Have you been thinking about going hiking with the family?Hiking Basics
As the weather warms up, many people start planning outdoor activities. What better way to enjoy the outdoors and get exercise at the same time than to go hiking? Whether you hike for an hour or a day, here are a few tips to get you started on the right foot!
For a short hike, you can probably get away with wearing comfortable shoes and clothes and taking a bottle of water and a small snack. For longer hikes (over an hour) or hikes in inclement weather (including high heat and/or humidity), though, you'll probably want to invest in some hiking gear. Look for clothes made from technical fabrics intended to dry quickly and wick moisture away from your skin, and boots made specifically for hiking. Hiking boots provide grip and support that tennis shoes do not have. You'll also want to be certain to have enough water and snacks ? many hikers prefer to wear a backpack water bladder with a flexible straw. Last, pack some common-sense gear such as a map, compass, small first aid kit, and signal whistle or mirror.
Hiking trails are everywhere! Even most metro areas have a few trails snaking through them. To find a good hiking trail, check with your city, county, or state conservation department or with your local hiking club. Some states and metro areas even have whole books published describing the many trails in the area, so don't overlook your local bookstore as a source of information.
Different hikers have different preferences in trail surfaces. Some hikers prefer paved surfaces ? if this is you, you may choose to hike along paved bike trails. Be sure to check first to make sure that the trail is open to hikers, and be on the alert for approaching bikers. If you prefer dirt or grassy trails, you may need to look a little harder, but try to resist the urge to strike your own path.
Hiking is just walking without a sidewalk. Keep your stride natural. Find a comfortable pace. Look at where you're going, not at your feet. Be sure to drink plenty of water and keep a close eye on the time so you don't find yourself miles from your car as the sun is setting.
Leave No Trace
The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics encourages all users of the outdoors to practice their seven Leave No Trace principles. (for more, please see www.lnt.org) These principles include:
- Travel on Durable Surfaces. Use existing trails and walk in the middle of the trail, even when muddy. Walking around muddy puddles results in a widening of the trail at that point, which is often an unnecessary encroachment on the natural areas surrounding a trail.
- Dispose of Waste Properly. Pack out your garbage. If you need to make a "pit stop" while hiking, walk a short distance away from the trail, dig a hole, and cover the hole back up when you are finished. Pack out your toilet paper.
- Leave What You Find. Don't pick flowers, remove historical artifacts, or damage trees or other growth.
- Respect Wildlife. Don't follow or feed wild animals, and keep your pets restrained.
How to Relax: Ways to take a bath
Several ways to relax and recharge after a long day, by taking a bath.
After a long, hard day, you get home. You kick off those killer shoes, drop that by-now-sweaty sweater, and get ready for some relaxation. The kids are out, the spouse is working late or another shift. This is your time to de-rush and de-stress. Here is how you can reduce the stress in your life easily at home after work.
So, your toes touch the soothing water of the bathtub. You get in, and close your eyes. Oh yes... This is the LIFE! And oh, after ten minutes of watching the water just sit there, you're already bored out of your mind. Thinking about the dishes that are waiting... And you're running out of socks, so the laundry... And not to even start about... Bye-bye relaxation. It doesn't take long or you've given up on the whole idea, dry off and get cracking at the chores you wanted to avoid for a little while longer. The "me" time is down the drain, together with the bath water.
So what can you do about this? It's little aspects. It depends on your own preferences, but it'll keep you in the tub till you're wrinkly, and as flexible and relaxed as a wet noodle. (And a lot less grouchy than when you came in the door.).
Point one: Get music. Do you have an old radio/CD player, move it toward the bathroom. You might want to leave it just outside of it so the steam and moisture stay out of the electronics, but close enough to hear the music. (No talk-shows allowed, unless it's one with a few laughs in it. NO politics, no deep profound problems. They just tense you up again, and that defeats the purpose).
At this point you have an option. You either sing along with the music to your hearts content/listen to it, or, you do something else. But what? Pick up that magazine you've been meaning to read all month. The poetry book, the newspaper (Hey, everyone else had a chance to read it already, and who cares if the comics get wet? As long as you get to read them when the wording's still legible!). Hey, you can even try singing some Opera. The acoustics in the bathroom should be perfect for it.
Finally use that Lavender bath foam your aunt got you so long ago. Go crazy with it if you like. When you were small you made funny hairdo's using the foam... Think you're too old for it? TRY IT! You're never too old to re-live a bit of stress-free childhood! And don't forget a drink for that tired throat. Kool-Aid is fantastic on summer days, believe it or not. And it is yet another taste of way-back-when innocence.
You're wrinkly now. You're practically falling asleep in the tub, and the water's getting cold. You've been in there for the past hour and a half. Uh-oh. Stayed in too long, it was too much...Fun...!
The very last suggestion: take a little alarm clock with you into the bathroom. After 45 minutes the relaxation should've taken effect, and it's a nice time to call it a day... You've had your share of unadulterated relief, now it's time to get back into the real world. Long enough for it to be a treat: short enough not to load you with feelings of guilt over those unwashed socks. Try it today. You'll love it.