• Valentine's Day, Outdoors

    1 comment / Posted on by Auto API

    Why Spend Valentine’s Day At Home, When You Could Spend It Outdoors?

    Three Ideas For An Unforgettable Valentine's Day.

    Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, and even though some might not like it, it’s time to start planning that special something for that special someone. After all, just over half of all women say they would end their relationship if they didn’t receive anything for Valentine’s Day. Seems shallow to me, but who am I to judge?

    For me, Valentine’s Day has always been the day to do something extra for her. I don’t think I’ve ever been in a relationship that would depend on a gift to keep going (at least, I sure hope not!) but the idea is to go above and beyond, and give a little something extra. Some flowers, chocolate, a new necklace… you know, expensive stuff that nobody really needs.

    But my most memorable Valentine’s Days have been when I’ve gone out and done something. I did it almost every year through college, even when I was single! Speaking of which, if you’re currently mourning your severe lack of a relationship worth celebrating, or are one of those like myself who has occasionally celebrated “singles appreciation day” followed by “half off Valentine chocolate day,” don’t worry about it! These ideas are just as much for you to get away from the day, as they are for couples to get away from everything else.

    Snow, Snow, Snow!

    Winter will theoretically be ending soon, out here in California. Although I’m not sure the rest of the U.S. can say the same! In any case, make sure to get out and see the snow before the season ends. I don’t mean getting a cabin in the hills, or planning a ski trip or anything expensive like that, either. Did you know the average person spends over $100 on Valentine’s Day?

    No thanks. This year, here’s what you can do: put $20 in the gas tank, another $10 into some hot chocolate you can share out of a thermos, and take a hike.

    (Here’s a tip: you’re gonna need a bag to be comfortable. At the time of writing, we’ve got a sale going on our tactical, military-style backpacks. So you can get one at a discount, and get hiking. You can grab one here.)

    Snow has the wonderful effect of (literally) muffling the world around you. Imagine: a snow-covered path, a silent wood, and just the crunch of you and your bestie’s boots. Sounds like a dream, to me!

     

    Biking – Good For The Body, Good For The Soul

    My favorite part of biking is that it has all the benefits of exercise, without actually feeling like exercise. If you didn’t know, in addition to eventually making you look like a god, exercise has some great mental health benefits: it combats depression, subdues negative emotions and helps create a more positive, happy disposition.

    So gear up, and find a park. A deserted roadway works too, or, if you’re not living too deep in a city, try driving a few miles out of town! You won’t regret it. Then, just pick a speed, slap on a helmet, and pedal away!

    Just make sure that you’re safe, while you do. Biking at night is an amazing experience, but you’re going to need lights. I know helmets aren’t the most comfortable thing in the world, but they’ll keep you from losing your brains on a sidewalk. And if you need a way to transport your bike out of town, well… we’ve got that too.

    Having biked regularly whenever life seemed like it was more than I could handle, I recommend this activity to anyone that wants to escape the V-day pressures, whether you’re with your partner or proudly single.

     

    National Parks – Open for Now, So Go See Them While You Can

    I’m not one to talk about current events. Especially political ones. But some of my best vacations have been to our country’s National Parks. The website’s name is National Parks Depot!

    Anyways, a couple of weeks ago, the country has suspended hiring any more Federal employees. Which sounds like a good idea in theory – but our National Park workers are almost all seasonal. The summer crowd comes in during the spring, the winter crowd in the fall, and it just works. Thankfully, seasonal workers are now listed as an exception, in any department. But it goes to show just how fragile our park system truly is. 

    So that National Park that you live an hour away from might just not be open, six months from now. Go see it – and as a matter of fact, make a trip out of it. Take some binoculars to admire the views. And I know it sounds silly, but if you’re planning on being there any later than 4 or 5:00, you’re probably going to want a headlamp, too.

    In any case, Valentine’s Day is as good a reason as any to go out and see our country’s national beauty. Snowing or not, our system of national parks is one of our country’s shining jewels. Whether it’s the redwood forests of California, the winding canyons of Zion or the beautiful views of Yosemite, take you and your plus-one to one of our gorgeous parks, this year. You won’t regret it.

    Read more

  • 3 Top Activities in Acadia National Park

    2 comments / Posted on by Influencer Outreach

    As an avid outdoors family, we love our National Parks. Anytime we can get our hike on, we do. One of our all-time favorite National Parks is Acadia National Park in Maine. For many summers, both with and without children, we'e spent time in Acadia's 48,000-acre terrain. In fact, my husband and I honeymooned in Acadia. It's a wonderful family-friendly park with hikes and activities for all ages along it’s rocky coasts and granite mountaintops.

    3 Top Activities in Acadia National Park   

    Cadillac Mountain

    We have hiked Cadillac Mountain, the focal point of the park with a summit of 1,530 feet. It's the highest point on the East Coast. Not able to hike? Not a problem because Cadillac Mountain also offers a scenic drive for those not able to hike it.  

    Carriage Trails

    photo credit: AcadiaNationalPark.com

    photo credit: AcadiaNationalPark.com

      

    For bikers, there are beautiful Carriage Trails throughout the park offering scenic views and smooth terrain great for walking and biking. My personal favorite experience while in the park is taking the Carriage Trails and then making a quick stop at Jordan Pond House for popovers and tea.  

    Junior Ranger Program

    Photo credit: http://www.nps.gov/

    Photo credit: http://www.nps.gov/

      If you have kids, the Junior Ranger Program is a must-do activity in Acadia. From May through October, kids can take part in the program to lean about the park. They complete fun activities and ranger-led programs to earn their certificate and patch to become Junior Rangers.
      

    Jana Seitzer blogs at http://merlotmommy.com

    Read more