My New Website

25 Aug
Wakhan nomad

Walking through the Pamir Mountains in Afghanistan’s Wakhan Corridor.

Thanks to the talented Sara Kauk, of Design Missoula, I have a new website! From now on, I’ll be posting my latest stories and photos at www.jacobbaynham.com. My contact information remains the same.

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Turkey, With Kids

23 Jun
Cappadocia 2

Theo and I, traipsing amongst the fairy chimneys at Cappadocia.

In February, I traveled to Istanbul with my pregnant wife and our 3-year-old son, Theo. Between the recent terrorism attacks and the increasingly autocratic government, Turkey wasn’t the obvious choice for a family holiday. But we had a fabulous vacation there, and found that Turkey was the most child-friendly country we’d ever visited. I wrote a piece for AFAR about the ins and outs of traveling in Turkey with children. It’s online here.

Outside’s Best Towns

23 Jun

I spent several busy weeks before Julian’s birth writing for Outside magazine about some of the best outdoor towns in America. I wrote about Salida, Colorado, St. Pete, Florida, Grand Rapids, Michigan, and many more. My hometown Missoula even got a mention. The story is in the July issue and is available online.

biking-downtown-grand-rapids-web_h

The Grand River Edges trail is a popular trail along the downtown stretch of the Grand River. (Courtesy Experience Grand Rapids)

The Story of Prisoner 5770102414

12 Jun

As a woman, Prontip Mankong was more likely to end up in prison in Thailand than anywhere else in the world. No country imprisons women at a higher rate. (The United States is No. 2.) Around the world, more women are being locked up each year. In January I traveled to Bangkok, where I interviewed Prontip, a former political prisoner.  She told me what conditions are like in some of the world’s most crowded prisons. My story was published in The Christian Science Monitor.DSC02229

Wind and Lightning

13 Apr
Mt Washington Weather

Leaning into 70-80 mph winds at Mount Washington. (Photo by Ryan Knapp)

I interviewed a couple more people for an Outside series on working in extreme weather. First, Ryan Knapp, at the Mount Washington Observatory in New Hampshire, told me what it’s like to work in the world’s harshest weather, where winds have reached 231 mph. Knapp checks the instruments hourly, suiting up for fierce conditions. He told me what it’s like to be knocked down by wind: “You’re leaning into it, so the first thing to go is your feet. You fall, and you slide. Rime ice is a frictionless barrier. Eventually gravity and friction slow you down. Then you have to get to safety. It’s like a riptide. Don’t go head-on into it—zigzag to the lee of a building.”

I also interviewed Don MacGorman, from the National Severe Storms Laboratory in Norman, Oklahoma, who has been chasing storms for almost 40 years to launch truck-sized meteorological balloons into the clouds. Along the way he’s been soaked to the bone, pelted by potentially lethal hail, and survived very close lightning strikes. He told me: “One hit a power line a couple hundred feet away. When lightning is that close, the sound is different. It’s almost like tearing paper, and then there’s a big boom that’ll make your ears ring, like an explosion. That’s what thunder is—air heating up so fast it explodes.”

Not Your Average Desk Jobs

14 Mar
Art Woods jumping in

Scuba diving in Antarctica (Photo courtesy of Art Woods)

I just finished an assignment for Outside interviewing five people who work in extreme weather. Three of the interviews are posted now. I talked to Ashley Lehman, an ecologist for the U.S. Forest Service who spends three months of the year in the rainy Pacific Islands, where she contends with warm water immersion foot, saltwater crocodiles, poison trees, and leftover bombs from WWII.

Then I spoke with Art Woods, a marine biologist at the University of Montana who takes two-month trips to Antarctica to dive under the ice and look for sea spiders. The dives are frigid, frostnip is a reality, and there’s only one hole to come up for air.

I also spoke with Matt MacIsaac, a motor vehicle operator at Death Valley National Park, where he routinely works in temperatures over 120 degrees Fahrenheit. “There was a day that was 129 degrees,” he told me. “I remember walking across a parking lot and putting on leather gloves to protect my hands from the heat coming off the pavement. You know it’s hot when your hands feel cooler inside gloves than out.”

Warrior Pose

14 Mar
Yoga pose army man

Photo by Todd Goodrich

At the University of Montana, student veterans are turning to mindfulness techniques to cope with the struggle of coming back from war and starting college. Veterans may not seem the mdinfulness-type, but their military training has already taught them the value of breathing exercises and yoga feels a lot like P.T. I wrote about the program that teaches student veterans yoga, meditation, and breathing exercises. The story is in Vision, UM’s science magazine, and it’s available online.