It’s Officially Spring

It is officially spring – but don’t hang up your ice axe just yet. March 21st marks the first day of spring on our calendars, but around here you would hardly notice. I associate spring time with blooming flowers, green grass, melting snow and warm weather. However, here in Michigan we aren’t experiencing any of those yet and I’m sure those of you further up north and out west aren’t either.

Just because the calendar hits March 21 doesn’t mean we have to abandon our love for outdoor winter sports like skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing and ice climbing. You will definitely have to be more careful as you enter warmer days and the snow begins to loosen up, but there is still plenty of time to have fun and enjoy the cold outdoors. I’m seeing ski resorts out west running at 100% and some mountains on the east coast extending their operating days to accommodate everyone.

If you love outdoor winter sports, definitely take advantage of these last few days. Don’t let anyone scare you off about it being spring already. Spring just means cheaper deals and less people on the slopes! While at it, check out Adayak’s snow sports t-shirts.

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Outdoor Enthusiast’s Heaven – Smoky Mountains National Park

smoky-mountainsThe Smoky Mountains offers an incredible range of diverse activities for visitors to take advantage of. Hiking, cycling, fishing, and the exploration of wildlife and historical sites are available for all people; whether you are brand-new to the tangled wildlife of a national park or an expert, there are opportunities for everyone. Shorter trails are available for those who are more inexperienced, and there are even specially designated child-friendly trails are offered.

A basic understanding of what to do in a dangerous situation involving black bears should be maintained before a trip to the Smoky Mountains. Black bears are often unpredictable and violent animals, and one should not approach them or allow them to approach. In order to not encourage problems between humans and bears, do not throw away food into the wilderness, and certainly do not offer food to the bears.

However, black bears and other forms of wildlife is always a pleasure to view from a distance with a camera or telescope, and should definitely be done. Just remember that safety is first!

Mammoth, It’s a Cave!

mammoth-caveMammoth Cave is quite literally mammoth. It is the longest cave system in the world, and its lengthy 390 miles are located in central and south Kentucky, and it is known as a part of the Green River Valley. However, that number is bound to change in the near future as researchers continue to discover new branches of caves.

Mammoth Cave is home to some bizarre yet fascinating rock formations. Take a trip to the Frozen Niagara entrance and take pictures of the most photographed part of the cave system. Take a cave tour and explore the Rotunda and the Snowball rooms, or squeeze through passages such as Fat Man’s Misery and Tall Man’s Misery. Even visit the Lost River Cave, a section of Mammoth Cave through which you will experience an underground lake tour, ducking under the low ceiling.

For overnight stays, try camping on one of the various campgrounds located in the park. There are many modernized ones while more experienced campers can take the opportunity in the primitive campgrounds.

Sleeping Bear Dunes

sleeping-bear-dunesLocated in Empire, Michigan, Sleeping Bear Dunes is a great place for a weekend of camping, nature exploration, and fun with the entire family. Not only does it offer rustic-style camping right by the crystal clear and beautiful Lake Michigan, but it also offers campgrounds with modern restrooms, electricity, and paved roads. Camping can also be done on the Manitou Islands.

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is comprised of a multitude of different activities. Swimming, kayaking, canoeing, and tubing are all possible on the various lakefronts and rivers, such as Glen Lake and the Platte River. Biking is also a great family friendly activity for the outdoors. Of course, many visitors intend to visit the dunes, and the Dune Climb is highly recommended for everyone! A strenuous climb to the top, it is exhilarating to run and roll back down to the bottom

Yosemite – the Infamous!

yosemiteYosemite is one of the most infamous national parks in the United States. It also has one of the most infamous mispronunciations of all time. Contrary to popular belief (and my personal long-held one) the word does not rhyme with “hose-might”, and rather is pronounced “yo-sim-it-tea”.

But let’s not limit this magnificent piece of nature to its name. Yosemite is a buffet of the various spectacles of nature: waterfalls, mountains, rivers, you name it.

A classic visitor stop is the Merced River. A beautifully blue, bright body of water, it is an aquatic resource important to Yosemite and the ecosystem it supports within. Certain points along the river offer clear views to the mountains that rise in the distance, a feature that satisfies the most avid photographers. But the river is not limited to sightseeing: it is also a popular spot for rafting, especially in the summer. Swimming through the clean, clear water is enjoyable as well. But be careful, the water is often cold and the currents can be fast and dangerous.

The river and various lakes aren’t the only aquatic beauties of Yosemite. The waterfalls located in Yosemite are stunning, and some of the lesser known ones serve as a real treat for those looking to wander in solitude. A few to put on your list of potential destinations include Illilouette and Chilnualna Falls.

A visit to Yosemite would not be complete without a visit to one of the stony marvels along the Sierra Nevada. The most popular include El Capitan and the Half Dome, both situated in the Yosemite Valley. But there are other worthwhile peaks, such as the Sentinel Rock and the Cathedral Rocks and Spires.

One of history’s legendary photographers, Ansel Adams photographed Yosemite often. His photographs capture Yosemite’s sites at their most beautiful, and if you visit the gift shop, be sure to pick up a few copies of his pictures!

The Best Campsites Collection #5 -Bartlett Cove Campground

Camp where a glacier once stood. Bartlett Cove Campground in Alaska’s Glacier Bay National Park is off the beaten path, though worth every bit of effort it takes to get there. With endless trail to hike, waterways to kayak, and wildlife to watch (humpback whales, elk, grizzly bears, wolves, to name a few), you’ll quickly realize why Alaska still remains The Last Frontier.

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The Best Campsites Collection #4 – Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park offers visitors a rare opportunity to be humbled by nature in an extreme landscape that exists in total opposition to with what is generally regarded as typical U.S. geography. Walking among the dunes with sand as far as the eye can see feels like being on a alien planet—it’s entirely foreign and amazing. Whether your avenue of exploration is by horse back, on foot, or by car, the experience is one not to miss.

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