• 3 Reasons Why Denver Just Might Be the Perfect Haven for Fitness Enthusiasts

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    Denver is a certified haven for fitness enthusiasts. Boasting a lifestyle that is committed to healthy living, it is easy to stay in shape in the Mile High City. With a variety of activities to choose from, there is something for everyone looking to improve his or her health in Denver. Here are three reasons why Denver is the perfect oasis for fitness enthusiasts.

    For Hikers

    With the majestic Rocky Mountains serving as the backdrop for the entire city of Denver, it is no surprise that the area continues to inspire hikers. The area boasts an abundance of hiking groups designed to bring people together to enjoy this favorite local pastime. Colorado features over 50 different 14ers, which are defined as mountains that soar over 14,000 feet. Some of the most popular 14ers to scale include Mt. Democrat, Mt. Lincoln, and Mt. Bross. Visit Colorado Springs explains that extreme hikers can choose to tackle the venerable Manitou Incline Hiking Trail, scaling over 2,000 feet in elevation in less than one mile.

    For Runners

    Runners flock to Colorado to train because of the benefits provided by training at altitude. Because of this, the region is home to some of the world's best runners as well as a variety of venerable running events. The annual Colfax Marathon attracts runners from all over the globe who are looking to connect with other like-minded athletes. McWhinney explains that Colfax Avenue is the longest continuous street in the country, and every year 20,000+ runners use it for the Colfax Marathon, opting for the full marathon, the half marathon, or the urban 10-miler. You can even create a relay team! Or, you can head up I-70 to run the Red Rock stairs at the famed amphitheater that is located at the base of the Rocky Mountains.

    For Cyclists

    As a biker-friendly city, Denver is an ideal place to live for cyclists. TrailLink explains that the popular Cherry Creek Regional Trail connects downtown Denver with various points spread out over three counties. The 40-mile trail is surfaced with gravel or concrete, depending on the location. Those cyclists looking for a more rugged adventure can head up to the foothills for ample mountain biking opportunities. A vibrant cycling community makes it easy to connect with others and to go on group rides.

    Denver is a true paradise for outdoor recreational enthusiasts. The opportunities to get out and enjoy that rarefied Rocky Mountain air are limitless. All you need to do is lace up your shoes and get out there!


    Make sure if you are planning on going hiking to have the right accessories and tools!

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  • 3 Plants That You Need to Watch Out for During Hikes

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    Hiking is a popular activity for those who enjoy spending time in the great outdoors and exercising. Although it can be fun to explore new settings in nature, there are a few plants that can be dangerous to encounter. Here are a few of the plants that you should steer clear of while hiking, as well as how to identify them and treat a reaction if you come into contact with them.

    Poison Oak

    According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, poison oak causes a skin rash, which can become red and itchy if you come in contact with the plant. After a few hours, fluid-filled bumps can form on the skin. Many people also develop hives. Those who have a severe reaction to poison oak will need to visit a walk-in clinic to obtain corticosteroid pills for relief. In most cases, the symptoms will resolve with cold compresses, antihistamines, and calamine lotion.

    You can identify poison oak by its leaves. The leaves resemble oak leaves as an upright shrub that can grow up to three feet tall. The leaves also have "hair" on both sides.

    Poison Ivy

    Those who encounter poison ivy often have a skin reaction, which can appear immediately or up to five days later. About 85% of the population is allergic to it. When the leaves of the plant are brushed or bumped, urushiol is released, which can transfer from one person to another. The urushiol often leads to a rash, which can be accompanied by a fever. MD Proactive advises taking some over-the-counter medication such as Benadryl for relief. Unfortunately, poison ivy is commonly found in suburban or rural areas and easily blends in with other plants. Contact with the plant can be avoided by wearing long sleeves and pants while hiking.

    Oleander

    Oleander may be beautiful, but it is poisonous to both animals and humans. Solv says that it can lead to severe symptoms that include vomiting, stomach pain, fatigue, dizziness, and diarrhea. For those who have accidentally consumed the plant, it's important to visit a local hospital to ensure that the stomach can be pumped. Charcoal can also be ingested to absorb the poison from the plant.

    Researching the different types of plants that can pose a threat out in the wild is necessary to protect yourself. Understanding how these common plants can affect you and the proper treatment methods that are available will allow you to continue enjoying hiking and remain safe.

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  • 6 Common Pests To Keep An Eye out For On The Trails This Summer

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    If you're a true outdoor enthusiast, you're probably itching to hit the trails this summer. Between the great scenery and warm weather, there's just no reason to stay inside!

    Unfortunately, we have to share this earth of ours with some pretty unfriendly creatures. While some are just nuisances, others can be downright dangerous to humans. Here's a look at six of the most common (and most dangerous) pests you should be on the lookout for when you hit the trails this summer.

    Ticks

    Ticks are one of the most common outdoor pests you can encounter, and they're also one you need to take very seriously. These blood-sucking arachnids can be found in a variety of climates, so no matter where you may be hiking this summer, it's likely you'll encounter them.

    The biggest threat that ticks pose to humans is their ability to transmit diseases, and the most common of these is Lyme disease. This condition, which can lead to symptoms like rashes, joint trouble, and meningitis, is widespread in the summer months. If detected in the early stages, this condition can typically be treated with a course of antibiotics.

    While ticks and Lyme disease are a common association, there are a number of other equally serious conditions that these pests can carry. These include the Powassan virus, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and anaplasmosis. To prevent tick bites, this doctor recommends using essential oils to ward off ticks, along with wearing high socks and long pants while hiking.

    Mosquitoes

    If you've spent any amount of time outdoors, you're probably familiar with the annoying buzz and the itchy bites associated with mosquitoes. Like ticks, these pests feed on the blood of their victims—and they're notorious for spreading disease, too.

    Globally, malaria is the most common disease spread by mosquitoes, but most cases of it come from sub-Saharan Africa. Closer to home, mosquitoes are responsible for diseases like the West Nile virus and encephalitis. Typically, the West Nile virus leads to flu-like symptoms, while encephalitis causes swelling of the spinal cord and brain. The best protection against mosquito bites is to cover exposed skin, rather than to spray yourself down with chemicals. That being said, spraying your gear with repellant is an effective measure against mosquitos.

    Spiders

    There are over 3000 species of spiders in the United States, which means you should absolutely expect to encounter them outdoors. Luckily, only about 10 of those species are venomous, with the most common being the brown recluse and the black widow.

    Brown recluse spiders can be tricky to see on the trail since their dark brown coloring allows them to blend in with leaves and sticks. However, they are not an aggressive species, so bites only occur when direct contact is made. If you leave them alone, they will be more than happy to leave you alone.

    Like the brown recluse, black widows are often found in quiet, undisturbed areas like piles of wood or leaves. They most commonly bite when a person unintentionally comes in contact with their webs.

    While bite symptoms vary between these two species, both require fast medical attention to prevent the worsening of symptoms.

    Scorpions

    If you're planning on hiking desert trails this summer, it's important to be on the lookout for scorpions, which are prevalent in the American southwest.

    These distant relatives of the spider are nocturnal creatures, so you won't likely see one scuttling about during the middle of the day—but that doesn't mean they aren't nearby. They're probably hiding under rocks, piles of wood, or unattended hiking boots.

    While scorpion stings normally resolve themselves within two days, the symptoms can be hard to deal with. These include intense pain at the injection site, difficulty speaking, drooling, abdominal pain, and respiratory issues.

    Centipedes

    Like scorpions, centipedes are known to take shelter wherever they can find it—rocks, logs, and piles of leaves are three places they are commonly found. So, most bites occur when a person unintentionally disturbs their habitat. That being said, there are plenty of places on the trail that a centipede might call home.

    Centipede bites are almost never fatal, but the pain they cause will be immediate and intense. There may also be some damage to the surrounding skin tissue, but specialized medical care generally isn't necessary for treatment.

    Fire Ants

    If you have plans on hiking in desert or grassland environments this summer, be on the lookout for fire ants. Unlike some of the other pests on this list, fire ants can be quite visible. Their mounds can grow to as high as 18 inches, and most colonies are comprised of hundreds of thousands of ants.

    And that's where their danger lies—in their numbers. While an individual bite will be painful and itchy for up to an hour afterward, it's generally not life-threatening. However, fire ants typically attack in large groups, and numerous bites can lead to a potentially fatal allergic reaction if not treated immediately.

    Your time on the trails shouldn't be spent worrying about all the potential pests you might encounter. By being aware of common dangerous bugs in your area, taking preventative measures (like bug spray), and using caution when disturbing the environment, you can maximize your fun and safety this summer.

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  • 5 Unique Ways to Hike or Camp With Someone Who Can't Hear

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    Hiking with someone who can't hear may seem like a scary experience at first. You may have concerns about the person's safety, but you have to remember that the individual has likely been living with their hearing loss for a long time and is used to it.

    Instead of worrying about the experience, use it as an opportunity to think of unique ways to experience the hike. Keep reading to get inspiration for your upcoming hike!

    Look up Signs

    If you do not know American Sign Language, look up signs for things that you may see on the hike or some basic communication sings. It is not as hard as you may think, and you can easily find youtube videos that will teach you the basics of American Sign Language.

    This will make the person that you are hiking with feel included in the conversation if you are able to communicate with sign language. This is also a good skill for you to have so that you can communicate any dangers that the individual would not be able to hear.

    Bring an Interpreter

    If the individual you are hiking with has a severe or profound hearing loss, they may have an interpreter that lives with them or assists them in their daily tasks. Ask this person to join you on the hike if you are not fluent in sign language. This is a great way to make the individual who cannot hear feel included in the activity.

    Focus on other Senses

    While a hearing loss may seem like an extreme deficit, there are others senses that the individual with hearing loss can rely on to experience the world. You should challenge yourself to focus on your other senses as well to experience what the other individual is feeling.

    One sense that is easy to focus on while hiking is sight. Take in the vivid colors of a forest will stand out more than before if you are focusing on them more than your other senses. Also, take time to feel the textures of the forest.

    Be Aware of Other Challenges for People That Can't Hear

    If the individual that cannot hear wears a hearing aid, this can be a challenge when exploring the wilderness. For example, the hearing aid cannot get wet or it will not function properly. Having knowledge of this, you can help the person to avoid any water!

    Demonstrate before Doing

    Since the person you are hiking with can't hear you, make the experience easier for them by demonstrating what they will need to do. This can be handy if you are crossing rough terrain during the hike or camp.

    Overall, it is important to remember that hiking or camping with someone who can't hear can be a great experience for both of you! Remember to bring the right gear and to keep these tips in mind to have a successful hike or camping experience.


    Resources:

    {https://5starinterpreting.com/}

    http://rexyedventures.com/2012/02/23/6-challenges-for-a-deaf-person-travelling-solo/

    http://blueridgehikingco.com/learning-deaf-hikers

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  • 4 Tips for Camping with Young Children

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    If you have small children, camping can be a fun and rewarding way to introduce them to the great outdoors and instill a lifelong appreciation for nature in them. However, camping with young children may require a few precautions. Make the most of your family outing with the following tips.

    Don't Rough It

    No matter how minimal you want to go with your camping, you can’t completely rough it with young children. Children need a little more help than adults do, and staying safe and comfortable requires a little more care. Instead of choosing somewhere random to go camping, find an established camping spot that has easy access to bathrooms and clean water. You should also make sure that the site is a safe distance from the road and not too close to a river. 

    Buying, renting, or borrowing an RV or camper for introducing younger ones into camping is a great idea. They can have the joys of outdoor experiences while having the safety and feelings of familiarity that campers and RVs can bring. As they get older you can introduce more real camping experiences to them. You could make a habit of it so that each time you go, your children associate frequent happy times in the outdoors.

    Avoid Slopes and Difficult Trails

    Most camping sites will state the difficulty level and length of any nearby hiking trails if they have them. This is something you will need to take into account if you plan on going exploring. While a mountainous area could be a lot of fun, you need to make sure you find an area with some age-appropriate trails or be willing to carry your child at least most of the way. Small children should stick with easy and short trails to avoid accidents.

    Focus on Good Habits

    Camping is a great way to introduce your child to healthy habits. For starters, maintaining good hygiene while away from home can be challenging, but having sanitary wipes on hand and hand sanitizer is a good starting point. You should also maintain your same hygiene routine from home while on a camping trip. This means brushing your teeth, washing your hands, and cleaning up after yourself. You can also teach your child about good nutrition by teaching them to cook basic meals with whatever means you brought.

    Teach Basic Safety

    The outdoors is a lot of fun, but it can also be dangerous. A camping trip is a great time to give your kids some hands-on lessons in safety. Show them how to identify plants like stinging nettle and poison ivy, how to stay safe around water and wildlife, and how to store food safely. You can also teach them some basic first aid, so they know what to do if they skin their knee or get a blister.

    Camping with young children can be fun and exciting with the right know-how. Be prepared for the worst and choose the right site for your family by following these strategies. You will be glad you prepared in advance!

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