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5 Reasons Hiking Improves Quality of Life

Posted on: September 22nd, 2014 by Quik Shade

Hiking is a fun and rewarding physical activity that has numerous benefits for your health, wellbeing and overall quality of life. Although many of the most beautiful hiking trails are through mountains, forests, along rivers, around lakes, and by other natural landscapes, you can typically find a good hiking trail near your home and easily enjoy the local landscape. If you are looking for more reasons to enjoy hiking, here are five ways that it improves your quality of life.


Physical Fitness

Hiking is exercise, which improves your overall physical fitness. You can find hikes that match any fitness level, from an easy stroll to a strenuous hike with significant climbs. Even the easy hikes will improve your health, including boosting your immunity and reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Walking is also a weight bearing exercise, so it enhances your bone density, lowering your risk of osteoporosis. It also lowers your blood pressure and blood sugar levels. It strengthens many of your muscles, including your quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, and those in your hips and core.

Mental health Benefits

Hiking also helps your mental health. Physical exercise has been shown to improve depression, reduce anxiety, and decrease the symptoms of and manage several mental health conditions. Even for people who do not suffer from a mental health condition, physical activity can boost their mood and improve their overall mental health. Hiking increases the effects of the physical fitness on your mood by being in nature. Several studies have shown that being in nature improves a person’s mood, especially reducing feelings of anxiety and depression.

Stress Relief

Hiking also provides a great way to reduce feelings of stress. The combination of physical exertion and being in nature again enhances the overall effects of stress relief. Physical activity has been shown to reduce the stress and anxiety caused by the modern busy and stressful life. Being surrounded by nature also helps you to calm down and relax. Furthermore, hiking takes you away from the stressors in your life and allows you to have time to be relaxed and have fun, which also further reduces stress. Since stress is one of the leading causes of a many common illnesses, it is vital to have ways to relieve the stress in your life. 

Improves Cognitive Function

Hiking can also boost your brainpower and cognitive function. When you go hiking, you often have to use many different skills, such as problem solving skills. On longer hikes, you have to read a map, or you might need to follow a compass. You might also have to figure out how to get back if you get lost. Additionally, studies have shown that hiking improves your creative thought processes. It also provides a platform to continue to learn new things, such as information about the wildlife or flora that you encounter on your hikes.

Social Opportunities

Socializing is an important component of life. Studies have shown that being involved in a community and having a support network improves a person’s quality of life, as well as lead to a longer and healthier life. Although you can go hiking by yourself and gain many of the health benefits, hiking provides a great opportunity for socializing. You can go hiking with just one friend, invite a whole group, or join a local hiking club.

Hiking is a fun recreational activity that can be enjoyed safely by people of all ages, experience, and fitness levels. You can enjoy a simple hike, or if you are more adventurous, you can tackle difficult trails and weeklong backpacking trips. Whatever you choose, you will still benefit from an improved quality of life by enjoying the sport.

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Autumn Offers a Great Time for Mountain Biking

Posted on: September 19th, 2014 by Quik Shade

Mountain biking provides a great workout, as well as the opportunity to see many beautiful picturesque scenes of nature. Autumn is one of the best seasons for mountain biking. Not only is the weather usually a nice balance between being too hot and too cold, it also offers many beautiful moments to experience fall foliage. The trees in the mountains often turn beautiful golden, red or orange colors. As you climb through the trails, you can experience the fresh, crisp air and enjoy the beautiful scenes surrounding you.

Mountain Biking

Safety Tips

When you go mountain biking in the autumn, there are a few important safety concerns to keep in mind. First and foremost, you should keep in mind that it might be hunting season. If the mountain trails through which you cycle also share access with hunters, be sure to wear very bright colors, especially orange, so that you will not be mistaken for an animal.

You also want to be careful cycling through the leaf litter. This can cover the trail and make it difficult to know if there is something dangerous on the trail ahead, and make the climbing and cornering of the trail more difficult. Fall weather can also be more unpredictable than other seasons, so you have to be more prepared for sudden rain, temperature drops, and more.

The Best Gear for Fall

When you go mountain biking in the autumn, you want to dress in layers, so that you can shed clothing as you get warmer. You should wear a lightweight and wind-resistant shell as your outer layer. You can wear a mid-layer as well on very cold days. Once the temperature drops below 50 degrees, you should wear pants or tights instead of shorts. The colder temperature also means you need to wear a skullcap to protect your head from getting cold from the vents in the helmet.

You can also wear shoe covers and thicker socks to keep your feet warm. You will want bike gloves to keep your hands warm. If it is not cold enough for all that gear, you can just use arm and leg warmers instead. Do not forget to make sure that you have enough lighting on your bike for riding in the woods, and during shorter days. You also want a good reflector vest to be more visible to not only cars but also hunters.

What are the Best Mountain Trails in the Fall?

There are many great mountain biking trails to explore in the fall, especially in New England with its famous fall foliage. One of the best biking locations in the autumn is the Sherando Lake Loop in the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia. This is part of the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests and features an 18.2-mile single-track trail that has more than 1,000 feet of vertical climbing.

There are brilliant colors all along the trail. Another great trail is the Leicester Hollow Trail in Vermont, which is part of the Green Mountain National Forest. It is 4.8 miles and has an elevation change of about 1,000 feet as well. The Juniper Ridge Trail near Mount St. Helens in Washington is brightly colored trail during the fall season. The trail is about 11.6 miles and has elevation ranges of 3,400 to 4,800 feet above sea level. In addition to the beautiful fall foliage, there are also meadows and ponds.

Whether you can experience these excellent mountain trails, or are sticking closer to home, the autumn is one of the best seasons for mountain biking. You just have to dress appropriately and be mindful of your safety. Just because the days are shorter and the temperature is cooler does not mean that you have to start spending your times indoors during the autumn.  

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5 Best Places for a Fall Get-Away

Posted on: September 12th, 2014 by Quik Shade

Fall is one of the best seasons to take a getaway, whether for a long weekend or a longer vacation. It offers beautiful scenery filled with gorgeous colors, if you are in the right location. It is a beautiful time of year to get out and explore the outdoors, especially as the weather is often not too hot or too cold. Additionally, the fall typically is off-season for tourists, making it less expensive than during the peak holiday times. The following five locations offer some of the best places to experience fall, especially the beautiful foliage.


New Hampshire Lakes Regions

 The Lakes Region in New Hampshire provides a quiet and serene area to getaway from the stresses of life. It offers foliage from late September through October. It has a longer leaf season than many locations because it is protected from the harsh, coastal winds and does not rise too high above sea level. The district includes Lake Winnipesaukee, Squam Lake, Mirro r Lake, Newfound Lake, Lake Ossippee, and Lake Winnisquam. In addition to the gorgeous fall colors, you can also enjoy beautiful hiking, cycling, or boating around the lakes.

Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park, located in Maine, is a lovely place to hike or cycle anytime of year. However, in the fall, it is especially picturesque. The Cadillac Mountain and Precipice Trail offers numerous scenic trails on which to stroll, hike, trail run, or cycle. You can also enjoy the Carriage Roads, which feature beautiful fall foliage as you drive from town to town.

San Francisco

Although San Francisco may not be as well known for fall foliage as the East Coast of the U.S., it provides a beautiful location for a fall getaway. Fall is off-peak season in San Francisco, which makes it easy to enjoy the many sites, such as Golden Gate Bridge and Park, without all the crowds. The weather remains beautiful, and just to the south are many beautiful redwood trees if you feel like hiking among the trees.


You may not think about going to Alaska in the fall, but it can be a beautiful place to experience the season, although you might want to go earlier rather than later, before the days get too short and the weather turns too cold. There are plenty of beautiful natural parks and wilderness with the traditional fall foliage. It is one of the first places to experience the fall, and you can enjoy many of the beautiful yellow, reds and oranges of the leaves even in early September. You can take a cruise along the coast, or you can just enjoy the forests and mountains inland.

Green Mountains in Vermont

The Green Mountains offer some of the richest, deepest colors for fall, especially when the area experiences many days of warm temperatures with cold nights. There are numerous maple trees in the area as well, whose leaves produce the best fall colors. The mountains also provide a beautiful place to hike, climb, and enjoy mountain sports before the temperatures become too cold. You can also drive the scenic and historic routes through the country roads, especially through the Green Mountain Byway, which goes through Stowe and Waterbury, places famous for their beautiful picturesque views.

These five locations provide the best places to go and enjoy the fall season. The temperatures are perfect, so you can still enjoy walking and hiking without worrying about getting overheated. Additionally, you will have numerous opportunities for the perfect photo among the natural landscapes and small towns. The serene environments provide the perfect atmosphere for relaxing and getting back to nature, allowing yourself time for some essential rejuvenation and stress relief.

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The Best Cities for Outdoor-Types to Live

Posted on: September 10th, 2014 by Quik Shade

There are many cities that have parks and nearby open spaces that make it easy for outdoor-types to live in a bustling city and still enjoy being outside. You can enjoy hiking, swimming, canoeing, kayaking, rock climbing, cycling, running, and other adventure sports without having to drive hours and waste precious sunlight just to get to the location. The following list includes the best cities for those who cannot stand to stay inside all day to live, some of which may just surprise you.


Washington D.C.

The nation’s capital is a busy and thriving city that has many areas just outside of town for the outdoor enthusiast to enjoy. The Potomac River provides the perfect environment for enjoying  many water sports, including sailing, kayaking, and canoeing. Not too far away are the Great Falls, the Virginia and George Washington State Forest, and the Shenandoah National Park that offer beautiful natural trails for trail running, cycling and hiking, as well as some campgrounds for backpacking or camping. Georgetown also offers places along the Potomac River for walking, biking and rock climbing.

Bend, Oregon

Bend has a population of almost 80,000 people but still feels like a small town without the large crowds that you find in larger cities, and the wide open spaces outdoorsman crave. It also offers almost any type of outdoor adventure for year round enjoyment. It has a high elevation, so most of its residents enjoy mostly mountain-based outdoor activities. It has water sports, skiing, rock climbing, hiking, and cycling. It also averages about 300 days of sunshine a year, making it easy to get out and enjoy the surrounding natural environment.

Las Vegas, Nevada

Vegas may not be known for its outdoor fun, but beyond the casinos on the strip, it actually has many beautiful natural landscapes to enjoy. There is Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area to climb. It is only a two-hour drive to Zion National Park for hiking and climbing among one of the most beautiful location in the country. Bootleg Canyon offers cycling opportunities where you can enjoy the diverse desert wildlife. The Colorado River offers water sports, as does Lake Mead. Mount Charleston provides winter sport fun.

Portland, Maine

Portland is another small city, with a population of only about 70,000 people, that offers plenty of outdoor fun. The nearby beach at Pophman provides the perfect spot for relaxing in the sun. You can enjoy water sports on Casco Bay, Beaver Pond, Haskell Pond, Highland Lake, and Presumpscot River Reservoir. The Bradbury Mountain is not far away, and it offers great opportunities for climbing, hiking and mountain biking. You can also just enjoy wondering through the trails around Cape Elizabeth.

Boulder, Colorado

Boulder boasts over 300 days of sunshine every year, and it is also known for being one of the fittest healthiest and happiest cities in the country. Colorado is the Rocky Mountain State, and offers many beautiful areas to go climbing and mountaineering, as well as skiing. The nearby Eldorado Canyon is the popular destination on which residents play. There are also nearby places for enjoying water sports. You can enjoy both winter and summer sports in the beautiful scenery of Boulder.

San Francisco, California

San Francisco has sunshine for more than two-thirds of the year and a pleasant climate. Additionally, about 18 percent of the city is designated as parks. It consistently makes lists for being the best outdoor city. You can enjoy the local parks, or go to the nearby beaches. There are also opportunities for almost any type of outdoor sport, including hiking, biking, climbing, water sports, skiing, and more.   

There are many other cities throughout the country that offer the amenities of a large city and the opportunity to play outdoors, no matter your sport of choice. 

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5 Activities for the End of Summer

Posted on: September 8th, 2014 by Quik Shade

The school bells once again are ringing, the days are growing shorter, the temperatures are beginning to drop, and fall is just around the corner. Before summer comes to an end, you should make sure to take pleasure in the last of the summer sun and enjoy outdoor activities that may not be possible once the fall weather commences. With the following five activities, you can say goodbye to summer in style.

 summertime activities


Labor day weekend is often a popular weekend to host a backyard barbeque, but it does not have to be the only weekend designated for a good old-fashioned BBQ. Before the evenings become too cold, you should invite your friends and family over from some outdoor fun. You can grill on the BBQ, but you can also just have an outdoor dinner if you do not have a grill. If you do not want to cook for everyone, you can turn it into a potluck dinner instead, and everyone will contribute.

Backyard Campout

Before the nights become too cold, you should enjoy a night of sleeping outdoors, staring up at the stars. Although going to a national or state park provides the most beautiful environment for camping, you do not have to go to an actual campground to enjoy an evening under the stars. Instead, you can just set up a tent in your own backyard. The whole family can enjoy some quality time together before the school year kicks into full gear and takes over everyone’s schedule. Don’t forget to include the s’mores. It is a fun, simple and inexpensive way to enjoy sleeping outdoors.

Explore Hiking or Biking Trails

During the summer, it can sometimes be too hot to enjoy the local hiking or biking trails. Therefore, the end of summer can be the perfect time to get out and enjoy the local natural landscape. The weather begins to be cooler, but the days are still long enough that you can go for an evening hike or bike ride and not worry about it getting too dark.  

Go to a Baseball Game

As summer comes to an end, so does baseball season. Before it is too late, you should take your family to a local baseball game. Even if you do not have a major league team nearby, you might have a minor league or college team that still have games. There is no better way to send summer off than by enjoying America’s favorite pastime with your family. Do not forget to enjoy the peanuts and Cracker Jacks as well.

Go Swimming

The last days of summer provide the final opportunities to go for a relaxing swim. You can go to the local pool, lake, river, or beach and enjoy a fun dip in the water, and even work on soaking up the last few rays of sunshine before you begin to spend too much time indoors. If you do not have access to a place to go swimming, you can still enjoy cooing down with water in your own backyard. You can play with the sprinklers, have a water balloon fight, or buy a plastic kiddie pool and just enjoy sitting and feeling cooler, even if you do not have any young children. You can also go to a water park, if there is one in your area.

There are many outdoor activities you can do with your family and/or friends before summer officially ends. All of the aforementioned activities are family friendly, but they can also be enjoyed by people of all ages. Whether you go out and celebrate the end of summer with your family or just with your friends, you can easily and inexpensively say goodbye in a way that will provide you with enough memories to get through until next year.

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The Benefits of Rock Climbing for Your Mind

Posted on: September 5th, 2014 by Quik Shade

Rock climbing

Rock climbing, whether you do it indoors on a rock-climbing wall, or outdoors offers a great full-body workout. It strengthens your muscles and provides a cardio-workout as well. Rock climbing has many benefits, but most people only focus on the physical benefits. Many people do not realize that this fun activity can also provide numerous advantages for your mind as well.

Builds Cognitive Function

One of the best reasons to rock climb is that it enhances your cognitive function. Rock climbing, especially outdoors, forces you to use and further develop your problem solving skills. You have to work out which hand or foothold to use, and if you find yourself in a bind, you have to figure out how to get yourself safely on your way without panicking. You will have more determination and be able to control negative emotions and thinking, especially those based on fear. You will be able to stay calm and assess the situation and find the best way to solve the problem. You also develop better planning, decision making and goal setting skills, which can transfer into other areas of your life.  

Additionally, rock climbing uses both your left and right side of the brain. This type of brain integration can help to strengthen the interconnections within the brain, including the neuro-connective pathways. This can enhance your overall brain function for all areas of life.

Helps build Your Body-Mind Connection

Rock climbing enhances your body awareness, especially your motor skills, spatial awareness and hand-body coordination. To succeed at rock climbing, you have to know how your body works and be able to see a hand or foothold and easily grab it. By engaging in rock climbing, you build your ability to use you body and improve your motor skills. Additionally, it builds your self-esteem because you know you can do anything you set your mind to do.

Reduces Stress

Exercise helps to reduce stress in many different ways, including reducing the levels of norepinephrine in the body, a neurotransmitter associated with the body’s stress response. Additionally, exercise releases endorphins to produce a positive boost in mood that can help with a variety of mental illnesses, including depression, anxiety, and more. Rock climbing has additional benefits beyond just the stress relief from normal exercise by creating additional feelings of euphoria and blocking feelings of pain. Furthermore, you have to focus your brain on the task at hand. This can help you to forget about the stressors of life and find a way to rejuvenate yourself, as well as creating a meditative effect.

Benefits of Being outdoors

Although you can gain many of these brain-boosting benefits from climbing indoors, the best benefits of rock climbing for your mind come from being outdoors. Numerous studies have found that being in nature provides a calming effect that reduces stress, improves mood, and enhances your overall health and well being.

Additionally, climbing outdoors can also increase your creativity, as you will have to figure out how to get up and down the path. It can also decrease the symptoms of ADHD and several mood disorders, including depression and anxiety. When you climb up a rock face and get to the top, you can enjoy the beauty of the surrounding landscape and disappear in the serenity of it, which will provide your mind with some much-needed rejuvenation.

The next time you are looking for a way to exercise your brain, try going rock climbing. You will get a great workout for your body, as well as enhance your mood, cognitive function, and facilitate a tranquil state of mind. Additionally, you will have experiences that few people have and might just find a brand new hobby. 

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5 Ideas To Keep You Active At The Beach

Posted on: August 29th, 2014 by Quik Shade

people in beach

Many people head to the beach to relax and sunbathe, but sometimes you want to do much more than just sit when you are on the beach. Luckily, there are plenty of easy and inexpensive ways to keep active on the beach that go beyond just swimming or playing in the ocean. You can play these games in between swimming or enjoying other water sports, spend the whole time playing these games, or just get a little activity before catching up on your beach reading. One of the best benefits of playing these games on the beach is that if you get too hot, you can always go for a quick dip in the water.


Playing with a Frisbee on the beach is a simple and inexpensive way to stay active that has several options. You can just simply toss the Frisbee between people, or you can play Frisbee games, such as Frisbee golf and ultimate Frisbee. You can create a Frisbee golf course by simply pointing out particular locations to be the “holes.” Then, you compete to see who can get the Frisbee to the goal in the fewest throws. If you want to be really active, start a game of ultimate Frisbee, a game similar to soccer that uses a Frisbee instead of a ball.


Beach volleyball is a popular activity, so many beaches have volleyball courts on which to play. You can also find kits in the store to purchase to make your own court on the sand. If you do not want to use a court, you can also just volley the ball back and forth without using a net.

Paddle Ball

Paddle ball is another classic beach game. You can find paddle ball sets in many stores, and they are inexpensive. It is a simple game, as all you do is just hit the ball back and forth, so even children can enjoy playing it. If you have enough paddles, you can play in teams. Paddle ball can be a low-impact game for those who just want a little activity, or it can become a very intense activity if you want more of a workout.

Bocce Ball

The classic lawn game bocce ball can also be enjoyed on the beach. You will have to buy a bocce ball set, but they are inexpensive and do not take much room in your car to carry them to the beach. The game is simple for everyone to play, even children. It is a relaxing game that will keep you active, without wearing you out.

Build a Sandcastle

Another idea to keep active at the beach is to build a sandcastle. It may not seem like this is much of a workout, but it takes a lot more work than you think to build a sandcastle. When you build a sandcastle, you often dig and perform other actions that get your body moving. You will be getting physical activity without even feeling like you are working out. It is a fun and creative way to get off your beach chair and moving, while still feeling like you are relaxing and enjoying the day.

There are plenty of opportunities on the beach to do more than just lie in the sun and read all day. Whether you want to swim or play water sports, just take a stroll along the beach, or enjoy one of these five activities, you can have a fun day at the beach with the level of activity you want. These activities are enjoyable for people of all ages, so whether you are spending the day with your family or just your friends, you can have use these ideas to have fun.

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Harmony Arts Festival Offers ‘Living Art’ Canopy Installation

Posted on: August 28th, 2014 by Quik Shade

Harmony Arts FestivalThe annual Harmony Arts Festival, in its 24th year, offers visitors food, music, and visual art to enjoy. It takes place in West Vancouver, and draws people from all over the world. This year, the dates for the event are August 1st to the 10th. Visitors to the event will receive a special treat: a living art canopy installation made from thousands of plants. Matthew Soules, the architect and creator of the canopy piece, known as Vermillion Sands, is an award winning architect who grew up in West Vancouver. This is his first living art and architectural living exhibit in his home town.

An Idea is Born

The project began about five months prior to the Harmony Arts Festival, when the director and head curator of the West Vancouver Museum, Darrin Morrison, approached Soules about submitting a joint proposal for a temporary art and architectural installation for the festival. They had a general idea of what they wanted to create, and after being approved fro funding by the B.C. Arts Council, they began to work.

Living Art Canopy

Part of the idea behind building the canopy was to provide shade and sun protection, but Soules sees it as a multipurpose art installation. He wanted the piece of art is to celebrate the entrance into the exhibit. He felt visitors should have something dramatic under which to walk to create the perfect entry into the festival.

Soules also created the canopy to pay tribute to the Vancouver artist and architect B.C. Binning. Soules lives in B.C. Binning’s house as a live-in caretaker, which inspired him to use a pattern of repeated geometric shapes reminiscent of some of Binnin’s abstract work. This ambitious canopy project is the largest site-specific piece to date for the festival. 

Soules says he was inspired to create a man-made creation that also incorporated natural elements to create a hybrid of “strange and surreal mutations.” He says, “I find the idea of building that pattern out of growing plant material, which you can only control to a partial degree, very intriguing. The geometry is very specific and pure, but then the plants will do their own thing.”

The canopy measures 90 feet long, 20 feet wide and 13 feet tall. It is made from two different plants, the white clover and perennial ryeglass. There were 260 models created about a month prior to the installation. The canopy also features an LED lighting system and a misting system. About 35 people worked together to create the final canopy. It is truly an impressive addition to this year’s festival.

Harmony Arts Festival

Harmony Arts Festival takes place in Millennium Park on the West Vancouver waterfront. It features outdoor cinema, art, food, drink and music. It lasts for ten days and features 400 established and emerging visual artists, as well as 150 performing artists. The visual arts have always played a significant role in the Harmony Arts Festival. Within the festival is an Art Market, which offers art for sale from a variety of mediums, including ceramics, musical instruments, and woodwork. Participants can also walk to local businesses to see the work from the local artists. There is also an ArtSpeaks tent that hosts workshops, demonstrations, and talks focused on a variety of artistic mediums.

Other Special Features at the Festival

The festival also offers additional must-see exhibits beyond just the canopy. One such exhibition is a group exhibition that features mixed media artwork by local artists. There is also a special area for exhibiting work by emerging artists who are under the age of 18 called Love of Art. For children, there is also an art camp that includes an opportunity for the children to sell their artwork in the Art Market. 

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The Trails You Need To Hike In Yosemite

Posted on: August 18th, 2014 by Quik Shade

Hike In Yosemite

Yosemite National Park features amazing natural landscapes, including waterfalls higher than a 200-story building, more than 100 lakes, gigantic towering trees, mountains and even beaches. The park is actually larger than some European countries, and almost equals Rhode Island in size. With more than 800 miles of trails, each filled with its own picturesque vista to enjoy, you might have difficulty deciding which trail to take during your stay. There are trails for every skill level, including paved trails that remain close to the populated areas, remote trails, trails that take days to hike, and trails that take less than an hour to enjoy.

Yosemite is divided into four regions: Yosemite Valley, Tioga Pass Road, Southern Yosemite, Glacier Point Road, and Hetch Hetchy and Big Oak Flat. Most of Yosemite’s most famous landmarks are in Yosemite Valley. Below are some of the best trails to hike during your visit to Yosemite.

Vernal and Nevada Falls

This hike is one of the best in Yosemite Valley, especially in the spring. Vernal and Nevada Falls are two of Yosemite’s most stunning waterfalls. You also can see some other waterfalls during your hike, including Yosemite Falls and Illilouette Fall. You start this loop either at the Mist Trail or the John Muir Trail. The easiest route begins by climbing the Mist Trail, ending at the John Muir Trail.

Half Dome

Half Dome is one of the most famous hikes in Yosemite, but it is not for the faint-hearted. The summit of Half Dome offers 360-degree views of the surrounding park.  Most people take two days to make this hike. Day hikers need advance permits, and the cable route to the summit is only open during the summer season, from May to mid-October.

The Panorama Trail

This hike offers exciting views of many of Yosemite’s famous landmarks, including Half Dome, Nevada Fall, Vernal Fall, Yosemite Falls and the rest of Yosemite Valley.

Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias

On this trail, you walk among giant Sequoias and see some of the oldest trees in the world. This protected grove features over 300 hundred giant sequoias, some of which date back to 2,000 years ago.

Upper Yosemite Fall Hike

Yosemite Falls is the highest waterfall in North America, measuring 2,425 feet from top to bottom. This trail takes you up to the top of the falls, where you can look down over the falls and the rest of the area. There are also trails among the lower part of the falls for those who want an easier hike.

Cathedral Lakes

The Cathedral Lakes trail, located in Tuolumne, takes you to two lakes. The first is Cathedral Lake, which sits within a glacial cirque with views of the nearby Cathedral Peak. You can stay and enjoy this lake, or you can continue on to Tenaya Lake. The trail is located at the side of Tioga Road and takes you through beautiful pine forests with views of the surrounding mountains as you walk to the lakes.

May Lake and Mount Hoffmann

Mount Hoffman sits in the park’s geographical center of the park. Hiking to the summit offers amazing views of the entire area. Those who do not want to make the trek all the way to the summit can stop at May Lake. This beautiful lake offers views of Cathedra Peak, Half Dome and Mount Clark.

Tueeulala and Wapama Falls

If you enjoy waterfalls and want to get up close and personal to one, then you should hike this trail. This trail brings you closer to Wapama Falls than any of the trails to the other falls do. The trail also takes you by the spectacular Tueeulala Falls. You also can see the Hetch Hetchy Dome and Kolana Rock in the distance.  

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7 Ideas For A ‘Cool’ Outdoor Birthday

Posted on: August 13th, 2014 by Quik Shade

outdoor birthday party


Summer birthdays provide the perfect opportunity for a fun outdoor birthday celebration. However, the hot, sunny days can also lead to feeling hot and uncomfortable, making some people take the parties back inside. There is no need to suffer in the heat, or settle for an indoor bash. With these seven ideas, you can have a fantastically “cool” outdoor birthday celebration.

Water Party

With a water-themed birthday party, you can invite your friends and family over to have fun in the water, no pool required. Even adults can enjoy an old-fashioned water party. You can play games with water balloons, turn on the sprinklers, create a slip-and-slide, play with water guns, and just have fun getting wet. This themed party is not recommended during a drought, but otherwise, you can have a blast and keep cool during a sunny, warm summer day.

Pool Party

A classic pool party is a great way to stay cool during an outdoor birthday celebration. You can simply host a party at a pool in your backyard, neighborhood, or the city pool. You can play games, such as Marco Polo, ring toss, water tag, and more. Adults can also enjoy lounging at the pool for a birthday celebration.

Your own County Fair

You can make your own county fair in your backyard with a few simple games. You can have bobbing for apples, water balloon toss, sponge toss, watermelon seed spitting, and more. You can use a variety of games made for cooling down outside, including a small outdoor pool, to create your own county fair-inspired games. Everyone will enjoy having fun at the local county fair. Just warn people to dress for the occasion.

Kayaking or Tubing the River

If you live near a lake or river, you can rent some kayaks or tubes and go kayaking or tubing, an enjoyable activity for all ages. You can also go paddle boarding. Tubing on a river offers the best opportunity, as you do not need any skill level. These activities can also be enjoyed on a beach. You can also just enjoy swimming and frolicking in the water.

Camp Out

One way to make an outdoor birthday party cooler is to celebrate in the evening, when the sun goes down and the temperatures drop. Instead of just having an evening dinner or barbeque, you can have an all night camping party. You can go to a local state or national park, or you can just camp out in your own back yard. Do not forget to bring the s’mores. You can also plan fun activities while it is cool outside.

Ice Cream Making Party

An ice cream making party is where you make ice cream, snow cones, popsicles, and other frozen treats, and then enjoy eating them. Kids and adults alike enjoy making these frozen snacks. To enhance the fun, and flavors, you can find creative recipes online and try them out. You can also have a competition for the most creative creation.

Beach Party

You do not have to live near the beach to have a beach party. You can create a beach-themed party and bring the sand and ocean to you, at least in spirit. You can use some small plastic pools and imported sand to create the atmosphere. Everyone can water their swimsuits, and you can play water-themed games to play. For example, you can play traditional beach games, such as Frisbee and volleyball, but with a twist. The volleyball and Frisbee can be filled with water, so everyone gets wet. You can feel like you are on the beach, even if you are not.


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