Say yes to Yellowstone!

What’s a three-letter word for Yellowstone National Park? How about Wow? This enormous park is the size of Delaware and Rhode Island combined! Yellowstone is located mostly in Wyoming, but some parts spill into Montana and Idaho. This is America’s first national park, and with over 2000 campsites, it’s a great place to go camping.

Much of the park sits in an ancient volcanic crater. Yellowstone is full of bubbling mud pots, steaming hot springs, and over 300 geysers. Friendly park rangers can tell you all about these geologic wonders.

Have you ever heard of Old Faithful? This famous geyser is Yellowstone’s most popular attraction. Geysers are hot springs that erupt occasionally. Old Faithful’s eruptions are very predictable. That’s how this geyser got its name. Every 45 to 110 minutes, Old Faithful sends up to 8400 gallons of boiling water and steam high into the air. Crowds of people come to cheer at this impressive sight.

Yellowstone has more than just the world’s largest group of geysers. There are spectacular waterfalls and towering cliffs. The park even has its own Grand Canyon! You can hike Uncle Tom’s Trail from the top of the canyon down to the base of the Lower Falls waterfall. There are amazing views up and down this stairway trail. It’s well worth climbing 328 stairs to get back up. But if you get tired, there are benches where you can rest.

If you’re on the lookout for wildlife, this is the place to go! There’s lots of room for bear, moose, bison, lynx, mountain goats, and many other animals to roam. Bald eagles soar overhead. More wild animals live in Yellowstone than almost anywhere else in the US. Are you saying Wow yet?

Visitors can ride in a stagecoach, go horseback riding, or pan for gold in a stream. You can take an exciting Whitewater rafting tour down a river. Your guide will get you through the rapids safely. Nearby towns have thrilling events like Indian Powwows and rodeos. This was once the “Wild West,” after all.

There’s so much more to do and see in Yellowstone. Does camping here sound like fun? Here’s another three-letter word: Yes!

Never fry bacon in bear country.

It’s early morning, and you’re frying bacon at a camps Yum! Seven miles away, another bacon lover gets a whiff of that delicious smell. Who or what can smell bacon that far away? People can’t, but bears can! Read on to find out why you should never fry bacon in bear country.

What is bear country? It’s wherever bears live, such as a forest or a state or national park. Bears wander throughout bear country searching for food. They use their keen sense of smell to find things to eat.

Bears aren’t picky eaters. They eat anything: berries, nuts, plants, animals and carrion. Carrion is the flesh of dead animals. But bears also love the taste of your food! They are attracted to the smell of food that campers bring to their campsite. If a bear gets a whiff of your bacon, don’t be surprised if he shows up for breakfast!

Bears will travel a long way for food. They will walk or run on their four huge, flat paws. They can run fast over a short distance. While traveling, a bear sometimes stands on its hind legs and sniffs the air. This helps keep the bear on the right track.

If a bear arrives at your campsite searching for food, it may challenge you if it feels threatened. This is one animal that you don’t want to come face-to-face with. Bears have huge, strong bodies with long, sharp claws and teeth and powerful jaws. Besides harming you, a bear could destroy your campsite looking for food. If it finds some, it’ll probably return later, searching for more. The best way to keep bears from finding your food is to keep all your edibles in ice chests or storage containers. When you’re not using them, keep these closed containers in vehicles.

A run-in with a hungry bear can upset your camping trip. That’s why it’s a good idea to leave the bacon at home!

Other smelly things besides bacon attract bears. Here are some to avoid bringing to your campsite!

* scented deodorant, soap, lotion, or toothpaste

* peanut butter

* salmon, tuna, and other fish

* barbecued food

* sweet-smelling fruits

* candy

* fried chicken

Visiting the Grand Canyon

Is the Grand Canyon a good place for girls and boys to visit? You bet it is! There are plenty of things to do in this beautiful national park, like going camping and hiking and taking pictures with your camera.

Located in the state of Arizona, the Grand Canyon is often called one of the Seven Wonders of the World. It is huge! The canyon measures 18 miles wide and 277 miles long. The park includes over one million acres of land. That’s hard to imagine. It is one of the most popular places in the United States. President Theodore Roosevelt declared it a National Monument in 1908, over 100 years ago. It became a National Park in 1919.

There are three main sections: the South Rim, the North Rim, and the Inner Canyon. The South Rim is visited most often because it is open to the public all year long. People can camp there in every season (remember if you want to camp in winter, you should have to buy a best family tent that features 4 season tent). Even your pets are welcome as long as they are always on a leash and never left alone.

The North Rim is more difficult to get to and is closed in winter, but it also is a great place to visit. People camp there during the open season.

Did you know one of the best seller camping tent named Coleman Red Canyon Tent?

The Inner Canyon is located below the rim of the Grand Canyon. Hikers often go there, as well as people riding on mules and in river boats.

Very few people have seen the entire canyon. It’s just too big. But when you walk a trail along the top of the canyon and look down, you’ll be amazed at how far you can see. The canyon seems to go on forever.

At the campgrounds, the park rangers often give talks. People sit around a circle together, frequently in the evening, and learn about the Grand Canyon as stars cover the skies.

The visitor centers are always good to visit. You can learn a lot about the canyon and look at the exhibits. Walking the trails–and many are easy–is lots of fun and very good for taking photos.

There’s nothing more fun than staying in one of the Grand Canyon campgrounds with your family.

Next time

“Ethan, this is soooo cool!” Daniel said.

“Yeah, Ethan,” Madison added. “Thanks for inviting us.”

Ethan sat up in his sleeping bag and trained a flashlight beam on his two guests, replying, “You’re welcome.”

Daniel sat erect in his sleeping bag too. “Ethan,” he began anew, “I had no idea that camping could be so much fun.”

“The same goes for me,” Madison added. “I must admit that I was a little scared to try this.”

Ethan lowered his flashlight beam, stating, “Well, camping doesn’t have to be painful.” In the semi-darkness, Daniel nodded.

“After all,” Ethan continued, “it’s the little things I do that make a stay in the woods comfortable.”

Madison asked, “Oh, yeah? Like what?”

Ethan swung his flashlight beam outside into the darkness to illuminate the guy lines on his tent. Then he asked, “Do you see the tiny fluorescent cords that I tied to my guy lines?”

“Yes,” Madison returned.

“I do too,” Daniel replied.

“Well, that makes the guy lines visible after dark,” Ethan explained. “That way, I don’t trip over them.”

“I never would’ve thought of that,” Daniel admitted.

Then Ethan moved his flashlight beam to a plastic object on the tent’s floor. “Secondly,” he continued, “I keep a bottle of water next to my sleeping bag in case I get thirsty in the middle of the night.”

“Oh, that’s a good call,” Madison said.

Lastly, Ethan swung his flashlight beam to a plastic baggie hanging from the tent’s inner wall. “When I’mcamping,” he explained, “I keep my body energized with a trail mix that consists of nuts, dried fruit, and chocolate.”

Daniel’s eyebrows went up.

“After all,” Ethan summarized, “you can’t afford to go hungry out in the wilderness.”

“Wow, Ethan,” Madison said. Ethan returned the flashlight beam to Madison’s face.

“I’m impressed,” she stated.

“Yeah, Ethan,” Daniel agreed. “I am too.”

“Well, this is what camping is all about,” Ethan stated. “It’s becoming one with nature–despite the hardships. It’s overcoming the mosquitoes biting you or the wild animals getting into your food.”

Suddenly, the threesome heard a strange noise.

Click!

Instantly, the tent became flooded with light. Then Madison and Daniel heard their host’s mother ask, “Ethan?”

Ethan shut off his flashlight. “Yeah, Mom?”

“I popped some corn for you and your friends.”

“OK,” Ethan replied. “Thanks, Mom.”

“I’ll get it,” Madison offered. She sat erect and unzipped her sleeping bag. Then Madison bicycle-kicked her legs until she was completely free from the bag’s down confines. As Ethan and Daniel watched, she scooted down to the end of the tent. There, she unzipped the door, raised the flap, and crawled out.

Ethan and Daniel heard Madison say, “Thank you for the popcorn, Mrs. Webb.”

“Oh, you’re welcome, Maddie.”

Madison crawled back into the tent with a steaming hot bowl of popcorn.

“OK, Ethan,” she said, “now that we’ve got this camping thing down in your family room, next time, can we at least move out to your backyard?”

Greetings from Cumberland Island, Georgia

A barrier island off the coast of Georgia is not a place that automatically comes to mind when thinking about destinations to view wild horses. Roughly the size of Manhattan, Cumberland Island is protected by the U.S. National Park Service and is rich in wildlife and diverse ecosystems. Wild horses roam the fertile salt marshes, maritime forests and more than 17 miles of golden brown beaches.

I took a short ferry ride from St. Marys, Georgia, to spend a few days on the island. You can either camp out on the island or splurge at the interesting and historic Greyfield Inn, the only lodging on the island. Built in 1900 as a wedding present for Lucy and Thomas Carnegie’s daughter Margaret, the small, elegant inn is filled with family antiques. Its front porch is also a prime spot to sit and watch buffaloes, who like to graze just outside the hotel. The buffaloes who roam the island are thought to be a blend of stock from the Carnegie family mixed with horses from other plantation owners and Spanish steeds of years past.

We saw a few wild buffaloes on the field on the field outside of Greyfield Inn. The sky was very blue when the field was absolutely green, flatting till the end of horizon. I closed my eyes, imagined the age of the buffaloes, the age that buffaloes were too crowd and the Indians never had to worry about food. There was a very big buffalo, absolutely the leader. It came close to our cameraman. Everybody has laugh happily.

I recommend staying on the island to do your wild buffalo viewing, taking a few days away from the modern, busy world to go off the grid and enjoy nature at its finest. You’ll certainly learn more about herd hierarchy and relax in a place where wildlife and nature truly rule.

Best,

How to avoid the perils of camping: be prepared for the unexpected. (first aid & safety)

Stacy and Jen were roasting marshmallows over the campfire when Stacy’s long hair dangled into the flames and caught on fire. Thinking fast, Jen grabbed a jacket and covered Stacy’s hair to smother the fire. Stacy could have been badly burned, but–thanks to Jen–only a few locks got singed. She also learned how important it is to tie back hair when around an open fire.

Camping can be a wonderful experience. But along with the pleasures of camping, you’ll need to know how to prevent or deal with the possible dangers. Your first line of defense is a first-aid kit. It should contain all the essential supplies for coping with mishaps such as cuts, burns, stings, and rashes. These include: bandages, sterile gauze and adhesive tape, butterfly closures, tweezers, alcohol wipes, scissors, instant cold pack, antiseptic cream, aspirin, and calamine lotion.

Develop Survival Sense

Prepare for the unexpected–anything from a drenching rain to a raccoon raid–by packing a survival kit. Here’s what it should contain:

* map and compass. Every year, countless campers get lost in the woods. Stick to well-marked trails or camp with someone who is familiar with the area.

* extra clothing, food, and bottled water

* flashlight with extra batteries, matches in a waterproof container, and a fire starter

* snakebite kit

* sunglasses, sunscreen, and a hat

* all-purpose knife

* whistle. Blowing a whistle is a great way to let people know where you are.

Weather or Not

Camping experiences are largely affected by weather. Before you go on a long hike, check the forecast. If you’re caught in a storm, squat down and avoid being near the tallest object, such as a lone tree that attracts lightning. If you can, get in a car. If you’re on a mountaintop, head down as fast as you can.

Flash floods are another camping hazard. Small streams can become raging rivers in no time. Pitch your tent on ground that is significantly higher than a nearby stream or canyon. In a flash flood, drop your backpack and climb as fast as you can to higher ground. During and after heavy rains, stay out of floodwaters and narrow canyons.

Can You Canoe?

If you’re canoeing, be sure to keep these factors in mind:

1. Wear a personal flotation device.

2. Avoid alcohol.

3. Stay out of cold water.

4. Go with someone who is an experienced canoer.

5. Make sure all the boating equipment is in good repair; take extra paddles.

Beginners should stay away from rushing rivers, rapids, and large bodies of water. Sheltered areas offer protection from wind, the enemy of canoeists. Start with short boat trips, and know alternate routes and exit points in case you get tired or have an emergency. Dress for the water (not air) temperature in case you go overboard. Cold water weakens even the best swimmers, and hypothermia can be deadly. Bring extra clothes in a waterproof container.

Bites and Rashes

When deciding what clothes to wear, choose white, beige, or khaki. Dark-colored clothing attracts most biting insects and makes it difficult to spot ticks. Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants that fit snugly to further guard against pesky bugs and poisonous plants, especially when hiking in the woods.

Campfire Cautions

Before building a fire, check with the forest service, national park, or local authorities, advises Tim Black, special events coordinator for Recreational Equipment, Inc., and an experienced hiker. “During drought conditions, there are bans on campfires,” says Black. “If a fire pit is available, definitely use that.” Pitch your tent upwind from the fire and keep flammable materials at least 5 feet away.

To avoid food-borne illnesses, Winkler Weinberg, M.D., chairman of the Georgia-Pacific Health Smart Institute Advisory Board in Atlanta, Georgia, advises not placing raw meat on the grill until the coals are red hot. Then cook it thoroughly and eat it immediately. When the fire has died down, break up what’s left with a wet stick. Then, sprinkle water on the wood, coals, and embers until they’re completely wet and cold.

As a final caution, tell your family and a friend where you’re camping and give them a phone number, such as the park ranger station, in case you don’t return when you say you will.

Camping can be a fun and wonderful experience–if you follow the safety precautions and know how to avoid those possible perils.

Students will be able to describe the attributes of a competent camper.

REVIEW/DISCUSS

* Based on the article and any personal experiences, list some qualities desirable for being a good camper. (Answers will vary, but should include factors such as: a person who is physically fit; knows first aid or is able to follow directions from a manual; knows what to do about safety issues related to food and weather; is well-organized and equipped.)

ACTIVITY

* Have students assemble items recommended for a camping excursion. Then pack everything in a compact, efficient manner, keeping in mind that items that may be needed often should not be buried at the bottom. Ask for volunteers to carry the equipment for one class period and comment on the weight and practicality, keeping in mind that in school they are not climbing on rocky terrain, uphill, on unsure footings, or in inclement weather.