Saturday, April 27, 2013

Outdoor Adventure = An inexpensive vacation

Ed, the author of this post, describes
outdoor vacation essentials
Hopefully you read Ed’s first blog post on enjoying a vacation in the great outdoors.  (If not, check it out here.)  This post is a continuation of the previous, detailing specifics of what to do within the National and State Parks you decide to visit!

First, like all vacations, the success of an outdoor adventure lies in carefully laid plans.   Once you have identified a place that you would like to visit, the first step is to figure out what you need to get there.  This includes not only the logistics of travel, but also the determination of whether any permits or reservations are required.  For example, many national park campgrounds (such as those in Yosemite National Park) fill up months in advance, and require advanced booking.  If you aren’t able to snag a prime spot in one of the official campgrounds, there is no need for despair: there are often a number of sites within the park that are set aside for “first come, first serve” campers.  In addition, most national parks are surrounded by other campgrounds and quaint towns that have plenty of room for the people who put their vacation planning off until the last minute. 
Camping in Kings Canyon National Park

Permits are often required for backcountry travel, and are either available for advance reservation or on a “first come, first serve” basis.  Again, no need to worry if your plans coalesce too late for advanced reservations.  Being prone to procrastination myself, I have in at least one instance departed before dawn from San Francisco to pick from my choice of any permit the beautiful Eastern Sierra has to offer. Some of the most popular trails (like the cable route up Half Dome) require permits that are obtained through a lottery system.  Again, advanced planning will greatly increase your chances of achieving an itinerary that you will love.

Hiking Maroon Bells - Rocky Mountains, Colorado
Given the inherent danger that is often associated with outdoor activities, it is imperative that you prepare yourself to deal with any problems that might arise during your trip.  On day hikes, make sure that you carry enough water and some food for a snack.  Also essential are carrying a first aid kit, map, and flashlight or headlamp in case you are stuck outside after dark.  Wear the right shoes!  I cringe at the sight of people hiking up a steep trail in flip flops.  Although it is difficult to do, now is the time to suspend your wonderful sense of style and lace into some hiking boots.  Trust me, your feet will thank you.  Of course overnight travel into the backcountry will require another set of supplies that I don’t have the space or attention span to get into here.  Make sure to also pack a camera, to capture the scenery.

I will leave you with a quote from the great author and naturalist, Edward Abbey "May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view.  May your mountains rise into and above the clouds." - Desert Solitaire


  1. Thanks. Here in Colorado, our mountain hikes are graded with one to four boots, depending on difficulty. (No pun intended.)

    1. What a clever rating system. Thanks for the tip.