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Welcome to Camping 101

 Jacqui and I are excited to know that there are some among you that are interested in camping. We are excited because we have seen firsthand how so many have benefited on a personal level. Camping allows you to build self-confidence, self-awareness, friendships, and most of all, an appreciation and healthy respect for Jehovah’s creation. Camping may also reveal slight deficits in one’s personality, like fears and anxiety. But it allows you to work them out, and when done right, it will refine and strengthen you as a person.

 

 All these things we have personally experienced simply by stepping outside our box and doing something that some only read or hear about. The first time Jacqui and I introduced car camping to our friends, only one family stepped up. After that trip, the family blew it up so much that the following season we had over fifty friends with kids sign up. (90% newbie’s) and guess what?              They all loved it! (Yes, no Injuries, no complaints, and best of all, nobody died!) Really!!

 

 So, we invite you to step outside your box, and explore the amazing benefits of camping.

Something to consider before setting up your tent

 

  Check your campsite before you set up your tent. Check the ground for holes.  (Mice and snakes can make holes about the size of a quarter) so you don’t want to cover over them, why? Because they may chew a hole in your tent floor trying to get out. Using a ground tarp is always an added protection for your tent but, proper placement is your best defense.

 Trees. Most likely you are going to place your tent under a tree, check and make sure that the tree does not have dead or loose limbs above you. You want to make sure that a limb will not fall from a tree onto your tent, injuring you in the middle of the night. (I.e. widow makers). 

 Weather and rain - do not place your tent in a low-lying area. If you observe that it may be a natural runoff pick another location. If you have no choice, dig a trench out around the sides. It does not have to be very deep but may be helpful to detour the water around your shelter. But please, respect the rules. Fill in these areas after you are done camping, leaving no trace.

Camping Etiquette

This is must-read.

Please note ;( first two paragraphs are the cut from an article on camping etiquette, Not from the Reynolds Family

 

  They were loud, rude and the flames from their campfire were several feet high. It was necessary to find the Ranger to control the deteriorating situation. They were upset that the other campers were trying to spoil their fun. The other campers were upset because they were dangerous.” This is not common, but it does happen. What is campground etiquette?

  The most basic campground etiquette is to respect the space of others. Each campsite is a home. Teach children that there are boundaries, sort of an invisible fence. People who do not respect the space of others create unpleasant situations. Ball games and Frisbees are part of the camping experience. Play in an area that will not affect the other campers. If a ball or a Frisbee inadvertently lands on the campsite of another, ask permission to enter. The occasional rogue ball does not bother most campers but if it constantly happens, find a better place to play.

 

  Most camping areas have a "quiet hour" when it is expected for everyone to quell any loud noise, laughter, parties, and music. Good etiquette demands that you honor this custom. (Our camp site quiet hours are between 10: pm and 8: am) Respect quiet time. Sitting around the campfire after quiet time has started is not against the rules. Keep your voices low and enjoy the fire and company. Noise, however, is the one thing that can annoy campers in all directions and for many campsites away. Loud laughter late into the night around your dying campfire embers can ruin the evening for at least seven or eight sites worth of neighboring campers. Keep it down. Camping is supposed to mean peace and quiet. If someone is being loud and annoying, the best thing to do is ignore them. That is also part of being a good camper, trying to confront them will only cause more of a problem. If the problem becomes intolerable, call the park ranger, and report their site number.

During the day most campers do not object to music if it does not interfere with their space. Drop the decibels on your radio. Remember that our choice of music may not be the same as the folks across the road, and theirs might not be yours, so let’s not force each other to share. Keep it low and it is acceptable.

        

  In the past, a few campers in our group decided to play their music so everyone could hear it. We decided to let it fly and see what would happen. At first it seemed to be harmless, but as the day went on, we saw the friends’ faces and noticed that they seemed stressed. As evening approached the music grew louder, and we saw the teens go down to the beach, not very happy. We asked them what the problem was, and they replied, (the music just doesn’t feel right!) They said nobody loves music more than us, and if this was a picnic, or a party at someone’s house, that would be fine. But this doesn't feel right.  It makes us feel like we can't disconnect! They said they miss the peace and serenity of the woods. And felt like the music was just a big distraction that did not allow them to really see and experience Jehovah’s creation the way they had done in the past. They also noticed that all the local animals stayed away, and all agreed that they wanted it to be like it used to be. Tranquil and serene, the way Jehovah created it.

 

      So, we are asking all of you to please consider leaving your music                       home, and allow your Grand Creator, to supply the                                              entertainment for everyone. After all,

                                             

                             Isn’t this the main purpose of camping!

Deterring Bears When Camping or Hiking

Hikers and campers can avoid negative encounters with bears through the proper storage and management of bear attractants such as food and trash:

  • Keep food, toiletries and garbage in bear resistant containers at all times, opening a container only when necessary. Bear resistant canisters are highly effective at preventing bears from getting into food, toiletries and garbage;

  • Bear resistant containers must be used by all overnight campers within the Eastern High Peaks Wilderness Zone of the Adirondack Forest Preserve; (This does not necessarily apply to lower regions like Bear Mountain State Park)

  • If you have no choice but to hang your food, toiletries and garbage, use a "food hang" with a dark colored cord. The cord should be 75 feet long and the bag should be hung 15 feet above the ground and at least 10 feet away from other trees;

  • Never leave food unattended unless it is in a bear resistant container or in a food hang;

  • Never cook or eat in your sleeping area, and

  • Cook early.

  In developed campgrounds, campers should follow these rules:

  • Do not leave coolers or food out at any time. Store them securely in either the trunk of your car or in the passenger area of your truck. Keep windows shut and food and coolers out of sight;

  • Where food lockers are provided, food and coolers must be stored and locked inside;

  • Clean up immediately after all meals;

  • Keep grills, pots, pans, cooking utensils, and wash basins clean when not in use;

.   Do not put grease, garbage, plastic diapers, cans, bottles or other refuse into the fireplace;

  • Do not ever bring food or coolers in your tent;

  • Do not wear clothing to bed that was worn while preparing or eating meals, and

  • Keep campsites as clean as possible. Bring all garbage and recyclables to the recycling center each day by 8 PM.

 While these rules must be followed at DEC campgrounds, campers at other private and public campgrounds are also strongly encouraged to follow these practices to avoid bear encounters.

The glimpse of a black bear at a distance can be a safe and enjoyable outdoor experience; close encounters with bears, however, should be avoided. Never approach or surround a bear, as bears aggressively defend themselves when they feel threatened or cornered. Be cautious around cubs, as adult female bears are protective of their young.

Never throw backpacks or food bags at an approaching bear, this practice will only encourage bears to approach and "bully" people to get food. Use noise to scare bears away - yell, clap or bang pots immediately upon sighting a bear near your campsite. Never run from a bear. If you feel threatened, back away slowly while yelling at the animal. If you are charged stand your ground, with your bear spray in hand. If bear does not stop, (bluff charge), Use your bear spray.  Avoid walking trails alone at night to prevent chance encounters.

Picture taken from someone in our camping group

What to do if I get lost

  No one plans to get lost. However, this occurs more frequently than one would imagine when camping, cross-country skiing, or when engaging in any outdoor activity. There are many different definitions of getting lost. It always amazes me when people who believe themselves to be very knowledgeable about the outdoors cannot admit to getting lost, but instead use the phrase, "I just got turned around." Later when they do find their way back to their entrance point, they still maintain that they "just got turned around." Of course, it is very different where children are concerned,  the same scenario can quickly become a dangerous situation. The season plays a role, whether it is winter or summer. When a child or adult recognizes that they are lost or have strayed away from their party and are not sure of their way back, the first thing that is experienced is fear and anxiety about their situation. so what should do?

  Hug a tree. This originated from the Hug a Tree foundation in California. It has worked very well over the years among children, as well as adults. This refers to staying put, not straying from where you are. It is not uncommon for individuals to start running and most commonly, walking in the opposite direction of their base camp or entrance point, becoming farther and farther away from help. If search parties do try to seek you out, they frequently will grid off an area, and you may be walking out of the first grid that is searched, possibly turning, and walking back into that grid, but searchers may not return to that original area for 2-3 days. Subsequently you are prolonging being lost. So, first and foremost, it is very important to stay put. Don't stray from your location.

   Remember, NO ONE believes that they will be lost or injured. However, I can't tell you that many times individuals have gone into the woods, have been turned around, panicked, discovered they were lost, with approaching nightfall and perhaps began to walk quickly or run, and having no flashlight, became injured by spraining or breaking an ankle, or perhaps lacerating themselves. Of course the ability to find the lost individual becomes much more difficult, all because they simply did not stay put.

         

              So, remember, IF YOU ARE LOST, HUG A TREE

                                                  STAY PUT!

Dressing for Cold Weather

 

  Layering your clothing is a tried-and-true way to maximize your comfort in the outdoors. The beauty of this simple concept is that it allows you to make quick adjustments based on your activity level and changes in the weather.

Each layer has a function. The base layer (against your skin) manages moisture; the insulating layer protects you from the cold; the shell layer (outer layer) shields you from wind and rain. You simply add or subtract layers as needed.

 

Your Base Layer: Moisture Management

  This is your next-to-skin layer. It helps regulate your body temperature by moving perspiration away from your skin.

Keeping dry helps you maintain a cool body temperature in the summer and avoid hypothermia in the winter. If you've ever worn a cotton T-shirt under your raincoat while you hiked, you probably remember feeling wet and clammy, even though you weren't getting wet from the rain itself. Cotton is a fabric that retains perspiration and can leave you chilled.

For outdoor comfort, your base layer should be made of merino wool, synthetic fabrics, or for less-active uses, silk. Rather than absorbing moisture, these fabrics transport (or "wick") perspiration away from your skin, dispersing it on the outer surface where it can evaporate. The result: You stay drier even when you sweat, and your shirt dries faster afterwards.

Examples: A base layer can be anything from briefs and sports bras to long underwear sets (tops and bottoms) to tights and T-shirts. It can be designed to fit snugly or loosely. For cool conditions, thermal underwear is available in light-, mid- and expedition-weights. Choose the weight that best matches your activity and the temperature.

 

Your Middle Layer: Insulation

  The insulating layer helps you retain heat by trapping air close to your body. Natural fibers such as wool and goose down are excellent insulators. Merino wool sweaters and shirts offer soft, reliable warmth and keep on insulating even when wet. For very cold and dry conditions, goose down is best. It offers an unbeatable warmth-to-weight ratio and is highly compressible. Down's main drawback is that it must be kept dry to maintain its insulating ability. An innovation—water-resistant down—promises to change this. Classic fleece or Thermal Pro polyester and other synthetics such as Thinsulate® provide warmth for a variety of conditions. They're lightweight, breathable, and insulated even when wet. They also dry faster and have a higher warmth-to-weight ratio than even wool. Classic fleece's main drawbacks are wind permeability and bulk (it's less compressible than other fabrics).

Like thermal underwear, fleece tops are available in 3 weights:

  • Lightweight for aerobic activity or mild climates.

  • Midweight for moderate activity or climates.

  • Expedition-weight for low activity or cold climates.

Examples: For high-energy activities such as cross-country skiing, cycling, or running, choose lightweight fleece to avoid overheating. For cold conditions, try thicker fleece.

 

Your Shell Layer: Weather Protection

  The shell or outer layer protects you from wind, rain, or snow. Shells range from pricey mountaineering jackets to simple windproof jackets. Most allow at least some perspiration to escape; virtually all are treated with a durable water repellent (DWR) finish to make water bead up and roll off the fabric.

An outer shell is an important piece in bad weather, because if wind and water are allowed to penetrate to your inner layers, you begin to feel cold. Furthermore, without proper ventilation, perspiration can't evaporate but instead condenses on the inside of your shell.

  Fit is another consideration. Your shell layer should be roomy enough to fit easily over other layers and not restrict your movement.

  Shells can be lumped into the following categories:

  Waterproof/breathable shells:

The most functional (and expensive) choices, these are best for wet, cool conditions and alpine activities. Shells using laminated membranes such as Gore-Tex and eVent offer top performance; those using fabric coatings are a more economical alternative. Shells are categorized as either rainwear, which emphasizes low weight and packability, or mountaineering wear, which is more abrasion-resistant and has additional features.

Water-resistant/breathable shells: These are best for light precipitation and high activity levels. Less expensive than waterproof/breathable shells, they're usually made of tightly woven fabrics (such as mini-ripstop nylon) to block wind and light rain.

  Soft shells:

These emphasize breathability. Most features stretch fabric or fabric panels for added comfort during aerobic activities. Many offers both shell and insulative properties, so they in effect combine 2 layers into 1. Soft shells include cold- and mild-weather options.

  Waterproof/non-breathable shells:

  These economical shells are ideal for rainy days with light activity (e.g., fishing, sports viewing). They are typically made of a sturdy, polyurethane-coated nylon which is water- and windproof.

Insulated shells: Some outer shells have a layer of insulation built in—such as fleece—making them convenient for cold, wet conditions, but not as versatile for layering in fluctuating temperatures.

 

 

Remember, the best trips are experienced when you have planned even for the unexpected.

We hope this was helpful as you plan for your next adventure.

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