Riding the Rails, an 18-Day River Odyssey and a Special Feline Friend

WINDOWS TO THE WILD WITH WILLEM LANGE Concludes 18th Season with more Inspiration from the Outdoors

DURHAM, NH, (February 28.2023) – New Hampshire PBS’ award-winning program WINDOWS TO THE WILD WITH WILLEM LANGE wraps up its 18th season with five new episodes streaming on NHPBS Passport on Wednesday, March 8th and broadcasting on NHPBS on Wednesdays beginning March 15th. Start planning your own springtime adventures with a glimpse into the wonders of nature and life in the wild.

The second half of season 18 features the program’s characteristic blend of serious storytelling with outdoor fun and recreation. Locations vary from the crevices and canyons of sunbaked Arizona to the summit of New England’s highest peak (Mount Washington), to the patchwork green fields of Ireland.

“Being outdoors oftentimes means trying something new and – always – having a sense of discovery. Before this season, I’d never ridden a rail bike before, and I’d certainly never seen a cat hike a mountain,” said program host Willem Lange. “I’m grateful for the new folks I met on the trail and in the field and to see nature in full display, from the shorelines of Maine to Ireland’s west coast to the peaceful urban pathway we found in Manchester, New Hampshire.”

The NHPBS favorite launched its 18th season on Wednesday, February 8th, broadcasting the first of five 30-minute episodes. NHPBS Members can binge-watch the entire ten-episode season via NHPBS Passport, starting March 8.

“The outdoors is for everyone, but it hasn’t always been portrayed that way,” said the program’s executive producer, Phil Vaughn. “We really try to pay attention to representing a broad range of people in our storytelling. We understand some people get outdoors as a form of therapy, others for relaxation. Everyone has their own reasons, and we try to profile that.”

For the final slate of season 18 episodes, program topics will include:

  • Family ties and shared responsibility: A family of four from North Conway, New Hampshire fulfills a dream to paddle down the Colorado River through the heart of the Grand Canyon. What they see takes shape as a lesson in environmental awareness. The family then applies those learnings in their everyday lives back home.
  • Our changing climate: See through the eyes of one young man who takes a cross-country, multi-day journey through the winter wilderness. His story illustrates how the climate in New England is warming, and he reflects on how the winters he experiences are different from the deep snowdrifts and more frequent storms of his grandfather’s generation.
  • Companionship in the outdoors: Finding Floki meant finding new friends for one New Hampshire woman. The unusual sight of a cat climbing all 48 of the state’s 4000 footers on the back of its owner sparks a social media following and leads to healing, new friendships and shared purpose.

With season 18 complete, program producers are already looking ahead to the next slate of episodes to air in 2024.

“One area we are also thinking about is human interactions with nature,” said producer Phil Vaughn. “Are we getting too close to nature and wildlife? There have been academic studies on this topic, and it’s something we may explore in season 19.”


initial broadcast date: Wednesday, March 15 at 7:30 PM on NHPBS
Stream online with NHPBS Passport

In the summer of 2022, Sarah and Carter Davidson and their two children took a trip years in the making. For 18 days, the family and a group of friends traveled by raft and kayak 225 miles down the Colorado River from Lees Ferry to Diamond Creek, Arizona. Back home in the North Conway area, Willem (with canine companion Kiki!) catches up with the Davidsons for a short rafting trip on the Androscoggin River. Parents and children both reflect on their Arizona adventure and what they witnessed in relation to our changing climate. In this episode, viewers will experience the lush greenery of northern New England and the calm waters of the Androscoggin, as well as the burnt oranges, brilliant blue skies and raging waters of the majestic desert Southwest. WINDOWS TO THE WILD WITH WILLEM LANGE regular contributor Joe Klementovich also shares photos and video from the epic Arizona trip.

initial broadcast date: Wednesday, March 22 at 7:30 PM on NHPBS
Stream online with NHPBS Passport

Who says hiking is solely for humans? Meet Floki, the hiking cat. Whether hauled on the back of her owner – Melissa “Mel” Elam – or strolling on a leash, Floki is along for the ride as Elam scales the mountains of New Hampshire. In this episode, Willem hikes the Black Cap Trail with Mel and her partner Chris Smullen, a photographer who records many of their hikes. Mel shares how she rescued Floki from an animal shelter but credits Floki for providing companionship and love that helped Mel through the COVID-19 pandemic, a divorce and other challenging times. We will also see how Mel and Floki ‘pay it back’ in the hiking community, as the pair and a group of friends head up Mount Washington for the annual Seek the Peak fundraiser, benefiting the Mount Washington Observatory.

initial broadcast date: Wednesday, March 29 at 7:30 PM on NHPBS
Stream online with NHPBS Passport

In central New Hampshire, miles of railway track that lay unused and neglected are now providing smiles and scenic rides for thousands of visitors. Gary LeBlanc and his family cleared track, built custom ‘rail bikes’ and launched a business called Scenic Railriders. Now, visitors can get in a light workout as they pedal through fields and forests, taking in local history and vistas of the Merrimack River. Willem is joined in this episode by writer and history buff Marshall Hudson, who shares some local lore as he and Willem pedal along the 6.4-mile loop trail. Produced during the fall, the episode features brilliant fall colors and stunning aerial photography of the Merrimack River and nearby meadows and forests.

initial broadcast date: Wednesday, April 5 at 7:30 PM on NHPBS
Stream online with NHPBS Passport

It’s a magical springtime journey to Ireland for Willem Lange and a group of NHPBS supporters! During a nine-day visit, Willem and his traveling companions venture along the Republic’s west coast, from the Dingle Peninsula and the iconic Cliffs of Moher to Killarney National Park, Galway (The “City of the Tribes”) and the wilds of Connemara. Along the way, Willem visits a castle and a historic home, experiences traditional Irish music sessions, samples whiskey and learns how Irish drums (bodhrán) are made. The getaway concludes amid the museums and history of Dublin, the capital and largest city of Ireland. Did we mention that Willem also rocks a stylish traditional flat cap hat and that the trip included abundant sunshine? Yes, it’s all true.

initial broadcast date: Wednesday, April 12 at 7:30 PM on NHPBS
Stream online with NHPBS Passport

Spruce, fir, and pine trees draped in snow. Snow-covered mountain tops. Moose tracks. Snowflakes gently falling on a ski trail. Cross-country skier Gabriel Andrus experienced all these classic winter sights during what was meant to be a 300+ mile cross country ski trip from the Canadian border to his hometown of Walpole, in southwestern New Hampshire. Learn more about what Gabriel discovered on his journey and the documentary film he’s creating about his trek. In this episode, Willem and the crew also hear from University of New Hampshire climate scholar Elizabeth Burakowski about the changing face of winter in New Hampshire and its far-ranging ramifications for our environment, economy and culture.


NHPBS Passport (on-demand)
Viewers can watch WINDOWS TO THE WILD WITH WILLEM LANGE and other NHPBS programming online, anytime and on their schedules via NHPBS Passport. Passport provides members with extended access to a comprehensive library of quality public television programming. Sign-up is a simple three-step process. Passport is available on most devices: Apple TV, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, Roku, iPhone, iPad, and Android. Members can binge-watch the last five episodes beginning March 8, 2023.

WINDOWS TO THE WILD WITH WILLEM LANGE airs Wednesdays at 7:30 PM on NHPBS, with repeats throughout the broadcast schedule. All episodes are archived online, available to watch anytime: https://video.nhpbs.org/show/windows-wild/

Via Podcast:
Download Willem Lange’s podcast WORDS FROM THE WILD WITH WILLEM LANGE at nhpbs.org/windows or listen from your favorite podcast platform. The podcast encompasses short stories and essays from Lange’s book, Words from the Wild, and from his weekly column “Yankee Notebook.” Hear Lange’s wisdom and perspectives, garnered from decades as an outdoor enthusiast. The podcast is a partnership with the Marlin Fitzwater Center for Communication at Franklin Pierce University.

WINDOWS TO THE WILD WITH WILLEM LANGE is generously supported by the Alice J. Reen Charitable Trust and Bailey Charitable Trust.

Willem Lange’s wardrobe is provided by The Kittery Trading Post.

Closed captioning is provided by Proulx Oil and Propane.

THE WILLEM LANGE ENDOWMENT FUND is a newly created permanent fund recognizing Willem’s contributions to public television and outdoor education. Income from the Fund supports NHPBS as it produces and presents programming related to the environment and outdoors, beginning with production of season 19, to air in 2024. Learn more about the Fund.

About New Hampshire PBS: New Hampshire PBS inspires one million Granite Staters each month with engaging and trusted local and national programs and services on-air, online, via mobile, in classrooms and in communities. Beyond its award-winning television programs, New Hampshire PBS is a leader in education and community engagement. www.nhpbs.org

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