Tips For Camping With Your Dog For The First Time

camping with dogs

by Jill Chen / CC



Taking your favorite friend camping can be one of the most enjoyable outdoor activities to experience if a person is well equipped and ready. Dogs love to go on a trip with their human companions, and are usually the first one to jump in the car. Making the trip a pleasant one for both you and your pooch is just a matter of planning ahead for the adventure.

First off is getting your dog used to other dogs and people. You never know who you are going to come across while camping or hiking and it is best to have a calm animal at your side. There are many classes available at local pet stores or community colleges for those wanting to socialize their dogs and teach them basic commands.

Planning on where you will take your trip is another must, as some parks and camping facilities will not allow dogs. Finding a dog-friendly camp ground or hiking trail is relatively easy as there are many websites with this information available. Ensure that your dogs vaccinations are up to date as most facilities that allow dogs will want to see their rabies vaccination tags. It is also a good idea to have your dog protected against fleas and ticks. Ticks can be especially prolific during the summer months and one short outing could find your dog with dozens of ticks in their coat. Ticks can transmit diseases and in some cases can even cause death.

Teaching your dog to help carry camping supplies, such as their own food and water can help to cut down on weight in a backpack. For large dogs helping to carry supplies is not usually a problem and there are even special packs available for this purpose. Having water available for your dog is a must, since natural springs or pools may contain bacteria or parasites that can make both you and your dog sick. If your dog is a lover of the water, be sure to rinse them off when they come out of the water. It may even be worth it to have a water safety device for your dog as not all dogs like the water, but may end up in it regardless.

If you are planning to camp or hike during the colder winter months your canine companion may require a coat of some sort. Dogs do have fur coats, but some are far denser than others, and smaller dogs tend to be more susceptible to the cold than larger breeds. Keeping your dog warm and dry is key to keeping them healthy and happy. It is also good to keep in mind where your pet will sleep. Does your dog like to snuggle at night? If so, is your sleeping bag big enough for the two of you? A medium or larger size dog may require its own sleeping pad or blanket.

Finally, one of the most important things to remember is waste disposal. As with human waste, dog waste must be buried and kept away from water sources, trails, and camp sites by at least 200 feet.

Plan accordingly and both you and your pet will find your outdoor adventure to be one you want to experience time and again.

5 Reasons To Make Your Next Trip An Escape Back To Nature

outdoor nature

Photo Michael Tapp / CC BY 

Vacations from the day-to-day grind are a must to regain enthusiasium and purpose on the job and in life. Taking some time off from the stress of a job, or the responsibility of raising children can reinvigorate a person enabling them to take on the world again.

Getting out in the great outdoors and disconnecting from the world at large can do wonders for an individuals health. Constant amounts of stress over time can damage the brains ability to learn and remember due to the constant amounts of cortisol and adrenaline being released into the system. For women, stress can interfere with the reproductive cycle and also cause harm to a developing baby. Stress is also a cause of bowel issues such as IBS or irritable bowel syndronm as well as compromising the immune system.

Sitting for long periods of time also has associated health risks. Those who sit in front of a computer all day run the increased risk of cardiovascular disease and just plain old back problems. Getting up from the couch and taking a walk, or taking breaks from the computer during the day to take a walk around the building will go a long way towards offsetting the health risks.

Children are just as likely to experience stress as their parents. With the extensive curriculums followed by most schools along with added homework, a child needs to relieve their daily stress too. What better way than to give them the great outdoors to run around in? Make it a technology free vacation, with no cell phones or texting or Facebook. Try a few nature escapes such as:

  1. Take a day trip to the zoo – While we don’t all have the time or money to travel, going to the zoo gives us the opportunity to see animals we might not otherwise get the chance to. Just being able to laugh together at koalas playing, or learn something new while studying the cheetahs allows the walls to come down and the fun to begin.
  2. Go camping – Children love to camp in the outdoors. Camping allows everyone to work at setting up the campsite which gives a feeling of group accomplishment. Since there is usually no electricity to be found it gives a family a chance to talk and reconnect with each other.
  3. Go for a hike – If time is a concern, a day spent hiking may be your call to nature. A small backpack with food, water and a first aid kit is all you need for a relaxing day of walking the trails.
  4. Visit a national monument – There are national monuments and parks all over the United States, usually within driving distance. Visiting one of our national monuments will not only give you some vacation time but also allows the opportunity to learn about our nations history. Some of the national parks have lodges for visitors to stay overnight and some of them have camp sites for the more adventurous.
  5. Travel to a foreign country – It can be costly, but will also be one of the experiences you will never forget. Travel to a foreign country will get a person out of their comfort zone. You will need to learn at least some of the language and be open to new, exciting experiences. Visiting a new country together will create a family bond like no other vacation can.

Nature is calling and it’s for our benefit that we take that call. Being in the great outdoors will relieve stress along with other health benefits. If you vacation with your family it will create new memories and bonds within your family. Getting out into natures beauty is one of the healthiest things a human can do for themselves.

How To Prevent Poisonous Spider Bites While Trekking

Poisonous Spider Bites

Photo João André O. Dias / CC BY 

Hiking or backpacking in the wilderness areas of the United States can be a truly memorable experience. Whether hiking a mountain trail or taking a trek along the beach being in the great outdoors is a healthy way to relax and experience nature.

One of the ways to make your adventure more pleasurable is to be extremely aware of your surroundings and of the various animals and insects that may populate the area. Campers and day hikers must take precautions against any known dangers such as wild cats, bears, snakes, insects and even spiders. Some of the most lethally dangerous snakes in the world live in the United States, such as the Rattlesnake whose bite can cause organ damage and in some cases even death.

As scary as an encounter with a snake can be, a spider bite can be even worse. Believe it or not, there is a spider in South America that can grow to be up to a foot long, and while some of these larger spiders are much more scary to look at, the bites from their smaller counterparts can be more deadly.

The most venomous spiders that are commonly found in the United States are the Black Widow spider, the Hobo spider and the Brown Recluse spider. Symptoms from the bites of these spiders vary, but the venom from these spider bites do not usually cause death. Symptoms may include a rash, headache, nausea, a fever and possibly pain at the site of the spider bite. If a spider bite occurs the first thing to do is figure out what kind of spider it is, to determine if the bite is venomous. Wash the area of the bite with soap and water and apply a cold compress if swelling occurs, then seek immediate medical attention.

To help prevent spider bites from happening in the first place, pay attention to your surroundings. Spiders like to hang out in dark undisturbed places where they can nest. Do not stick your hands or feet into these types of places without checking for spiders first with a flashlight. Spiders will even crawl into unattended shoes, so check those with a flashlight as well. Shake out any sleeping bags or blankets before crawling into them. When walking or hiking wear long pants or long sleeved shirts and try to avoid walking through long grasses, where snakes and spiders like to live. Do not walk around in your bare feet and keep any bags or containers you may carry with you sealed shut.

The main thing to remember is to be aware of your surroundings. Most spiders cannot even pierce the human flesh with their fangs, and snakes do not usually attack unless stepped on or disturbed, with the exception of the Eastern Brown Snake found in Australia which will actually chase anything it perceives as a threat. If you remain alert and check the dark spaces before settling down for a rest you’ll have a wonderful, bite-free experience.

How Coffee Is Grown

baby coffee plantsCoffee, what seems to be the world’s favorite beverage, has a distinctive aroma and a variety of tastes from bold to light and earthy and even a bit spicy. Today we have easy access to coffee shops which are on just about every corner, but you’d be surprised at the special care and environmental conditions it takes to produce the much loved beans that make up the world’s favorite brew.

Coffee berries are produced by a variety of smaller species of evergreen bushes also known as Coffea plants. The seeds are located in coffee “berries”, which grow on these plants that are harvested in more than 70 countries, largely in India, Asia, Africa and Latin America. Brazil is the world’s premier coffee exporting region, however Vietnam actually tripled their exports between 1995 – 1999, and grew to be a key grower of Robusta beans. Indonesia has become the third major exporter and is the key producer of washed Arabica coffee. The most traded agricultural commodities in the world today are actually unroasted (green) coffee.

The environment, climate and rainfall have an effect on the growth of Coffea plants, and the fruit flowering and maturing timelines vary. Generally, the Arabica species takes around 7 months, and 9 months for Robusta. You can tell the berries are ripe and ready to be harvested when they turn a red/purple color.

Arabica coffee plants are probably the most common, typically grown in volcanic regions where the moist soil is regularly tilled and fertilized. The higher the coffee is grown the longer it will take, and the better it will taste. Flavorful coffee takes time and that is why some blends can cost more than others.

Once they’re ripe, the coffee berries are harvested, carefully processed, and dried. Next the seeds are roasted at various degrees, based on the flavor desired, sold as coffee beans or ground, and then brewed into the delicious cup of coffee you enjoy today.

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Planning The Perfect Family Vacation

Planning the perfect family vacation isn’t always easy because you have multiple people’s likes and dislikes to consider, but with a well laid out plan is all you need to have a great time. There are a lot of different destinations to consider and most include things to see and do that everyone will enjoy.

There are some places that just don’t cater to family activities; a good example would be Norway which while it’s a beautiful place it can be expensive and most of the venues cater to adults. Indonesia isn’t exactly family friendly either despite how beautiful and scenic it is. It’s important to not only choose the right destinations but to be properly prepared. Below are some tips that will make planning the perfect family vacation a piece of cake.

Location Counts
Start by choosing a location that everyone in the family can enjoy. It can be challenging coming up with a vacation that please everyone but it is possible if you plan your trip early enough, choosing accommodations that are close to a variety of activities that will suit adults, teenager’s and the little ones in the group. You can also choose hotels that offer babysitting services for the grown ups can enjoy some time to themselves.

Wardrobe for the Kids
When planning a vacation make sure you plan out the right clothing for your children to wear from bathing suits and flip flops to comfortable athletic shoes, shorts and jackets. Another good rule of thumb is to pack extras.

Plan for Each Day
Kids get extremely antsy and you’ll need to find activities that you can all enjoy together. It’s not enough to spend the day shopping or visiting art galleries with most kids, you’ll need to have a plan that gives everyone something to look forward too. In other words everyone in the family should be able to pick something to do with the other’s willing to tag along knowing they’ll have a choice as well the next time around..

Start off Well Rested
Even though it may be difficult to make sure your already excited family will rest up before you head out on vacation, it can and will ensure that the experience is stress free. Sure it’s hard to finish up all the packing, etc., the day before you leave, but if you do you’ll be able to take it easy as you depart.

Vacations should be fun and stress free and taking the time to plan the perfect family vacation will be well worth the effort. Make sure that you plan a vacation that each member of your family can enjoy and while vacationing with children means a little more preparation it can still be an extremely enjoyable experience for everyone involved.

A Pristine Environment

Most areas of the world aren’t quite as pristine as the hi lands. If you take a look at this list of the most polluted cities in the world for example, you’ll see how just bad the problem can be.

But its not just about pollution. Much of this world is also rife with poor infrastructure and high levels of crime and danger. Even in the United States – the supposed beacon of freedom and peace – you’ll find plenty of crime and violence.

Poor infrastructure is major problem as well. Take a look at this list of the most dangerous roads in the world for example. You can even end up with a whole bunch of ridiculous laws on the books even in the most advanced legal system.

Of course, that’s completely leaving out the numerous wars that are ravaging certain parts of our world. Syria for example is undergoing extreme carnage and has been for 2 years. Of course, the war still rages on in Afghanistan, and much of Africa is embroiled in conflict.

When you start exploring the world, you’ll find things that leave you in awe, but you’ll also find things that leave you shaking your head, grateful for where you are right now.

Newspapers in the Highlands of Scotland and Moray

The Inverness Courier (Inverness-shire)
The Northern Scot (Moray)
The Highland News (Inverness-shire)
The Lochaber News (Lochaber)
The North Star (Ross-shire)
The Ross-Shire Journal (Ross-shire)
The Northern Times (Sutherland)
The Caithness Courier (Caithness and Sutherland)
The John O’Groat Journal (Caithness and Sutherland)
The Forres Gazette (Forres)
The Banffshire Journal (Banffshire)
The Strathspey and Badenoch Herald (Strathspey)

Other publications which may be useful

Executive Life
Lifestyle and business in the north and north-east

Highland Wedding Directory
Everything you need to know about getting married in the Highlands

You can buy subscriptions to any of these newspapers online at their respective web sites. Click on the paper you would like to buy and follow the link to ‘subscriptions’