Author - blacshepadmin

Should You Join a Hiking Club?

For just about any activity you can think of there are bound to be like-minded individuals who share your passion. Of course, hiking is no exception to this rule. If you are an avid hiker, you may want to consider joining a hiking club. Naturally, membership in a hiking club means that you will likely be joining others as you undertake this exhilarating activity. There are several advantages to hiking with others in this way. First, hiking with others is fun and exciting as you talk with and support your fellow hikers. Second, there is safety in numbers. When you hike with multiple individuals, especially experienced hikers, you are less likely to have an accident. When examining all of the benefits of joining a hiking club, it is important to remember that not all hiking clubs are the same. For example, there are some hiking clubs where members only meet up for hiking adventures and little else. On the other hand, then there are hiking clubs that do much more. These clubs have monthly or even weekly meetings to discuss topics that are of interest to hikers. Also, during these kinds of meetings members plan hiking trips, discuss the latest in hiking gear trends, and so forth. Finally, there are hiking clubs that use fundraisers, like car washes, etc. to pay for their hiking adventures.  Choosing the Right Hiking Club When it comes to choosing a hiking club, there are a number of important factors that you should take into consideration. For example, you should know that some hiking clubs charge their members monthly or yearly fees. Make sure you find a club that fits into your budget.  Next, you will want to take your schedule into consideration as well. Do you have time to attend all monthly or even the weekly meetings? This will all depend upon your lifestyle and how dedicated you are to hiking. The people who are most dedicated to their passion always find the time.  How to Find a Hiking Club If you would like to join a hiking club, you may want to first try and see if there are any local hiking clubs in your area. You can start with this site which has a national directory of clubs. Next, you can try searching for hiking groups on a general site that brings people together who share common interests such as the site Meet up. Finally, you can try asking the staff at a local hiking park if they know of any local hiking clubs.  As you can see, joining a hiking clubs is a fun way to share your love of hiking with others who feel the same way. The more the merrier - as the saying goes. We provide scenic railroad trips and Yellowstone National Park hiking trips for groups on our site. Booking an appointment is easy and we are here to answer any and all questions your group may have.    

Why Planning is Everything When it Comes to Hiking

Are you interested in taking a hiking adventure? Of course you are, and you are on the perfect site.  If you would like to take some time to appreciate nature and at the same time get in some great exercise, it is important that you make your reservations in advance. During the summer months, you will find that camping and hiking are popular activities; therefore, many hiking parks quickly fill up. Moreover, planning your next hiking adventure in advance will give you the time to research and choose from a number of different hiking trails. We have several popular destinations you may wish to explore but of course, some people will have a greater interest in destinations – such as our Yellowstone National Park hiking – than others. Unfortunately, a large number of hikers, especially first time hikers, make the mistake of going with the first hiking trail they come across.  Once you have selected a park or trail to hike you would like to visit, you will want to take the time to familiarize yourself with the park or trail in question. This way you can learn more about the territory that you will be hiking. This is important because you will want to examine the difficulty level of the trail you will be hiking and the amount of time that it will take to hike it. This information - which you can learn from our site - is always nice to know, especially in the event of an emergency. Another one of the many reasons why you should think about planning your hiking vacation in advance is because it will be easier to prepare for your trip. When you go hiking you will need to bring numerous pieces of hiking gear with you and knowing about the trail will help you make wise choices. For instance, to stay safe on a hiking adventure, you will want to make sure that you wear proper hiking boots, as well as other hiking appropriate clothing. Making your hiking plans in advance will give you the opportunity to optimize your hiking gear and supplies checklist so that you do not forget anything. Additionally, the earlier you plan your hiking adventure the more time you will have to prepare an itinerary. An itinerary not only serves as a guide for you, but it is also something that can help keep you safe. You will want to give a copy of your itinerary to some of your friends and family members before you leave.  In short, it is never wise to go on an extended hiking trip or vacation without doing some serious planning in advance. Those who take the time to fully plan for and prepare for their hiking adventures are more likely to enjoy themselves. We hope these tips will help you get the most out of your extended hike. Our experts are here to help you enjoy what many people see as both the perfect exercise and the perfect way to explore new parts of the country and indeed the world. You can also explore the country on one of our scenic railroad trips.    

Cycling Gear: What to Wear and When to Wear it

There is a wide-range of cycling gear available from which to choose. Before you decide what you will need you should ask yourself the following questions:
  • What gear is required by law?
  • What gear will provide the most comfort for the bicycling I plan to do?
  • What equipment is best for the weather conditions in which I will be cycling?
For these questions, cycling store employees should be able to help you as you seek to purchase new or updated clothing. What gear is required by Law? Nearly every government has regulations requiring helmets for cyclists. Some states require them for all riders while others set an age requirement. This is a good thing. A good, well-fitting helmet could save your life. The right helmet can also aid you in being able to be seen by cars, pedestrians and other cyclists. On the other hand, an ill-fitting helmet has actually become an impediment to safe cycling.  What gear will provide the most comfort for the bicycling I plan to do? You should consider purchasing a variety of clothing for cycling since your needs may change as a cyclist. For starters, cycling shorts are great for longer rides. They help you to remain cool while you are exerting yourself on the roadway. This is because a quality pair of shorts can help control moisture/sweat. Finally, most shorts have a padded seat for extra protection and comfort for extensive riding. In addition to shorts, you should choose a short-sleeve cycling jersey to help your upper body stay cool on long-rides as well. However, some mountain bikers who ride through brush and trees prefer long-sleeve jerseys to protect their arms from abrasions. In short, both cycling shirts and jerseys can ensure that riders maintain a good temperature.  What equipment is best for the weather conditions in which I will be cycling? Avid cyclists hit the road during all kinds of weather. For cold days, a cycling jacket or a wool cycling jersey can help keep you warm against the cooler air while still keeping you dry. Windproof jackets are also available for wind and rain protection. Coupled with cycling pants or knee warmers, which keep your knees and legs warm and flexible, these items will help you have a pleasant ride, even when the weather is less than ideal.  On the other hand, during warm weather your cycling apparel should mirror what you would wear on long rides. Good cycling or bib shorts and a sleeveless jersey will keep you comfortable and cool. You may also want to carry a lightweight, compact cycling jacket with you. Cycling jackets made of breathable material that incorporates ventilation, like mesh vents, in the fabric can easily be found online.  In summary, if you are seriously into cycling then choosing a variety of bicycle clothing is in your best interests. The proper equipment will make you more comfortable and safer. We can provide you with a unique cycling or hiking experience on one of our Big Sur adventures. You can also book one of our truly awe-inspiring scenic railroad trips

Ways to Reduce Backpack Weight

Many hikers have problems organizing their backpack efficiently. Since a comfortable hike depends a great deal on carrying as little weight on your person as possible, many hiking experts say that it is important to master the skill of loading your backpack as resourcefully as possible. Here, are some tips on how to organize your backpack effectively by making it as light as possible while still having in it the equipment, food etc, that you will need. Many experts say that hikers should focus first on reducing food items in order to make a lighter backpack. Let’s start with the most important food related item a hiker can take with him/her - water. Water helps us to control the body’s temperature and it helps us to remain hydrated. Since it is hard to reduce the amount of water required for a hike, you should consider trying to estimate the amount of water you will need for your entire trip. You can do this in one of two ways. First, you can go online and use a calculator that will tell you how much water you need daily based on height, weight and level of activity. Second, you can do this by studying the map you will be using on your hike and finding out where the water sources are located. As you seek to control how much food and water you pack with you on your hike keep in mind that hiking can be a pretty intense form of exercise activity. You will need some food in order to generate enough energy to be able to move about. Not preparing enough food can be just as detrimental to your trip as carrying too much food weight with you. However, the most important thing to consider when knowing what foods to pack is caloric count. Prepare foods that provide the optimum amount of calories you will need. These items do not necessarily need to be bulky. For example, trail mix can supply a lot of your caloric needs and generally does not weigh much. Look for nutritious calories from quality food instead of using junk food for a temporary burst of energy. When we talk about nutritious calories, most hikers usually think about fruits and vegetables. Try dried apricots, banana chips, and apple chips instead of whole fruits and vegetables. Also consider packing freeze dried food. Because freeze dried tends to be very light, it is easy to contain in a backpack. Using these tips you should be able to create a strategy that will help you control your backpack’s weight. Our site offers you the opportunity for plenty of Yellowstone national park hiking where you can meet up with and enjoy this activity with like minded individuals. We also have scenic railroad trips that are available throughout the US and Canada.

6 Bike Touring Mistakes and How You can Avoid Them

When it comes to planning, preparing for, and executing a long-distance bicycle tour there are certain mistakes that cyclists should avoid if they are to meet their goals. Avoid the following pitfalls and soon you’ll be flying down those roads, avoiding pain, embarrassment and frustration all the way.
  • Packing too much stuff: It’s important to pack the essentials when you are going on a bike trip of any length – water, a compass or GPS, etc. - but there is such a thing as over-packing. Ask yourself as you are packing if you will need the items you are trying to cram into your backpack. You’ll find the answer is “no” to many of the items you considering packing for your tour.
  • Distributing your gear incorrectly: The gear you do need should be packed evenly on your bike so that it does not make you peddle harder than you have to. Moreover, improper distribution of weight will also put a strain on your tires and cause your bike to be more difficult to handle. None of this is desirable when you are touring long distances.
  • Not slowing down long enough to take in the scenery: Don’t get into a racing mentality when you are touring areas that are full of rich scenery and beautiful landscapes are is the case with our Big Sur adventures. Some riders do this and miss all that is around them. Slow down long enough to take in the wildlife, the flora and fauna, the architecture and the topography of where you will be touring.
  • Touring in the wrong season: Be sure to check the weather of the area in which you will be cycling. If it sounds like it may be too hot or cold for you to endure, do not go. Reschedule your trip for another time/location.
  • Not eating enough: You will need a lot of energy while you are touring. Hunger can not only weaken you, it can also be a distraction. Eat a full meal before you start out and pack a supply of snacks like nuts, fruit and chocolate on the bike. Graze on them every two hours or so to maintain your energy level and so that your blood sugar does not drop.biking
  • Believing that bike touring is scary or complicated: Touring long distances can be a challenge but what is wrong with that? By ignoring the naysayers and taking some time to prepare yourself you can experience the thrill of a lifetime while you meet and interact with new people and cultures.
Avoid these mistakes to maximize your enjoyment of wherever you decide to tour. Our tours of California, Europe, New England, Utah and Colorado will expose you to some truly stunning vistas that can best be appreciated on bike. You won’t want to zip through these areas without taking in the scenery of small towns, beautiful architecture, mountains, etc. We even have scenic railroad trips for those of you interested in a truly unique way to view North America.

Tips to Make your Hiking Adventure a Safe One

Are you and/or your friends planning to go on a hiking adventure soon? As you likely already know, hiking can be fun and exciting, but it can also be dangerous at times. Of course, there are a number of different steps that you can take to protect yourself on your hiking adventure. Here are a few of those steps:
  • Know the difficulty level of the trail you will be hiking: When choosing a hiking trail, you should always take the difficulty level into consideration. This is because certain hiking trails are designed for beginners while others are designed for those who have advanced hiking experience. Contact us if you have any questions about our Yellow National Park hiking. We have the various skill level ratings on our site for all our hiking destinations.
  • Familiarize yourself with the trail: Try to acquire a map of the hiking trail in question. Examine the trail closely to determine if you desire to make the trek, how to get out of the area in the event of an emergency, etc. You will also want to familiarize yourself with the entire itinerary of your trip.
  • Bring snacks with you: Lodging is available on all of our hiking excursions but you will also want to make sure that you stay energized while you are on the trail. Thus, we suggest that you pack trail mix, fruit or other healthy items.
  • Make sure you have the right hiking equipment and supplies: Another way to remain safe on a hiking adventure is by making sure that you have all of the right hiking equipment or hiking supplies. First, make sure that you bring a comfortable pair of hiking boots with you. You will also want to know the weather conditions before you go hiking in order to determine how to dress for the trail. Additionally, you may want to think about wearing light-colored clothing to increase the chances that you will be seen if you become lost or stranded. hiking
These tips are just a few of the many that you may want to consider. Our guides can help you make the most of your hiking adventure by giving you even more information and tips about the trail and the entire excursion. They make our hiking trips and our scenic railroad trips fun, educational and above all safe.

5 Hiking Tips for Older Adults

There is much to recommend hiking as a form of exercise, especially for older adults. In fact, According to the Journal of the American Geriatric Society, seniors who walk regularly greatly reduce their risk of developing cardiovascular difficulties. Apart from that, hiking is just plain fun and a great way to connect with friends and to see nature. Why then should the elderly be excluded from this activity? Here are some useful hiking tips for elderly people who want to reap the massive benefits that this activity offers.
  • Check with your doctor: First and foremost, you should consult with your physician before you begin to hike. True, many seniors do enjoy hiking, but it is also true that age takes its toll on people in different ways. One senior may be perfectly able to undergo the rigors of a long walk, while another may have health conditions that limit the amount and frequency of long walks.
  • Prepare appropriately: If you’ve been cleared by your doctor for hiking you will still need to prepare yourself, especially if you haven’t walked in a while. As a way to prepare yourself, stretch as you should before for any exercise. Also, you may wish to start on smaller, easier trails and gradually work your way up to more challenging routes.
  • Use a walking stick or hiking pole: Some elderly persons have balance issues. Moreover, falls are a leading cause of injury among the elderly. To help prevent this while you are on the trail, consider bringing along a walking stick or hiking pole to increase your balance. hiking
  • Try hiking with a group: Hiking with a team of like-minded persons is a great way to learn more about hiking and to share the experience with your peers. Moreover, hiking with a group will tend to make you feel safer as everyone can look for each other.
  • Wear proper shoes: All serious hiking should invest in the proper attire and a good pair of shoes in particular. Hiking involves a great deal of traversing over various kinds of terrain which can put stress on the feet, ankles, and knees. In order to mitigate the shock that the activity can cause to joints, pick footwear that is suitable for uneven terrain and that gives you plenty of traction.
Finally, by following the above tips you will be able to stay healthy well into your golden years. You may even get to the point of being able to hike longer and more difficult trails than much younger hikers. (It happens quite often with seniors who have been hiking for years.) If you truly want to test your hiking ability and are cleared by your doctor to do so, you may wish to try Yellowstone National Park hiking. This way you will experience nature as you get into shape. Or you can relax on one of our scenic railroad trips.
drinking water

Tips for Staying Hydrated While Hiking

It is a little known fact that a person can suffer from dehydration without even being thirsty. This is especially the case when that person in engaged in some exhilarating activity – like hiking – that has his/her mind otherwise occupied. However, the fact remains that dehydration can impair your performance and even endanger your well-being. To make sure you stay healthy and have the best trip possible, follow these simple tips to stay hydrated on the trail:
  • Hydrate before you go! It is just as important to drink plenty of fluids before you set out as it is once you hit the trail. On the morning before you head out drink plenty of water with your breakfast. (Actually, you should drink before, during and after your hike.) On longer, tougher hiking routes this is particularly important since it is often challenging to carry all the water that will be needed in bottles or other containers.
  • Replace electrolytes: One drawback to drinking plenty of liquids is that it can cause your body to lose certain electrolytes such as sodium. To prevent this and still remain hydrated, be sure to bring snacks with you when you hike. Natural foods that contain electrolytes include bananas, lemonade, orange juice and tomato juice. Finally, try bringing powered sports drinks with you so that the boost to your electrolyte levels will be a tasty one.
  • Carry a water filter: Water filters are cheap, plentiful and lightweight. They can also prove to be essential if you come upon water containing salmonella, cholera and e-coli and protozoa including giardia and crypto. This being said, they cannot eliminate all danger that may lurk in suspect water sources. For this reason, you should consider carrying water purification tablets with you as well.
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine: Alcohol and caffeine both have a way of dehydrating you even though they are liquids. Therefore, avoid imbibing in either prior to your hiking trip. drinking water
  • Know the signs of dehydration: As we said at the beginning of this post, people can suffer from dehydration without even feeling thirsty. Therefore, it is important to recognize some of the signs of dehydration. They include: rapid heart rate, excessive fatigue, dizziness, low urine levels, etc.
Using these tips you should be able to create a strategy that will keep you hydrated while hiking. Our site offers you the opportunity for plenty of Yellowstone national park hiking where you can meet up with and enjoy this activity with like minded individuals. We also have scenic railroad trips that are available throughout the US and Canada.

5 Tips for Making the Most of your Visit to Denali National Park

One of our most popular hiking tours is the one that goes through Denali National Park. This is because it is truly one of the most beautiful places that most people have ever seen. It is a unique wilderness that is vast and unspoiled in many areas. However, it can be a challenge to navigate through the park if you are not in shape or if you have not done your research on what to expect before you arrive there. Read on for essential tips for visiting Denali National Park that will make your hike there truly awesome.
  • Be prepared for trail-less wilderness: Denali National Park is different from many national parks in that it is not comprised of easily traversable, well-maintained hiking trails. In fact, there is only about 35 miles of trails there and those are all accessed from the first 15 miles of the Park Road. This is the reason we recommend you check your fitness level before scheduling a hike with us.
  • Do your research: No matter where you hike it always pays to have some information about the trail and area you will be hiking. This is especially important when visiting Denali National Park as much of the backcountry there is completely untouched. Therefore, it helps to learn all you can about the climate there, the wildlife you may encounter and the terrain over which you may be traveling. Knowing these things will make you safer and help you enjoy yourself more.denali
  • Expect any type of weather: At any given moment the weather in Denali National Park is subject to change. One can experience snow in July and hail in August. Moreover, on more than one occasion, the roads there have been closed due to snow in June! Thus, you should dress in anticipation of the fact that the weather there is dynamic. You should always pack a coat, hat, scarf, gloves, etc.,
  • Carry bear spray: Mostly bear will leave you alone if you do not bother them. In fact, if you make noise as you hike, you will have the best chance of scaring them away if any are in the area. However, should you come upon a bear unexpectedly, it is good idea to have bear spray on your person. Bear spray irritates a bear’s super-sensitive sense of smell and will repel them without causing lasting harm.
  • Bring a camera or cell phone: Finally, you will want to capture the unbelievable beauty of the region when you visit the park. You will get an opportunity to view awe-inspiring landscapes, wild animals, etc., in a way that few outside the state have.
Yes, our Denali National Park tour is truly awesome but it is only one of several adventure hiking and cycling tours available on our site. We also have Big Sur adventures for those who prefer to say a little closer to home and we even have scenic railroad trips for people who just want to relax and take in the scenery in comfort and old-fashioned style.

6 Awesome Outdoor Photography Tips Adventure Tourists

Photography is the closest thing there is to the “eternal moment.” That is the idea that the feelings and experience that a particular onetime event can be experienced multiple times with the same effect as when we experienced them the first time. That is why we as human beings love taking photos of wedding ceremonies, graduation events, etc. Well, when cyclist and hikers travel our scenic routes they too desire to capture these moments in photographs. Let’s look at a few things that you’ll want to keep in mind to as you try to capture the beautiful scenery that is a part of each of our cycling and hiking tours.
  • Be patient: It may take some time to capture that perfect sunset or sunrise. Thus, you should be patient and know that the next shot may be even better than the one you are considering taking. Forward planning can also help you avoid bad weather conditions that may arise during your trip.
  • Use the best light: The importance of light to landscape photography can never be overstated. For without the proper lighting even the most beautiful backdrop will suffer. Therefore, we recommend utilizing the light of early morning or late afternoon in your outdoor photography. Conversely, we recommend avoiding the midday sun since it offers the harshest light and taking a picture during this time can be difficult.
  • Use neutral density and polarizing filters: These are essential tools for all landscape photographers. Each will help you manipulate the available light and/or try to enhance the natural
  • camera elements.
  • Switch up your focus: Add some variety to your photos by not always taking shots from eye level. Get up on a rock and shoot downwards or get down low to shoot upwards at an angle at features that are depicted best from these points of view.
  • Keep composition in mind: Stated simply, composition in photography involves arranging the elements you are trying to capture in a way that suits the core idea or goal of your work. This can be done by actually moving objects, changing your position, tec.
  • Invest in good equipment: Any photo you capture will only be as good as the equipment you purchase. Seek out the best equipment you can afford and then go for it.
Once you have mastered these landscape photography tips, your attempt to capture the “eternal moment” should go off without a hitch. When you have taken your photos, make sure to add your best shots into your online picture portfolio so that others can share the grace and beauty of nature. Your friends who cannot experience our road bike cycling tours or our scenic railroad tour will appreciate it.

More Advice for Your First Bike Tour

We wish that all cyclists had a pleasant experience on their first long-distance ride. However, the fact is that some cyclists have a bad first ride and this sours them for life. But don’t worry. This doesn’t have to be the case with your first ride. Here, we’ll attempt to give you some advice that will hopefully point you in the right direction and make sure your first trip is not your last.
  • Find a bike that fits you: A comfortable bike will make all the difference in the world when it comes to cycling great distances. Fortunately, most bike shop pros know this and will try to help steer you (no pun intended) towards the right bike. (Some less reputable sellers will try to guide you towards a more expensive bike without taking into consideration your comfort level.) One of the things you are looking for in terms of comfort is a seat that is the right height for your frame. Above all, make sure you take the bike out for a test ride before purchasing it.
  • Be sure you are in good condition: If you’ve been a couch potato for some time then a long-distance tour may not be the best way to get back into shape. If you have been inactive for time, then start exercising gradually by walking, stretching, etc, to help build up your endurance. Finally, if you are over 40, you may also wish to consult with your doctor before biking great distances.
  • Consider an electric bicycle: Although some purists are strictly opposed to them, electric bikes can be very useful for people with knee injuries or other conditions that limit but do not restrict them from cycling.
  • Don’t overestimate your ability level: Just because you may excel in another sport does not mean that you will do well as a long-distance cyclist. Prepare yourself by doing biking specific exercises and by taking gradually longer bike rides around your neighborhood.
  • Consider a tour on a dedicated bike path: When you are traveling on a dedicated bike path you will be less likely to get lost or to encounter other kinds of difficulties. Our experts can tell you all you need to know about the routes that we have available such as our Big Sur adventures.biking
  • Be realistic in the distance you wish to cover each day: Don’t try to push yourself too much on your first ride. Take breaks as needed and take the time to enjoy yourself. Also, don’t feel like you are in competition with anyone else.
We hope these tips will help you get the most out of your first long-distance ride. Our experts are here to help you enjoy what many people see as both the perfect exercise and the perfect way to explore new parts of the country and indeed the world. You can also explore the country on one of our scenic railroad trips.
bike tour

6 Tips for Riding over Rough Terrain

Most road cycling takes place on well-paved bike paths. However, there are times when a touring cyclist must be prepared to handle terrain that is not exactly accommodating. He/she must be able to handle the drop in speed and the greater demand for control that such conditions call for. Thus, to help you handle the parts of your trek that will not be smooth sailing (or cycling at it were), we’ve assembled some tips for riding over rough terrain.
  • Don’t drag your breaks: Don’t drag your breaks over rough terrain. It will be much harder to control your bike because your wheels will begin to bounce around.
  • Pick a good line: Obviously, you will have greater control of your bike as you travel over straight lines and smooth surfaces. Therefore, it is good idea to scan the road ahead of you for sections that are smoother - relatively speaking - than the rest of the road. Try to avoid rough patches, cracks, potholes, etc. as much as possible
  • Try using wide tires: If you know in the advance that the route you are will be traveling is going to have rough spots, try purchasing wide tires for your bike. Studies show that 25 and 27mm tires help cyclists negotiate rough roads much better than thinner tires.
  • Decrease the air pressure in your tires: Decrease the air pressure in your tires. In addition to selecting the right saddle, this will make a difference on your overall comfort by dampening road vibration. Also, bike tires that have lower air pressure also help prevent flats which rough terrain can cause.
  • Relax: Don’t tense up when you see rough terrain ahead. If you cannot avoid it, choose this moment to loosen the grips on your handlebars. Why? A tight grip will cause your shoulders and hands to tire. This can make you overseer as you begin to travel over those rough patches. bike tour
  • Try riding in a higher gear: Try riding in a higher gear when you encounter bumper sections. This will help you maintain greater control over your bike as you pedal.
To summarize, it takes practice, good judgment and some experience to be able to traverse rough terrain without it negatively impacting your speed and control. However, even the most well-paved roads can contain rough patches. Thus, it is good idea to follow the above tips when taking one of our adventure vacations. We also have Yellowstone National Park hiking for people who desire to connect with nature in an even more intimate and leisurely pace.