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June 21, 2016
Have Some Fun This Summer: Geocaching Part 2

geocaching

That’s right campers: we had such a positive response from our first post on geocaching we wanted to make another, but this time instead of an introduction to the fun, we thought we’d dig a little deeper and offer some beginning advice.  Part of the fun of geocaching is learning all of the little quirks involved in the process though, so we won’t be giving everything away, but hopefully if you or another camper wants to convince some yet-to-be-christened geocachers out there, you will have a good place to start!

The Geocacher’s Toolkit
While there’s no set requirements beyond a GPS device, there are a few things that can make life easier for a budding geocacher just learning the ropes, or for long-time geocachers that are looking for some tips.

  1. Writing Utensils
    1. Part of the geocaching experience is logging your name and the date on which you discovered the cache, but sometimes this can be tricky to accomplish.  Not all caches include a writing utensil, and those that do can become waterlogged or unusable because of rain and other ravages of being left out in the wild.  Bring a variety of utensil types with you such as a fine-tipped marker, pen, and pencil and you’ll be prepared for any situation!
  2. Sprockets and Trinkets
    1. As we mentioned in our last post, one of the rules of geocaching is that to remove an item from a cache, you must exchange it with an item of equal or greater value.  Keep a small assortment of items on hand for exchanges such as marbles, old coins, action figures and stickers, and you’ll never be caught unawares.  Granted the value of objects is relative, but geocachers generally expect their fellow cachers to use their best judgement.
  3. Extra Batteries
    1. There’s nothing worse than preparing for a fun-filled day of geocaching only to discover that your reliable GPS doesn’t have the juice to track your targets.  Keep some extra batteries either in the car or in your pocket so that you never miss out on a choice cache and wonderful weather.  For those that use their phones for geocaching, purchasing a power bank or extended phone battery works too!

Every geocacher has his or her own way of tracking down caches in the wild, but for the geocacher that’s just starting out, this list should help you hit the ground running!


June 21, 2016
Have Some Fun This Summer: Geocaching Part 1

Geocaching

Many people are gearing up for new ways to find fun and excitement this summer, and that is why we are proud to introduce our campers to the latest trend that combines the wonders of nature with the thrill of high-tech gadgets: geocaching.  Move aside hikers, because this incredibly fun hobby is outdoor treasure hunting with a twist, i.e. using a GPS to navigate to specific locations and track down hidden collections of items and prizes.  Geocaching is great on your own or with a group, but no matter how many people come along you can rest assured that nature-lovers and technology-lovers alike will get to bond in the outdoors and have a great time doing it!

Getting Started
Finding hidden collections of items (known as caches) is the name of the game, and that means using your GPS or GPS-enabled mobile device to enter in coordinates.  To begin your geocaching experience, sign up for a free account at www.geocaching.com to gain access to the millions of caches all across the world and the coordinates to find them.  Once you have access to the database, it’s only a matter of deciding what kind of device you’d like to use in order to track down your caches and start having fun!
With the age of the smartphone in full swing, most geocachers today make use of their phone’s internal GPS to track and locate caches at the swipe of a finger.  Geocaching has a few great apps that allow you to access and discover new caches on the go, but manually downloading the data is fine too.  And don’t despair if you haven’t jumped on the smartphone bandwagon; there are plenty of personal GPS devices made specifically for geocaching and hiking that are available for sale.

Once you’ve decided what GPS style you’ll use, it’s time so search the geo (earth) for some caches (item collections)!  For the most part geocaching is rule-free, but there are a few unspoken yet highly-honored practices you must observe when on the hunt:

  1. If you remove an item from a cache, you must exchange it with an item of equal or greater value.
  2. Always log your finds both in the log (placed within the cache) and online, but be sure not to give away the secret to finding the cache for those that haven’t hunted it down.
  3. Once the cache is found and your log made, always re-hide the cache in as close to the original location as possible.
  4. If a cache has been disturbed, broken, or you could not find it, be sure to log that information online as well so that the original owner of the cache can fix it.

Beyond those traditions, caching is all about having fun and enjoying the outdoors!  Head out and enjoy this summer!


June 11, 2016
Mosquito Season: Fight the Bite!

mosquito repellent

As the cool days of spring give way to the warmth of summer, the mosquito population will once again be on the rise.  Not only are the bites of these pesky insects itchy and irritating, but mosquitoes are known to carry diseases like the West Nile virus and (more recently) the Zika virus, both of which can be dangerous to pregnant women.  The good news is that even on the trail or at the camp site, it’s possible to take steps to severely reduce your risk of exposure to mosquitoes and keep your family safe.  As campers we may love the beauty and power of nature, but nature can bite!

Batten Down the Hatches!
Before you break out the bug spray, the best preventative step for keeping mosquitoes at bay is to inspect your home, tents, and campers for entry points.  Small tears in screen doors, tents and windows are the primary culprits for letting insects into your home, but don’t overlook loose weather stripping and caulking around doorframes, windows, and vents as well.  Fixing these entry points will keep out all kinds of pests including mosquitoes, so this is one of the most cost-effective measures to take in the fight against the bite.

Kick Those Buckets!
Besides sealing up entry points in and around your living spaces, one of the best ways to reduce your risk of mosquito bites is to inspect your property for standing water.  A mosquito’s favorite breeding ground is pockets of calm, undisturbed water that allow the larva to breathe and develop away from predators, so search your property for upturned buckets, old tires and any other discarded items that have the potential to collect water.  Even places designed to hold water like bird baths and ponds should be changed regularly, as these areas are just as prone to mosquito breeding as hidden pockets of standing water. 

Cut Off Their Food Supply!
Once preventative measures are complete your home or living area should be reasonably protected against mosquitoes, but walking around outdoors is a different story.  Wearing shoes and socks along with long-sleeved pants and shirt minimize skin exposure to mosquitoes, but for true protection it’s a good idea to have insect repellant available at all times.  These repellants will contain DEET, picaridin, lemon oil and eucalyptus extract or IR 3535, all of which deter insect activity.  Some repellants can be toxic for infants and children however, so consult your physician before administering these for the first time.
Active people enjoying the outdoors are never completely free of the threat of a mosquito bite, but by taking these precautions you can minimize your risk and maximize your fun!


June 11, 2016
A Green Camper is a Happy Camper

green camper

Camping is the perfect choice to "get away from it all," but even when going back to nature, many campers fall back on the bad habits of a reckless and disposable lifestyle.  To keep the great outdoors green, it’s important for campers to both reduce their carbon footprint and keep camping and hiking areas clean for everyone.  Tossing trash on the ground, soiling public restrooms and disregarding safety precautions are only too common for inexperienced campers, but by following a few rules, camping can stay fun for everybody!

1.) Absolutely No littering!
Most people understand the importance of throwing paper and plastic away, but many campers underestimate the consequences of simply tossing food and other organic waste on the ground.  Banana peels and coffee grounds may be biodegradable, but food waste also has an unpleasant aroma, breeds bacteria and attracts wildlife to campsites and campgrounds.  Properly disposing of organic waste protects the sanctity of designated camping areas and trails and helps ensure that future campers can enjoy nature unencumbered. 

2.) Bring reusable dishware
Garbage collection is one of the biggest problems of the modern campsite, and nothing fills up public garbage cans faster than a constant stream of plastic silverware, Styrofoam plates and paper cups.  On your next camping trip, consider bringing a small stock of non-breakable drinking glasses and plates along with reusable cookware and silverware.  Not only is this a cheaper alternative to purchasing disposables, but bringing reusable eating utensils and plates keeps trash levels low and reduces your carbon footprint at the same time! 

3.) Stay on the Trails!
When hiking on the trails or walking through campgrounds it's tempting to brave the unknown and go off the beaten path, but this recklessness can spell disaster in more ways than one.  Staying on marked trails cuts down on erosion and destruction of the natural environment, but most importantly keeps campers safe by preventing them from getting lost.  Thousands of inexperienced hikers and campers leave marked trails and are lost every year, resulting in millions of dollars and resources spent tracking them down and bringing them back to safety.  Mother Nature is beautiful but not very forgiving, so be safe: stay on the trail!
Escaping to the wilderness clears the mind and cleanses the soul, but relaxing ourselves doesn't mean relaxing our manners.




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Lake of the Woods Campground
N9070 14th Avenue
Wautoma, WI 54982
920-787-3601
Email:
lakeofthewoods@diparks.com

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