Contents

Traditionally a symbol of liberty, the American flag has carried the message of freedom to many parts of the world.

Tips on Flying the American Flag

Tips on Flying the American FlagTraditionally a symbol of liberty, the American flag has carried the message of freedom to many parts of the world. Here in the United States, the flag is displayed daily in or near government buildings and schools and in many public areas. It is customary to fly the flag on Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day, Labor Day and most other U.S. holidays.Each of the flag's colors has a significance: Red signifies hardiness and valor; white is symbolic of purity and innocence; and blue denotes vigilance, perseverance and justice. Just as the flag's colors and design are deeply symbolic, so is the way the flag is displayed.Here are some flag etiquette tips from AmericanFlags.com: * When the flag is displayed over the middle of the street, it should be suspended vertically with the union (stars) to the north in an east-and-west street or to the east in a north-and-south street.* When the flag is displayed from a staff projecting horizontally or at an angle from the window sill, balcony or front of a building, the union should be placed at the peak of the staff unless the flag is at half-staff.* When flown at half-staff, the flag should be first hoisted to the peak for an instant and then lowered to the half-staff position. It should be again raised to the peak before it is lowered for the day. * When the flag is displayed in a manner other than by being flown from a staff, it should be displayed flat. When displayed either horizontally or vertically against a wall, the union should be uppermost and to the flag's right (to the observer's left). When displayed in a window it should be displayed in the same way, with the union to the left of the observer in the street.* To fold the flag, first fold it in half along the stripes twice. Fold up a triangle, starting at the striped end, and repeat until only the end of the union is exposed. Then, fold down the square into a triangle and tuck inside the folds.* Never throw a flag in the garbage. For information on how to properly dispose of a worn flag, contact your local American Legion hall, VFW chapter or Boy Scout troop.

Why a Good Camp Grill is Important

Why a Good Camp Grill is Important

Camping is a fun outdoor family activity. Taking your family camping can create memories that they will never forget. However, before you go, you want to make sure that you have all of the necessary camping equipment that you will need to have a great camping trip. One of the best parts of camping is the food that you get to enjoy and do not eat all the time at home. Having a camp grill that is easy to use as well as made for the outdoors is a huge plus for any outdoor camping adventure.Camp grills come in all shapes and sizes, as well as price ranges.Using a grill that is easy to set up can make your trip so much better. The Quad Pod grill is one that offers these features and so much more. This grill has four sturdy legs that will make cooking on an open fire a breeze. Weighing in at 13 pounds, this grill is very portable and easy to carry, which is great if you have to carry supplies at any distance.Setting up the Quad Pod camp grill is easy. There are no tools required. You can adjust the grill to the height that is needed for your fire, which makes this grill even more versatile. With an extra side table, you have the ability to prepare your food or you can use it for extra cooking space on the grill. Most portable grills are not easy to clean, however this one makes clean up very easy. Because you can break the grill down to the racks, you will not be spending all night cleaning it. The Quad Pod grill is chrome plated, which helps prevent food from sticking. Camping trips should be fun and memorable. Making sure that you have a good camp grill is part of being ready for your camping trip. The Quad Pod is affordable and a campers dream grill. After using it once you will wonder how you ever camped without it. Make sure that your next camping trip is one that is remembered with good food and fun times by your family.

A spectacular trail find on the Swan Range of Montana - a trek to the summit.

A spectacular trail find on the Swan Range of Montana - a trek to the summit.

This time was different. Previous years I had settled into a tent near the car at the viewpoint below Richmond Peak, a timbered ridge to the north and east of Seeley Lake, Montana. Time and again I had enjoyed the awesome view of the mighty wall of mountain ridge that rose up from the canyon below me, towering over all surroundings - the majestic Montana peak of Sunday Mountain. From the Richmond Peak vantage point the face of the peak, made up of bare slide zones, with a few ridges of trees and brush, appeared to rise almost straight up from the valley floor below. It was not a mountain wall that I would expect to yield a trail, a bit of a cliffhanger path that would lead to the summit. Awakening that Saturday morning in August though, again at the Richmond Peak viewpoint, after a quick breakfast, I threw my pack on my back. I then hit the trail up the side of Richmond Peak across the canyon from Sunday Mountain. On a previous hike in the area I had found an unmarked trail that departed the mapped trail/abandoned logging road leading up the side of Richmond Peak. The unmarked trail crossed the saddle where the canyon rose to meet the ridge, and appeared to connect with the Sunday Mountain face, and then head upwards - at a sharp incline. I wasnt certain where the trail would lead, but it sure gave the appearance of providing a possible access route to the top of Sunday Mountain. With clear blue skies of an incredible Montana August day, the climb ahead would still be a cool one as the sun of the day was to the east behind the Sunday Mountain ridge. No question about it, this was also bear country - Grizzly bear country. The initial distance on this unmarked trail led off through dense, overgrown brush as it led across the saddle. What better place for them to be hanging out than in the dense brush I was working my way through. Such a huge relief to make it past the dense brush, with no bear tales to write home about. Out into the open I was on the lower flanks of this mountain I had dreamt of tackling for years. As noted, the trail immediately took a sharp turn, upward in a steep climb. Then, veering off to the north across the face, a slightly leveler trek ensued as it angled upward across the face through wonderful fields of bear-grass mixed with a myriad of flowers in a rainbow of colors. It was almost beyond belief - trekking through chest high fields of flowers on the trail to Sunday Mountain. The trail led across 2 or 3 avalanche draws filled with bear-grass, then doubled back, requiring scrambling up rock ledges, and again leading off across the draws. With another hour of scrambling the steep path, to my surprise I found myself working through a high mountain meadow area apparently home to a band of mountain sheep. My heart beat faster as I realized that this high meadow was tucked in directly below one of the summit cliffs outcroppings. Given the climb to that point, like my heart could beat much faster.Another 20 minutes of scrambling, and at last, the summit ridge for Sunday Mountain was conquered. The view stretched before me down and back into Montanas Bob Marshall Wilderness Area. To get to the Sunday Mountain summit called for another half hour of scrambling, following the ridge up and up until I could go no further, the highest point on the mountain ridge. What a sense of triumph! In all directions the ground dropped below me, to the east off into the vastness of the Bob Marshall Wilderness with a large expanse of Grizzly Basin directly below. To the west from this birds eye view, the steep drop off I had just come up opened out on an expansive view of the Swan Valley with the Mission Mountain Range lining the western horizon. Below me, drifting lazily on the breezes, an eagle circled looking for its afternoon snack. To the east from my perch at the top of my world, 2 or 3 snowbanks in the draws below me persistently held out for upcoming fall and winter reinforcements.An absolutely spectacular find on the Swan Range. From that wonderful vantage point other primary access jumping off routes for the Bob Marshall Wilderness were visible up and down the Swan Range. To the north Holland Lake marked the trail system from there, and south Pyramid Peak marked the access routes over Pyramid Pass. The area - such a wonder, and now I knew there was another route into the Bob. Truth be known, even though the climb was, well...., a climb, it really didnt take as long to make it to the Bob Marshall boundary as taking the other two primary routes. Regardless, it was still a physically challenging journey that would lead to a host of aches and pains in this 50 something Montana explorer. It was certainly great to know that there was a cozy, comfortable base-camp set up in place with a hot shower when the hammering up the face and back was accomplished. Either direction from this incredible corner of Montana there were whole sets of quality motel accommodations with soft beds, hot showers or even a Jacuzzi to soak the tired muscles. Perfect base-camp lodgings were available either locally in the Seeley - Swan Valley, at the northern end in the Kalispell and Columbia Falls area, or at the southern end in the Missoula area The crowning touches to a truly stellar Montana mountain adventure.

A Few Words In Praise of Birds

A Few Words In Praise of Birds

Why do birds appeal to us ? Most people enjoy the sight of birds, even people who have never been active birdwatchers. Although birds are less like us in appearance and habits than our fellow mammals, birds undeniably hold a special place in our hearts.One reason that birds capture our imaginations is that they can fly, while we remain trapped here on earth. What child hasn't watched a bird fly overhead and dreamt of being up there in the sky flying alongside ? What adults have not, at one time or another, wished that they could take wing and fly away from all of their everyday troubles and cares ? Birds are natural symbols of freedom and escape. After all, what could better encapsulate our vision of pure freedom than the ability to fly off into the sunset ?Birds can soar overhead and they can also cover great distances. They are privy to a "bird's eye view" of a single building or a park, or an entire city or landscape, making them a perfect metaphor for obtaining a fresh perspective on a situation, or for taking a larger view of an issue.Birds often symbolize other things, as well, such as human character traits and qualities. There's the proud peacock, the noble eagle, the thieving magpie, squabbling crows, and billing and cooing love birds. Gliding swans are the perfect picture of grace and elegance in motion. The hawk is a symbol of war, the dove a symbol of peace.What else attracts us to birds ? Birds have feathers, soft to the touch and a joy to look at. Plumage seems to come in an infinite variety of lovely colors and patterns, from the subtle, earthy tones of the common house sparrow to the outrageous, iridescent regalia of the showy peacock. Birds are beautiful works of art, signed by nature. Their plumage adds color and spectacle to a humdrum world. Their colors may also suggest many different locales and associations to us.For example, those small, round, brown sparrows are homey, comforting and familiar to those of us who live in temperate climates. They are our backyard friends and neighbors. American cardinals and blue jays are highly colored, cheerful sights to behold on gray days, from the tips of their tail feathers to the fanciful crests on their heads. They are a bit more exotic, yet they are still familiar backyard friends. Then there are those birds who live in far off exotic places, such as African pink flamingos and tropical parrots, who sport wonderful tropical colors. We love them, not only for their magnificent colors, but also for their association with far-flung lands and exotic adventures.Birds also come in a great variety of shapes and sizes, which further adds to their appeal. We can relate to them, in so far as they, and we, have two eyes, one mouth and bilateral symmetry. Yet, they are also very unlike us. They have protruding beaks, from the sparrow's tiny jabbing beak to the toucan's enormous appendage. They have wings, more unlike human arms than those of other mammals, or even of reptiles. In fact, when their wings are folded against their sides, birds appear to have no arms at all. They also have thin, bare legs and they have claws. Their heads and necks flow smoothly into their bodies. Their forms create graceful outlines, whether round like a chubby European robin, long like an African parrot, or sleek like a regal swan.Yes, birds are beautiful to look at, but the beauty of birds is not confined to the visual aspects of shape and color alone, because birds also fill the air with music. They seem to offer us their song simply to entertain us, and they ask for nothing in return. Like a garden bursting with colorful flowers, the fantastic colors and songs of birds seem frivolous and out of place in a world full of harsh realities. It seems as though they were put on earth expressly to make life more beautiful. They were not, of course. Their color and song serve biological ends in the process of natural selection, but that does not prevent us from enjoying such sights and sounds. We can listen in on their free concerts and derive pleasure and serenity from the experience. We can also be amused when a few species of birds even mimic our own speech.Another characteristic of birds that we humans respond to is the fact that they build nests. They seem so industrious and we watch with wonder as each type of bird builds its own species-specific nest, ranging from a simple assemblage of twigs to an intricately woven masterpiece of craftmanship. "Nest" is such a cozy word. Birds build their cozy nests, care for their young, and raise their families, all in the course of a single spring or summer. We admire their patience and devotion and attentive care to their offspring. We observe and marvel at a parent bird's countless trips to and from the nest to diligently feed the helpless chicks. Birds provide us with fine role models for parenting.Yes, birds are homebodies during the nesting season, but they also migrate. Birds are free to come and go and many cover vast distances each year, as they travel between their summer and their winter homes. They are social creatures, moving in flocks and creating great spectacles as they fly. A glimpse of a V-shaped flock of geese passing overhead thrills us and stirs something in us. We admire their strength and endurance in carrying out such grueling journeys year after year. We envy them, too, for they are free to go beyond mere political boundaries and to cross entire continents. We up north are sorry to see them part each autumn and we are heartened to see them return each spring. The return of such birds as the swallows signals the return of spring, with its promise of birth and renewal.Each spring we are able to welcome them back into our midsts, for nearly everywhere that humans live, birds live also. Birds cover the earth. There is such a diversity of bird species to fill each ecological niche on earth and to contribute to its balance by doing such things as eating insects and dispersing plant seeds. There are the ducks and moorhens of rural ponds. There are birds who live in the forests. There are birds in the mountains and birds in the deserts. The forbidding oceans have their hardy puffins and pelicans. Even frozen, icy places have their own birds, the lovable penguins.Birds adapt to so many different habitats and situations, including human environments. The often ignored pigeon is a beautiful bird. (I have cared for and been grateful to have known many individual pigeons over the years.) As a species, they have managed to adapt to modern cityscapes, substituting cliff-like building ledges and bridge girders for their ancestral cliffs of rock. Other bird species may be less tolerant of such disturbances and avoid the prying eyes of humans.Wherever they choose to live, birds remain symbols of untamed nature, surviving despite man's interference with their habitats. They remain proud and free to the present day. They are also a living link to the mysterious and fascinating history of life on our planet, as birds are the surviving heirs to the dinosaurs. One look at unfeathered baby birds, with their oversized beaks and feet, and it is easy to see the dinosaur in them.Each of us may have our own reason, or combination of reasons, for loving birds, but their appeal is indisputable and universal. Birds represent the perfect blend of beauty, strength, grace and endurance, from the cuteness of a tiny sparrow to the majesty of an imposing raptor. Birds fill both the eye and the ear with beauty. We enjoy them. We admire them. Sometimes we envy them. They add appreciably to the quality of our lives and to the diversity of life on earth and the world would be a smaller, sadder, emptier place without them.

Top Camping Grounds

Camping grounds can be found in alberta camping. You will need a camping stove if you are camping in alberta. The southern part of the province has some really good camp grounds.Camping ah the coffee always taste better from a tin pot brewed on a open fire. The bedtime snacks always taste better when roasted over the camp fire. You will find many different "camp grounds" in alberta. Some site are well treed and spacious and some sites are in the alberta bad lands. You can even find camp grounds in the mountains with spectacular lakes and mountains as backdrops.Camp grounds inn t he smaller towns can cost you only cost 10 dollars per night and this is a site with hook ups and hot showers.Alberta has 5 national parks which include back country and front country sites. Alberta has 68 provincial parks and 200 hundred recreational areas which also provide over night stays.Alberta campgrounds offer top notch ,and nature based adventures in the campgrounds. You will find highly developed sites which offer power hook ups, shower, and flush toilets to rustic minimal amenities such as pump water and out houses. If you purchase a Wilderness Pass it will allow you unlimited back country travel and camping for 1 year. For you folks who only want to stay a few nights the wilderness Pass can be purchased at any park gate from 8 dollars to 30 dollars per person depending on the park you will be staying in.You will see some bears on your out door activities so here are some basic rules to follow.Bears are attracted to the smell of food. Do not invite a bear into your camp site keep it clean. Store your food in the trunk of your campmoble. Preferably in a air tight container and away from your sleeping area. Never store food in your tent or tent trailer where you are sleeping.Never cook or eat near or in your tent. Do not bury food scraps. Do not litter, Place all garbage in the suitable containers provided in the campgrounds. If no containers are available take it out with you when you leave.Only clean any fish you catch at a designated fish cleaning station if no station is available use a garbage container. If moving around the camp grounds at night always use a flashlight. Move cautiously at night do not run around blindly.If camping with a dog keep it on a leash not more than 10 feet long. If you have a loss dog it may irritate a bear and bring it back to your camp site. Keep young children close to you at all times. Never let them out of your sight even for a minute. More kids have been lost because the parents turned their back only for a minute.The bears are attracted to berry patches avoid them if possible a bear encounter is not want you want let the bear have the berries. Buy your at the store.Purchase a can of bear spray and read the instructions be for you go camping. Keep the can handy and in your tent at night.For the avid back country camper be sure all attractants like food supplies for both your and your pet , or scented toiletries are stored so the bears can not get them when you are away from your camp spot.If no storage unit is around you can hang them from a tree at least 4 meters off the ground, and at least 1.5 meter from another tree. Be sure the food stuff is stored at least 100 meters from the tents or sleeping area.Remember you are the intruder not the bear this is his domain. Do not deliberately confront a bear in the end you will lose.

Best Tips for Enjoying the BackCountry in the Rain

If you spend any amount of time in the backcountry at all, it will rain on you. Remember this - rain is a good thing; without it there wouldnt be much backcountry to enjoy. How you prepare for rain and how you handle yourself and gear in the rain, makes the difference between a great experience and a horrible one. Here are some great ideas for ensuring your backcountry enjoyment when mother nature rains down on you. Our best tips for enjoying the backcountry in the rain can be separated into two categories. The first pertains to getting ready to hike, camp or whatever else you love to do outdoors. Here are the Best Outdoor Preparation Tips:Always check the weather forecast. Understanding the type of rain to expect may even determine whether you go or not. If the forecast calls for severe thunderstorms with tornados, you will probably plan differently than you might for scattered showers. Check before you go, and check when youre there. A good weather radio is an essential piece of gear for backcountry recreation.Store everything you take in re-sealable plastic bags, especially socks, matches, flares, food, maps and your first aid kit.Pack your sleeping bag in a large plastic trash bag or a specially designed waterproof bag.Pack a brimmed waterproof hat and jacket. Always have rain gear with you, even if it is only a large trash bag.Treat your tent, hat, jacket and pack with waterproofing spray even if theyre called waterproof to begin with.For two weeks prior to your trip, be sure to take your multi-vitamins. You should be doing this regardless. A good immune system is an outdoor enthusiasts best friend.So now youre packed and out the door. Once youre there, common sense and a few tricks of the trade will help you get through unscathed. Here are the Best Outdoor Rain Tips:Never camp in a low lying area. Look for a durable surface which will allow water to run off more effectively.Look for a campsite this is somewhat protected from wind, flooding and heavy rain fall. Under a group of small trees is ideal. Keep away from the tallest tree in the forest thats where lightning likes to visit.Place a mat outside the tent door to collect debris. If you are base camping, the weight of the mat is not worth the benefit so use rocks instead.Do not touch the walls of your tent when it is wet. This will adversely affect the water resistant capability of the tent. That is you can create a leak.Use a tarp under your tent. You should do this regardless of the weather, but when its raining it becomes important.Sleep. Theres nothing better than sleeping in a tent when the rain falls.Check the forecast every hour. If the storm is worsening, you need to know about it. Do you have extra batteries for your weather radio?Never hold a fishing pole during a lightning storm.Emergency flares are excellent for igniting wet firewood.Body heat is a precious element. Conserve and protect your body by keeping it dry on the outside and wet on the inside. Drinking water becomes very important when body heat is being lost. Change into dry socks, get into your dry sleeping bag.Keep an eye on your tent, the tents rain fly and the ropes/stakes holding your tent in place. Standing water and high winds are the enemy of your tent.Remember this when it rains, youll see fewer people and fewer insects. Some of the most remarkable times youll experience will be in the backcountry during a rain storm it can be exhilarating! Doesnt sound so bad after all does it? Use this information and youll Get It Right The First Time. Get Outdoors!

Summary

Traditionally a symbol of liberty, the American flag has carried the message of freedom to many parts of the world.