“The Bloodletting on the Bloodvein.” That’s what my Canadian wilderness adventure pals dubbed our fishing and paddling excursion along the Bloodvein River in Ontario and Manitoba. We’d anticipated pleasurable days of gliding the river while fishing for lunch or dinner. Reality delivered a blistering heat wave and hard-core paddling escapade topped off by water-filtration equipment that failed. Boiling water over a campfire is the most full-proof method of purification, but to be safe, make sure you boil it for at least one minute.   If the overwhelming heat coupled with torturous 10- to 12-hour paddling segments involving scores of difficult portages…
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The rain ended an hour before daylight, but the ground and brightly-colored leaf litter covering the forest floor remained wet. Rain water dripping off of the tree limbs was beginning to slow its rhythm. A few vehicles already lined up in the trailhead parking lot, as others pulled in carrying autumn hikers. The family and I worked our way up the trail consisting of rock outcroppings; some of the trail was on exposed rock making for some slippery steps.   When hiking this fall, make sure your daypack contains essentials such as a flashlight, food and water, a handheld GPS…
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Tough to find a more pleasing experience than sitting around a cozy campfire during autumn. However, campfires can also escape the fire pit and become a roaring, damaging wildfire in only a few minutes if not watched. I witnessed a campfire quickly ignite a two-acre grass fire before being extinguished by campground employees. If that fire had occurred in a more remote area, it would have been bigger and more damaging. The combination of autumn’s dryness and an abundance of fire starting tinder covering the ground in the form of fallen leaves and dead ground cover can wreak havoc.  …
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For some campers, the thirst for “getting away from it all” is not quenched by spending a night in a developed campground. But a dose of dispersed camping, camping outside of a developed camping area, with no amenities, will do the trick. If you would like to try backcountry camping, a few adjustments to your free camping plans are needed. The US National Forest has plenty of free camping opportunities. Where can you try dispersed camping? A great place to camp wild is in a US National Forest. These forests offer developed campgrounds as well, but the thousands of acres…
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Camp cooking is an extension of the line of fun had while camping. For some campers, cooking over an open fire with various cast iron vessels is the main camp attraction and activity. For others, a cereal bar and a swig of water serve as a full meal. But for most campers, a mix of both is the normal routine. A camp kitchen can be a spread of gear at the end of a picnic table or laid out on a portable table next to the fire ring, and with proper planning, an efficient kitchen away from home. The following…
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Tents come in dozens of shapes and sizes, designs and intentions. So do campers. I recently observed a perfect example of this at a state park campground, at neighboring campsites.     On one site, a 10-person tent with attached screened room, housed one person — big tent, small occupancy. But, the guy had a pile of kayaking gear stacked inside the screen room so space was necessary for him. Next site over, a family of two adults and three kids spent the weekend using a four-person tent as home. Tight sleeping quarters it must have been, but they enjoyed the…
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How many times have you tried something, which afterwards, you wished you could have only sampled it before jumping in? I have plenty of times. Negative results leave a bad taste that is tough to erase. When a new endeavor involves investing not only time, but money as well, thorough research sure helps in weeding out a majority of the bad stuff. For those folks that are considering camping for the first time, or want a night or two of sleeping under the stars, but have no camping gear on hand, "test driving" camping is available. Most state parks and…
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Even though the weatherman may be right more often than not, weather patterns can be unpredictable. So that camping trip that was supposed to be dry and beautiful can turn into a soaked mudfest in the snap of a finger. Properly setting up your tent is key to staying dry in the rain. Can you stay dry when you’re camping in the rain? Here are seven easy tips to help you stay as safe and dry as possible. Know Where to Set Up Your Tent Pitching your tent at a low spot in the middle of a rainstorm is a…
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For some campers, a good night sleep is easily achieved after a day of adventure taxes the body. But for others, even a day of trail trekking or kayak paddling can't bring a comfortable slumber experience. Laying your head down in a strange place can disturb the sleep routine, but if a few adjustments in bedding and sleep preparation at camp are made, a good night's sleep is possible. The foundation of a comfortable camp bed is the padding and/or bed apparatus. Most tent campers use sleeping pads of various styles, some of which may not be the best choice…
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Trash Management on the Trail

Friday, May 02 2014 6:00 am - for Hiking
Maneuvering along a hiking trail and "in the zone" with the natural surroundings can be quickly interrupted by a small piece of trash left by humans. Such a little piece of evidence of irresponsibility has a big impact, not only for the next person to pass by on the trail but also a long lasting effect on the wild and wildlife that dwell there. When I spot an empty power bar wrapper or sports drink bottle lying trailside, I hope that the drop was an accident and occurred while attempting to slide the item back into the backpack while walking —…
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