Of course, you may be a nature lover even if your life doesn't read like a page from Outdoor Explorer magazine. Whether you are an extreme-sports enthusiast or a more mild-mannered lover of natural beauty, these tips can make your excursions safer and more fun:
To time your wilderness retreat perfectly, call the USDA Forest Service Fall Color Hotline at (800) 354-4595. This toll-free number actually provides weekly updates on fall foliage colors around the United States. Bring a camera with you on your trip to capture those gorgeous panoramic mountain views on film.
While living the active life, remember to keep hydrated. Avoid drinking water from a stream, no matter how clear and fresh it looks. Most likely, that water contains microorganisms and parasites that are dangerous to people. Instead, carry a reservoir of water with you in an insulated bottle.
Also, you may want to carry some trail mix or a meal-to-go in a picnic backpack. Finding a roadside restaurant open in the sparsely populated countryside after a long day's hike might be difficult.
When it is raining or the ground is damp, leaves can hide slippery ground underneath, so watch your footing and try to follow established trails. Just in case of scratches, blisters or sprains, stash a first-aid kit with bandages and anti-bacterial ointment in a handy waist pack.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, travel with a companion. Or, if you absolutely must go it alone, let someone know exactly where you will be. Then head for the hills and have a great time!
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