Posts tagged ‘camping’
This past weekend, I (Laila–A Chipper Ambassador!) went camping at Clear Lake, the largest natural freshwater lake entirely in California. Located in Lake Port, it’s not the most isolated camping area, but there’s lots of fun things to do on the lake: swimming, boating, water skiing, or just floating around! Luckily, some of the people I went with owned a boat and we had a blast just riding around this HUGE lake and checking out surrounding sites and all the water birds.
Never having been there before, I wasn’t sure what to expect or what to bring with me. When in doubt, bring lots of layers! Or whatever you can fit in the car. No matter the conditions (which ended up being perfect!), I was to be in charge of bringing the all-important S’more supplies: Skewers, Chocolate, Marshmallows, and Graham Crackers. You can just find a stick around your camp site instead of skewers but some areas don’t have prime twigs for roasting: long, thin and sturdy! Bringing a few skewers or chop sticks is a good idea just in case so you don’t get stuck with all your ingredients and no way to cook your marshmallows!
One of the campers was a Welsh man, age 63, who had never even heard of S’mores! I had just completed showing him how to make the perfect S’more when I thought–I should document this and share for all of you out there that don’t know much about S’more making! Of course, my second attempt to make a deliciously perfect “Shmo” (as I like to call them–from Toy Story ) and document it was a total disaster. It might have been something to do with holding my camera and taking photos with one hand while doing everything else with the other hand. In the end, my photos are more in line with what NOT to do when making a S’more so I just went with it:
1) Make sure you have all your ingredients BEFORE leaving home or the grocery store:
2) Build a nice big fire and make sure you have plenty of wood to keep it going!
4) Now it’s time to roast: the trickiest part depending on how you like your mellow! I like mine nice a gooey but not burnt so I usually slowly rotate my marshmallow a good distance from the fire. In this picture, I got too close and it caught fire!
6) You want to break your cracker in half BEFORE putting on the chocolate! I did this backwards and my S’more sandwich halves were pretty uneven. Not to mention, the chocolate got completely melted. Make sure to keep your Hershey’s in the cooler!
9) And ENJOY!!! Yummmmmmmm!!!!
Not perfect but it still tasted good! Of course, there is more than one way to skin a cat, as they say, and people have different preferences of how they like their marshmallows cooked–squishy, gooey, or crisp! How do YOU make your perfect S’more?
There’s nothing like spending time with the family around the camp fire under the open sky. Camping gives us all a retreat from the crazy, busy pace of our daily lives and gives us time to reflect and connect with your children. A little fresh air does wonders to a depressed teenager or a grumpy 4 year old. Take a nature walk and collect some rocks and leaves or just laze by a stream and watch the butterflies flutter by. There is no limit to the fun you can find when exploring our parks open spaces.
Join Chipper in supporting our Park Systems this summer by visiting and camping at our State and National Parks. Get out there and have your own adventure at one of our 279 State Parks. Click HERE to find parks with available sites and reserve your spot to start enjoying the great outdoors! Our noble Park Ranger’s can use all the support they can get with budget cuts and closures happening left and right. Donate in your name to any park of your choice when your purchase our Chipper for Parks Badge. Nothing inspires and benefits you and your children quite like nature and parks are the safest, easiest place to reconnect with our beautiful planet. Where will you go for your next camping adventure?
Here at Let’s Go Chipper, nature is our inspiration. Getting outside, even for a minute to feel the suns warmth on your skin, can lighten you day and clear your mind. There’s no better way to really appreciate nature and all its benefits than to enjoy a camping trip. It brings family together, encourages exercise and play, and is just plain fun for everyone, especially your pets!
It’s not always easy to remember everything to bring when your head to your local park or to a faraway wilderness. Like the scouts teach us, it’s very important to BE PREPARED! You never know what situation you’ll face and you can never be too careful.
Here’s a simple list of your basic camping necessities to help you plan your next camping adventure! Our original story and activity book, “Let’s Go Chipper: Into the Great Outdoors,” is a marvelous resource for your young adventurers to be apart of getting ready and learning some basic guidelines of exploring nature while staying safe. Click the link above to check it out!
- WALKS WITH NO ROCKS! Good, comfortable shoes and warm, absorbent socks are a must for any trip, especially for you avid hikers! Bring a pair of slippers is a good idea as well for making those late night bathroom trips.
- LEAVE NO TRACE! Be sure to bring some sort of trash and recycle bags! Keeping our campsites clean and picking up the messes we make help keep our environment healthy and clean for the next campers and future generations!
- LAYER CLOTHES! Make sure to bring some long pants for hiking through non-trail areas where you could get poison oak (or poison ivy). No body likes to get itchy scratches or bites while enjoying the beauties of nature. A First Aid kit with anti-itch cream is a MUST!
- SNACK ATTACK! Having healthy snacks, like trail mix or fruit, is key for any trip. Without some good nutrition, the kids (and you!) will start getting cranky and dampen the fun. Always have water near by as well and don’t forget to hydrate!
- PLAY BUT DON’T STRAY! When your kids are old enough to explore a bit on their own, make sure they ALWAYS hike with a partner and have a whistle, compass (that they can use!) or a piece of mirror with them in case they get lost. For the little ones, a good rule is, “Keep you Tail on the Trail!”
- FROM YOUR HEAD TO YOUR TOES, AND DON’T FORGET YOUR NOSE! Having adequate sun protection is even more necessary now that the sun is in its most active stage (the sun shifts its intensity level every 11 years)! Bring your hats and your visors when having fun in the sun. Make sure the sunscreen you choose is from 30 to 50 SPF and Paraben-free (Parabens are harmful preservatives in many skin and beauty products). Here is a great resource of what to avoid while making the important purchase of your next sunscreen: http://breakingnews.ewg.org/2012sunscreen/ Your next camping trip shouldn’t stress you out. Nature is a de-stressor! Just be prepared and GET CHIPPER!!!
Park Ranger’s inspire us to reconnect with nature. Many of us get caught up in our busy lives and feel like there’s never enough time to get to the park or take the family camping. But being in touch with our planet gives us all a much-needed respite. The Earth is not only our home; it provides us with everything we need, physically and spiritually. Nature was mankind’s first church and our National and State park rangers are our current environmental-clergymen! No matter what you believe, no one can deny the extreme importance of every facet of our planet. That’s why it’s so much fun to learn more about it!
Like Chipper, Lloyd Luketin is one Ranger who very dedicated to encouraging future generations to appreciate the outdoors and get inspired by the environments many fascinating aspects. He was very grateful for the opportunity to answer some of our questions about how awesome it is to be a Park Ranger at the famous Great Mountains National Park, home of “Smoky the Bear”-America’s fire watch mascot.
1. What inspired you to become a Park Ranger?
As a child I always liked to play outside, exploring the natural environments around me, and I still do. I like the feel of snowflakes melting on my face and mud squishing between my toes. I used to take long walks in the woods behind my house and examine all the birds, trees, flowers, and butterflies. There are two reasons I wanted to become a Park Ranger. First, I want to get today’s youth outside and in touch with the natural world around them. In sharing my love of nature I hope I will have a small part in developing the next generation of stewards who will be protecting the world’s wild places for future generations. The second reason I became a Park Ranger is that I get to be outside everyday. The mountains, valleys, forests, and streams that make up the Great Smoky Mountains are both my office and my playground.
2. What is the best part about being a Park Ranger? Describe a day on the job.
I work in the Resource Education Division. I teach outdoor, curriculum based, environmental education programs with children from kindergarten to high school. Every morning I will meet a school bus of children that are here on a school field trip. We may hike to a waterfall and study animals groups and habitats along the way or we may climb into a mountain stream and study aquatic invertebrates. We may even hike to the top of the highest peak to study weather and air pollution. Every day is different. The one thing that doesn’t change is that every day the student, teachers, and Rangers all have fun outside learning about the natural world.
3. What’s a fun fact about your park that you like to share with visitors?
The Great Smoky Mountains is famous for its natural history, cultural history and scenic vistas. We are located in Tennessee and Half in North Carolina. Scientists think we may have 100,000 different species of life in the park. One of those species is the American Black Bear. We have more than two Black Bears per square mile in the park. This may be the highest density of Black Bears in the world. We like to say that the Black Bear is a charismatic mega fauna. That means that it is a big (mega) animal (fauna) that everyone likes (charismatic).
4. What advice would you gives kids and their parent’s visiting your park?
There are so many things to do in the park that you should plan your favorite activities first before you even arrive. A great way to research what to do is on our website, www.nps.gov/grsm. When you get to the park, stop at one of our visitor centers and pick up a free Smokies Guide and a map. There is a lot of information available in our visitor centers along with rangers to answer any questions. Don’t forget to visit “Clingmans Dome”, the highest mountain in the park!
5. What is the most important thing about parks in your opinion?
There are two important things about National Parks. All the plants, animals and history are protected for all time and National Parks are here for us to enjoy. Please come visit us here at the Great Smoky Mountains. You will be glad you did!
Most of the park is a magnificent wilderness. The Cherokee described its foggy, serene mountains as shaconage, meaning “blue, like smoke.” Artifacts and log-home ruins from the Native peoples, who were very much in touch with their environments, can be seen all over the park. A visit here will surely motivate your kids to get out and play while also learning so much about nature. The Junior Park Ranger program (available at most National and State Parks) is an excellent place to start the process of improving our home we call Earth for your kids and all the generations after them. Let’s get outside and get Chipper today!
The spring-time snow is finally here and now is your last chance to hit the slopes with the family! Not only is it great exercise, playing in the snow is also a fun, fantastic way to connect with your family and with the beauty of nature this season. Our National and State parks are great resources for you and the family to find physical and emotional rejuvenation in nature this spring as nature begins to bloom again.
Mount Rainier National Park in Washington State is one park with all kinds of outdoor activities to take advantage of and also see an amazing patchwork of vistas: deep green forests, tumbling rivers, flower dotted meadows, ice-blue glaciers, a snow-shrouded volcano. There are 25 major glaciers on Mount Rainier and numerous unnamed snow or ice patches which serve as important indicators of climatic change, major visitor interpretive objects, sources of water for park aquatic systems, and hydroelectric and recreation pursuits outside of the park. Visit the interactive Mount Rainier glacier webpages of in-depth information on the park’s glaciers to learn more about our dramatically changing landscape.
Mount Rainier was one of the US’s earliest National Parks, having been established on March 2, 1899 as the fifth national park in the United States, encompassing 236,381 acres of pristine forest. The snow there is some of the best on the west coast and thousands of visitors come each year to experience the thrill of riding down the magnificent stratovolcano (also known as a composite volcano) that is Mount Rainier. Check http://twitter.com/#!/MountRainierNPS for daily winter road status.
Considering herself extremely lucky to work in such a beautiful part of the country, Park Ranger Casey James Overturf, who has worked as a West District Park guide for over 6 years, tells us more about about this National park and her important job of keeping it safe and clean for generations to come:
1) What inspired you to become a park ranger?
I could not think of any other job that I would like to do. I get to live and work in some of the most beautiful and powerful places in this country. I get to work outdoors at times, always get to learn more about nature and share that with others. The flat hat is pretty sharp looking as well.
2) What is the best part about being a ranger? Describe a day on the job.
Describing a day would be tricky, every day is different (another part of the job I like). Depending on the season, the weather and the day of the week what I do during the day changes. I’d say the most rewarding part is getting to help people. From finding a bathroom and picking a trail to helping them learn about nature and helping them understand how it works.
My two favorite things to do are the snowshoe walks in the winter and the evening programs in the summer. In the winter we take folks outside on snowshoes, many for the first time, and talk about winter ecology. I like to have my snowshoe walks play a “choose your own adventure” game where they get to “live the life” of an animal that stays active throughout the winter. Based on their choices they see if they can survive a winter here at Mount Rainier.
In the summer we go to the campgrounds at night and get to talk to many of the people camping there. Once it is dark we meet with anyone who wants to in the amphitheater and the ranger gets to share what they love about the park. Last summer I explained to people how Native Americans have lived in this area for thousands of years and shared some of their stories about this special place.
3) What’s a fun fact about your park you like to share with visitors?
OH! There are so many things I could say! This is another great part of my job. The fact that I work on an active volcano covered in the biggest glacier system in the continental United States really excites me.
4) What advice would you give to kids and their parents visiting your park?
Because there is so much to do see and do in the park I would plan ahead before you get here to make the most of your time. Also be flexible in your plan. I would always ask a Ranger what they think is special or fun to do. Some of the best times I’ve had in parks were based on suggestions from the ranger. They know the “off the beaten path” stuff that most people do not even know to look for.
For example one of my favorite places in the “spring” (when the snow starts to melt here usually around May) is on the Westside road. If you drive the 3 miles up that dirt road and then walk for no more than half a mile you will be glad you did. Only as the snow melts there are waterfalls coming down Mount Wow that are tall and skinny, thousands of feet tall if you count all the drops. Then on top of that you can often see mountain goats on Mount Wow during the spring. Wow actually comes from a Native American word meaning goat.
5) What is the most important thing about parks in your opinion?
That it offers so many different opportunities for many different people. Some people come to find a challenge, to pit themselves against the elements and see what they are made of. Some come for the solitude and the chance to escape a busy and stressful day to day life. Some come in big groups to spend time in a safe place with friends and family. Some come for the history; the people and buildings that are part of the story of this park, even Wilderness is historic as it is the only place to see early America before it was settled. A park experience can be almost anything you want it to be, and these extraordinary places belong to all of us.
Come and visit this epic park soon to enjoy it’s beauty and to reconnect you and your family to the wonders of nature with great fun like snow show walks, sledding and sliding, and winter camping! Mount Rainier also has a volunteer program and Junior Ranger books available at all their visitor centers. Complete the activities for your age group, have a ranger review your work and you will be sworn in and issued your official Mount Rainier Junior Ranger badge! Once you start your badge collection, also check out our Chipper For Parks badge we are featuring this April!
Connecting kids to outdoor educational activities and neighbors.