Sunday, July 2, 2017

Four Safety Tips to Learn Before Camping

Here is this Month's Outdoor Safety Article by Guest Blogger - Lee Flynn

4 Safety Tips to Learn Before Camping

If you are planning on going camping, you are probably really excited about connecting with nature, getting some exercise and enjoying some fresh air. You probably do not want your experience to be ruined by any incidents, however, so you could be wondering what you can do to stay safe. Luckily, following these four safety tips can help you stay as safe as possible on your upcoming camping trip.

1. Dress Properly

First of all, you should make sure that you dress properly. Check the weather forecast, and look into average temperatures and weather for the month that you will be traveling in. Remember that weather can change drastically throughout the course of a day and evening when you're camping, so make sure that you dress in layers so that you can add and remove layers as needed. Additionally, make sure that you are properly covered so that you can protect yourself from insect bites, the sun and the sticks, twigs and plants that you might encounter while you're out there. Wearing good shoes or hiking boots can also help you stay comfortable and can help you prevent yourself from getting injured when you're hiking along the trail.

2. Travel in Numbers

Another thing that you should remember when going camping is that traveling in numbers can be a whole lot safer. Along with sticking together when on the trails or out in the woods, it is also a good idea to have a designated meeting spot in case you get separated. You can also bring along walkie-talkies so that you can communicate with the people in your group if you get separated or if you split up for some reason or another, since you might find that you do not get very good cell phone reception.

3. Bring the Right Food and Water

Even though you might have already made a packing list that included things like your clothing and your vape battery, you might not have thought much about the food and beverages that you are going to bring. However, putting some thought into these things is important.

For example, making sure that you drink plenty of water while you are camping is very important; it can help prevent you from being dehydrated and can also help you stay cool when the temperatures rise and when you might be at risk of a heat stroke. Bringing along a few jugs of water and separate refillable water bottles for everyone in your group can be a good idea.

When packing food, you'll want to pack things that will be easy to eat and store while you're hiking or doing other outdoor activities, such as protein bars and fruit. If you are going to be cooking out on an open fire, you may want to bring along meat and other perishables. This is not necessarily a bad idea, but it's important to make sure that you keep your food at a safe temperature, such as by bringing along a good-quality cooler that will keep the food cold for a long time.

4. Protect Yourself from Wildlife

Ensuring that you protect yourself from wildlife is key when you are camping. Make sure that you bring bug spray to help with the insects, and keep food sealed up properly to avoid attracting bears. Keeping your eyes open for wildlife and avoiding touching or otherwise disturbing any animals that you might find on your adventure can help you stay safe. It's also important to look for any warnings about wildlife where you will be camping, such as bear spottings.

As you can see, there are a few different safety tips that you can follow if you'd like to stay as safe as possible on your upcoming trip. If you remember these tips and make an effort to stay safe and careful, you can help prevent anything from happening. Then, you can focus on having a good time and enjoying your surroundings.

You can read more about Lee Flynn at:

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Camping at Highlands Hammock State Park in Sebring, Florida

Highland Hammocks State Park Sebring, FL
Camping in the Tent
This past October, Nadia and I were able to go camping Halloween Weekend at Highlands Hammock State Park in Sebring, Florida.  Our friends John and Cretia, took us in their RV, but Nadia and I decided to camp outdoors in our tent.  One reason was because we have not had a chance to use the tent since our first camping experience at Collier-Seminole State Park.  (we were spoiled by staying in John and Cretia's RV).  The second reason we decided to stay in the tent, was because Florida was actually having a little cold spell.  I think it may have gone down to the upper 60's, but hey we'll take it.

Tent with lantern Highlands Hammock

When we arrived at Highlands Hammock, it was dark out, but we used the lighting from the RV and our lanterns to get our tent together.  It was not hard to put together, but I was glad that John and Cretia helped us.

Highlands Hammock State Park, is one of Florida oldest parks.  It was opened in 1931!  There are various nature trails to take, biking, tram tours and something I was not expecting.  Black Bears!

Highlands hammock state park

When I found this out, I wanted to re-think the tent idea.  I did not have bear spray on me.  That first night, I woke at every little sound, listening for heavy breathing of a bear.  Thankfully we did not see one, but I did hear little critters walking near the tent throughout the night.  Read about Black Bear Safety.

Bears in Florida

I woke up the next morning before Nadia, and decided to open the zipper to my window in my "room".   We have a three room tent.

tent family fun outdoors

When I looked out my window, I actually saw two deer running away into the woods behind us!  I was pretty excited about that and wished Nadia could have seen them too.  We do not get to see a lot of deer where we live, so it is exciting when we actually get to see them.

Highlands Hammock State Park Florida

After everyone was up and we had breakfast; we got ready to bike ride into town.  I believe it was 9 miles each way.  We ended up going to a small mall and then we ate lunch at a restaurant!  Here we were supposed to be camping LOL.

Bike Riding at Highlands Hammock state park

When we got back to the park, we went to ride our bikes to the various hiking trails.  During the month of October, Highlands Hammock runs a haunted tram ride on select nights.  I wished they had it running that weekend.  It sounded fun!

boardwalk hike at Florida State Parks

There were some interesting trails to hike.  Like always, be aware of your surroundings.  We were not expecting to see this big guy.  Luckily we were on the boardwalk and he was below us.

Gator at Highlands Hammock State Park in Florida

Here's a really swampy area:

Swamp in Sebring Florida

Hiking near swamp at Highlands Hammock State Park in Sebring, FL

Now, check out this boardwalk!  It was pretty narrow with only a handrail on one-side.  It was an interesting adventure.

HIking in Florida

There are a Thousand Year Old Oak Trees found in the park.

Oak Trees in Florida State Parks

In this area, you can actually sit out here and watch the deer come out in the evening.

The Park also has a nice looking Visitor's Center, but we were too late and they were closed.

Florida parks

Florida outdoor fun

We arrived back at the campsite and it was time to start making the hamburgers and hot dogs.

camping fun

I slept a lot better the second night, even though my air mattress got a hole in it šŸ˜¦

No Air Camping

We really enjoyed this park and I would definitely come back here and camp again.  I just hope the tram will be working then.

You can read more about Highlands Hammock State Park and make sure to read all alerts before you travel.

Happy Summer!
The Sunning Anhinga Wall Tapestry

Paddleboarding Parent Checklist to Keep Kids Safe on the Water

Check out this great Infographic on Water Safety for Kids from Jason at 

Water Safety for Kids: The Ultimate Checklist for Paddleboarding Parents

Friday, June 9, 2017

Five Safety Tips to Remember Before Your Next Backpacking Trip

Here is this Month's Outdoor Safety Article by Guest Blogger - Lee Flynn

Five Safety Tips to Remember Before Your Next Backpacking Trip 

Backpacking is a great way to get some serious exercise, enjoy the outdoors, and socialize with friends or relax on one's own. However, the ultra-popular recreational activity can also be rather dangerous—especially if a backpacker isn't adequately prepared for all the potential obstacles of the outdoors.

Luckily, some basic safety tips will protect even the most adventurous backpackers from outdoor dangers. Let's take a look at five must-remember safety tips for backpackers!

Inform Others of the Trip

First and foremost, backpackers should inform others of their trip before they leave—especially if they'll be backing alone and/or doing so for an extended period of time. The reasoning behind this safety tip is simple: an accident or medical crisis could easily be encountered when backpacking, and if a phone cannot be used (because it's out of reach, has no service, or for another reason), medical professionals will not be alerted by the individual(s) who require assistance.

Therefore, when a backpacker doesn't arrive home when they planned to (and they haven't recently spoken with anyone), the individuals who were informed of the trip beforehand can contact emergency services.

Pack Plenty of Water

On a normal day, medical professionals recommend that the average male drink 13 cups of water, and that the average female drink nine cups of water. Again, this is on a normal day—and a day (or multiple hours) filled with backpacking is far from normal! Between the heat and the strenuous nature of the activity, each backpacker should probably carry around five liters of water (other liquids aren't as effective at hydrating), to assure that they are adequately hydrated and will be able to use a reserve of water in case of an emergency.

Plus, this extra water can be given to other backpackers who didn't plan ahead, if the need arises!

Wear Sunscreen and/or Cover Skin

Backpacking—on clear and cloudy days alike—exposes individuals to the sun and potentially harmful ultraviolet rays. To avoid getting sunburnt, becoming dehydrated, and perhaps even suffering from long-term skin complications, backpackers should invest in some affordable and simple-to-use sunscreen and apply it to their skin. For additional protection, backpackers should consider wearing loose, long-sleeve shirts, shade-providing hats, and close-toed shoes.

Bring an E-Cig (for Vapers and Smokers)

This safety tip might seem a bit "out of place", but it truly isn't, and the following information more than explains why.

If vapers fail to bring their e-cigs along while backpacking, and smokers fail to bring their cigarettes, both groups will likely endure some sort of nicotine withdrawal, depending upon how often they typically vape or smoke. Either way, the symptoms of this withdrawal include, but aren't limited to, irritability, difficulty concentrating, and even nausea. These symptoms may in turn affect backpackers' judgement and mental clarity, leading them to dangerous and even life-threatening situations. Make sure that you not only bring an e-cig but also extra vape batteries.

Don't Overexert or Become Exhausted

Finally, backpackers—particularly those who're new to the activity—shouldn't overexert themselves by moving too far, pushing too hard, or simply becoming exhausted. Moreover, it's imperative that backpackers remember to allot enough energy for the trip back to their vehicle or other transportation.

Becoming too fatigued when backpacking can lead to serious danger and medical emergencies, and therefore, it's important for every backpacker to take it easy, always conserve extra energy, and save at least some must-see sites for another day. Getting a good night's sleep prior to backpacking and consuming healthy foods will also help backpackers energy-wise.

These tips are sure to help backpackers be safe and have an excellent time exploring the outdoors. Thanks for reading and good luck!

You can read more about Lee Flynn at:

Monday, June 5, 2017

15 Summertime Activities to Get Your Kids Outdoors!

Here is a Great Article from Joe at Nature Rated.  He is right, we need to get our kids outside and enjoying Nature more.  There really is enjoyment in the simple things in life.  Read on for some cool outdoor activity ideas.  - Thanks Joe!

What are your kids doing this Summer? For many of us Summer-time with the kids is a time to enjoy the outdoors, the sunshine and if you're lucky the ocean.

As much as kids love Summer holidays, keeping them busy can be a real chore! If you've not got the luxury of a Summer camp then it's up to you as parent to find things for the youngsters to keep busy with.

Failing that, your kids might spend all their time in front of a computer, tablet, phone or other screen and research has shown that spending too much time in front of a screen can have a detrimental effect on the health and wellbeing of children.

Studies have shown that taking part in nature-based activities helps people who are suffering from mental ill-health and can contribute to a reduction in levels of anxiety, stress, and depression. In fact, a daily walk in nature has showed decreased activity in a region of the brain associated with a key factor in depression.

One in four people are estimated to experience bouts of mental ill health and it's on the rise. Prescription medication of antidepressants are also at a record high level and the demand for more invasive treatments are also on the rise. Health and social care commissioners are examining and commissioning different options for cost effective services for mental health and one of these options is a daily walk of 90 minutes or more. We need to learn from the past when kids got excited to spend their time climbing trees and building dens rather than spending hours inside.

Joe at Nature Rated understands this all too well and has put together an infographic on 15 Summer activities to help your kids appreciate nature.

This is what it looks like:

15 Summer activities to help your kids appreciate nature

From baking a blackberry pie to constructing a pond or insect hotel, there's plenty for the youngsters to get up to. Head on over to his site for step by step instructions to get your kids out and about enjoying nature.

Joe's Bio:

An outdoor enthusiast, Joe is the lead editor at Nature Rated; a website which rates and reviews the best outdoor gear for people who quickly want to know what to get. He believes in no fluff, to the point reviews, which help you choose the right gear for your next adventure.
Whenever daily life gets him down he heads to the nearest lake or river with his kayak and camera spending time recharging his batteries.


“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” - M. Gandhi

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The Boneyard Beach - It is in Florida

Hiking to Boneyard Beach in Florida
Boneyard Beach at Big Talbot Island
Big Talbot Island State Park is south of Amelia Island in Florida.  At the park, you will find a trail to Boneyard Beach.  The name was given to this beach because of the salt washed oak trees and cedar trees lying on the beach.

Guess what?  It has been said that there have been findings of huge Mammoth Bones by some archaeologists here too!

our outdoor travel stories at Big Talbot Island

This beach is not recommended for swimming, but good for picture taking and shelling.
It is said that Blackbeard landed on these shores!

We visited Boneyard Beach as my sister and I were heading home from Amelia Island.  I was not sure where to park exactly, but we did end up finding the trail head to Boneyard Beach.  There is one of those "special" bathrooms you can use before you start on the trail.  My sister and I were the only ones around, which was a little scary when you could hear some rustling in the bushes.

Boneyard Beach Florida State Parks

Luckily we did come by some nice overlooks of the beach, but we never did make it all the way to the end.  We chickened out, but what we did see of boneyard beach was really pretty.

Hiking Trails skeleton trees

I did not see the parking lot for the Black Rock Trail and it was starting to get late, so we just continued to head home.  I would like to go back to that park and plan out my visit better.  The Black Rock Trail did sound really cool.  It has black rock like outcroppings.  Here is a link to Florida Hikes website where they discuss the different trails to help you plan your trip better.

If you would like more information on Big Talbot Island State Park, you can check out their website here.


Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Hi Readers!

Just a quick shout-out to all the families with school aged children out there.  

Beatriz Martinez-PeƱalver, L.M.H.C, will be giving a presentation on May 17, 2017 from 9:30-12 PM EST on mandating an emotional literacy class in education called Triumph Steps. Since, we, as parents, are key figures to guiding our children's happiness and success, Beatriz, will be teaching tools that we can use with our kids to help them Triumph in life.

Triumph Steps has been endorsed by parents and teachers. Notably, the curriculum has attained the endorsement of Lisa Nichols, a celebrated motivational speaker featured on Oprah, CBS, The Steve Harvey show and many more. She has inspired millions through her seminars and her role as a featured teacher in The Secret. Click Here to hear what Lisa Nichols says about TRIUMPH STEPS.

I really do believe that we need this as part of our kids curriculum as well. Please visit Beatriz's website to learn more about Triumph Steps at