Get Wet and Stay Safe at the Same Time

Get Wet and Stay Safe when you go paddleboarding this summer

Photo by CC user olegshpyrko on Flickr

As warmer temperatures descend across much of the nation, spring will soon turn to summer.

In doing so, that means many Americans will be looking to cool off in whatever way best suits them.

That said will you get wet this summer and stay safe at the same time?

What Will You Take into the Water?

With many people wanting to take a dip or two in the water (likely many more times than that) this summer, doing it with the right gear, safely, and having fun are all important.

In order to do that, keep these pointers in mind:

  1. Gear – Having the right gear for your trips into the water (short of just going in for a quick swim) means taking the time to make the right purchases. If you’re into scuba diving, having the right swimwear, mask, tank and more are all important. You don’t have to spend countless dollars (you can rent gear), but don’t buy cheap items either, items that could ultimately impact your safety. If you’re more suited for paddle boarding, you can do a review of Bestway SUP for starters. Such an inflatable SUP can deliver a fantastic paddle boarding experience, not to mention easily pack up when you have to get back in your vehicle. One might also be surfing to bring down the outside air temperature. While some surfers opt for really longboards, others will be quite content with shorter varieties. No matter your choice of gear and relaxation in the water, be sure to respect the rights of others and always make safety (see more below) your top focus;

  3. Safety – Making sure you and those with you return home safely with each and every water outing is the biggest priority. One can do that by observing a few commonsense tactics. First, never go in the water if you are feeling ill. While you may be under the weather naturally, this also means not going in if you have had one too many drinks. Also avoid going in the water if you feel the least bit dehydrated. For example, a dehydrated swimmer could start to cramp up, making it harder for him or her to make it back to land. Finally, always make sure to avoid entering the water if you have just recently taken any medication. It is also important if you have little ones with you to keep them in sight at all times. Unfortunately, too many water-related accidents over the years have led to either serious injuries or even fatalities. Unlike adults, children have a different perception of just how deep the water can be in the ocean, rivers, lakes, pools etc. Also make sure you respect the water rights of others. Whether you are surfing, fishing, swimming, paddle boarding, kayaking or a host of other water-related activities, you will likely be joined by dozens and dozens of others. Respecting their space makes for a safer environment for everyone around;

  5. Fun – Finally, isn’t summertime all about having some fun? Whether your travel plan means staying in the U.S. this summer or venturing outside the country to cool off, make sure fun is not forgotten. All too often, individuals and families tend to try and bring their work with them while on vacation. In the end, they don’t relax nearly as much as they wanted to. Be sure to make your vacation just that, a vacation. Leave the work and the studies behind, knowing you can catch up on them when you return home. For now, however, it is all about getting some relief from the real world, not to mention getting a little wet along the way. Remember, the reason you needed a vacation in the first place if your memory needs a little reminder.

Given how quickly summer tends to zoom by each and every year, make the most of yours in 2016.

With a little planning and some great weather to boot, you can have one of the best summer experiences of your life and those around you.

If this summer is calling your name to get away and enjoy it all, stop thinking about it, just do it.

Aiming for Your First Self Guided Hunt

Make your first Self Guided Hunt a memorable one

Photo by CC user  on wikimedia commons and Maslowski Steve, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Are you ready to take to the woods or other surroundings for your first-ever self-guided hunt?

For many hunters, their first experience hunting can be one of their best memories in life down the road.

To make that experience even better, being prepared from start to finish for the hunt is the most important aspect.

With that being the case, are you aiming for your first self-guided hunt?

Be Prepared and Safe

So that your initial self-guided hunting experience stands the best chance of going off without any hitches, make sure you:

  1. Plan appropriately – How you go about planning your self-guided hunt goes a long way in determining its success. Even if you’re just going to be doing a hunt nearby your residence, don’t go without a plan. Do you have all the necessary hunting equipment? Did you let someone know where you are going and about how long you will be gone? Do you have a first-aid kit with you in the event of an injury that is more than just a little scrape or bruise? Lastly, do you have all your licensing papers in order so that you are not breaking any local laws? When you take the time to plan everything out, there’s less opportunity for trouble to arise;
  2. Know what you can and can’t hunt – Local and state ordinances where you reside govern what you can hunt, when you can hunt, and where you can hunt. That said make sure you are up to speed on what the regulations state. Hunting for a particular kind of game when it is the “off-season” for that wildlife can lead to a sizable fine if you’re caught hunting. Information on what is in-season is easily available on the Internet or from local officials;
  3. Respect other hunters – One of the more important facets of hunting is making sure you respect other hunters out in the field. Part of the lure of hunting is the chase, though it is supposed to be relaxing for the most part. Unfortunately, there will be instances where hunters converge without initial intent in the same area, going after the same game. When that happens, temperaments can get a little heated. Always remember that one or more game are not worth getting into an argument over;
  4. Research your travel plans early – In the event you’re self-guided hunt will mean a fair amount of travel, plan early and accordingly. With any trip of note, getting the jump on others is important. When you book a trip early (be it to a hunting range etc.), you tend to save more money when all is said and done. If your hunting destination is several hours away, you also need to factor in the costs for gas and whether or not you want a hotel for a night (perhaps several nights if staying several days);
  5. Prepare for the worst – For most people on self-guided hunts, the most drama of the day is whether or not they catch the game they came after in the first place. That said it certainly doesn’t hurt to be prepared for worst-case scenarios. Along with the previously mentioned first-aid kit and letting at least one other person know your hunting itinerary, be sure that you can locate the nearest medical facilities to where you will be hunting. In the event you are injured while on your hunt, receiving medical assistance as soon as possible can turn out being critically important. Always know the approximate distance to the closest medical help, along with having your cell phone on you at all times. Yes, there are instances where you will be in a location that cell phone reception is not an option, but still have it on you.

Your first self-guided hunt can be an experience you will one day look back on with many positive memories and even some laughs and smiles.

To make the event what it should be – always plan ahead of time – especially when it comes to your safety.

While your goal of catching your desired game is undoubtedly tops on your list, ending the hunt safely each time outshines anything else.

The Great Hike: Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park ... photo by CC user GuyFrancis on wikimedia

Americans love it, the world is simply mesmerized by it, welcome to Yosemite National Park. Not so long ago, two great free climbers managed to scale the full height of Yosemites El Cap or Dawn wall.

This feat is not something that happens overnight; in fact, the two free climbers, Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson planned their ascent for many years. Judging by their sheer dedication, Yosemite is really something worth traveling for. For your next itinerary, make sure that you have your ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) Visa with you for a smooth travel experience when entering the USA.

There are not so many free climbers in the world, some are just casual indoor wall climbers, myself included. But given the chance, I would also do my best to summit the magnificent and scary Dawn Wall of Yosemite.

Nonetheless, you dont have to be a professional climber to fully experience Yosemite. Any dedicated backpacker can explore Yosemite in a whole new way without clinging to ropes and sticking your fingers on a little crack on the wall to inch up closer to the summit.

Backpackers have the tendency to pack up heavily and chances are that they fail to even reach half of the summit because of dead weight. The novel idea is to leave almost all of the heavy stuff behind and just bring your normal day climbing stuff.

The popular High Sierra Camp Hikes offer the best hiking on Yosemite with the emphasis on convenience. High Sierra Camps allow you to hike the best high country trails without carrying over 40 kilos of heavy camping materials.

There are 5 camps on a stunning 85 kilometer loop, each with their own amenities such as tent cabins, cots, blankets, even the trekker friendly chuck wagon that spits outs ready-to-eat meals.

To make your hike easily manageable, you can start at the Tuolumne Meadows Lodge tracking the loop from behind; think about it like reading a book starting from the last page.

The advantage of this method is that it somehow gives an illusion that everything is off to an easy start. However, nothing is easy on Yosemite National Park. You really need to work it if you want to enjoy your hiking adventure.

Tracking the river also allows you to pass through fantastic meadows littered with wildflowers all the way to Glen Aulin camp, followed by May Lake just 13 kilometers ahead.

When you get to the Sunrise Camp, you start having sudden surges of adrenaline. Whilst youre tackling Sunrise Camp, you can be invigorated by the breathtaking view of the early sun rays that hit the ground at first light.

The colors are simply stunning and for the lack of words simply profound. The technical climb is at the Matthes Crest, strictly for professionals only or if you have a background for really challenging climbs.

If time is not on your side, you can proceed directly to Vernal Fall whilst passing through the Mist Trails. The scenery here is simply stunning; with the the tall plume exhibiting natural light shows doing most of the talking.

Yosemite hiking is not for the faint of heat but with sheer dedication, anybody can discover the great secrets of the national park.

The Best Switzerland Attractions To See On Your Holiday

The best Switzerland attractions are the ones that involve the mountains in its scenic backyard...

Switzerland has more than vast Alpine meadows, luscious chocolate, and elegant watches to offer. The country also has a wealth of different attractions for nature lovers, adventurers, history buffs, religious faithfuls, and other kinds of travelers. The best Switzerland attractions caters to a wide variety of interests which in turn attracts tourists both young and old alike.

The Benedictine Convent of Saint John Mustair is a must-see for the faithful. It is thought to have been founded by Charlemagne. The date at which it was built is unknown but the murals inside the convent date back to 800 AD. Stucco artwork and Romanesque frescoes may also be seen in its interiors and contributes to its overall charm. The convent’s façade is rather simple and is probably the reason why most tourists don’t include it in their itinerary.

If you love architecture and nature, one of the top reasons to visit Switzerland is Chateau de Chillon. It is strategically located on the eastern edge of Lake Geneva. The beautiful Chillon Castle sits on top of jagged mountains. The castle appears to be surrounded by calm waters from afar and looks like a scene straight out of a movie. The reason why it was isolated is because it served as a medieval fort and prison. Long-abandoned, Chateau de Chillon is now open for tours and for exploring its natural surroundings.

The town of Bellinzona is strictly a historical-only landmark in Switzerland protected by fortified walls. Within its walls are the Castelgrande, Montebello, and Sasso Corbaro castles. On the contrary, a strict nature-only attraction in the country is the Jungfrau-Aletsch Protected Area. It is a glacial area with about 35,000 hectares of frozen mountains. It is also home to Aletsch, the lengthiest glacier in the Alps which stretch 23 kilometers long. Hiking, trekking, and skiing opportunities are available to visitors of this nature reserve.

If you’re taking kids with you and if you want them to have fun, take a train that passes through Albula and Bernina. Some of the country’s most scenic landscapes are along these train routes. It’s an effortless way of showing your kids the best of Switzerland. Meanwhile, travelers who adore art should stop by the Fine Arts Museum where works of Picasso, Monet, and other famous painters are on display. Products of Expressionism, Pop Art, and other kinds of art are also on display at the Fine Arts Museum.