Bear Safety Guide For Camping In The Southwest United States

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When camping in southwestern parts of the nation, it is important to keep bear safety in mind. The most common species in this region is the black bear. It inhabits many wooded areas and may live near rivers in arid locales. These tips can help you stay safe:

1. This large brown or black animal usually comes in contact with humans when convenient food sources are located nearby. It normally avoids humans unless it becomes familiar with them. To prevent this, cooperate with fellow campers to eliminate any food sources.

2. If you camp with pets, do not leave cat or dog food outside where wild animals can find it. Make sure the bears cannot easily access water bowls or bags full of trash. Avoid camping near any fruit-bearing trees or gardens that could attract a hungry bear.

3. Black bears climb well, so a fence must measure six feet or taller to deter them. Some fences provide surfaces they can easily grip. Outdoor lights usually will not prevent this animal from entering a camping area.

4. When you see a distant bear, change direction to avoid it. Never run away from this animal or it will chase you. If it comes in contact with you, do your best to behave calmly and back up at a slow pace.

5. It is rare for a black bear to act aggressively. If one attacks you, use any weapons you have available. Pepper sprays or stones may prove helpful. As soon as possible, contact the local authorities for emergency assistance.

6. If you feel the need to shoot a bear, remember this is only legal in some situations. Arizona permits it when bears endanger humans, farm animals are killed or gun owners obtain the appropriate hunting license. Do not use a firearm near someone else’s home unless it is absolutely necessary.

Basically, it is wise to avoid providing any convenient sources of food or water on your campsite. A carefully selected camping location can also enhance bear safety. Remember to exercise extreme caution and try to avoid direct contact.

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Best Equestrian Campgrounds In Arizona

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Some of the best equestrian campgrounds in Arizona include Groom Creek, Strayhorse and Little Elden Springs. With many square miles of desert and mountain terrain, horseback riding is one of the most popular outdoor activities in the state. Campgrounds catering to horseback riders are located in several different counties and are therefore a relatively easy driving distance from various cities throughout the state. Some horse camps are primarily for equestrian who already own their own horses, and some others offer riding lessons or rentals as well. Campgrounds mostly have individual sites to rent, though a few have large group campsites as well.

Strayhorse Campground

Located in the White Mountains of central Arizona, the Strayhorse Campground has two major horse trails going east to west. The campground also has a corral available for horses and easy access for vehicles towing large horse trailers. Strayhorse is located at a higher mountain elevation and provides some cooler summer temperatures away from the desert heat. Campsites include space for trailers as well as trucks or RVs for overnight equestrian getaways.

Groom Creek Campground

Groom Creek is a horse campground located near the town of Prescott, and the US Forest Service recently had the facility renovated to accommodate larger numbers of campers and their horses. Reservations in advance are required for spaces at this equestrian campground. This campground’s location offers plenty of shade from the nearby pine forest, making it a welcome escape from the much hotter desert during the summer.

Little Elden Springs Campground

The Little Elden Springs campground is only a short distance outside Flagstaff, in northern Arizona. It’s designated only for horse owners, and it has 15 campsites big enough to fit horse trailers as well as larger pickup trucks. Each campsite has all the needed accommodations for horses, including corrals and water stations. Little Elden Springs has trail access to the Mount Elden trail system, which is made up of over 30 miles of trails. A favorite among horseback riders is the Deer Hill Trail, which offers great views of the nearby San Francisco mountains. Campers are also advised to make reservations in advance at Little Elden Springs, since the campsites fill up quickly during the spring and summer months.

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Quick Tips For Building An Amazing Winter Snow Fort

484077419Are you ready to awe your neighbors this winter? Are you thinking about launching a sneak snowball attack from the ultimate home base? Here are five tips for building a snow fort.

Prepare your space and equipment

No matter what your final fort will look like, some basic prep work will help it to last.  Trace the perimeter of your structure in the snow with a stick, or handle. If a ton of snow fell, go ahead and draw a four-walled fort. However, if you have less snow, stick with a smaller design that utilizes a single wall with short wings to use for cover.

To create the bricks for your fort, look for items that are easy to fill, and a uniform shape. Some ideas are a beach pail, a plastic storage box, or a cooler.  Gather your molds, and a yardstick for getting the snow out more easily.

Construct your bricks

Pack snow into your container. Wet snow works the best. If your snow is powdery, try to start with snow that is near buildings or landscaping, as this tends to be wetter.  Pack the snow down tightly to ensure your brick stays together when you unmold it.

Fill your space

Start building your fort by placing your bricks around the perimeter you drew earlier. Leave a few inches between each block, and then stack the next layer like a brick wall, with the upper brick overlapping two lower bricks. Once you have your bricks in place, fill in the gaps with additional snow to bolster your walls.

Smooth the walls

The side of a snow shovel, a plastic lid, or a trowel can all be used for this step.  Your goal is to make the walls of the fort smooth, and slanted slightly. Think about the sides of a pyramid, and go for that look for extra strength.

Make ice

Dump buckets of cold water over the entire fort, starting at the bottom and working your way up.  As this water freezes, you will create an ice layer that will help your fort withstand snowball attacks.

Now that you have created the ultimate snow fort, you can start stockpiling snowballs so you are ready for battle whenever the opportunity arises.

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Vacationing In Blackhawk, Colorado

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(Image Courtesy of Wikipedia)

If you are looking for a combination of the great outdoors and the bright lights and action of the casino, vacationing in Blackhawk Colorado may be the ideal answer. This historic mining town, about an hour’s drive from Denver, offers a choice of 17 casinos of varying size and access to some of the state’s most spectacular scenery.

The first casinos were opened in Blackhawk during the early 1990s in an effort to halt the town’s decline since its boom days as a mining town in the late 19th century. Gold was discovered in nearby Gregory Gulch, which led to thousands of prospectors arriving in the area, all bent on making their fortune. Today, the town’s casinos vary in size from those offering over 1,000 slot machines, to smaller establishments offering a less frenzied and quieter atmosphere and just 100 slots.

There is a wide choice of accommodation if you are vacationing in Blackhawk Colorado, although the town is also a popular day trip from Denver. Several of the larger casinos also offer accommodation, including the Ameristar Casino Resort Spa. Gamblers can choose from 40 table games, and 1,500 video and slot machines, as well as a choice of over 500 rooms and suites. The other three large casino hotels in town include the lady Luck casino Blackhawk, with 10 poker tables and almost 600 slot machines.

If you prefer to gamble somewhere smaller, Blackhawk has over a dozen smaller gambling venues, ranging in size from Golden Gates Casino with almost 300 slot machines, to the Bull Pen Casino, with just over 100 slots. Most of the smaller gambling establishments in town offer slots only and are somewhat unpretentious. As well as gambling, the town of Blackhawk offers a great selection of restaurants to suit any budget, and the town makes a convenient base for excursions into the Rockies.

We can highly recommend Blackhawk, one of the area’s most popular destinations, and it appeals to families, couples, those who want an outdoor adventure and those who don’t want to leave the air conditioned casino.

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Learn The Basics Of Windsurfing

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Windsurfing is a popular water sport that is a cross between sailing and surfing. Windsurfers stand on a board and use their hands to manipulate a large sail so it catches the wind for forward propulsion. Maintaining the proper position for the hips and feet is crucial for beginners interested in learning windsurfing basics.

The key to windsurfing is to stay balanced even while the wind fluctuates. An improper stance will pull the windsurfer over every time he or she experiences a lull in the wind or a sudden gust. If the wind tries to pull the sail out of the hands, the windsurfer’s body weight shifts to the back of the feet and the board bounces instead of gliding smoothly over the water’s surface.

The ideal standing position on the board is with the hips pointing slightly forward. Twisting the body forward at the hips and looking upwind gives the windsurfer better control over the sail. Beginners quickly discover that twisting makes it easier to move in and out of the board’s footstraps.

Windsurfers must start with the feet in the proper position to master the twist. The most important thing to remember is to keep the front foot pointing toward the nose of the sailboard at all times. This requires moving the heel toward the center of the board. It is much more difficult to twist the hips into the proper position if the front foot is not pointing forward. This is true whether the windsurfer is using the footstraps or not. The back foot should be in a position perpendicular to the board.

In addition to keeping the body in the proper stance, learning to look upwind is critical for analyzing ripples on the water to determine wind strength. If the wind dies down, the windsurfer should shift body weight slightly towards the front of the board. When the wind gusts, it becomes necessary to shift more weight to the back leg to avoid being pulled down.

With the proper gear and knowledge, windsurfing is a fun and rewarding outdoor activity for people of all ages. Using a harness attached to the sail gives beginners more control while they are learning the basics of the sport.

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Schedule a Park City Rafting and Kayaking Trip Today

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If you are looking for some of the best Park City Utah rafting, look no further than the scenic Weber River. Exciting half day rafting trips are offered by All Seasons Adventures, who have been offering trips since 2001.

One of the advantages of rafting on the Weber is its convenience – the company’s launch site is just under an hour’s drive from Park City. Another advantage is that the 8 mile stretch of river offers views of some of the area’s most stunning scenery, including an area of the river known as the Rock Garden. Here, centuries of weathering has produced a series of balanced rocks, arches and caves, all formed out of the distinctive orange and red sandstone. Other attractions along the river, which was once the bottom of an ancient inland sea, include one of the state’s most unusual rock formations, the Devil’s Slide.

Even if you aren’t an expert, this Park City Utah rafting trip is ideal, as it includes some more difficult passages mixed with slower stretches, which allow you to catch your breath and enjoy the scenery. Of course, safety is the main concern of All Seasons Adventures, and all rafting participants are given a safety talk and demonstration, and fitted with a personal flotation device. Children aged over 4 who are able to swim are welcome on one of these rafting adventures.

The company offers two Park City rafting trips each day, one in the morning and one departing in the afternoon, making it easy to fit in with your schedule. You can drive yourself to the raft launch site, or the company will pick you up and take you there. Rafting trips typically last between 4 to 5 hours, with about half of that time actually spent rafting on the river. All that exercise and fresh air may make you hungry, and All Seasons provides a healthy lunch at the end of the trip. While not as well known as other Southwest rivers, the Weber offers some spectacular rafting, with scenery to match.

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You Should Visit The Moab Music Festival 2015

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With stunning red rocks, Moab is adventurous paradise, attracting bikers, hikers, river rafters to southeastern Utah. When the heat of summer tapers off around Labor Day, however, Moab becomes an extraordinary concert theatre for world-class musicians. The Moab music festival holds a chain of chamber music concerts, amidst the stunning red rock landscape and along the scenic Colorado River.

Moab Music Festival Background

The Music Festival was founded in 1992 by New York based pianist, Michael Barrett and violist, Leslie Tomkins. The two couples fall in love with the red rock of Moab and were inspired to combine the thrilling landscape with the joy of music making. According the two musicians, starting a music festival was one way of ensuring that they would return to these beautiful landscapes again and again. The festival is famed for its distinctive programming, outstanding performances, great concert experiences of chamber music, jazz, traditional, Latin, and music of living composers.

From its inception, Moab Music Festival has been committed to education provision through music and cultural enrichment in the Moab community. The festival has an annual goal of reaching all the children in the Grand County Schools and providing inspirational assemblies with the attending musicians for the students. There are educational experiences for music lovers of all age as well—through its artist-in-residence program.

The festival is managed by a board of trustees and a group of professional staff supported by enthusiastic community volunteers, donors and advertisers. It is recognized by the IRS as a non-profit organization and is funded by the ticket revenues and contributions from individual stakeholders, foundations, local businessmen, and grants from various local, state, and federal agencies.

2015 Festival

The 17 concerts of the Moab Music Festival 2015 will be held in a variety of indoor and outdoor venues in and around Moab. The Grotto concerts, the Moab Music Festival’s signature events will be taking place in the pristine wilderness of Grotto, 30 miles down the Colorado River, and can be reached by a jet boat.

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Tips For Successful Turkey Hunting Trip

If you are going on a turkey hunting trip and you want to emerge victorious then you need to educate yourself on how to hunt turkeys like a pro. To be able to hunt turkeys successfully one should be able to mimic wild turkeys perfectly, in terms of tone, cadence and pitch. Moreover, it is also important to know one’s way around the woods.

Using multiple calls when you’re calling out to turkeys is a proven way of getting their attention and getting them to come near you. You should aim to call like a whole flock, which means you need to make multiple calls at the same time. It is also helpful to make slower gobbler yelps by dropping your jaw more when you’re making the call. Trying out the kee-kees may also prove to be beneficial for you. The kee-kee is the lost call of young birds.

For a successful turkey hunting trip you must use the terrain to your advantage, especially in case of turkeys that simply refuse to move from their place. Using the right friction call really does the job well, so you should observe the turkey and read its mood well in order to figure out how much you need to call. Also, keep your ears perked up for sounds of crunching leaves because it will tell you where you should aim your gun at.

Gobbling is not the only reaction turkeys make to the sounds they hear. If you were to observe these birds closely then you will notice that some of them may just strut or crane their necks instead of gobbling. If you spot a turkey then you should give it a few calls and maybe make wing-flapping sounds with the help of a turkey wing to trick it into believing that there is a fly-down. Sometimes, in case of difficult turkeys it also makes sense to form a ‘tag-team’ of sorts and to have a partner. This is particularly useful for birds that are difficult to call out to.

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Tips For Choosing A Fishing Trip Charter

Many people dream of a fun and exciting fishing trip, but it takes careful planning and a little research in order to ensure your fishing charter is able to deliver the experience you are hoping for. An unforgettable offshore fishing trip depends on choosing the right boat and captain for your adventure.

Cost Isn’t Everything

There’s no doubt, the cost of an offshore fishing adventure will play an important part in choosing a fishing trip charter; however, it’s also important that you know just what you’re getting when making your decision. Remember, just because a particular charter offers lower prices, does not necessarily make it a better choice.

It is important to consider the fact that a reputable captain will have up-to-date insurance, quality equipment and a reliable vessel. Cutting corners might allow a budget charter to set lower prices, but consider what you might be giving up.

Safety is Important

When choosing a fishing trip charter, safety should always be at the top of your list. When you’re heading out to sea, things can happen. Weather can turn bad with almost no warning. Someone could accidentally fall overboard or there could be a collision between two boats. It is imperative that the charter you choose has up to date insurance.

Other things to consider are whether anyone on board is trained in First Aid or CPR and, of course, there should be a properly fitting life jacket for every single person on board.

Experience of the Captain

Every charter is unique and making sure you have an experienced captain can make a huge difference in the fun and success you have during your fishing trip. An experienced captain will generally provide charter service on a full-time basis. Additionally, the captain should have a license for operation. While it is certainly important that the captain has expertise regarding various types of fish, they should also have good people skills.

When you want to enjoy a rewarding and unforgettable charter fishing trip, be sure to do your research. An experienced captain with a well-maintained boat can offer the most exciting and rewarding experience.

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Tips For Choosing Trekking Poles

Trekking poles can be a hiker’s best friend out there in the wilderness. These are multi-purpose instruments that everyone should consider. They can reduce the stress on joints, help out when hiking up steep inclines, provide balance on gnarly terrain, prop up a tent, shoo dangerous animals, and many more. Here are some tips if you are buying poles for the first time:

Always Buy a Pair of Poles

They are usually sold individually so you can get a single piece to try out on a hike. However, it really is best to purchase a pair since you can never be sure when stocks will run out. It would be difficult to use non-matching poles in the future due to lack of foresight. The feel will be different and it would be hard to get a good balance. You will need to use two on longer hikes anyway so better get a pair while you can.

Mind the Weight for Long Hikes

The thing about poles is that although they make the journey easier on your legs, they transfer the load to your arms. You need to have a pretty solid upper body so that you will not ache after constantly carrying these pieces all day. They may seem light but the repetitive motion does take its toll. Find the lightest ones you can afford. Those made of carbon fiber and similar materials are worth their price.

Find Out the Range of Lengths

Most poles are height-adjustable. The majority of hikers will have no trouble setting things up to a comfortable length. Those who are on the opposite extremes when it comes to height might want to check out the specifications just to make sure that they are buying the right poles. This is even more critical when getting collapsible pole which are non-adjustable.

Get a Suitable Basket

The attachment near the end of the poles is there to keep them from submerging deep into mud and snow. Winter hiking will require a basket of larger diameter.

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