Entry tags:

[sticky entry] Sticky: Getting this party started

Hello and welcome to The Great Outdoors, your DW community for camping, hiking, paddling, and all things wonderful to do in the outsides. The goal of this community is to share experiences through gushing, pictures, and sharing of questions, information and opinions.

In a new post, please introduce yourself, tell us what you like to do outside, what your latest or favorite trip was, and if you have anything planned for the near future.

Have fun and be safe out there!
spiralsheep: A raven (spiralsheep Raven Logo)

Magpie 1, Buzzard 0

While I was out for a walk, I recently saw a lone magpie (Eurasian magpie, pica pica) manage to successfully "mob" and drive away a much larger buzzard (common buzzard, buteo buteo) from the magpie's breeding territory: 5 small photos at my journal. Enjoy!
ranunculus: (Default)
[personal profile] ranunculus2012-04-04 09:20 pm

Lyme Disease Con't

I live in the often dry West of USA. Here are a few other facts:

Ticks can and do jump. How -far- something the size of a poppy seed can jump is a really good question.

Ticks live on our bushes in the West so can jump onto your clothing at any level if you are crawling around in it. They actually live on plant "juices" until they can find a warm-blooded host.

Light clothing apparently actually repels ticks.

If you have been bitten by a tick, look for a "bullseye" red, rash like ring around a bite in the day or two after the bite. This is a good indication that you have been bitten by the kind of tick that may carry the lyme disease.

I agree that spraying your clothing can be a really important step.

Despite living in an area where Lyme's is endemic and having walked in such territory all my life I am, so far, lyme negative. So don't worry too much, just take precautions!

Be Lyme safe while enjoying the outdoors

I've just spent the past six to seven years coping with untreated and undiagnosed Lyme disease, a disease which is quite easy to get if you spend a lot of time out in the woods. So as it is a royal pain in the arse, I thought I'd do a quick Lyme disease FAQ/linkspam to hopefully help people avoid having the same problem.

What is Lyme disease?
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection transmitted through the bite of an infected tick (usually a deer tick, which often resembles a poppy seed).
Read more about Lyme disease... )
How can I prevent Lyme disease?

I love being outside, and I do not plan, as one author has suggested, to build a 10 foot high electric deer fence around my yard to keep out tick hosts. Nor do I intend to stop feeding the birds, as I am an avid birder and feel that they're losing a lot of food due to habitat loss in my neighborhood.

However, there are some concrete steps you can take if you plan to be outside:
  1. Use an insect repellent containing permethrin on your clothing. Permethrin kills ticks (and other things) so it's important not to get it on you. Rather, you treat your clothing. So, for example: have a pair of hiking pants that you spray with permethrin (outside in a well-ventilated area when you're not wearing them). Let them dry, and bingo! instant tick risk reduction. The permethrin will last through several washes.
  2. Wear long pants. I know it gets hot in summer, but consider: being a little hot, or getting Lyme disease? Similarly, it's best if you can tuck your pants into your socks to prevent ticks crawling up your pants or if you have those pants with the drawstrings at the bottom that let you pull them closed. Also, if it's that hot, maybe you should just go swimming at the pool instead of hiking.
  3. Wear light-colored clothing so that you can see if there is a tick crawling on it.
  4. If you can, avoid long grasses where ticks like to hang out.
  5. When you come home, do a tick check to see if you've missed any on your body. This includes those hard-to-spot crevices. Often times it's hard to feel a tick bite and they can be the size of a poppy seed. The longer they're attached, the more likely they are to transmit infection. Check you (and your pets) after a walk to make sure you didn't bring anyone home.
  6. If you get a tick bite, know how to remove it (tweezers, not a match!) and save the tick so that it can be tested. Also, if you are bitten, be alert for any of the symptoms of Lyme listed above. You don't want to miss it.
Hopefully I haven't scared anyone off a walk in the woods and instead have made it a safer place for everyone except for ticks.
ranunculus: (Default)
[personal profile] ranunculus2012-04-01 08:51 am

A Ranch Walk

At the risk of boring people, here are some pics of a walk on the Ranch. The walk was April of 2009. Pacific Forest Trust holds our conservation easement. This means that our ranch won't be "developed" into housing or even into yet more vineyards.

On Thursday M and I went with the Pacific Forest Trust folks for a walk on the south end of the Ranch. After the 90+ degree weather earlier in the week grass was begining to dry up. Fortunately it had cooled down into the low 70's with a pleasant cool breeze for the walk. There was a nice group of us, and no one was in a hurry.

Just to the right of the last picture is Devil's Den, an erosion area that has been dumping gravel into the stream for my entire lifetime.

After walking up the stream for a while we turned up a steep "road" (more of a badly brushed out trail) and got up to the ridge top where we got our first look at the sulfurous springs on on the opposite side of the canyon.

Later we re-crossed the canyon and hiked along the spring areas. Those yellow/orange flowers are a mix of mimulus and tiny "goldfields". Very pretty.

No hike around the south part of the Ranch would be complete without a picture of one of the oaks!

I'll stop with one last pic of yellow mimulus and goldfields, white meadowfoam and popcorn flowers and all kinds of other goodies!
ranunculus: (Default)
[personal profile] ranunculus2012-04-01 08:23 am

Walking Tazlina - Intro post

Most of my walking is in my home, San Francisco or at the ranch in Ukiah California (Ukiah is Northern California).
I tend to take pictures in the winter or spring, my enthusiasm wanes as temperatures rise and the land turns brown!

Tazlina, or Tazzy, is an ~4 year old border collie. We adopted her on August 29th 2011. Her job is to get me out and moving. M is one of my companions.

Tazlina is doing her job. Having a border collie requires human slaves to walk her. When she first came she hadn't had a lot of long walks, and she was fairly easily tired out. Not now.

Thursday and Friday were supposed to be really nasty and rainy at the ranch, so I stayed in San Francisco. By Wednesday I was ready to go out for a walk in Golden Gate Park - but first I wanted to wash the dog. She hadn't had a bath for a while, and was beginning to smell like some unidentified, stale dated carcass. My normally cooperative collie looked like a cartoon character, digging her toenails into the door frame in an attempt to avoid the dreaded bathtub. She emerged with sparkling while ruff and tail, and a very curly coat.

With our squeeky clean dog M, Vola and I went out for a walk. Walking down the very civilized paths in Golden Gate Park would be nice and clean - right? Sigh. It has been raining. Down in the Aids Memorial Grove there are some nice muddy bits. So much for clean legs and belly. Oh Well.

It was gorgeous in the park, with rhododendrons, azaleas, tulip trees and all kinds of things in bloom. On our way back we walked past a little lake, euphemistically call “Lilly Pond”. This little lake does indeed have lots of lily pads, but it also has ducks, waterweed and slime. Tazlina was transfixed by the ducks and charged out after them. She got about 20 feet from shore before she realized she was in **WATER**!! Horrors. I really don't think she had ever been for a swim before, but she did just fine, emerging much less muddy, but smelling of pond slime. The humans onshore were doubled over with laughter. I washed her off again when I got home....

Friday M and I chose to go over to the Bon Tempe Lake in Marin County. There a great hiking trails and roads leading out from the lakes. To begin our walk we crossed a dam, and looked out over Tempe Lake. Cormorants and seagulls were trying to sun themselves in the mist. To be fair, this picture was taken on the way back when it was a LOT clearer!


Mostly by chance we chose to go up a trail called “Rocky Ridge”, one of the steeper climbs. It was a perfect day for a walk, misty, cool and a bit damp for our start, but clearing as we went.
Here is Tazzy posing in the mist.

Rocky Ridge has a lot of serpentine in the soil, a mineral that ties up potassium and phosphorus as well as having toxic levels of other minerals. Vegetation tends to be stunted or specialized to live in such a soil. There were lots of beautiful low manzanita with drifts of pink/white flowers, a lovely pale lavender ceonothus and a few early paintbrush.


The ridge went up, and up. Looking at the topo map, that climb is almost 1,000 feet. Certainly got our blood moving!

As we began to drop into more forested slopes I saw lots of Fremont's star lily which is also known as "death camas". Beautiful, but don't eat it!


Off to one side of the road was a little flower I don't think I'd ever seen:

Turns out it is a claytonia exigua Odd little thing!

M took a nice picture of Tazzy and I.


The trail wound down along damp north facing slopes. It is just the right time for salamanders to be crawling about. This handsome fellow was about 7 inches long.

Tazzy posed for me in front of this old redwood stump.

And with M


Lovely Hound's Tongue (Cynoglossum Grande) and deep purple iris distracted me.

All in all it was a lovely walk!
rydra_wong: Lisa Rands' chalky hands on the sloper on the route Gaia (climbing -- hands)
[personal profile] rydra_wong2012-03-19 07:42 am
Entry tags:

So ...

If I was, in a super-hypothetical way, starting to consider acquiring a sleeping bag and tent for possible use in good weather in the British summer ...

What would I need to know?
spiralsheep: The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity (ish icons Curiosity Cures Boredom)

Tell me your bridge anecdotes, please?

Every walker has tales of terrible bridges they've confronted while out and about. I posted one of mine, from last year, to amuse my circle. Share yours?

(Why, yes, this is a transparent attempt to ease this community into more activity!)
spiralsheep: Flowers (skywardprodigal Cog Flowers)

A circular walk around Worcestershire Beacon

It snowed so I repeated my recent bus ride to Malvern for a circular walk around the highest of the White Mountains of Gondor before returning to Malvern past the Krotons and the Narnian gas lamp that Mr Tumnus was observed beneath... aka around Worcestershire Beacon.

Walk report with 13 small images at my journal.

Snowy view from the saddle towards North Hill

(This post is for everyone who'd like to be out in the snow but can't make it due to distance, responsibilities, or incapacity.)
faesdeynia: (Default)
[personal profile] faesdeynia2012-02-07 05:54 am

Intro post from Austin

Good morning! I live Texas, winter isn't off limits for the outdoors; but unless you are really careful, the summer is very off limits. I've been grateful for first aid training more than once when a fellow hiker says she's not feeling so good, and we're a mile in at 103F.

My last camping trip was over Thanksgiving in November. Sadly, when it was raining for the 2nd day in a row, I was voted down as to whether to stay and finish the weekend, or to leave and go home to our warm beds.

I love hiking, and there are a ton of good places to do it around here! They vary from a stroll down a wide, well-maintained trail, to one of my favorite places, which you have to very carefully pick your way along, due to the unevenness of the trail.

My boyfriend and I both love paddling, but we aren't enough of enthusiasts to have our own equipment. We go down to the lake and rent it, and spend the time meandering up and down Lady Bird Lake.
lab: (we gotta get outta this place)
[personal profile] lab2012-01-25 11:51 am

Hello everyone!

I'm [personal profile] lab or [profile] staubundsterneon LJ and this is my introductory post! I mainly walk (my dog), (ice/snow) hike in the mountains and do yoga, I'm thinking about taking up climbing sometime this year.

cut for longer ramblings about body respect and hiking )

Mods: Are links to product reviews allowed? I've been doing a lot of sampling of winter jackets and general hiking gear in the past few weeks and will be compiling a review post over at my journal.

Intro post from lizcommotion

What a great community! I'm so excited.

I haven't been able to do much out-of-doors stuff lately due to health stuff, but I am hoping that will change. I did have a brief period of more activity this spring in which I was able to hike parts of the Potomac Heritage Trail, including a gorge. I have fibromyalgia, and I managed to climb a fucking gorge and live to tell the tale the next day. That was a pretty awesome feeling, especially when I thought I'd lost all the cool rock-scrambly hiking things forever.

I grew up with a lot of hiking and camping and canoeing. It's a cheap way to vacation with three kids. I love the stars at  night, and the crackle of firewood. I love the feeling of a canoe paddle as it slides through water. I love the rush and thrill of conquering some rapids just right.

I really miss it, and I want it back. *fingers crossed*


Hello! My name is Kayla. I have only fallen in love with camping and hiking as an adult, so I have had a lot of catching up to do. I didn't grow up camping-- family of geeks, you know how it is. My husband, Mr.Luckey, did, however, so I could say I married into the hobby.
I live in Texas, so a lot of the outdoor activity I do involves hot weather-- I got a 20*F bag last fall that I'll only get to break in for the first time next month! Also, I'm only just getting my first set of long underwear... not typically of much use here. Le sigh. Our camping season tends to be opposite of most folks', spanning September to April/May, pretty much avoiding June, July and August unless immersion in water is a guarantee. I love to paddle, but we don't often have the chance to since we live in a big city. There are only so many times one can paddle a bayou.

My favorite trip I've had so far was last spring, a week long car-camping foray we did in central Texas based at Pace Bend Park on Lake Travis. We went with two friends we'd met at the Renaissance Festival the fall before, and did all sorts of things-- paddling, day trips to two other parks, lots of crossword puzzles and Apples to Apples, and tons of gourmet cooking in Camp Iron Chef. Our friends brought their little dog, who was a great surrogate for us for the weekend since we left ours at home with my in-laws.

In one month, we are going on our first backpacking trip, a long weekend (Thurs-Sun) at Enchanted Rock SNA. I'm giddy with excitement, as we finally get to break in some gear we've been slowly accumulating over the last year. We're planning on doing a bit of bushwhacking by staying off the beaten path to hike all 7 "peaks" in the park in one day, which is something our companions assure is a Thing To Do. I also look forward to breaking in the new dehydrator with some home-made pasta sauce, fruit leather, and assorted other delicious whatnots.
We're already thinking of what our first through-hike trip will be, likely the Lone Star Trail.

I look forward to seeing what other folks have to say! Welcome everyone!