The Best Backpacking Trails

A backpacking trip is one of the greatest outdoor adventures you can partake in. A true backpacking trip provides you with absolute solitude from the outside world, bringing you up close and personal with nature. There are many different options when it comes to backpacking, from day trips to weekend explorations to thru-hikes from state to state. If you are looking to escape from your normal life and explore the breathtaking views and unspoiled wilderness, then grab your bag and hit one of the trails below.

Appalachian Trail

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The Appalachian Trail is nearly 2,180 miles long, spanning 14 different states. While most of us probably don’t have the ability to take six months to hike the entire thing, you can create your own custom journey along the trail. There is the 14-mile hike through Georgia’s Blood Mountain Wilderness, leading hikers to the top of the trail’s highest point in the state. In New Hampshire’s White Mountains you can climb 20 miles above the tree line for optimal views of surrounding peaks. If you are looking for complete isolation, Maine’s 100-Mile Wilderness section never crosses a single paved road.

Continental Divide Trail

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The Continental Divide Trail is 3,100-miles long, cutting right down the middle of the United States. The more advanced hikers can be found at the Knife Edge, a 25-mile loop through the extreme Weminuche Wilderness area in southwestern Colorado. For a more tame experience, explore the trails where the Continental Divide Trail meets Glacier National Park. If you decide to hit the CDT then remember to pack cold-weather gear, as ice and snow are a possibility at any time of the year.

Uinta Highline Trail

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This is one of the more difficult trails, with hikers often facing rough and rocky stretches throughout the trail. Uinta Highline is also extremely remote, and you can expect to have the trail all to yourself for long stretches. If you have a week free to explore, go conquer the Highline Trail, which is nearly 75 miles of paths that pass serene lakes along the peaks of Utah’s Uinta Mountains.

Pacific Crest Trail

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The Pacific Crest Trail will bring you through some of the most diverse ecosystems that the West Coast has to offer, including dry desert land and high arctic-alpine country. The incredible 2,650-mile journey attracts around 300 die-hard hikers each year. Thousands of others can be found embarking on some of the shorter expeditions. In California, you will find a 270-mile stretch from Mount Whitney to Sonora Pass, offering a monthlong journey through the Sierra NEvada range with amazing views of deep canyons, enormous granite peaks, and rocky lakes. Oregon’s section of the PCT is much more level, with few elevation shifts, making it a great place for beginners.

Information courtesy of Travel Channel

 

The World’s Greatest Adventures

Adventure travel gets you up close and personal to the landscapes and people of the areas you are visiting. Having the opportunity to explore new areas on foot is an exhilarating experience, especially when you have the chance to interact with the local cultures on the journey. If you are interested in taking your next trip to the next level, I recommend that you consider making it a real adventure. With the help of this article, here are four of the greatest adventures this world has to offer.

Great Himalaya Trail, Nepal

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The Great Himalaya Trail consists of a network of existing paths traversing Nepal. It will eventually form part of a 2,800-mile super trail, linking Bhutan and Pakistan. The existing section is divided into a collection of smaller routes that pass in sight of the world’s largest peaks and most remote villages. The trail crosses mountain passes up to 19,685 feet in altitude while climbing a total of 492,125 metres. You can take a fully escorted, 157-day hike with World Expeditions, but it is pricey, costing $28,511. However, there are seven shorter connecting stages that you can hike, if you do not have the time or money for the entire trail.

Tour du Mont Blanc

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A 14-day circuit of Mont Blanc is probably the most spectacular walk in all of Europe. The path links the seven valleys that surround Western Europe’s highest mountain, crossing three borders in the process: France, Switzerland, and Italy. You will traverse beneath huge glaciers and across beautiful alpine meadows. Throughout your journey, you will also be treated to some of the most beautiful peaks in the Alps, including Mont Blanc, the Aiguille Verte, Les Drus, Les Grandes Jorasses, and much more. This hike is based on the supported camping concept, meaning  a vehicle will assist with transporting luggage, equipment and supplies.

Native American Experience

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Take a 16-day tour with Intrepid Travel to the heart of Native American country. On this journey, you will camp and hike in wilderness areas while exploring ancient ruins in the process. You will have the opportunity to meet with native Americans from communities (Navajo, Anasazi, and Apache) who are striving to preserve their centuries-old way of life. While on the tour you will visit Canyon de Chelly, with its 3,000-year-old tribal artefacts, Monument Valley, Mesa Verde National Park, Navajo Lake State Park, White Sands National Monument, the Chaco Culture National Historical Park in Santa Fe, Lake Powell, and the Grand Canyon.

Diving Safari, Borneo

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The volcanic island of Sipadan is regularly been voted one of the world’s top 10 dive sites. While taking a dive under water, you will find the legendary turtles and reefs that drop off thousands of feet near the shore. An 18-day diving safari with Aqua-Firma also takes in the Layang atoll and the islands of Lankayan, Mabul, and Kapalai, showcasing the best diving Borneo has to offer.

Hunting Tips: Upland Game & Waterfowl

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We are back to discuss some new hunting tips and advice. As any good hunter is aware, the learning process is never ending. In this article, we will be discussing ways to improve your success hunting upland game or waterfowl. For more information, please check out Outdoor Life.Here are three great tips for when you are hunting for upland game or waterfowl.

1) Glassing For Ducks

When jump-shooting ducks along streams or potholes, use a good set of binocular to scan the area for distant ducks. If possible, make your observation while looking through brush. Ducks have great eyesight, so they will fly off if they spot you nearby.

2) Don’t Spook The Ringnecks

Wild pheasants are easily frightened by the sound of vehicles, dogs and voices. Most birds will start running or flying away at the first sign of humans in the area. To help prevent the birds from doing so, park as far as possible from where you expect to hunt and approach the area as quietly as possible.

3) Taking Down Grouse

As you are probably aware, ruffed grouse are masters at flying through tickets. Many hunters pass up shots if the birds are not in the clear. However, this is a big mistake. You should never pass up shots if you can see the blur of a grouse as it blasts through brush, but if you take this approach then you need to know exactly where the other members of your hunting group are at all times. If you continually pass up birds, you might never get a single shot all day.

Hunting Tips: Staying Warm

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We are back to discuss some new hunting tips and advice. As any good hunter is aware, the learning process is never ending. In this article, we will be discussing ways to stay warm while you are are outside hunting on a colder day. For more information, please check out Outdoor Life. Here are four great tips to stay warm while hunting.

1) Don’t Sweat It

Perspiration is one of your biggest enemies on a cold day. Take every precaution that you can to keep dry. This means that if you need to take off layers of clothes as you walk in frigid temperatures to avoid sweating, you take off those layers. When you sit for any length of time outside, you will guarantee yourself that you will get chilled if you have worked up a sweat beforehand.

2) Sleep In Comfort

A cot in an unheated tent or cabin will keep you cold all night if you do not have a pad underneath your sleeping bag. If you do not have a pad, spread out your clothing to insulate you from the cold air under the cot. The loft in your bag is compressed from the weight of your body, offering little to no insulation when in contact with the thin fabric of a cot.

3) Cold-Weather Horsemanship

Riding a horse in the cold weather will make you colder much faster, especially if you end up sitting for long periods of time. Warm up by walking the horse downhill. This will help you get your blood moving, and it is certainly good horsemanship to give the animal a break every so often.

4) Bring Your Best Bag

During a cold-weather hunt, you will want to make sure you have your best sleeping bag by your side, even if you are staying in a hunt or cabin with a wood stove. The fire is bound to go out during the middle of the night, and the temperature inside will not be much better than the temperature outside. A lightweight summer bag is only practical for use in the summer.

Hunting Tips: The Competition

Mack Prioleau Hunting Tips (2)We are back to discuss some new hunting tips and advice. As any good hunter is aware, the learning process is never ending. I would like to share some thoughts on the competition aspect of hunting. Like any sport, competition is an undeniable aspect. But it is important to not let the competition put anyone in danger or ruin the experience for anyone. For more information, please check out Outdoor Life.

Here are Four Essential Hunting Tips For The Competition:

1) Getting In First

Many roads are blocked to restrict vehicle access to the hunting areas. This means that you will only be able to access the area by foot or horse. Hunters will typically arrive at the gates early in the morning and hike up the roads. But you can beat everyone else by parking at the gate at night and sleep over. If you want to stake claim to the hunting area first, then consider taking a light sleeping back and searching for a clear area to camp out. You should position yourself in the back area in an elevated spot away from the road. Once you are settled, you can take a nap and wait for other hunters to push deer your way as the shooting hours approach.

2) Big-Game Honey Holes

If you are in big country and want to find a place where you have a high chance of finding big game, then you should look to find a heavily timbered canyon with no roads or major trails at the bottom. Most hunters will avoid descending into these spots because they know that they will need to climb back out. The idea of hauling a deer or elk out of the bottom is a double nightmare that will make hunters even more prone to avoiding these potentially game-rich spots. While this location will create more work for you, if you goal is to find the quality game, it will be worth the effort.

3) Drive Double-Dipping

If you are able to learn the drive of another group of hunters, then you may be able to use this information to your advantage. Find a location well away from the group in heavy cover where a scared deer might run after the other group frightens it away. This technique is ethically acceptable if you keep a reasonable distance from the party and do not interfere with the drive of the group.

4) Don’t Follow The Leader

If you are tracking a deer in the snow and discover that another hunter has come upon the same tracks (meaning they are in front of you), there is obviously no reason to keep following. You are better off making a  quick circle and attempting to ambush the deer. There is a good chance that the other hunter will keep pushing the deer ahead, hopefully to you. You will want to keep a considerable distance from where you think the hunter might be; this should be at least a half mile or more.

If you would like to learn more hunting tips, please check out my blog on hunting strategies and hunting tracking tips.

The Most Impressive Adventures Of 2015

Over the course of the past year, we witnessed some of the most impressive adventures in recent memory. From speed records to first ascents to daring expeditions, there is a seemingly endless list of crazy adventures that people took on. Outside Magazine recently wrote a piece highlighting some of the most incredible accomplishments over the past 12 months. Below are five of my favorite adventures from the past year.

Dawn Wall Free Climb – Caldwell and Jorgeson

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As the sun set in Yosemite on January 14th, Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson completed what may be the most difficult ascent in the history of rock climbing. They remained on the Dawn Wall of El Capitan for 19 days, climbing 3,000 vertical feet along widely spaced, razor thin granite holds. The prize for their accomplishment: the first people to complete a free ascent (using only ropes to catch falls) of the route. Months later, Jorgeson spoke on the difficulty of the climb: “I climbed brick façades as a kid. You’d kind of stick your fingers in there. But sink in those bricks so they barely stick out from the wall. That’s what you’re dealing with.”

The First Ski-Mo Attempt on Makalu

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A team of five elite climbers and skiers joined together in September to attempt the first ski descent of Makalu. Located on the border of Nepal and China, Makalu is the world’s fifth-highest peak (at 27,776 feet). The team made it higher than 25,000 feet before setting off a series of avalanches that caused them to turn around. The decision to retreat was a tough decision for the group to make. Expedition leader Adrian Ballinger wrote at the time: “Deciding to climb and ski a peak like Makalu always meant we would have to accept a level of risk. What level is ‘acceptable’ is deeply personal. Each of us has a different tolerance.”

Lonnie Dupre Solo Summit of Denali in Winter

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This was the fourth attempt to summit Denali by the 53-year-old polar explorer, and his persistence finally paid off. In January, after 25 days of climbing and camping in subzero conditions, Dupre became the first person to make it up North America’s highest peak (20,237 feet) in the dead of winter. During the winter, the snow is deep, the air is frozen, and the storms are treacherous. Tucker Chenoweth, Denali’s mountaineering ranger, compared Dupre’s ascent to “heading out onto the moon by yourself.”

Unsupported Run of the Appalachian Trail – Heather Anderson

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Heather Anderson, a 34-year-old personal trainer from Michigan, set the speed record last fall for running the 2,168-mile Appalachian Trail, without any assistance, in just 54 days. In case it is difficult to comprehend these numbers, consider this to the 46 days it took famed ultrarunner, Scott Jurek, to complete the trail, with assistance. His team provided hot meals, medical supplies, and a bed at the end of every day. Anderson now holds the unassisted speed records of both the UT and the Pacific Crest Trail and is the first women to do so.

Niagara Falls Ice Climb – Will Gadd

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The Canadian ice climber, Will Gadd, has done some pretty impressive stuff in his life. But scaling a frozen shoulder of Niagara Falls last January was absolutely incredible. Gadd climbed the ice while six million cubic feet of water ripped down the falls each second right next to him. The 47-year-old adventurer kept his poise and clawed his way 167 feet to the top. Looking back on it days later, he described the feeling of this climb to Outside: “Normally on an ice climb, if you fall in the first 20 feet you might land in the snow and walk away. Here, if you fall, you go into the world’s most savage mixing bowl. And it is going to fuck you up.”

Top Places To Hike In North America

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The North American landscape is incredible diverse. Anywhere you go you will likely be treated to an entirely new, picturesque terrain. If you enjoy spending your time outdoors, there are a number of different places that you need to go out and see. From the plateaus of the Grand Canyon to the forests of the Adirondacks, there is always something new to experience. As an avid hiker myself, I decided to compile a list of the best places to hike in North America.

1) Yosemite

Yosemite is one of California’s most formidable natural landscapes. In a state that offers a large number of jaw-dropping landscapes, Yosemite reigns supreme. Yosemite National Park offers nearly 1,200 square miles of spectacular scenery: towering waterfalls, millennia-old Sequoia trees, daunting cliff faces, and some of the most unique rock formations in the United States. Despite its vast beauty, most visitor activity takes places within the seven-square mile of Yosemite Valley. This is where you will find some of the park’s most famous landmarks, including Half Dome and El Capitan.

2) Grand Canyon

No picture of the Grand Canyon will do this place justice; it is impossible to capture the scale of the Grand Canyon in a single picture. Measuring approximately 277 miles in length, up to 18 miles in width, and a mile deep, this massive chasm in northern Arizona is a natural wonder that will seriously take your breathe away. For six million years, the Grand Canyon has continued to expand with help from the Colorado River. People from all over the world travel to this remote location to gaze out over the red and orange grandeur. For a true escapist experience, you should head to the North Rim. This is where you will be able to experience backwoods camping and hardcore hiking.

3) Yellowstone

From the dramatic peaks to the pristine lakes, there is no shortage of beauty in Yellowstone. You will find multicolored pools swirling around hot springs, verdant forests weaving past expansive meadows, and volatile geysers launching streams of steaming water into the air. When John Colter first told people of the geothermal curiosities that he had scene in Yellowstone in 1807, people suspected him of embellishing. But now there is no doubts about the extraordinary beauty of this area. As you traverse the park’s 3,000-plus square miles, you will be treated to views of mountains, canyons, geysers, waterfalls, as well as some of the permanent residents like buffalo, elk and even grizzlies.

4) Banff

There is no need to travel across seas to experience the lifestyle of a Swiss skiing village. Instead, head north to Banff, in the heart of the Canadian Rockies near the southeastern border of Banff National Park. Banff caters to the fearless explorers who prefer to end the day in a nice hotel rather than roughing it in the woods or campgrounds. There are more than 80 trails in the area, with top off striking vistas of the Rocky Mountains and the hoodoo rock formations along the Tunnel Mountain Trail.

5) Kauai

The oldest island in the Hawaiian chain is perfect for the no-muss, no-fuss type of traveler. Kauai is the perfect place to take in rural, colorful nature. If you are looking for a hiking getaway, looking no further than this island. Outdoor enthusiasts will have an amazing time hiking along Kauai’s scenic cliffsides and testing their stamina while taking on the 11-mile Kalalau Trail.

6) Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park is home to over 700 miles of hiking trails throughout northwestern Montana. This is a great spot for animal lovers as well: this national park is full of diverse wildlife.. Do not be surprised if you see mountain goats, elk or even grizzly bears while you are taking in the scenery of the pristine mountains, and fresh water streams.

7) Sedona

A trip to Sedona feels as though you have just landed on Mars. There are numerous trails that lead you through red rock canyons and mystical “vortexes.” The towering red rocks and jagged sandstone buttes juxtaposed against the almost always blue sky have attracted hikers, as well as artist, for years. When you are done exploring Red Rock State Park, go visit the Palatki Heritage Site to see ancient Hopi dwellings.

8) Adirondacks

A few hours north of the Big Apple, you will find the Adirondacks in Upstate New York. With 2,000 miles of trails in the region and 46 high peaks, hikers can experience a change in scenery and a new view every time they go outdoors. Aside from hiking, there are plenty of other activities in the region as well: kayak through the St. Regis Canoe Area or paddle down Old Forge’s famous canoe route. The nature lovers can rough it in the woods, while others can experience what the luxury cabins and lodges in the area have to offer.

Greatest Places To Golf In Cape Town, South Africa

Cape Town, South Africa is home to some spectacular golf courses. Many of the area’s top courses offer up excellent playing conditions along with impressive views of the surrounding area, showcasing exactly what makes Cape Town such an amazing place. While traveling in Cape Town, I was able to play a number of beautiful courses, each offering up a unique and beautiful experience. Here is a list of my four favorite courses in Cape Town.

1) Rondebosch Golf Club

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This is one of the most challenging courses in Cape Town, especially when the prevailing South Easter is blowing. You will not find a single weak hole: even the par 3’s are very tough. The indigenous pa annua greens are consistently rated the best year round greens in the area; the greens are fairly small and contain subtle breaks, but always putt well.

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2) Westlake Golf Club

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Located on the slopes of the Silvermine Mountains, Westlake Golf Club is a very easy to walk golf course. The fairways are lined with spectacular trees that also provided an extra challenge on the doglegs. The panoramic views of the surrounding mountains make this course a particularly interesting and beautiful place to golf.

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3) Royal Cape Golf Club

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Royal Cape Golf Club is South Africa’s oldest and most prestigious golf courses. Set in the backdrop of Cape Town’s Table Mountain Range, you will be able to enjoy some amazing views of Devil’s Peak and the long tail of the Table Mountain Range while you play a round of golf. The Club began back in 1885 and has continued to evolve and maintain its extraordinary heritage over the past 120 years. The parklands style course was built on relatively flat terrain, making it a very comfortable course to walk and it truly caters to all levels of golfer.

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4) Mowbray Golf Club

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If you are looking to play a course with a little history and tradition then Mowbray Golf Club is the perfect place: it has hosted seven South African Opens in its time. Mowbray is a beautiful parkland course with views of Table Mountain. The signature hole is the spectacular 15th, which is both attractive and challenging. This course is located in a very convenient place too, just 15 minutes away from Cape’s bustling city center.

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Best Hikes In Cape Town, South Africa

Cape Town is blessed with a number of amazing hiking trails. These hikes provide amazing views of the city, coastline, and vegetation. Throughout my time in Cape Town, South Africa, I took on a number of incredible hikes. Here are the three hikes that you must take on while traveling in Cape Town.

1) Devil’s Peak

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Devil’s Peak was the last of the “3 Peaks” that I hiked, and it happened to be my favorite as well. My group took the Saddle route to the summit, which took us about an hour and ten minutes; it was surprisingly a fairly difficult journey. Once you make it to the top, however, you understand why it is worth taking on Devil’s Peak. The views were better than I could have ever imagined. On one side, you get False Bay and everything in between it and Cape Town. On the other side is a great view of Cape Town, Lion’s Head and Table Mountain.

2) Lion’s Head

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Lion’s Head hike is great for a quick trip; it is about an hour trip to the summit. Lion’s Head is much more manageable than Table Mountain or Devil’s Peak, making it the perfect place for anyone looking for an easier hike. During the day, the views overlooking Cape Town, Robben Island, and Camps Bay are spectacular. You can also hike up Lion’s Head during a full moon for the unique opportunity to see the beautiful city lit up from above.

3) Table Mountain

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I am very grateful for hiking Table Mountain, but after making the journey multiple times already, I will most likely stick to the cable car next time. It is quite an overwhelming experience the first time you experience the views from the top of Table Mountain. The elevation of this mountain is much higher than Devil’s Peak and Lion’s Head, giving you an interesting perspective of the surrounding landscape.  Cape car aside, the Platteklip Gorge route is the fastest way to the top, taking about an hour and a half to the top. Although your endurance will be tested as you essentially climb straight up tall steps. The reason Table Mountain is last on my list is because you have the same view the entire trip up the mountain.

10 Facts You Should Know About Hunting & Conservation

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Hunting is a great sport that provides you the opportunity to reflect on life in some of the most beautiful places on earth. One problem that surrounds hunting, however, is the fact that many people do not understand what it really means to be a hunter. Those not familiar with the sport think that hunters are simply looking to kill animals. In actuality, hunters will often times come home empty handed. Even if a hunt is successful, there is much more to the sport than killing. As you will see below, hunting actually is an influential part of conservation. Here are 10 facts that you should know about the sport of hunting.

1) President Theodore Roosevelt, an avid hunter, created our national forest and grasslands. 230 million acres of nature and wildlife are now forever protected for everyone to use and enjoy.

2) Approximately $371 million a year is generated for conversation, though an 11% tax on guns, ammo, bows and arrows. This money puts a lot of people to work and helps fuel a number of great conservation programs.

3) Hunting supports 680,000 jobs, including game wardens, waitresses, biologists and motel clerks.

4) Through state licenses and fees, hunter pay, on average, $796 million a year for conservation programs.

5) If you tally up all the various fees, licensing and taxes, hunters raise over $1.6 billion a year for conservation efforts.

6) In a world that loves to go all natural and eat organic, hunting is the purest form of organic eating. Most game is high in protein and provides great nutritional value.

7) Over the past century, the populations of elk, whitetails, turkeys and ducks have grown from thousands to millions thanks to the help of hunters and programs funded by hunters. Without the efforts of hunters, many of the animals that are abundant today would have dwindling populations.

8) Hunters keep nuisance species in check and keep herd numbers healthy for a number of different animal species.

9) A study done by two individuals found that sport hunting offers great benefits to the inhabitants of the land. Most times, the rural natives are happy when a dangerous animal is harvested because the village becomes safer.

10) Eva Shockey, a Canadian hunter, said it best: “As hunters, we need to stand strong, unite as one and NEVER apologize for being who we are! We should focus our energy on being the best hunters we can be by challenging ourselves to be ethical, respectful and responsible so as to humbly uphold our proud heritage. Now, let’s get out there and enjoy the great outdoors!