Category Archives: Outdoor Area

California’s “Super Bloom” a Site for Sore Eyes

After more than four years of drought, last winter’s record precipitation in California has created an explosion of wildflower growth this spring. The blooms are so massive they can be seen from space. Swaths of bright purple tansy, orange poppies and yellow coreopsis have transformed hillsides into impressionist paintings worthy of the Louvre. From the forests of the north to the deserts of south, no region in California has a monopoly on these spectacular blooms.

Already famous for its wildflowers, the Carrizo Plain National Monument in southern California has become a photographer’s paradise these last few weeks. Seemingly endless blankets of blue, yellow, red, purple and orange cover the hills and valleys drawing thousands of tourists and professional photographers alike.

In the central valley, the South Yuba River State Park is in full bloom. You can find purple larkspur, yellow or purple wild iris, fairy lanterns, star tulips, orange bush monkey flowers and more. Both the Point Defiance Loop trail and the Buttermilk Bend Trail offer great wildflower viewing.

The San Francisco Bay Area has many open space preserves and parks that are teaming with wildflowers. Chabot Regional Park stands out this year with its plethora of wild radish, poppies and blue-eyed grass. Further North at Point Reyes National Seashore, the Douglas irises delight with their show-stopping purple and yellow petals.

Five miles north of Arcata in Humboldt County, Azalea State Natural Reserve has an abundance of pink and white blooms. There are also purple and orange varieties of these trumpet-shaped flowers. With their amazing scent heavily perfuming the air, these wildflowers are a treat to more than the eyes.

Wherever you find yourself in California, you can bet there is a profusion of wildflowers nearby. Get out there and enjoy them but remember to take only pictures and leave only footprints.

How to Have an Enjoyable Outdoor Party

Whether you are throwing a birthday party or are having a reunion, being outside is a great way to open up the amount of space you and your guests have while enjoying the warm weather. Unfortunately, spending a lot of time outside can also be a problem if you’re dealing with bugs, wind and unforeseen weather conditions. First and foremost, it is important to be very careful of the weather before having an outdoor party. It is understandable that you’ll want to plan for the party months in advance and that you won’t know the weather until about a week before the event, but you should have a backup date in case of rain.

 

If the weather is going to be decent, there are still other things that might come to ruin your special occasion. Bugs are a real issue when it comes to outdoor parties and they can wreck an otherwise fun event. The best way to get rid of a bug problem is to use citronella candles and bug sprays to prevent them from being attracted to party goers. In many cases, bugs are also attracted to the food that you’ll be serving and may swarm soda, meats and breads. If you’re serving fruit, expect there to be a lot of bugs interested in the delicious sweet treats. You can invest in table food covers that act as a net over the dishes to prevent bugs from walking all over your meal.

 

Planning the party accordingly will allow you to have a fun and memorable event. It might not be enough to buy some food and get the barbecue going. Think of some fun games you can all play and get the kids involved. This prevents your little guests from getting bored and annoying their parents who will then want to high-tail it out of there. Be sure to leave all of your outdoor partying for the warmer months of the year when it’ll be fine to sit outside for hours without feeling chilled. Appropriate planning is essential for having a party that you will not soon forget.

 

What Essentials Do You Need for Spring Outdoor Hiking?

Hiking is a great way to burn extra calories and get outside. If you enjoy hiking or if you’re interested in starting a hiking hobby, you’ll need to have some essential products. The following is a list of essentials for hiking that you should get now so that you’re prepared when spring rolls around.

 

  1. A big backpack to hold everything

 

The first thing that you’ll need to go hiking is a great backpack. Whether you plan on hiking for a few days or a week or just going on an hour-long walk in the hills, a quality backpack will be helpful so that you can carry all of your essentials with you and have your hands free. Naturally, you’ll want a larger and more industrial type backpack for longer trips. A smaller, more lightweight backpack will be good for short hiking trips.

 

  1. A great sleeping bag

 

Of course, you’ll need to have a place to sleep on your hiking trip. A sleeping bag is the best option. There are numerous types of sleeping bags. For example, there are lots of different sizes and even different levels of warmth. For this reason, make sure that you do your research in order to find the best bag for you.

 

  1. An emergency bag

 

In addition to having a great backpack and a warm and comfortable sleeping bag, you should also have a small bag that has emergency essentials in it. You need to have first aid kit with health and safety essentials as well as a solar panel that can charge a cell phone in the event that you need to call for help.

 

  1. Lighting

 

Lastly, don’t forget that you’ll need to have lighting on your trip. It gets dark up in those mountains! A flashlight should be brought with you no matter how long you plan on hiking, and you might want to bring a lantern for your campsite if you plan on staying overnight as well.

 

You can find all of the products listed above on the Internet or in select brick and mortar outdoor goods stores.

 

Stranded Family Of Four Rescued after Kayaking Crash In Utah

With great interest, I just read a recent article that tells how a Utah Department of Public Safety helicopter pilot rescued a stranded family from Colorado while he was out looking for an overdue kayaker.

 

This exciting situation took place on the first Sunday in April in Garfield County, Utah. A man and wife, and their two teenage daughters were kayaking on the Escalante River, and became trapped after crashing into rocks.

 

As it so happens, another kayaker had not returned when expected from a trip on the Escalante River that same day. A pilot named Luke Bowman from the Utah Department of Public Safety had been called in to assist in the efforts to locate the kayaker.

 

While scanning the river area from overhead, the pilot and a deputy spotted a man signaling for help from a sandbar. They landed the helicopter, and discovered that the man and his family had been stranded for two days.

 

According to the article, the family’s kayaks and paddles floated away when they crashed. They did, however, manage to save their food and sleeping equipment. The family tried to find their way to civilization on foot, but found that their surroundings were too dangerous to traverse.

 

The helicopter pilot said that it is very common at this time of the year for people to get lost or stranded in the local region. Fortunately, the family that was rescued this week did not experience any injuries, only some sunburn.

 

As for the original kayaker who was overdue, he was unable to access his destination point, so he exited the river at another spot, then made his way back.

 

Being a big fan of vintage TV shows, I can’t help but think of how this entire situation resembles the plot on an episode of a retro adventure television series.

 

How to Plan the Perfect Hiking Trip

Hiking is a great outdoor activity that provides you the chance to explore a local area in all its natural beauty. Planning a hiking trip can be a lot of fun, but it should also be done to prevent you from experiencing problems on the trail. First and foremost, you need to have an idea of where you’re going to be hiking. If you live in an area that’s quite wooded, there are probably a myriad of trails you can take. Once you know which trail you’ll be hiking, you need to determine its length and duration. Certain hiking trails have several stop-offs which allow you to choose how many miles you’d like to walk.

 

Next, you need to determine who will be coming with you. If you’re going to be hiking on your own, it’s vital that you have a way to communicate with the world if something happens to you while you’re walking. Many hiking trails lose cellphone service, so it might be advantageous to invest in walkie-talkies or an emergency call button that will automatically alert police if something happens to you on the trail. You should also bring along plenty of snacks, provisions and drinks. Drinks are essential for long and intense hikes where you’ll be overexerting yourself. Protein-packed snacks like nuts and trail mix are great for when you’re feeling faint and lightheaded.

 

Apart from making sure you pack all of the right foods and drinks, you need to be wearing comfortable and loose clothing. You can bring along bug spray to prevent too many bugs from biting you and annoying you while you’re trying to enjoy yourself. If you aren’t going to be wearing bug spray, it’s crucial that you avoid wearing any other type of perfume, which even includes deodorant. These perfumes will attract bugs and make for a miserable hiking experience. Once you know where you’ll hike and have all of the necessities for the trip, it’s time to go out and explore mother nature. Take along your camera and get some great pictures of your experience so that you have something to look back on.

 

National Park Service Looking for Sponsors to Raise Money

Millions of people visit the National Parks each year, but park officials say that visitors fees are not enough to keep the parks open. That is why, according to a recent article on WBAL TV’s online website, the National Park service is considering selling sponsorships to help keep the parks open.

 

 

 

The proposal would allow sponsors to put logos on just about everything, including bathrooms, benches, and the pavement under people’s feet. For most people this would take away from the pristine beauty of the parks. People come to the parks to experience nature and get away from the crass commercialism and noise that comes with everyday life.

 

While their is no certainty that the proposal will get approved, it is clear that the push for corporate sponsors is a troubling one, particularly for many of the park’s regular visitors. The money from corporate sponsors could help the National Park system make some much anticipated and much needed improvements in order to ensure that none of the parks are closed to the public. Fort Hood in Baltimore, for example hopes to add a piece of the National Anthem that they are missing.

 

 

A decision like this could set a terrible precedent. Old stadiums were once great examples of classic architecture, but today, stadiums are often covered in as much advertising as possible. Many people think that this is very distracting and takes away from their enjoyment of the game. Decline in the attendance at certain sporting events certainly supports this theory to an extent. While the temporary influx of money into the National Parks System would be welcome it is very important to consider the cost.

Best Places to Camp in Your Local Area

Camping is a great way to get out into the outdoors and experience a life away from technology. In a time when we are all so glued to our devices, it can be difficult to find the time to spend with loved ones without having our phones or laptops on us. Camping gives us the opportunity to live in nature and enjoy the whims of wildlife. Unfortunately, one bad camping experience can deter you from ever wanting to do it again. This is why it’s crucial that you find a reputable campsite in your area to set up your tent and amenities.

 

The type of campground you’re looking to settle into depends solely on the type of camping you’d like to do. If you’re taking your RV with you, you’ll need a campground that has a setup specific to RV parking. You’ll also need access to plumbing and electricity if you’re camping with a recreational vehicle. If you’re just camping with a tent and basic amenities, any campsite will do, but you still need to make sure it’s inexpensive and has a good reputation. You may need to book a spot in the camp weeks or even months before you’re trip is scheduled. This guarantees you a spot for when you’ll be there with loved ones. Many campgrounds fill up throughout the spring and summer months, making it difficult or even impossible to secure a spot for yourself.

 

If you know people who camp a lot, don’t hesitate to ask them where they go and how much the campsite charges for people to stay there. Online reviews can also give some helpful insight into a particular location before you make any arrangements to book a section for your camping excursion. Camping is only fun when you’re in a good quality campground complete with necessary utilities.

 

National Park Service Looking for Sponsors to Raise Money

Millions of people visit the National Parks each year, but park officals say that visitors fees are not enough to keep the parks open. That is why, accordign to a recent article on WBAL TV’s online website, the National Park service is considering selling sponserships to help keep the parks open.

 

 

 

The proposal would allow sponsors to put logos on just about everything, including bathrooms, benches, and the pavement under people’s feet. For most people this would take away from the pristine beauty of the parks. People come to the parks to experience nature and get away from the crass commercialism and noise that comes with everyday life.

 

While their is no certainty that the proposal will get approved, it is clear that the push for corporate sponsors is a troubling one, particularly for many of the park’s regular visitors. The money from corportate sponsors could help the National Park system make some much anticipated and much needed improvments in order to ensure that none of the parks are closed to the public. Fort Hood in Baltimore, for example hopes to add a piece of the National Anthem that they are missing.

 

 

A decision like this could set a terrible precident. Old stadiums were once great exampls of classic architecture, but today, stadiums are often covered in as much advertising as possible. Many people think that this is very distracting and takes away from their enjoyment of the game. Decline in the attendance at certain sporting events certainly supports this theory to an extent. While the temporary influx of money into the National Parks System would be welcome it is very important to consider the cost.

 

Lapland to be a Major Tourist Draw in 2017

Serious travelers are constantly looking for new sights and experiences. In 2017, Lapland, with its majestic fjords and stunning sky, might be the new destination of choice for many. It offers unique activities in a beautiful setting, as well as stunning hotel options.

Forbes.com reports that Lapland represents a new travel trend in 2017, and claims that unique accommodations are driving the trend. The Icehotel, which is constructed from ice and used during the winter months in Finland, is fairly well-known. Forbes cites some less well-known accommodations, such as Norway’s Lyngen Lodge, which overlooks a fjord and serves as a base for outdoor activities like dog sledding and snowmobiling. Another unique option is the Logger’s Lodge, a new Lapland facility that is all-inclusive and features a sauna and whirlpool.

Even without exotic accommodations, the appeal of Lapland and surrounding areas is clear. Tourists can enjoy snowmobiling, dog sledding, gazing at the Northern Lights, or going for a polar bear dip in the frigid Arctic waters. Each of these activities is a compelling vacation option, even if they do not involve luxury accommodations.

While the appeal of Lapland might draw a new wave of tourists, many of these tourists will also benefit from the recent low-cost airline tickets to Northern Europe. As airlines compete to open new, low-cost routes between the U.S. and Europe, it is getting easier for Americans to visit Norway and other European locations.

For tourists who want a five-star experience, there are many hotel options to choose from in this natural setting. Whether you want to sleep in a treehouse, an ice castle, or a cozy lodge, Lapland has you covered. Regardless of your accommodations, the view will be stunning.

 

Travel Destinations to Escape the Cold

During a winter snowstorm, nothing sounds better than escaping to the warm sands of a remote island. Many tourists do, in fact, escape the cold. With many exotic locations to choose from, it can be difficult to decide which island destination is best.

Forbes.com has released its list of 11 top island resorts for those seeking an escape from the cold in 2017. The list includes destinations in Fiji, the Maldives, the Bahamas, New Zealand, Florida, and more. One particularly exotic recommendation is Vanuatu’s Ratua Private Island. The island can only host 35 guests, but those guests are treated to oceanfront villas and fresh local food. Price was clearly not a factor in the Forbes rankings.

Mexican destinations are notably absent from the Forbes list. Isla Mujeres near Cancun, for example, is a warm and exotic island destination that is also fairly affordable. It features stunning turquoise water, beautiful beaches, and excellent snorkeling.

Travelers seeking to escape cold weather probably do not, for the most part, care whether they are on an island, as long as they are somewhere warm with a beach. Costa Rica, for example, is an excellent destination for tourists who want to lounge on a warm beach while enjoying fresh local food. In Central and South America, there are many mainland alternatives to the Forbes island list.

While the Forbes list is not perfect, though, it does provide some excellent destination ideas. There are some beautiful island locations in the world, and spending a few days in an over-the-water hut in the Maldives or on a private island would constitute an amazing winter vacation.