DO YOU LIKE TO GO Camping
Memorial Day Weekend is not only the traditional start of "summer," but the traditional start of camping season for outdoors enthusiasts.
Pitching a tent, laying out the sleeping bags — and for some of us these days, we lay them out on top of comfortable air mattresses — and sitting around a campfire before retiring in the cool of the late spring evenings is a blessing. Waking to the smell of fresh coffee brewing on the camp stove is Nirvana.
For the second year in a row, you don't have to own your own camping equipment to experience camping in Pennsylvania's state parks. The state's Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, which runs the state parks, has partnered with Gander Mountain to arrange two-night full-camping rentals for just $20 at participating state parks. Plus, you don't even need to know how to pitch a tent to participate: DCNR is providing experts to help with that.
This is the second year we are offering this hands-on instruction on camping and we've added five additional parks to the original 14," DCNR secretary Richard Allan said. "You can't beat this offer as far as the cost, the opportunity to enjoy many other activities at our state parks such as hiking and fishing, and a park staffer will even help you set up camp."
Gander Mountain is providing the gear rental, which includes a four-person tent, rain tarp, four sleeping pads, four camp chairs, flashlight, lantern, camp stove and four hot dog/marshmallow skewers. The gear must be returned when leaving. Campers need to bring their own food, cooking utensils and bedding.
Reservations can be made by calling the specific park in which you wish to camp.
"Our love of nature often begins in our childhood if we have the opportunity to connect with the outdoors," Allan said, "so we especially encourage parents to take advantage of this affordable opportunity to create some wonderful family memories."
In addition to the camping initiative, most state parks, particularly Nockamixon and Promised Land, offer a variety of outdoors-related programming like nature walks, hikes and educational wildlife viewing. Go to their websites for specific program information that is fun for the whole family.
Turn the Payge: We have told the story of Emmaus native Payge McMahon, who lives in Nashville as an adventure athlete and journalist, and how she recovered from a broken back suffered in a car accident at age 16 to climb some of the world's tallest mountains and check off items on her mother's "bucket list."
ESPN W picked up on McMahon's adventures and exploits recently and profiled her with a video piece and print article on its website. Check out Payge's dedication and determination at http://w.espn.go.com/espnw/journeys-victories/7928248/ if you need inspiration.
Wildlife warning: Late spring is the time when many well-intentioned people make some of the worst mistakes when it comes to seeing young wildlife that seem to be abandoned. Leave them alone!
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