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Camping 101: Preparation, flexibility, and sense of adventure make it work

Sunday, July 8th, 2012

BY CHERIE SPINO
SPECIAL TO THE BLADE

My husband and I decided that if we wanted to see the country with our four kids, we had one affordable option: tent camping. Our youngest was just 3 on our maiden trip — a 17-day odyssey out West.

People ask us, “Were you out of your minds?”

Quite the opposite. After eight years, 31 states, 20-some campgrounds, and more than 20,000 miles, we learned that camping, as much work as it is, works for us. Getting up for a 3 a.m. bathroom trip and looking up into a night sky dripping with stars is a fit reward for using a vault toilet.

We love spending weeks at a time outdoors, driving through buffalo herds, waking up to crisp air and the smell of frying bacon, and yes, getting a little dirty (and aromatic).

And talk about cost cutting. We figure we’ve spent almost 60 nights camping on our vacations and saved thousands of dollars. Compare $10 campsites to the cost of two hotel rooms.

We’re not alone in our preference for tent camping. According to the 2011 Special Report on Camping, sponsored by the Outdoor Foundation, Coleman, and KOA, the majority of the 40 million folks who camped in 2010 — 86 percent — used tents.

If this sounds like an attractive alternative, heed these tips from some families who have worn out a few tents.

Prepare. Prepare. Prepare.

Beth Barrow, of West Toledo, spent nearly every childhood vacation at a campground. Her husband, Beau, even proposed to her in a tent at East Harbor State Park on Lake Erie.

Now they’re making sure their two children know their way around a camp site. “Camping seems overwhelming but when you have the right materials and tools you can do it,” she says. “It’s a ton of fun.”

If you’re a novice, your first trip should be to the library for books about camping. Here you’ll find exhaustive lists of what to take and plan for.

If you’re not sure camping is for you, borrow some equipment and take a weekend test trip to a nearby park. Observe the folks around you. We pick up a lot of tips by watching other campers.

Better yet, enroll in a state First Time camper program. In Michigan or Pennsylvania, for just $20 you get two nights of camping at participating state parks, and Gander Mountain will lend you equipment for four people. A ranger will even help you set up. You can also Rent-a-Camp at some Ohio state parks. (Check the state parks’ Web sites for participating locations. )

Ready to buy your own gear? Look for sales in winter, advises Terry Walters. The West Toledo father, who says he was raised around a campfire, snagged a 9-10 person tent at Target for $25 in the off-season.

Or ask for gear as gifts. The Barrows add to their camping stash every Christmas when Beau gets a new piece of equipment from her parents.

Where to go?

Planning is the fun part. We get as much enjoyment out of exploring all the possibilities as we do taking the trip.

Think about your family’s interests. Are they water babies? Hikers? Sand-castle builders? How far do you want to venture?

Paula Watkins, of Sylvania, honeymooned with her husband at a Myrtle Beach campground 27 years ago and returned with their three kids years later. “There was always something to do and other kids around,” she says.

We’ve found that our kids do well if our camping experience includes any or all of these things: rocks, water, and wildlife.

It’s amazing how our kids perked up after a long day in the car when we hit Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado and spotted elk and mule deer.

The camping report found that 69 percent of campers pitch tents in local, state, or national parks. The national parks alone hosted more than 3 million tent campers last year.

State parks often have nicer rest room and shower facilities than national parks, which often charge for showers or don’t have them.

Depending on your outlook, private campgrounds such as Yogi Bear or KOA can be fun, too. They may charge a bit more, but you often get better facilities along with a pool and children’s activities.

If you have smaller children, think about staying a little closer to home, Ms. Barrow says. If the weather turns nasty or the kids don’t do well, you can pack it up and get home quickly.

Choosing a campsite

Many park Web sites have pictures of campsites and maps that show where sites are in relation to bathrooms and playgrounds.

Seclusion and shade are good. It’s also nice to have a tree or two to string your clothesline on.

Weigh your priorities. Playgrounds and bathrooms can be noisy, but if your kids are young and you’re going to be making a lot of trips to the rest room or hanging out at the playground anyway, you may want to be closer than you think.

Packing

This is the part that can throw inexperienced campers over the edge. It’s all in the organization.

Everyone has his or her own system, but the one best friend of all campers is plastic tote bins.

Ms. Barrow and Mr. Walters keep all their gear in marked bins. “We can grab the containers, stop at the grocery store and we’re camping in an hour and a half,” Mr. Walters says. The containers are also good for keeping out pesky raccoons and birds.

We use bins and a three-drawer plastic cart for our cooking stuff. When we stop for lunch, we open the trunk, and it’s all there.

After a few trips, you’ll find what works for you. Everything will have its place in the car when you pack and you won’t even have to think about what goes where anymore.

Are we there yet?

If your trip requires multiple days of driving, plan for some fun rest stops along the way. We like to stop and eat out of our car at city parks or rest areas. The kids play ball or run around the playground. You may think you don’t want to waste so much time at a pit stop, but it really helps if everyone can let off a little steam.

We’ve even stopped at city pools to break up a day of driving. It wears out the kids so they’ll sleep on the next leg.

Books on tape can be another diversion. Since Ms. Watkins’ family often started out at night, it became tradition to pop in Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark as they set off, she says.

Making the most of it

If you’re staying at a state or national park, take advantage of park programs. One of the best-kept secrets of our national park system is the junior ranger program. Kids can earn patches or pins by completing a booklet of activities . They may have to do puzzles or go on a hike or a scavenger hunt.

It’s fun for the whole family because you inevitably learn a ton about the places you’re visiting, from the ecology to the history and wildlife.

Also, the rangers at these parks are founts of information. Talk to them. Ask questions. Go to the night programs. We’ve dissected owl pellets, watched old Wild Kingdom episodes on a big screen in South Dakota, and been serenaded by a guitar-playing ranger.

When planning hikes, be mindful of your family’s abilities. Shoot for hikes with big payoffs, like waterfalls or lakes.

And don’t forget to bring the M&Ms. They’re the ultimate bribe for whiny kids.

Be flexible

As much as we plan, we stay open to spontaneous stops, especially roadside greasy spoons and ice cream stands. That’s how we found Clyde’s, just over the Mackinac Bridge in St. Ignace. It’s a dumpy little drive-in, but the kids love their shakes and burgers served in paper cars with fruit snacks for dessert. Now we can’t go that direction without a Clyde’s stop.

And remember, if you forget something or you burn dinner, you can always hop in the car and get a pizza in town (if you’re not out in the boonies). There’s no shame in that.

Ms. Watkins, whose husband passed away last year and whose kids are now adults themselves, remembers all their camping trips fondly. “My kids loved it. We have so many memories,” she says.

More tips

● Don’t leave home without matches, bug spray, sunscreen, and a first aid kit (kids are always scraping something).

● Bring heavy aluminum foil and cook over the fire. Throw in your meat and veggies or breakfast fixings, wrap it up, and in 15 or 20 minutes you’ve got a meal with no messy pots to wash up.

● If you’re fussy about your drinking water, you may want to bring your own thermos from home. Campground water can be less than tasty.

● Get your kids involved in setup and cleanup. It keeps them busy and lightens the load for everyone.

● Save some money and get your firewood outside of the parks or campgrounds.

● All kinds of foods can be made ahead. Whip up some pancake batter and put it into a clean milk jug in your cooler. Bring batches of precooked spaghetti in plastic bags. All it takes is a dip in boiling water and you’ve got a hot meal. Make ice in milk jugs. When it melts you’ve got extra water.

Favorite Spots

● Mohican State Park, Loudonville, Ohio (www.mohicanstatepark.org). This park, halfway between Cleveland and Columbus, has pretty much everything an avid outdoor family could want: hiking, biking, canoeing on the Mohican River, fishing, and a heated pool.

● P. H. Hoeft State Park, Rogers City, Mich. (http://bit.ly/QtCztg). This is our favorite spot a little further from home. Just 5 1/2 hours north of Toledo, the park is on Lake Huron. Campsites are a short walk to sandy beaches that are rarely crowded.

● Hartwick Pines State Park, Grayling, Mich. (www.michigan.gov/hartwickpines). A great spot for beginners with its open, flat campsites. Nice, easy hikes and an interesting logging museum.

● Nickerson State Park, Brewster, Mass. (http://1.usa.gov/2FjYfd). Campsites at this state park are just $15 to $17. The forest park, within walking distance of the ocean, features great bike trails and eight fresh water ponds.

● Custer State Park, Custer, S.D. (www.gfp.sd.gov/state-parks/directory/custer). This is hands-down our favorite park. It has it all — swimming lakes, herds of bison, wild turkeys wandering through your campsite, and amazing hiking and scenery. You’re also within a short drive of water parks, Mount Rushmore, caves, and plenty of other attractions.

Help for novices

Michigan (http://1.usa.gov/ME81C6)

Pennsylvania (http://bit.ly/idZnUz)

Ohio (http://bit.ly/OEneJ2).

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Mountain lion attacks hiker in California, authorities say

Sunday, July 8th, 2012

KCRA.com updated 7/3/2012

SACRAMENTO — A mountain lion attacked a 63-year-old man camping northwest of Nevada City, the California Department of Fish and Game said Monday. The attack happened around 1 a.m. Sunday and lasted about two minutes, according to a news release. Fish and Game authorities did not release the victim’s name but said he is from Marin County. Authorities said the man decided to stop and sleep for the night while on the planned hiking trip, and laid a sleeping bag out on a tributary to the Yuba River. The man told officials that during the attack, the mountain lion bit and clawed him through the sleeping bag. The animal bit into the man’s cap and his clothes. “The lion immediately began a ferocious attack. It bit him into his head. It bit him on the hands,” said Patrick Foy, of the Department of Fish and Game. It then stopped, moved away and stared at the man for a short time before running off, Foy said. The victim drove himself to a Grass Valley hospital. He has since been released and is recovering at home with staples in his skin. Fish and Game officials went to the hospital and confirmed the man had suffered severe scratches and puncture wounds. They took his sleeping bag and several pieces of clothing for a lab exam in Sacramento.

Based on forensic evidence, the Department of Fish and Game concluded that the mountain lion that attacked the man is female. Mark Kenyon, the state’s mountain lion biologist, estimated there are between 4,000 and 6,000 mountain lions in California. Kenyon said attacks of this nature are rare. He said he did not know know why the mountain lion chose to attack in this situation. Fish and Game officials said they have sent a half-dozen searchers with dogs to track the animal. Lion tracks were found at the scene of the attack. The dogs did track a house cat suffering from injuries “consistent with a lion attack,” said the release. The agency said the search would continue indefinitely and that the animal would be killed to protect the public from possible future attacks. “Prevailing thought about mountain lion behavior is that once it attacks a human, the likelihood that it may attack again is increased,” Kenyon said. Officials did not release the exact location of the attack. California has had 15 confirmed mountain lion attacks since 1890, including this most recent one. Of 17 victims, 11 have survived. Officials reminded people that if they encounter a mountain lion, they should make noise, and if they are attacked, they should fight back. Kenyon said based on limited knowledge about mountain lion behavior, the old recommendation — to play dead — no longer applies. Along the South Yuba River on Monday afternoon, sunbathers lay on rocks, and swimmers splashed in the cool water. “I’ve heard what to do when a mountain lion’s around and stuff, so I feel prepared and safe,” said Evan McCormick, of San Jose. Britney Beffort, who is visiting from Colorado, said she was torn when told that the cat would be destroyed. “I mean, obviously, I don’t want it to hurt any other people, but at the same time, it is a mountain lion. You can’t expect it to be a safe animal,” Beffort said. The Department of Fish and Game will continue to search the area.

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Omelets and apple crisp: easy-to-make recipes for camping trips

Sunday, June 24th, 2012

 

 

Published June 23, 2012

FoxNews.com

Unless you go glamping, you probably don’t have a gourmet chef around to cook for you during your camping trip. These recipes have been selected with tent-camping in mind, since you have many more options if you are hanging out in your RV. Get your tin foil ready!

What makes a champion camping dish?
Laura Meadows, who words in food services at Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center, says a good camping dish is one that can be cooked fairly quickly.

You also have to keep in mind that it is hard to control the cooking temperature when you are playing with fire. This is fine for roasting marshmallows and cooking hot dogs, but using a Dutch oven with coals or a gas-powered Coleman stove give you the control needed for more precise cooking, she says.

“Part of camping is having fun cooking techniques and involving everyone,” says Meadows, who describes herself as an avid camper. Here are two that she has used with family and friends.

Egg-cellent personal omelets 
For an entertaining breakfast, have everyone make their own omelet in a bag. Take sandwich-size zip lock bags, Meadows says, and have everyone write his or her name on theirs. Have each person add raw, scrambled eggs or egg beaters and whatever else they want – cheese, cooked bacon or sausage, pre-cut veggies. Seal the bags, making sure to get all of the air out, and put each one into a pot of boiling water for two to three minutes. Carefully pull them out of the pot and enjoy your omelet.

Dutch oven apple crisp
If you have a Dutch oven, you can make a tasty apple crisp under the open sky. Cut six to eight fresh apples and place them in a foil-lined Dutch oven. Add a stick of unsalted butter, one box of cake mix and one cup of brown sugar. Cover the Dutch oven, then using 15 to 20 hot coals from the fire pit, let it cook for an hour.

Preparing and prepping tips  
Meat stores better if you cook it ahead of time and then freeze it. Meadows advises cutting your vegetables and doing as much prep as you can at home. If you decide to bring along raw meat to cook over the fire, freeze it in large zip lock bags.

“I like to have at least two coolers,” Meadows says. “One [I use] for beverages, which will be opened and closed throughout the day.  I take a second one for cooking items.”

Instead of using standard bagged ice, use the longer-lasting block ice or freeze water in milk jugs to keep your food cold, Meadow suggests.

Power snacks for camping
If you are looking for some snacks to help you power through a strenuous hiking or camping trip, Baltimore-based health coach and amateur chef Helene Leeds suggests bringing a trail mix made from cacao nibs (which are basically raw, unsweetened chocolate chips made from actual cacao beans), macadamia nuts and raw coconut flakes. Throw in some goji berries, hemp and sunflower seeds, almonds and other dried fruit (like cherries) and you are good to go.

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Denver Police Begin Enforcing City Camping Ban

Sunday, June 24th, 2012

Denver News
Camping Banned On Public, Private Land In City
Deb Stanley, 7NEWS Web Editor/Producer

POSTED: 5:20 am MDT June 5, 2012
UPDATED: 12:01 pm MDT June 6, 2012

Denver police have begun enforcing a ban on overnight camping in the city limits.

7NEWS was there as Denver police arrested some people near Civic Center Park on Monday night. However, officers said the arrests were for outstanding warrants and other issues, not for violating the camping ban.

The new ordinance doesn’t ban sleeping outside, but it does ban any use of a shelter, which includes sleeping bags, bedrolls, blankets or any form of cover or protection from the elements other than clothing.

Downtown businesses had said homeless people sleeping on the streets has driven away customers.

Backers said living in parks or on sidewalks is a threat to the health and safety of homeless people as well as to the rest of Denver’s 600,000 residents.

Opponents said the ban ignores the fact that the city doesn’t have enough shelters. They said it could drive the homeless to other cities or into hiding, making it harder to locate them and get them back on their feet.

In late 2004, the city, under then-Mayor John Hickenlooper, launched Denver’s Road Home, a 10-year-plan to eliminate homelessness. Executive Director Bennie Milliner said the program is about 65 percent of the way toward eliminating chronic homelessness, defined as being without shelter for a year.

Denver had 387 chronically homeless people in a 2012 survey, down from 980 in 2005, Milliner said.

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New Campers Get State Park Bargain

Thursday, May 17th, 2012
By: Kevin Flanigan
Updated: May 16, 2012

HARRISBURG – The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is again partnering with Gander Mountain to provide first-time campers with needed gear and a reservation for two nights at a participating state park for just $20.

“This is the second year we are offering this hands-on instruction on camping and we’ve added five additional parks to the original 14,” DCNR Secretary Richard Allan said. “You can’t beat this offer as far as the cost; the opportunity to enjoy many other activities at our state parks such as hiking and fishing; and a park staffer will even help you set up camp.”

Nineteen state parks around the state are participating in the program, including: Black Moshannon, Centre County; Caledonia, Franklin County; Chapman, Warren County; Colonel Denning, Cumberland County; Cook Forest/Clear Creek, Clarion and Jefferson counties; Gifford Pinchot, York County; Hills Creek, Tioga County; Keystone, Westmoreland County; Lackawanna, Lackawanna County; Laurel Hill, Somerset County; Little Pine, Lycoming County; Locust Lake, Schuylkill County; Ole Bull, Potter County; Parker Dam, Clearfield County; Promised Land, Pike County; Pymatuning, Crawford County; R.B. Winter, Union County; Ryerson Station, Greene County; and Sinnemahoning, Cameron and Potter counties.

Reservations should be made by calling the park office directly. The program will run from Memorial Day weekend through the summer.

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Wild camping in Cumbria

Saturday, January 28th, 2012

The Guardian

Wild camping in Cumbria

A wild camping trip in the Lake District is designed to take you out of your comfort zone – and with unpredictable weather and testing terrain, it certainly delivers

Hikers at Burnmoor Tarn

Ian Belcher, left, and Rebecca take in the view of Eskdale Moor and Burnmoor Tarn in the Western Lake District. Photographs by Doug McKinlay

I’m bursting. Crossing my legs. Trying not to picture rivers or waterfalls. I’ll do anything to avoid leaving my tent for a pee. It’s not just the biblical rain lashing against the canvas; it’s the chilling reports of a ghostly horse roaming the local Cumbrian fells with a rotting human corpse strapped to its saddle.

Camping is rarely so remote, weekend adventures rarely so removed from daily life. And that’s exactly what Mark Reid wants. The mountain guide’s new Out of Your Comfort Zone excursion pushes wild camping to its geographical limits, packaging it with glorious guided hikes, navigation instruction and survival tips for nervous rookies.

Reid, who’s aiming the breaks at walkers keen to “skill up”, families looking for a bonding trip and unconventional stag parties, welcomes inexperienced campers. But this weekend – with his first recruits – he’s in for a shock.

Our group includes Rebecca, who recently lived in Mayfair and regards anywhere outside London as out of her comfort zone, and Jane – a begrudging companion for a hiking-obsessed partner – who believes tents are the work of Satan. She hires motorhomes to sleep at festivals, plans to tackle Cumbria’s highest fells in green fashion trainers – “boots make my feet look like horses’ hooves” – and has spent the previous week Googling “extra-springy camp beds”.

At least she’ll enjoy the first night. Elterwater’s Britannia Inn – a white-walled cocoon in the shadow of the Langdales – answers her call of the mild. Hell it’s lovely, a converted 500-year-old beamed farmhouse and forge that offers open fires, cosy rooms and fresh seasonal grub.

Hikers braving the rain below Scafell PikeBraving the rain below Scafell PikeAs we tuck into honey-glazed lamb marinated in mint, the air’s heavy with camping horror stories: inch-long earwigs, sheep dung accidentally kicked into cooking pots, mattresses deflating in storm-soaked tents. Jane’s partner has clearly been economical with the truth. She knows there’ll be an element of camping – hopefully with hot showers and a nearby cafe – but has been lured north by the promise of boutique pubs and a gentle scenic stroll. This could get ugly.

It will certainly get wild. Driving to the hike’s departure point tests the car’s clutch on the gaspingly steep switchbacks of the Wrynose and Hardknott passes. The western lakes are vast, uncluttered, less commercialised – and heartbreakingly beautiful.

Our target is The Woolpack, an old drovers’ pub where we’re to receive a pre-trip briefing. Reid, who teaches navigation skills and leads team-building hikes, treats our night of wild camping as a mini-expedition. After outlining the route – up to Eskdale Moor and Great How to camp on Scafell’s southern flanks before scaling its peak the following morning – he turns to legal issues. Wild camping, permitted in Scotland and on Dartmoor, is a tolerated tradition in the privately-owned Lake District, providing we camp above walled farmland and leave behind nothing but footprints.

Slipping into full-on survival mode, Reid explains he’ll lead us from our comfort zones into our stretch zones, where we’ll hopefully acquire new wilderness skills. After a quick lesson in packing tents, stoves and sleeping gear – we’re each carrying 15kg – the briefing finishes with us outlining our individual goals for the trip. “Survival,” snaps Jane, reluctantly lacing her boots. “And Weight Watchers points. It’s worth at least five glasses of wine. It’s the only salvation.” For the first time the guide looks puzzled – and slightly alarmed.

It’s an idyllic start. Eskdale Valley, prostrate beneath the magnificent bowl of Crinkle Crags, Bowfell and Scafell Pike, is licked by sun. We are serenaded by the babbling River Esk and occasional toots from La’al Ratty, as the narrow-gauge Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway is known.

Walking couldn’t be flatter. Or easier. Jane, who added last-minute weight to her rucksack by including a makeup bag, mirror and hairbrush – “just because I’m hiking, I don’t have to look like a dog” – seems impressed. There’s even memorable architecture. The 12th-century St Catherine’s Church is swaddled by a beautifully manicured graveyard containing the extraordinary granite hunk of Thomas Dobson’s headstone. The huntsman’s eerie sculpted face peers at you with an enigmatic half-smile – a Cumbrian Mona Lisa flanked by fox and hound.

We pass a handsome Lakeland house that inspires townie dreams of rural escape, sip a lunchtime pint at Boot’s Brook House Inn and rise easily up the north side of Eskdale. Reid takes advantage of the sunny mood to evangelise about the confidence-boosting value of leaving our comfort zones, quoting Edmund Hillary after he’d climbed Everest. “It’s not the mountain we conquer, it’s ourselves.”

Rebecca and Jane nod eagerly. This can’t last. The clouds start to mass 20 minutes later. As we reach the end of a 250m climb, the first fat raindrops thwack against our Gore-Tex. By the time we reach the stone circles and prehistoric mounds of Brat’s Moss, it’s pouring. A divine panorama over a silvery Solway Firth to distant Scottish hills vanishes in mist before our eyes.

We break for a restorative cuppa at a bleak lodge known as the Blair Witch House, gazing across Burnmoor Tarn to the peaks of Kirk Fell, Black Sail and Great Gable. Apparently we’re now reconnecting with the way our ancestors survived for the last 60,000 years before urbanisation, email and iPhones. No one cares. The downpour’s intensifying, driven into our faces by a gusting westerly.

And the walking’s getting tougher. Far tougher. Our boots squelch through heavy mud in boggy, knobbly moorland. I turn round and do a double take. Jane is now carrying an open umbrella. We’re in one of England’s lairiest, most isolated spots but she appears to be strolling down the Kings Road.

She’s also leaking. Damp is rising up her back and down her legs. “I feel like I’ve peed myself. It reminds me of Duke of Edinburgh when I was cold, wet and shattered. It’s exactly what I dreaded.”

Rebecca joins in: “I’m craving a hot bath.”

Reid vainly attempts to raise morale. “I’m not sure this line of thinking helps.” He points to our final climb up the steep slope of Broad Tongue. “It’s only a 260m rise – about the height of 26 semi-detached houses. Not too bad.”

We grind up, stopping for a breather after 27 bungalows. By the top we’ve been walking for six hours. Dense curtains of rain open and shut theatrically. Our camping area on Great How is only 500m away but visibility, daylight and energy are fading fast.

Reid studies his map, swears several times and decides to head back to the safety of Eskdale Moor – an experienced guide ensuring we stay well outside our panic zones. It means the last hour’s grim climb has been in vain. Jane slumps to the ground and sits, brolly raised, staring silently into thin air – a surreal René Magritte figure in the wilderness. She has entered her twilight zone.

Pitching camp on Eskdale MoorJane pitching camp on Eskdale MoorBut the retreat is a good call. We find a textbook location for wild camping. Sheltered in the lee of Illgill Head, it’s flat, free of sharp stones that can tear a tent, and close to fast-running water. There’s space to go to the loo, well away from steep drops – the bete noire of incontinent, myopic ramblers.

I’d happily reveal our spot, but then I’d have to kill you. Wild camping etiquette is to keep locations secret to avoid over-use. The only downside is the horror movie setting. We’re bunking down slap-bang on the Corpse Road – the route once used to transport the dead to St Catherine’s. One horse still haunts the moor with its decaying human cargo.

Oh Lord. It’s already an unsettling time to remain in the mountains. Known as homecoming, this is the hour when people traditionally descended to the safety of lower ground. To stay is to contradict hard-wired human knowledge.

But there’s little time to be spooked. As the rain eases we erect tents, helped by the ever-patient Reid, pull on dry clothes, collect water and boil chilli con carne in the bag. Jane scoffs her’s immediately and vanishes into her tent. “Sod campsite camaraderie, I’m done. Night.”

She misses the best moment of the trip. Under a vast moon that daubs scudding clouds with ochre light, we sit in a prehistoric stone circle, sip whisky and munch chocolate. It’s utterly magical. Sadly it’s only a brief interlude from the flood. Within hours, we’re again buffeted by relentless weather fronts. Someone appears to be throwing bucket after bucket of water over the tent. Sleep is near impossible.

“Bloody hell, this is unbelievable,” says Rebecca early next morning, applying her Kiehl’s anti-wrinkle defence cream with survival molecules and corallina extract. “Why in God’s name are we out here?”

Reid, who claims “it’s the worst weather I’ve ever camped in”, remains magnificently stoic. He helps pack sodden gear and braves the downpour to fire up an early morning brew. His golden hour – “the sun’s up, you’re alone in the mountains with a coffee” – has literally been washed away.

But wild camping’s nothing if not flexible. Plan A’s early-morning ascent of Scafell was abandoned last night. Now Plan B – climbing Illgill Head with its 2,000ft wall of vertiginous scree above Wast Water – is also scrapped.

Time for Plan C: the pub. As we descend past Eel Tarn into lush Eskdale, the guide continues to point out plants and supply navigation tips. It’s almost possible to forget the night’s grim weather. Almost. But Cumberland Ale and pizzas from the Woolpack’s woodfired oven come as blessed relief.

Hours later and, oh irony, there’s a cloudless sky and soft pink dusk. Perhaps it’s the warmth, or alcohol, but our storm-tossed adventure now garners surprisingly positive reviews. Jane admits it was a trial, but was mesmerised by the scenery, surprised at her fitness and feels more confident for enduring high-altitude discomfort.

“I feel an incredible sense of achievement for spending a night in the wild,” she tells me over a Chilean red wine. “I’d love to experience that early golden hour with warm sun and hot coffee. In fact I’d go again if the trip was a little more luxurious, perhaps with a wild massage.”

Mr Reid, please take note.

Team Walking (01423 871750, teamwalking.co.uk) has bespoke or group two-day Out of Your Comfort Zone trips for £109pp including guiding, camp meals and equipment. Half-day and one-day trips are also available. The Britannia Inn (015394 37210, britinn.net) has doubles from £80 B&B. The Woolpack Inn (019467 23230, woolpack.co.uk) has doubles from £60 B&B

 

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Street Swag goes global with design win

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011
Shannon Holloway
ABC News

Updated September 11, 2009 18:19:00

A Brisbane school teacher says she has started receiving overseas orders for her sleeping bag for the homeless, after winning an international design award.

Street Swag inventor Jean Madden was taken by surprise when her lightweight and camouflaged swag won the people’s choice INDEX award in Copenhagen, beating off finalists including Brad Pitt, who was in the running for his Hurricane Katrina Pink Project housing rebuilding program.

Ms Madden has told ABC Radio National’s By Design program her creation is more than a sleeping bag because it is made of a super-lightweight canvas with a thin, high density foam mattress. It has enough room to keep personal belongings inside.

“What makes it so successful is that it rolls down into itself to look like a bag, so it doesn’t actually look like bedding.

“That’s really important for safety, particularly for the women and the children who use our swags,” she said.

Ms Madden says it was “a pretty cool thing to win,” and was privileged to be congratulated by Crown Princess Mary of Denmark after receiving the award.

She believes her unique product won the people’s choice award as it keeps homeless people alive.

“I think what the response was why so many people voted in the world for us to win, was that it is something that is so desperately needed at the moment.

“With the world financial crisis, that [means] a world homelessness crisis.

“[It's] something that’s just so needed,” she said.

Ms Madden said over 12,000 swags have been produced for homeless Australians, by prisoners from Queensland’s Woodford Correctional Centre and Grafton in New South Wales.

“It’s going to be great revenue for correctional services as well within Australia,” she said.

Despite the large amount of swags already on the streets, Ms Madden said there has been a huge increase in homelessness, describing it as “sickening”.

“Already we have started to be approached from some of the other countries, particularly winning the INDEX award.

“So the charity started a second company, so we can start to pick up some orders from overseas, as a way of raising revenue for our Street Swags charity here in Australia,” she said.

Ms Madden said the production of the swags will continue in Australia, as the specialised canvas for the swags can only be milled in Australia.

But she says microfinance industries in Kolkata and East Timor are currently being set up to help with demand.

 

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Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

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Steam rises above Grand Prismatic Spring just before a snow storm swallows the beautiful light.

Sunday, November 20th, 2011


Photograph by Christopher Zimmer, My Shot

By Robert Earle Howells

It’s a mighty high claim to call one backpacking trip in our archetypal national park the best, but it’s hard to top this traverse of the southwest corner of Yellowstone National Park. Factor in a hot soak or two with a hike beside burbling hot springs, steaming fumaroles, streaming waterfalls, a grand finale at the park’s signature attraction and you’ve got plenty to back up the boast.

The 27-mile (43-kilometer) hike starts at the Bechler ranger station, a long haul in itself, reachable via Idaho Highway 47. It crosses expansive Bechler Meadows, where an early-season crossing would be one of America’s worst adventures—they’re underwater in June and under bug siege in July, so wait till August or September when they’re in their wide-open glory. Then comes a spectacular series of waterfalls in the cool, damp, forested embrace of Bechler Canyon—Ouzel, Colonnade, Iris—and even more cascades outside the canyon in Continental Divide country. But enough of all this cool mist—time to get into hot water.

Near the Three Rivers Junction is the redoubtable Mr. Bubble hot spring, conveniently cooled by the flow of the Ferris Fork River, so it’s an ideally tempered spot for a soak. Take the two-mile (3.2-kilometer) side hike to Shoshone Lake and camp by the park’s largest backcountry lake and find a remote geyser basin and some trailside hot springs. Then, time the exit hike to pass by one of Lone Star Geyser’s eruptions, which happen every three hours. Ironically, after three to five nights on the trail among some of the park’s most remote water features, you emerge right at Old Faithful, feeling like a prune-skinned version of Jeremiah Johnson.

Need to Know: Get more information about Yellowstone attractions at www.nps.gov/yell.

Originally published in the March/April 2009 edition of National Geographic Adventure magazine

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Catching Stress Before It Catches You

Monday, November 21st, 2011

posted by Dr. Steven Farmer
Nov 19, 2011 8:02 am

49 comments

We’re in an ever-accelerating “hurry up” culture, one in which human beings are required to make remarkable adaptations to increasingly technologically driven lifestyles and consumer-oriented pressures. This spiraling pace requires us to move so quickly that we tend to override and become desensitized to our bodily sensations and our feelings. In this anesthetized state we ironically require more stimulation- bigger, better, newer, louder, faster – just to grab and hold our attention. We become so saturated with excessive stimulation and cumulative tension that we may become numb to all but the most adrenaline producing experiences or else attempt to soothe the frayed nervous system with alcohol, drugs or ignore it with compulsive activity.

One of the unfortunate effects of being assimilated into such a system is that we become increasingly alienated from the awareness of physical sensations, so that it becomes difficult to notice the more subtle signs of stress and tension where they first manifest- in the body. When these subtle tensions are ignored, one of the more damaging cumulative effects is that the immune system is compromised. Resources typically available for the immune response are shunted into dealing with a consistently high level of activation present in the body. The potential for illness increases proportionate to the length of time these signs are ignored. It may take a physical breakdown or exhaustion to get us to slow down and allow the immune response to regenerate; sometimes this ignore-ance over a period of years can contribute to a major life-threatening illness.

So what can you do? One of the keys to managing stress is creating a lifestyle that will incorporate adequate exercise, rest, proper nutrition, a strong support system and active relaxation methods – things that are sometimes difficult to do in today’s world, yet so essential to maintain a quality of life. Developing these habits supports your immune system and can help you maintain a healthy balance with mind, body and spirit.

Yet an often-overlooked aspect of stress management is enhancing your body awareness. By paying closer attention to your body’s signals, especially areas of tightness and tension, you can learn to honor those signs that say “Slow down! Rest! Get a massage! Eat! Exercise!”etc., before your body reaches critical mass. By doing so you may be practicing “Distress Prevention” rather than simply stress management.

So I propose three simple steps to incorporate on a daily basis that will alert you to what’s happening in your body and give you a better sense of what you need to do in order to reduce tension. These are: Slow Down, Breathe and Tracking Your Body’s Messages.

Slow Down

Easier said than done! Not only can the increasingly fast pace of the world these days influence your own pace, but also you may be habitually driven to maintain a vigilance just to stay ahead or even keep up. Slowing down from time to time may even trigger some anxiety, primarily due to the discrepancy between your conditioned habits of haste and the novelty of a different rhythm.

Try the following exercise once each day for the next two weeks and see what happens: For three minutes each day, make all your physical movement – walking, reaching, grasping, sitting, etc. – at about 80% of their usual speed. The purpose is to help you attune to a different pace and rhythm, allowing you to pay attention to the more subtle nuances of your body. Be sure to breathe while doing this.

Breathe

Well . . .of course you breathe or you wouldn’t be reading this! Here, however, I’m proposing a more conscious type of breathing. Most of us tend to be shallow breathers, so the intent here is to not only breathing more consciously and conscientiously, but as another means to bring your attention to your body and the physical sensations.

There are several methods of conscious breath work. One of my favorites is as follows: For just 3-4 minutes twice a day, close your eyes, and first take three deep, comfortable breaths, holding on the inhale for a short count of three, and releasing completely on the exhale. Then resume a more regular pattern of breathing, perhaps a little deeper and a little slower than you might typically breath.

As you’re breathing, when inhale say silently to yourself, “I am…” and when you exhale, “…relaxed,” until you have created a pleasant rhythm with your breathing and this simple affirmation. Doing this over a period of time attunes you to this type of breathing, and you will likely find yourself breathing more fully in other situations.

Another simple one that you can do a couple of times during the day is to close your eyes and simply count your breaths as you breath deeper and slower. Count each from one to four then repeat until you have counted a total of 12-16 breaths. Do this for about three minutes twice a day, gradually increasing the length of time. It’s also a great one on those restless nights when sleep seems a distant possibility. Try either of these some time. They really do work!

Tracking Your Body’s Messages:

Go through the first two steps in sequence and as you breathe, notice areas of tension in your body. What else are you aware of as you tune into your physical sensations? When you put your attention on these sensations, it also facilitates your intuitive processes. Are you getting any messages?

If you feel like you’re body is tight and holding onto some tension, rather than focus on your entire body, choose one of those areas, such as the shoulders, chest, stomach, and simply place your gentle attention on that area. Continue your deeper breathing, and eventually that particular area will let go and you’ll find that area will relax. When your attention is drawn to another area of your body, focus there and breathe through whatever is occurring.

Practicing these simple steps on a regular basis will cultivate a greater confidence in dealing with stress of any kind and help support the best of who you are to come forward.

Dr. Steven Farmer is a world-renowned author, teacher, shamanic practitioner, and Soul Healer. He has published several best-selling books and other products, including Earth Magic®, Earth Magic® Oracle Cards. In addition Dr. Farmer is a licensed psychotherapist, former college professor, Reiki Master, and an ordained minister in the Circle of Sacred Earth Church. For more information, visit EarthMagic.net and Dr. Steven Farmer’s Facebook page.

Read more: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/catching-stress-before-it-catches-ou.html#ixzz1eKRqyZUo

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Omelets and apple crisp: easy-to-make recipes for camping trips Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2012/06/23/omelets-and-apple-crisp-easy-to-make-recipes-for-camping-trips

Sunday, June 24th, 2012

 

 

Published June 23, 2012

FoxNews.com

Unless you go glamping, you probably don’t have a gourmet chef around to cook for you during your camping trip. These recipes have been selected with tent-camping in mind, since you have many more options if you are hanging out in your RV. Get your tin foil ready!

What makes a champion camping dish?
Laura Meadows, who words in food services at Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center, says a good camping dish is one that can be cooked fairly quickly.

You also have to keep in mind that it is hard to control the cooking temperature when you are playing with fire. This is fine for roasting marshmallows and cooking hot dogs, but using a Dutch oven with coals or a gas-powered Coleman stove give you the control needed for more precise cooking, she says.

“Part of camping is having fun cooking techniques and involving everyone,” says Meadows, who describes herself as an avid camper. Here are two that she has used with family and friends.

Egg-cellent personal omelets 
For an entertaining breakfast, have everyone make their own omelet in a bag. Take sandwich-size zip lock bags, Meadows says, and have everyone write his or her name on theirs. Have each person add raw, scrambled eggs or egg beaters and whatever else they want – cheese, cooked bacon or sausage, pre-cut veggies. Seal the bags, making sure to get all of the air out, and put each one into a pot of boiling water for two to three minutes. Carefully pull them out of the pot and enjoy your omelet.

Dutch oven apple crisp
If you have a Dutch oven, you can make a tasty apple crisp under the open sky. Cut six to eight fresh apples and place them in a foil-lined Dutch oven. Add a stick of unsalted butter, one box of cake mix and one cup of brown sugar. Cover the Dutch oven, then using 15 to 20 hot coals from the fire pit, let it cook for an hour.

Preparing and prepping tips  
Meat stores better if you cook it ahead of time and then freeze it. Meadows advises cutting your vegetables and doing as much prep as you can at home. If you decide to bring along raw meat to cook over the fire, freeze it in large zip lock bags.

“I like to have at least two coolers,” Meadows says. “One [I use] for beverages, which will be opened and closed throughout the day.  I take a second one for cooking items.”

Instead of using standard bagged ice, use the longer-lasting block ice or freeze water in milk jugs to keep your food cold, Meadow suggests.

Power snacks for camping
If you are looking for some snacks to help you power through a strenuous hiking or camping trip, Baltimore-based health coach and amateur chef Helene Leeds suggests bringing a trail mix made from cacao nibs (which are basically raw, unsweetened chocolate chips made from actual cacao beans), macadamia nuts and raw coconut flakes. Throw in some goji berries, hemp and sunflower seeds, almonds and other dried fruit (like cherries) and you are good to go.

 

 

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My 4 Favorite Medicinal Weeds

Monday, November 14th, 2011

 

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Me-dic-i-nal: of, or having the properties of medicine.—Webster’s New World Dictionary

Some people call them weeds, while others bow in respect to these plants that have been used as medicine long before the pharmaceutical industry attempted to copy their properties in synthetic form. Each spring I look forward to finding my favorite plants bursting to life in my lawn and garden. I have come to know these plants for the nutrients they provide my body, as tonics after a long winter and as medicines I can use to heal whatever might ail me.

At the moment these so-called “weeds” are coming in strong and healthy and a good thing too, because the young plants are perfect for moving my kidneys out of winter hibernation and welcoming liver energy for spring. I will use them in fresh salads, in soups, to make mineral rich vinegars and medicinal tinctures for healing the body. I will share with you my experience with each plant and include bits of information written by many knowledgeable herbalists I have read or studied. These plants have become friends over the years and I hope they will assist your life and health as they have mine.

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Read more: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/my-4-favorite-medicinal-weeds.html#ixzz1ded2VBjt

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3 Steps To Newbie Success

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010
3 Steps To Newbie Success!
3 Steps To Newbie Success You’re About To Discover The Simple 3-Step System To Succeeding OnlineIn This New Guide You’ll Learn…

The tools you MUST HAVE to succeed in Internet Marketing… And where to get them cheap
The CRITICALLY important step that most Internet Marketers neglect to include in their system.
How to generate hundreds and thousands of views to your site every day.

And so much more…

 


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To Get FULL UNRESTRICTED PLR to my newest guide fill out this
simple form!
We value your privacy and will never rent or sell your information to anyone. Privacy Policy
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Profitzon Review-Stop Wasting Your Time On Clickbank

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

If you have ever played around with Clickbank before, you know that it is…well…far from surefire.Not only is the competition extremely fierce on there, but you need crazy marketing skills to make it work.One of the most fatal mistakes a newbie can make when getting started in the affiliate marketing
industry is that they go straight to Clickbank.Instead, I recommend a much easier method which is selling physical products as an Amazon.com affiliate.

Check out Dan Brock’s Profitzon to learn by far one of the easiest affiliate marketing models on the planet: Not only is it easy, but it is a surefire way to start getting the cash flow you need to start expanding your affiliate marketing business. You shouldn’t mess around with any other affiliate networks until you master the techniques taught in Dan’s course.

What is inside Profitzon?

How Simple 7-10 Page Blogs That Take Less than an Hour to Build, Still Each Earn a Steady Income of $100+/m 7 Months Later (And I Haven’t Touched Them Since)

The 5 Minute Tweak That Can Turn a $30/m Blog Into a $125/m Blog

How to Crank Out Affiliate Website After Affiliate Website Even if You Are ‘Computerly’ Challenged

The Easiest Step-by-Step Affiliate Marketing Blueprint – Perfect for Getting Your ‘Feet Wet’ While Building a Stable Monthly Income.

How to Flip on the ‘Auto-Pilot Switch’ To Turn My System into a Passive Income Generating Machine

The Secrets to Easily Convert SearchEngine Traffic Into Buyers

Why Ebook Affiliate Marketing is Dead…and Why Physical Products Are the Next Big Thing…

How to Make Sales Even From Just a Few Hits a Day

You shouldn’t mess around with any other affiliate networks until you master the techniques taught in Dan’s course.Click here to enter the website.

Read more: http://www.articlesbase.com/business-opportunities-articles/profitzon-review-stop-wasting-your-time-on-clickbank-2419926.html#ixzz0pmlbtm00
Under Creative Commons License: Attribution

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Conflict Resolution and Dreaming Secrets – How to Fix a Broken Relationship By Christina Sponias Platinum Quality Author

Sunday, June 6th, 2010

Dream interpretation according to the scientific method is the best guide you could ever find in order to fix a broken relationship. The dreaming secrets you are about to learn will completely change the way you feel.

The unconscious mind that produces your dreams is constantly protecting you from the attacks of the wild side of your conscience. Your wild and violent side keeps trying to control your behavior, while the unconscious mind keeps helping your human side evolve and dominate your mind.

Since love is the most important matter of your life and it could bring you many dangerous frustrations, the unconscious mind worries very much about your mental health when you are in love.

This is why it sends you many detailed dreams containing objective information about the person  you love.You learn everything about them, through analyzing the unconscious messages in your own dreams.

Conflict resolution is one of the most important functions of dreams about love. If you want to fix a broken relationship, you must absolutely learn all the details you can about the personality of the special person. This way, you won’t make mistakes, but do only what will bring positive results and will certainly bring you together as a couple in perfect sync.

Sometimes conflicts help a relationship mature. Don’t think that a separation is the end of the world. Do you know how many couples have separated but finally understood that they needed one another after this experience? I can tell you that there are so many that they cannot be counted.

You will find a way to fix everything. Start having an optimistic attitude, because the unconscious mind will help you for sure.

You won’t do anything successfully without understanding the meaning of your actions. The unconscious mind will help you make an action plan,and succeed without a doubt.

However, be aware that perhaps a reconciliation won’t be the best thing for you. If you have a bad relationship, but you are insisting on continuing this relationship which is a big a mistake, the unconscious mind will help you forget the wrong person and find the right one.

The unconscious mind keeps you balanced and helps you act with wisdom.

I’ve cured many people through dream therapy; dreams about love are the most common ones. I can tell you that sometimes the conflicts put an end to a big mistake, preventing more suffering in the future.

Sometimes, after a dream analysis, the dreamer simply understands that his or her partner was not the person he had imagined. Their separation was obviously something that would happen sooner or later.

So, don’t conclude that I’m telling you that the unconscious mind will help you get your ex back no matter what. Only if this relationship is really the ideal one for you, will the unconscious mind help you remain together.

If your current partner is the right person for you, your relationship will be fixed, and you’ll never again stay far away from one another.

Keep a dream journal, and the unconscious mind will constantly guide you in your dreams. You’ll permanently avoid all conflicts in life and have a perfect relationship.

Christina Sponias continued Carl Jung’s research into the human psyche, discovering the cure for all mental illnesses, and simplifying the scientific methodof Dream interpretation that teaches you how to exactly translate the meaning of your dreams, so that you can find health, wisdom and happiness.
Learn more at: http://www.scientificdreaminterpretation.com

Click Here to download a Free Sample of the eBook Dream Interpretation as a Science (86 pages!).

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Christina_Sponias

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Smartbox

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

Smartbox™ is the creator of the concept of gift boxes in France. In only, six years it has become the worldwide leader on the market. Nowadays, Smartbox™ is confirming their leadership with a turnover of 242 million euro in 2008, a growth of 61% compared to 2007 (2,6 million gift boxes were sold in 2008 in the world ). This innovative concept (with no visible value), offers an original alternative to traditional gifts (flowers, perfumes…),  and offers to the recipient a real freedom of choice, among many different activities. This large choice enables Smartbox™ to please everyone’s desires. The company is also implemented in 16 other countries: in nearly all European countries,in Canada, in Brazil, Japan, and since 2009 in Australia and Austria.


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