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:

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-Peñalver, 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

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Five Safety Precautions to Take When Kayaking by Lee Flynn

Hi everyone!

This post is written by Lee Flynn. He will be a guest contributor, posting an article on our blog once a month, about outdoor safety. I look forward to reading his upcoming articles and learning from them. You can read more from Lee Flynn at

Five Safety Precautions to Take When Kayaking

Kayaking is a fun adventure and recreational activity when the weather starts to get nice, but one that isn’t without risks if you don’t follow specific safety precautions. Ensure that your adventure is both safe and fun by following these five safety measures before heading out on the water.


Dress for the weather and the water. If you’re heading out on rough waters you’ll need a helmet, but if not a hat can protect your head from the sun. Sunglasses can help with the reflection of the sun off the water, especially on clear days without a cloud in site. Bright colors such as bright orange, yellow or green allow other people on the water to see you, such as larger watercraft that can be dangerous in comparison to your small kayak. Waterproof sunblock should be applied to all exposed skin, and if you’re prone to getting dry lips, Chap Stick should also be included in your must-haves. Don’t forget to keep yourself warm with a wetsuit if it’s not quite that warm out and wear shoes with straps to keep your feet protected.

Wear a personal floatation device

A PFD, commonly known as a life jacket, is an absolute necessity when going out on the water. They add bulk, but the truth is that they save lives and kayaking can be unpredictable at times. PFDs aren’t only about how well you can swim, but protect you if you hit something and become unconscious. It’s better to be safe than sorry, especially if kayaking in rough or open bodies of water. Many bodies of water including state and national parks, along with some local ponds and lakes require the use of a PFD at all times.

Tell someone your trip plan

If you’re going to be on the water let someone know where you’re going, your float path and how to reach you. If something happens you’ll want people to know where to find you. If possible, bring someone with you for the company and to be there in case you run into a situation you can’t handle alone. Know the terrain of where you’re going and get advice from individuals who know the area before heading out.

Avoid alcohol and drugs

It might be relaxing to drink a few beers before you head out, but alcohol impairs your ability and makes kayaking dangerous instead of fun. Alcohol dehydrates the body, slows your judgment time and increases the speed at which hypothermia sets in. Save the drinks for after you get on dry land and are safe at home with your buddies. If you prefer not to intake tobacco, vape mods with a good flavor of e cig juice could be a different alternative to smoking.

Pack the essentials

Spending all day on the water requires you to be equipped for the day. Ensure that you have at least a gallon of drinking water to stay hydrated. Double or triple bag everything in waterproof bags to keep them dry in the event that you flip over. Some things you might need are aspirin, Band-Aids, antibiotic ointment, energy bars or other food source. Always keep a whistle on you to get attention if you need it. Keep one on a lanyard so it is readily accessible at any time.

Enjoy your kayaking experiences, but be safe while doing it. You don’t want to turn a fun recreational activity into a devastating experience. Taking a few basic precautions ensures that you’ll have many more experiences to reminisce about in the future.

Check out more by Lee Flynn at:

Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Riverboat Cruise at Amelia Island was Cool in Fernandina Beach, Florida

River cruise in Amelia Island Florida
Riverboat Cruise
While my sister and I were visiting Amelia Island, we signed up for an Amelia River Cruise.  I selected the Cumberland Island tour.  Why? Do you ask?  Well read on and find out!

our outdoor travel stories traveling on the amelia island river cruise

There are around five different cruises to choose from.  The Cumberland Island Tour lasts for 2.5 hours and runs seven days a week at 10 a.m.  I had made reservations on-line before our trip, because I did not want to miss it.

learn the history of amelia island florida

When we visited, it was around late July and it was extremely hot that weekend.  They do have some shade on the boat, but make sure you have water.  They also provide water for sale too.

Fort Clinch Beach seen from the ocean

Once everyone had arrived for the tour, our Captain and Crew talked with us.  They were very friendly and knowledgeable about the area.  They also had a great sense of humor.  This is a narrated tour.

As we headed out to the ocean, we passed some historic homes, boats and Fort Clinch.

Amelia Island Boat Cruise Fort Clinch Florida
View of Fort Clinch from the Ocean
We got to see a couple of Dolphin jumping out of the water, but I had a hard time trying to get a picture of them.

Here is the best I could do.

Dolphin jumping near Amelia Island
A Dolphin
Here, we are getting closer to Cumberland Island, which is located in Georgia.

Wild horses at Cumberland Island Georgia

Do you see the horse?  He is right in the middle (the brown object).  This is why I selected this tour.  My sister and I have never seen wild horses before.

Here are some more.

A Wild white horse on Cumberland Island, Georgia

And here is a Mom with her kid.

a little horse family on Cumberland Island Georgia

And here are some more near the trees.

Viewing the wild horses on cumberland island while traveling on the amelia river cruise

Cumberland Island looked so pretty.  I would like to visit there one day, but they warned us that there are a lot of ticks there.  Be careful.  Remember the horses are wild, so do not try to touch them.  They can really hurt you!

To get to the island, you would take a Ferry Boat.  Here is a link to the National Park's website for more information.

Enjoying the Amelia River Cruise

It was time to head back.  The boat ride was so relaxing.

On the way back we passed by a Shrimp Boat.

A Shrimp Boat at Amelia Island

And this used to be an old orphanage.

learning the history of Amelia Island while on the Amelia River Cruise

Amelia River Cruises and Charters was located right across the street from the Hampton Inn that we stayed at.  Arrive a little early to pick your seat.

We really enjoyed our cruise.  I saw a lot of new things and learned a lot about the history of the area.  My sister and I would definitely take another River Cruise next time we visit.

Remember to bring your camera, sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses. 

Then you can sit back and enjoy!
Funny Shirts

Monday, March 13, 2017

Our Visit to Fort Clinch State Park in Fernandina Beach, Florida

The entrance to Fort Clinch
Entrance to Fort Clinch 
Fort Clinch State Park is over 1400 acres.  I love the drive to the Fort.  After you pay the park admission, you drive for a while under an oak tree canopy!  So pretty.

The park is located on Florida's northern most barrier island, Amelia Island.  They have camping available and a beach to go shelling on and to look for shark teeth!

View of Fort Clinch from the Beach Florida
View from the beach
Now, when you get to the Fort, you will have to pay around $2.00 per person to tour (at the least at the time of this post), but it was worth it.

The Long Path to Enter Fort Clinch in Amelia Island Florida

The above picture is the path to enter the fort.

Fort Clinch State Park Florida

Remember to bring water with you during the summer months; the heat can get pretty brutal.

Spikes at Fort Clinch State Park in Florida

Check out the barriers above.  I would hate to fall on that.  Ooouuuchhh!!

Fort Clinch State Park Florida Civil War

The Fort takes you back to 1864, during the Civil War, but it was manned by the Union not the Confederate army.

Cannons at Fort Clinch State Park in Florida

Fort Clinch State Park Our Outdoor Travel Stories Florida

Fort Clinch State Park Jail, Florida

Check out the ocean view!

Ocean View from Fort Clinch in Amelia Island Florida

So pretty!

Ocean View from Fort Clinch in Amelia Island Florida

You are allowed to walk into the buildings and around the Fort.  There were some interesting pathways.

Fort Clinch pathways in Florida Http://

Fort Clinch pathways in Florida Http://

Fort Clinch pathways in Florida Http://

Fort Clinch pathways in Florida Http://

And spiral stairs.

Fort Clinch pathways in Florida Http://

Fort Clinch pathways in Florida Http://

Fort Clinch in Florida Http://

Fort Clinch pathways in Florida Http://

I really enjoyed learning the history here, and I have to give the volunteer rein-actors a lot of credit.  They were in their union army uniform all day and it sure was very very hot in July and they would answer any question you asked.  They really enjoy what they do.  Thank you!!!!

Now, after wards we did leave the park.  I could not convince my sister that the shore line was on the other side of the Fort so we could look for shark teeth.  She was very hot and needed to go back to the hotel room.  It was not until the next day, while we were on the Riverboat that she learned where the shoreline was and felt bad that I was not able to look for shark teeth.  She let us go back after the boat trip and she paid the admission this time 😇

Fort Clinch Beach Shark tooth hunting

I was not really sure what I was looking for, but I picked up quite a few little trinkets.

Fort Clinch Beach Shark tooth hunting Amelia Island

Upon further examination, I do not think I found any teeth, just triangular shell pieces.

Fort Clinch Beach Shark tooth hunting

But, I am going to keep them as "my shark teeth stash".  It was fun searching for them.

My sister and I both enjoyed visiting Fort Clinch State Park.  I would like to try camping there sometime.  My sister would not, for she is not a camper.  Luckily the Hampton Inn was located not too far away.

You can read more about Fort Clinch State Park here.
The Calming Place Wall Tapestry