017

Phoenix, AZ police, fire and parks officials met at Piestewa Peak this week to promote hiker safety. Seventy-seven hikers have been rescued from Phoenix trails this year through March 20. Last year, there were 279 rescues within Phoenix. Fire Capt. Jake Van Hook said calls for rescue have steadily increased over the past five years. “We train together, we work together, to be able to do these rescues the way that they have to be done frequently,” Van Hook said. “With the temperatures warming up, and people (here) for spring...

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Dartmouth College Sells Parcel Of Land To Be Added To Appalachian Trail

Posted by on Mar 29, 2017 @ 12:13 pm in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

Dartmouth College Sells Parcel Of Land To Be Added To Appalachian Trail

Dartmouth College and The Trust for Public Land entered into a land deal that promises to protect an old farm estate that offers birding and hiking opportunities just 3 miles from Hanover, New Hampshire’s Main Street. Immediately after purchasing the 175-acre Hudson Farm from Dartmouth, the trust gave it away to the National Park Service so that it could be added to the Appalachian Trail. It’s a prime location. All the neighbors use it for hiking and snowshoeing and skiing in the fields in the wintertime. A mixture of forests, wetlands...

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Scientists made a detailed “roadmap” for meeting the Paris climate goals. It’s eye-opening.

Posted by on Mar 29, 2017 @ 7:03 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Scientists made a detailed “roadmap” for meeting the Paris climate goals. It’s eye-opening.

Back in 2015, the world’s governments met in Paris and agreed to keep global warming below 2°C, to avoid the worst risks of a hotter planet. For context, the planet’s warmed ~1°C since the 19th century. One problem with framing the goal this way, though, is that it’s maddeningly abstract. What does staying below 2°C entail? Papers on this topic usually drone on about a “carbon budget” — the total amount of CO2 humans can emit this century before we likely bust past 2°C — and then debate how to divvy up that budget among nations. There’s math...

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Trump’s big new executive order to tear up Obama’s climate policies, explained

Posted by on Mar 28, 2017 @ 3:00 pm in Conservation | 0 comments

Trump’s big new executive order to tear up Obama’s climate policies, explained

This is it. The battle over the future of US climate policy kicked off in earnest today. In a sweeping new executive order, President Trump has ordered his Cabinet to start demolishing a wide array of Obama-era policies on global warming — including emissions rules for power plants, limits on methane leaks, a moratorium on federal coal leasing, and the use of the social cost of carbon to guide government actions. Everyone knew this was coming: Trump has said repeatedly that he wants to repeal US climate regulations and unshackle the fossil...

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