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Camping and Hiking

  1. In bear country, you'll have to suspend food, garbage, and pots and pans from a rope in the trees. Do this religiously; an assault from a hungry bear can be dangerous. Suspending food will also deter other animals seeking a free meal.
  2. Car camping may be the way to go for those new to camping. You'll feel more comfortable knowing that your trunk contains what you need, and it's nice to know that anything you forgot is usually a short drive away into town or to the campground commissary.
  3. Always air out a tent before putting it away to prevent rotting and staining from mildew. When taking a tent down, make sure you shake out any debris from the inside; twigs and stones can rip and puncture the fabric. Always stuff a tent back into its stuff-sack; don't fold it. Creases from folds can weaken fabric fibers.
  4. Keep the fish biting by following a few simple steps when working with and tying monofilament fishing line: Check rod guides and eyelets for rough spots, make sure knots are tied securely before excess line is trimmed off, and use nail clippers or a pocket knife to do the cutting and not your teeth. Don't use heat from a match or lighter to melt the line to hooks and lures.
  5. Low-impact camping includes treating wildlife with respect. Hikers and campers should never molest or otherwise disrupt the natural flow of things in the woods. Stay relatively quiet and you're likely to see animals and birds at work and at play. Animals may never get very close, but they won't run away if you don't startle them.
  6. Inexpensive battery-operated weather radios are recent additions to the arsenal of prediction methods. These pocket-size radios pick up broadcasts from the National Oceanic and Aeronautical Administration (NOAA) from transmitters across the country. Short- and long-term weather forecasts are regularly broadcast 24 hours a day.
  7. Choosing the right hiking boots for the type of trekking you do is important. What really counts, no matter which model you choose, is that they fit properly.
  8. Outdoor adventurers should dress in layers[em]at the very least, underwear, a middle layer, and rain- and windproof shell.
  9. Before you venture into a wilderness area, consult the park ranger; research and plan your hiking trip carefully before you leave. Know the type of terrain and the weather conditions you will face.
  10. Paddlers must wear some kind of personal flotation device (PFD) as an important safety measure. Comfortable, modern PFDs mean there's no excuse not to wear one. Type III Coast Guard-approved PFDs offer safety in a comfortable, sleeveless vest that gives paddlers freedom of movement.
  11. Canoes and kayaks offer access to remote parts of the great outdoors. Kayaks are more stable than canoes, but offer less storage space.
  12. A few hours' worth of exercise every week can pay off in big dividends on a trip. Getting into shape lets you concentrate more on the beauty of the outdoors than on your tired, sore muscles.
  13. Ponds and muddy river and lake banks may be a breeding ground for leeches. If you swim in these places, there is a chance that leeches will attach themselves to your body. Don't panic if you din one! And don't try to pull it off with your fingers. Instead, sprinkle salt on the leech to make it recoil and fall to the ground.
  14. Avoid setting up camp near a swamp or other bug breeding grounds. The best campsite is a windy one, and if you are canoe camping, choose an island rather than a mainland campsite, far from shore.
  15. If you are traveling through a wilderness area and see a moose or bear mulling about at the side of the road, slow down, pull in, and stop. Slowly roll down your window and use the window as a support for your camera. Don't pull up too close to animals; they are sometimes unpredictable and may charge the car or run away if they feel threatened.

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