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Ways to Watch the Eclipse Away from the World

August 15th, 2017 No comments

We are just one week away from the Great North American Eclipse, when the moon crosses in front of the sun for about two and a half minutes casting a shadow on the earth. You got your *approved* glasses and  you want to witness this momentous occasion, but if you are anywhere near the path of totality, you’ve heard word that drove of people will be traveling nearby and you are not ready to deal withe crowds. So what can you do to have your eclipse and watch it too? We have a few ideas:


1. Go Camping

We can’t imagine a more magical place to stand in the moon’s shadow than out in the woods. Gather your pals, furry or otherwise, and take your camping gear just deep enough into the woods to get a little seclusion. Not only is the weather perfect this time of year for a cool night of camping, but  if you’re keen enough to score a spot in the woods with a clearing of trees, you can get a (solo) front row seat to an incredible natural phenomenon. If you go the camping route, we recommend you head out at least a couple of days beforehand to ensure finding a spot, and keeping out of the traffic.


2. Paddling Day Trip

While heading out the day of won’t save you completely from the traffic and throngs of people that go along with the GNAE, if you head out early enough in the morning you can still steal a bit of tranquility on the day. If you’re watching in the Southeast, why not take the day from work, grab your paddling gear and head out on your favorite body of water for a day long paddling trip. Depending on where you’re planning on watching the eclipse from, you can time it just right and catch the full shadow while you’re out on the water. You’re sure to remember exactly where you were when you saw it, and hopefully get a little peace to enjoy the moment.


3. Hike an Awesome Trail

If you’re not ready or able to go on an all out camping trip, consider taking one of your favorite nearby trails a few hours before the eclipse and great ready for the show of a lifetime. Being on your favorite trail has more than a few perks. On a Monday, you’re likely to have the trail to yourself, but it can also be a really special place to remember this moment in history. Especially if it’s a trail you already love in the path of totality, you can set yourself up to turn a special event into an incredible day.


4. Stay Home

If you’re really unsure about what the traffic and crowds are going to look like in your area, your safest bet is just staying home. Yes, there will probably activities and festivals happening in your area, but if you are worried about getting stuck in your car and missing the whole thing, it’s best just to kick back at your humble abode. Think about it, your favorite chair is there, some of the people that you like the most, and all of the snacks!

The eclipse will be awesome no matter where you are, you just need to give yourself enough time and space to enjoy it your way! Where will you be for  GNAE 2017?

How to Be Tick Smart

August 3rd, 2017 No comments

Every summer we deal with these nasty little nuisances, and every summer we seem to find they bring a little more trouble than the last. But for some reason, summer 2017 has brought more tick fears and anxieties than summers before. Due to their tiny size, ticks can seem unavoidable, but the best thing that you can do to try to keep the end of summer tick-free is to educate yourself on prevention and treatment.


1. Know your Species

Ticks come in a all sizes and species. Educating yourself on the different types of ticks that are out there and which ticks carry certain types of diseases can give you a better idea of what types of ticks to look for in the woods and after you’ve exited. For example, all ticks have the potential to carry disease, but the blacklegged tick, the deer tick and the western blacklegged tick all carry Lyme disease. Knowing the difference can help you prepare and react appropriately.


2. Ticks and Where They Stay

Once you figure out what ticks are looking for, you need to learn about where they stay and how they attach to hosts. That being said, ticks can be found in a number of places. They tend to be found in outdoor areas of high grass, forested areas and woodpiles. Certain types of ticks can even thrive indoors for the entirety of their life cycles. A common misconception about ticks is that they fall from trees, fly, or “jump” from bushes onto their hosts.  Actually, ticks don’t have wings, nor jump from bushes, but they tend to rest in a position known as questing. When questing, ticks grip leaves and trees with their lower legs, and raise a pair of upper legs in an outward position in order to attach themselves onto hosts as they brush against them.

3. Prevention

When considering tick prevention and your camping, hiking or gardening gear, treat your clothing and gear with products containing permethrin to repel ticks. As for your skin, use EPA registered products containing DEET, picaradin, IR3535, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus, or 2-undecanon. Many products can be found in your local convenience store and are successful in repelling ticks. There are also natural insect repellents that are made without the inclusion of DEET and are free of other chemicals.

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4. Checking for Ticks

After spending time outdoors, especially in areas that you could be exposed to ticks you should always check your clothes and body for ticks. Remove any ticks that you have found, and if you are still unsure you can place the clothes or gear in the dryer for 10 minutes. The heat should kill any ticks that you may have carried indoors. Once you have removed and addressed your clothing, you should then check your body and your pets for ticks. It’s also an idea to take a shower within two hours of being outdoors: the combination of heat and water can help remove any ticks that haven’t attached themselves and reduce your chances of contracting Lyme disease should you have been bitten.


5. Tick Removal

Should you find a tick, remove it as quickly and efficiently as possible. Grab a pair of fine tipped tweezers and grasp the back of the tick as close to the skin as possible. Pull with steady and even pressure. Grasping the tick too tightly or attempting to twist the tick out could cause the mouth of the tick to break off and remain in the skin. If this does happen, attempt to remove the mouth as well, but if it’s not possible let the skin heal on its own. Once removed, clean the area and your hands thoroughly with alcohol, soap and water.


Ticks are all over, but the aim of the game is to know how to take care of them if they do use you for a snack! What are your tick prevention tips?

How to Stay Hydrated in Summer Heat

July 31st, 2017 No comments
The season we long for all year doesn’t come without it’s challenges – staying hydrated in 80+ degrees can be rough on the body and hard to maintain. Have you ever the saying: “When you’re thirsty you’re already dehydrated”? You can quickly dry out without even realizing it. Since we love being outside just as much as you, here are our best ways to hydrated this summer.

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1. Pink Himalayan Salt Bath

If you are partial to getting your hydration through salty homemade electrolyte drinks, that is a perfectly viable option. But if that’s not your thing, Pink Himalayan salt baths can be. By combining pink Himalayan salt and Epsom salts in a warm bath your body can absorb some much needed minerals needed for water retention.


2. Pickle Juice

Not many people know that pickle juice actually contains some serious hydrating properties that can be compared to most leading sports drinks. So while it may be a bit of an unconventional snack, keeping a jar of pickles in your pack when you’re out on the water for a day or backpacking in the heat, can provide a much needed pick-me-up. Rumor has pickle juice can also prevent cramps and keeps your body functioning in the hottest of summer heat!

Watermelon on the lake

3. Watermelon

This one is as much of a secret as the pickle juice, but in the summer months, watermelon can be a pleasant change from regular water and carries more electrolytes. This fruit – that’s made up of 92% water – is full of potassium pantothenic acid, biotin,magnesium, and dietary fiber. Besides all of its delicious hydrating properties, watermelon is a great way to cool down in the summer heat as well.

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4. Sports Drink

Sometimes you can’t mess with the classics, and there’s nothing better for you than a good old sports drink. You can get a quick sugar boost along with a long list of specially calculated electrolytes and minerals to keep you going all game, or trail long. But! Although sports drinks are perfect for replacing what you sweat out, they are not the most efficient for hydrating in the first place. (For that, think regular old water!)


5. (Water)ful snacks

When all else fails, try giving your regular diet a hydrating boost. Much like pickle juice, there are plenty of unsuspecting foods that hide hydration like you wouldn’t believe. If you’re looking for a real boost, try checking out fruits and vegetables that are over 90% water. Carrots (90.4%), green peppers (93.9%), cucumbers (96.7%), tomatoes (94.5), celery (95.4%), spinach (91.4%), broccoli (90.7%), radishes (95.3%) and strawberries (91.0%) to name a few.


Staying hydrated is crucial to enjoying all the activities you already love in the summer. Although it can be a little difficult, there are so many delicious options, that it can be a little fun too!

Five Ways to Celebrate Independence All Year Long

July 14th, 2017 No comments

On the heels of one of the great American holidays, the fourth of July, we are still riding the coattails of celebration and trying to squeeze as much ‘merica out of this month as we can. The signing of the Deceleration of Independence proceeds the many events throughout history that have occurred both on our soil and internationally that have taken place to maintain our country’s freedom.  So, it’s only right that we should celebrate with a whole day filled with family cookouts, amazing food and fireworks. But, we don’t think it should stop there. In an effort to maintain patriotism through July and the rest of the year, here are five ways that you and your family can celebrate our country’s independence all year long.


1. Send a Care Package to Troops

Although we have the opportunity to eat great food and spend time with our loved ones all year long, many of our service members don’t get to enjoy the same luxury. You can share a little bit of your family with a service member who might be missing theirs by putting together a care package to send overseas. Bake some homemade goodies, send some nonperishable foods that remind them of home, you can even include those cute flag crafts you and the kids worked so hard on.


2. Go to a Parade

Pack the popsicles and the SPF and head downtown and attend local parades in your area. Celebrate our nation’s freedom with your fellow community members and support the veterans who participate. Wave to the firefighters, dance to the marching band and make a stop at a shop and support a local business owner’s American dream. A fun and free way to celebrate all year long.

3. Take a trip to Washington

We all know of our nations’s rich history- a lot of which can be witnessed and relived in our country’s capitol- Washington, D.C. You can catch a baseball game, visit a museum, or one of D.C.’s many monuments. There are plenty of activities for you and the whole family in D.C., and you might even learn something in the process!


Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III delivers his remarks during a wreath laying ceremony honoring Air Force Vietnam Prisoners of War and Missing in Action at the Air Force Memorial, Arlington, Va., March 2, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo/Scott M. Ash)

4. Support Local Veterans

Supporting those who serve is a fantastic way to show your appreciation for all they do to maintain our country’s freedom. However, we don’t want to leave out those who have previously served our country and returned home as veterans. Finding ways to support veterans throughout the year is a great reminder that freedom is free!


5. Family Flag Activities

Over years of school, there are many things that your children have learned and will learn about U.S. history. One thing they might not learn about is proper flag etiquette. Guidelines on how the flag should be displayed, how it should be properly folded and stored, all of the ways you can treat the country’s flag with respect. This could also be great opportunity to share the story of the flag’s changing faces during the Revolutionary War, or even a fun craft activity for the kids. They could color pictures or make their own paper flags for the picnic table.


The 4th is a favorite holiday for many all over the country, it brings us all together for a common cause and we want to keep that feeling going throughout the summer and all year long.



5 Tips for Catch and Release

July 13th, 2017 No comments

Now that deer hunting season is officially closed for the summer, we’ve officially moved on to our favorite summer fishing holes. Even though we’re racking up as many Big Mouth Bass as possible, there will always be a few fishing holes where we’ll need to catch and release. Just in case you’re gotten too used to bringing them home, here’s a refresher on catch and release.


1. Bring the Right Tools

When you head out on a lake or a river where catch and release is mandatory, you have to make sure you’ve got the right tools.   In addition to your regular gear and tackle box, at the very least you’ll need a set of needle nose pliers and a knife or some scissors.  But, while we’re on the subject it’s equally important to make sure you have extra line, additional hooks and various lures and bobbers (depending on which type of fishing you’re doing.)


2. Remove the Hook

After you land your catch and take your picture for proof, the first thing you’ll need to do is remove the hook. Especially when it’s one of your good lures, you’re going to need your pliers to to get that hook out. If you can’t get the hook out easily, the best thing to do is leave the hook in place and cut the live with your knife so you don’t rip the fishes’ gills. A good reminder is to use a single hook rather than multi-point hooks when you know you’ll be catch and release fishing.


3. Hold the Fish in Water

Once you get you’ve removed the hook, you’ll need to get the fish back in the water as quickly as possible. But, before you can fully release the fish back into the water you’ll need to relief the shock.One additional note, when holding your fish, don’t just hold it by the bottom lip. Be sure to use your other hand to support the fish under it’s belly and behind its pectoral fins.


4. Fish CPR

If you took a little longer trying to rescue your favorite lure, your fish may need a slower reintroduction into the water. Once your fish is in the water move it around in a figure eight pattern to move water across the gills and get your fish breathing properly again.


5. Release the Fish into the Water 

Now that you’ve properly retrieved your lure and reintegrated your fish into the water, you can finally let it go, and hope you don’t catch it again a few minutes later.
Now that you’ve remembered how to actually let a fish go somewhere other that your cooler, you’re ready to hit any fishing hole and fish the summer away.
Where are some of your favorite catch a release spots?