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The Great Outdoors and Nature

On My Travels The Great Outdoors and Nature

Things to Do While at the Beach

There is nothing like a day at the beach, no matter where that beach might be. Who doesn’t love the song of seagulls, the smell of the salt air and the soothing sound of the waves rolling onto the shore? I know I love it, it’s one of those places that simply brings my soul peace and harmony within minutes.

The beach however, isn’t just for strolling down, as much fun as that can be, but it can also be an adventure or even a mini-vacation depending upon how long you plan on visiting the beach. There are a lot of different things you can do while visiting the beach.

One thing you can do is take a pair of binoculars with you and while strolling down the beach use the binoculars to look out at the horizon and see if you can spot any dolphins or whales. How exciting it can be to see such beautiful creatures and if there’s a chance of seeing them, you don’t want to miss out.

If the beach you are visiting has a boardwalk I highly recommend that you spend some time walking it and play games in their arcades and if they have rides on it, make sure to hop on a few and don’t forget to eat some delicious food while walking around and exploring.

Often beaches also have trails that are close by and you should consider taking a hike while there. This is great exercise and you will get to experience more nature along the way and you might even be able to catch some great views of the ocean and surrounding area.

If you aren’t into eating food from available vendors then why not pack yourself a nice little picnic. You could include a variety of cheeses, fresh fruits, crackers, whatever else you might enjoy while lounging on the beach. Make sure to bring plenty of water and other beverages.

Consider bringing along a little bit of fishing gear if the beach you are going to has a pier so that you can dabble a bit in fishing. Fishing can actually be one of the most relaxing things that you can do while at the beach and who knows, you might even catch something good to eat too!

If there are little seaside shops on or near the beach you are visiting why not take time out to do some window shopping while you’re there. Most of these little shops are very quaint and extremely fun to go in and explore, even if you don’t want to buy anything you’ll have a lot of fun looking at all the cool things they have to offer. This gives you some time out of the sun as well, and who knows, you might run across a bargain or two that you can’t live without.

If you are with a small or large group of people at the beach consider having a bonfire party. These can really be fun sitting around a nice fire especially on a cool evening, just sitting around talking and maybe even singing a few songs and roasting marshmallows. Just make sure before you do this that the beach allows bonfires.

Bring a journal with you and sit down and relax on the beach and write about your experiences on the beach and surrounding areas or if you feel inspired consider writing some poetry. The ocean has a way of sometimes bringing out the creativity in people so take advantage of some down time and let the sea speak to you.

Last but not least, look for seashells that you can take back home with you that will remind you of your trip to the beach.

On My Travels The Great Outdoors and Nature

Things to Know In Order to Enjoy Hiking

Hiking can really be a wonderful way in which you can get out and truly enjoy what nature has to offer you. If you really have never been on a true hike it’s something that you should consider doing. If the word hiking scares you off just realize that if you can walk, you can hike. Honest. What hiking is, is simply going for a walk but instead of walking in the city or in a mall you do it in the wilderness. When it comes to hiking it isn’t much different from plain old walking except that the surfaces you’ll be walking on are more than likely going to be more uneven than what you will find at your local city park. Plus, if you are really going out some place out there, you need to be more prepared than you need to be when going on a walk.

Here are a few things you should know before you go hiking if you are a newbie at this kind of activity. The first thing I suggest for those who truly have never been on a real hike, is this; start taking walks in parks. This is a great way to get started. It’s a good idea if you try to find parks that have some walking paths that are not paved and that have some open areas where you can walk also. To be honest with you, you may discover that walking on unpaved surfaces actually is more pleasant than when you walk on concrete. Those hard surfaces in the city can give you blisters a lot faster than the softer surfaces of an unpaved path.

There are some very important differences between taking a walk in the city and hiking somewhere out of town. One is that you really need to be a lot more aware of the circumstances around you in the wilderness so you can take care of your body. Remember, when you are out hiking usually you are not going to find a car, bus, store or any other kind of shelter to take cover in if you get too hot, cold, tired, or hungry. Also, depending upon where you go, you may not see any other people around either. This is why it’s important to start off with short hikes in case you misjudge something about the hike, with a short hike you can quickly get back to shelter for warmth, food and water.

Be smart about hiking, make sure that you go hiking during the year when the weather is going to be the nicest. Hiking means you are going to be outside the whole time and you don’t want to get caught in some awful weather. Of course it does depend upon where you live. For instance if you live in a desert area then you may want to go hiking in the spring or fall when temperatures are for more tolerable. By picking “friendly” weather you are going to have a much better experience hiking.

If it truly is your first time hiking I really don’t recommend that you go alone. It’s a better idea to ask someone to go with you and it’s even better if those you invite already have experience at it and they already know what can be expected and can help you out if something comes up that you don’t know how to handle. If you can’t find anyone who wants to go with you then consider checking to see if you city has any local hiking clubs that you might be able to join.

This is very important, your footwear! One of the biggest mistakes that newbies commit is wearing the wrong kind of shoes. You need to pick shoes that are designed to make your feet feel comfortable when you are walking and not shoes that just make your feet look good. Another really big mistake that newbies to hiking commit is buy a brand new pair of shoes and wear them on a hike before they have been broken in. You need to let your feet get use to the new shoes so you should try to break them in by wearing them around the house for awhile and for short walks in a park. This way when you go hiking for the first time your feet will be used to the shoes.

Another thing that is really important when you go hiking is the clothes that you wear. Your feet are not the only things that need comfort on a hike but your whole body. This means that it is best to wear loose fitting clothing and not something that is super tight. Your clothes also have to be appropriate for the weather. So make sure you know what the weather is predicted to be like before you set off on your hike.

When you go hiking as a newbie always make sure that you find areas that have designated walking trails so that you can follow that same trail back to where you started, the last thing you want on one of your first hikes is to get lost. Whatever you do, never stray off the path.

If you think that your hike is going to be a couple of hours or longer it’s a good idea to take a few things with you such as a lighter or matches, a knife, a simple first aid kit, anti-itch cream and sunscreen, a flashlight and even a little toilet paper, you never know.

You also need to make sure that you take water or a sports drink with you because you will be losing a lot of fluid when you go for a hike and you need to replenish what you lost in order to avoid dehydration or a heat stroke because both can kill you.

Most importantly, use your God given common sense and don’t tempt fate. No matter how beautiful Mother Nature is, she is very indifferent to hurting you, especially if you do stupid things.

The Great Outdoors and Nature

Nothing Like a Walk in the Park

If you are looking for a good way to commune with nature and have a chance to simply get away from all the hustle and bustle of work and the city, there is nothing like a walk in the park. Even if it’s one of your city parks, it still helps you to calm down and relax. Any time you give yourself the opportunity to be with nature, the natural beauty of it all is one of the best things that will help you battle any stress you might have in your life and lord knows that we all face a lot of stress off and on in our lives.

Check out what kind of parks you have in your area and then consider visiting several of them until you find one that suits your physical, emotional and spiritual needs. This way you will be able to have a special place that you can call your own. If you are trying to find a place that will fill you with peace and tranquility I would suggest that you stay away from parks that have playground equipment, this is a sure fire hint that kids go to that park a lot and where there’s kids you more than likely are not going to find that peace that you are looking. Nothing against kids, raised two of my own, but we all know kids are full of energy, curiosity and quite frankly, loud.

Find a park that has some nice walking trails that might lead you on a nature walk. Going for a nature walk is something that always seems to have a calming effect on me. I just love to listen to the birds as they sing, quietly watch the butterflies fluttering from flower to flower or dancing in the air with another butterfly, nothing like a ballet in air.

Where I live we have our own nature area that is reserved only for the residents so there never are lots of people or strangers walking their dogs on the nature trails provided for us and our dogs. Often I use this as my peaceful getaway with my dogs and find no need for a park. The trails we are provided are primitive so you feel like you are really getting away from all the rush of the city. It is filled with trees, trees, trees and various types of other plants and the trails all lead down to a canal which is also our source of water. During any particular walk my dogs and I might come across chipmunks, squirrels, rabbits, ground hogs, snakes, lizards, a variety of birds from ducks and geese to hawks and deer. It can be a quite interesting walk on any given day, but it’s always peaceful. It gives me and my dogs the opportunity to not only get some good and much needed exercise but it allows us time to bond and to enjoy all that nature has to offer without even having to get in my car and find a park to visit.

Of course not everyone has access to something like I have where I live so do some research about your area, especially if you are new to the area to find out what kinds of parks there are. If you love flowers, you might want to see if there are any local flower gardens that you can visit and enjoy.

Taking a walk in a park can be beneficial in so many different ways. It is a source of exercise, an opportunity to get to know what kind of wildlife lives in your area, can bring you peace and tranquility when you need both and if you have a dog, it’s a wonderful way to bond.

The Great Outdoors and Nature

Tips for Making Your Outdoor Entertaining Easy But Elegant

When the weather is nice there is nothing like entertaining outdoors. This is something I really enjoy doing. Often times people will make it far more difficult that it really needs to be and that can take a lot of the fun out of it. So I think it’s important that you make this fun event as easy on yourself as you possibly can. So, here are a few things to consider to help make outdoor entertaining a lot easier and more enjoyable for you.

When having a successful outdoor dinner party it really doesn’t require anything elaborate, people just love getting together outside when the weather is nice. So keep the food simple, ask people to bring something they personally enjoy. Simple and good tasting food with some good company makes for a wonderful outdoor evening.

A quick tip here is make sure that your guests are comfortable while they are seated around your table. You can increase their comfort by adding cushions or pillows to your chairs if they aren’t padded. This will entice them to linger longer and visit at the table.

Want to give your table a nice casual look that comes with a super easy clean up? Well, just get some nice brown craft paper and lay it across your table, looks pretty cool and when dinner is over with you just roll up the paper and any mess with it and throw it away.

Don’t worry about using fancy dishes for your outdoor entertaining. Just buy some sturdy and pretty looking paper plates with some nice heavy duty matching paper napkins along with some vases filled with some fresh cut flowers, add a few votive candles in attractive candle holders and you are all set. Quick and easy to clean up as well.

Want to keep things orderly and organized when outdoor entertaining? It’s always a good idea to use separate tables with table cloths and individual centerpieces and then put drinks on one table, snacks and appetizers on another, and the main food on a third. This keeps things well organized and it encourages your guests to get up and move around and mingle more.

If you have peonies, gardenias or camellias in your yard all of these can be used for quick and easy table centerpieces. All you have to do is have a few shallow bowls, add some water, cut off the stems of the flowers and float them in the water. If you have all three of theses flowers combine them in one bowl for a nice and interesting look.

To make sure your guests are comfortable and ward off pesky insects at night fall you should get either some citronella candles or incense sticks and circle the party area with them and then light them as soon as evening hits.

If you want to add some ambiance to your party at night with candles but don’t want to worry about the flames being blown out consider buying some nice little battery operated candles that you can place all over the yard and patio area. This will cut down on overturned candles and waxy messes as well as dangerous accidents. You can also do the same thing with solar lights making sure that you get a variety of different shapes and sizes to add interest to the area.

Don’t know how to keep those bugs out of your drinks? It’s easy really and it adds a real nice touch to the party décor. So, what is that you might ask? Well, patterned cupcake liners. Put them over your glasses, poke a hole through the center and add a straw.

The Great Outdoors and Nature

Bringing Nature to a Small Place

I love nature and there’s nothing like being able to spend time soaking in all that nature has to offer. Something though, it can be difficult to go out and find just the right spot, especially if you live in a large city. That’s why I think that it’s important that we bring nature to us, to our own homes so that we can enjoy what the natural beauty of life around us has to offer. It’s really an easy thing to do some of you might say, if you have enough space like a yard. But, what do you do if you live where you are confined to say a small patio or a balcony? What can you do then? Well, believe it or not, you can do more than you think.

I once lived in a small two bedroom townhouse that only hand a window box in the front window and an enclosed patio that was only about 6ft x 8ft, pretty depressing if you love nature and its beauty as much as I do. But, I was not going to let the small space I was confined to stop me from bringing nature to me. So, I decided that I was going to do all that I could to create my own little piece of heaven.

Of course the first thing I did was to make sure that my window box was filled with as many colorful flowering plants it could handle and I made sure that these plants were going to attract butterflies, so if you like butterflies, make sure you have the kinds of plants they love and you’ll be entertained right in front of your window.

The next thing I set out to do was to make the small patio come to life. I decided that I wanted some hanging plants like fuschia plants. These are wonderful plants that not only produce beautiful pink hanging flowers but they add a sort of exotic feel to your space. After I did that I added a couple of small sized planter boxes that I filled with low growing flowering plants that I placed in strategic areas of the patio. I also included a couple of mini rose bushes that always do well in pots. In this small area I was also able to include a few exotic looking house plants to add a tropical feel.

To top off my plant collection I was able to include a couple of different tomato plants that do well in containers along with a planter box of fresh strawberries. Nothing like going out and grabbing a fresh tomato or strawberry right in the middle of town. On top of all the plants I was able to place in this tiny patio, I made sure that I saved a little corner for myself.

Once you put together a nice little nature spot you need a space to enjoy it. All you need is a small comfortable chair and a little table set up next to it where you can even put one of those tabletop water features that will help add to the natural beauty that you have created. I also added a couple of wind chimes to add a little more charm to it all. In the end, when it was all finished, it ended up being one of my favorite places to go and sit. It brought harmony and peace to a once very empty and boring space.

So, don’t worry, if you have a small space, you can still bring nature to you with just a little bit of imagination and creativity.