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Stepping Up To Bouldering

Rock climbing is a sport that numerous people flock to every year, drawn by the beauty of the mountain, the allure of the climb, and the sheer adrenaline rush of scaling rock. For a select few, simple rock climbing is not enough. For those individuals, there is an entirely different sport derivative of climbing, known as bouldering that pits an individual without any equipment against a much shorter climb. Knowing the difference between bouldering and rock climbing and how to choose your first boulders is the first step in getting into this exciting climbing alternative.

Bouldering was originally developed as practice for rock climbers so as to offer themselves an opportunity to work on their moves on a smaller scale without the effort and time involved in a full climb. Over time however the sport has evolved into its own sub-sport in which numerous techniques have been developed and stars have been born.

Bouldering itself is defined by the size of the boulder being climbed. Without equipment, it is generally held that if you can climb a rock without falling to your death, it is bouldering. Another requirement is that the boulder is not an important part of the mountain. Unlike climbing, bouldering is a short and quick endeavor, involving no equipment and the quick problem solving approach of a skilled climber.

Another fun aspect of bouldering is that almost anyone can try it if they are in decent shape. Some boulders are relatively safe and small and the average individual could easily attempt a climb without incident. However, there are other boulders well beyond the scope of some people that could cause bodily harm. Often, a boulder climber will have a spotter who sets and watches a mat to catch the climber in case of a fall. If a boulder is too big or unpredictable a mat and spotter will do no good.

For those looking for new boulders to climb, the grading scales used are often open ended, meaning that larger boulders are always being found and added to the scale. The John Sherman scale consists of ratings from V0 to V16 with room for growth above V16 and the Fontainebleau system ranges from 1 to 8c+, also open to grow.

As for safety measures, climbers are often held to nine foot maximum climbs. Once beyond the twenty-one foot marker, a boulder climber is no longer bouldering but free soloing - a derivative of mountain climbing largely considered dangerous. The above mentioned mat is always placed below a boulder climber as well to ensure any falls are cushioned. Any bouldering enthusiast should bring along a spotter to watch over their mat. If a climber falls, the spotter's job is to try and ensure the climber hits that mat properly.

Because of the physical demands of the sport, bouldering should only be attempted by those in relatively decent shape. You don't need to be a world class athlete, but the proper strength training and acumen are vital to ensuring you have a safe climb.

Bouldering is a great new sporting option for climbers to practice and those afraid of heights to try climbing. Without the ample gear, hours long training sessions, or expensive process of rock climbing, bouldering is quickly growing into a popular high-impact alternative for quick and thrilling climbs.


Climbing Gear - Don't Leave Home Without It

Climbing is a popular sport around the world. Whether it be rock climbing, ice climbing, tree climbing, climbing walls, or bouldering, the sport has definitely taken hold around the world. But anyone who has been on a climb can tell you that it's not nearly as easy or safe as some of the other sports you can get into. Honestly, one wrong move or knot tied incorrectly can lead to serious injury or even death for yourself or a climbing partner.

It's extremely important to pay attention to detail when you're on a climb. One of the best ways to do that is to have the right kinds of climbing gear, and to take care of your rock climbing gear carefully. Here are some great tips for making sure you're prepared for the climb.

Having the Right Climbing Gear

Depending on what kind of climbing you're going to be participating in, the assortment of climbing gear you're going to need is going to change. Climbing requires lots of different pieces of climbing gear and it's essential to have your concepts and gear straight before you get started. After all, if one piece of climbing gear fails, it could mean disaster. So before you go on your climb, do your research about the different pieces of rock climbing gear you'll need to buy.

Having Climbing Gear in Good Working Order

While it is, of course, important to have all the necessary climbing gear for the kind of climbing you'll be doing, it's also important to make sure that everything is in good working order. Many novice climbers forget to regularly inspect their equipment and replace items that appear to be starting to fray, break down, stick, or otherwise show signs of failure. Many accidents can be prevented by discarding worn out climbing ropes, belay devices, safety harnesses and other gear.

If you are just getting into climbing and don't know if it's quite for you or not, then it's best to go with a group and only purchase or borrow the climbing gear you need for that trip. That way you can decide if climbing is the right sport for you without having to make too much of a financial commitment to the sport. There are many different variations in rock climbing gear, and different climbing scenarios require different specialized gear to deal with it. You'll soon understand that while some people might say that rock climbing is merely a sport, others would call it a way of life. Just make sure to keep yours safe with the right kinds of climbing gear.


How to Wear a Climbing Harness

Your climbing harness is one of the most essential pieces of equipment that most climbers will use during their climbing adventures. Not only will your climbing harness be used to connect you to certain pieces of gear along the way of your climb, but a climbing harness will be one of the most important factors in keeping you safe in the event of a fall. If your climbing harness is too tight, you'll have problems climbing since your movements will be greatly restricted. Alternately, if your harness is too loose, your harness will slip, chafe, and could possibly even let go of you. Knowing how your climbing harness should fit is a great way to help keep you safe, and have the best climb possible.

Just as a pair of jeans fits differently on different people who try them on, so the same climbing harness will not work for every person. Be sure to try on several different types of harnesses so that you can find one that fits comfortably. Here are a few other tips and pointers for learning how a harness should fit you.

Fitting the Waistband

The waistband of your harness should be snug, but not uncomfortable. The waistband should ride just above your hipbones, not so tight that it should interfere with your breathing, but tight enough that you can't pull the harness down over your hips no matter how hard to try. Children and adults with narrower hips should probably stay away from the more conventional harnesses and instead stick with a more full body harness.

Fitting the Leg Loops

The leg loops on your climbing harness should also be snug, but not to the point of being uncomfortably so. Wearing the leg loops too tightly or even too loose could result in an painful injury in the event of a fall. If your leg loops are adjustable, their webbing straps should be long enough for you to double them back through their buckles with at least 2 inches left over.

When you are choosing a climbing harness, make sure that you are wearing the kinds of clothes that you will be climbing in. Be very careful when fitting a seat harness (which is one of the most popular kinds of harnesses). As mentioned before, a harness that is too large, the harness may slide up onto your lower ribs, compressing your diaphragm and leaving you gasping for air, or worse, made slide off during a fall. But a harness that is too small will squeeze you too tightly, making climbing an uncomfortable sport for you.

Now that you know what to look for when shopping for climbing harnesses, you can be aware of the fitting requirements to help you to both stay comfortable during the climb, as well as being a great piece of protection.


The Thrill of Indoor Climbing

Indoor climbing is a sport that deals with both the body and mind. It takes a lot of will power to be able to withstand the challenges it gives and the mere determination to reach the goal of reaching the top. Yet, there is a lot to learn with regards to the art of indoor climbing.Indoor climbing is an increasingly famous type of rock climbing that is done by the use of artificial structures that imitate the feeling of climbing a rocky mountain. Yet, this is in a controlled surrounding as compared to the dangerous but adventurous sport of outdoor rock climbing.

The idea of the artificial indoor climbing wall originated in United Kingdom, where Don Robinson, a professor of Physical Education of The Leeds University created DR Climbing Walls in 1964. He made this possible by inserting rocks into a wall on a corridor. It was commercially introduced and constructed in Sheffield which is now considered as the heart of Indoor Climbing.

The first indoor walls were made of bricks, giving a smaller choice of routes. This is since the steepness of the wall and variety of the hand holds was limited. It was later on changed to wooden walls. It was constructed by screwing the resin hand holds which acts as the artificial rocks. The boards vary in steepness and in height where the different sizes of resin holds are attached, making it more like the sport that it was derived from.

The climbing walls are made out of wood or bricks. This is although recently, multiplex boards became the material used. It is thick and safe to climb. Aside from this, it is where resin rocks are attached. Nowadays; aluminum and steel are also used.

These climbing walls have various types and this would include the following: Plywood is one type, which is said to be the simplest type used in the structure of climbing walls. The other forms of climbing walls aside from the ones mentioned above are made of concrete sprayed into a wire mesh, slabs of granite, pre-made fiberglass panels and fiberglass walls. The rocks attached to the climbing walls also vary and may be made out of limestone, granite or artificial rocks. Hence, whatever type of climbing wall or rocks is used, belay ropes should be attached to the climber for protection. Aside from this, it is also used for bouldering and lead climbing.

Indoor climbing has also become popular in areas with rainy climates, where in, it is much safer as compared to outdoor rock climbing. This is due to the fact that this kind of weather makes it very difficult to climb a rocky mountain. It will just make it slippery and dangerous, unlike indoor climbing where anyone could go to the gym despite their busy schedules. This can also be for any season and anytime of the day, giving the climbers the chance to enjoy their sport, even at night.

Moreover, indoor wall climbing is less dangerous for it is within controlled vicinity and it is manmade and created to be environmentally safe. In fact, people can celebrate parties inside a wall climbing area. Aside from being evidently fun, it is also definitely hassle free. It is also easier than outdoor rock climbing. Even so, it is almost the same in such a way that gears and skills that should be combined with analytical thinking are still necessary in this kind of sport. This makes it as difficult as outdoor rock climbing. Plus, it is the reason why indoor climbing is considered as a type of sport, just like outdoor rock climbing.

What are the benefits of Indoor climbing? Aside from the fact that it is safer than outdoor rock climbing, it is also like a training ground for outdoor rock climbing. You can also lose a lot of weight with this sport, without even noticing it. It is simply a fun environment and an amazing outlet to burn fats in the process. This is since it involves intense muscular activity just by climbing up and down the walls, especially if you are carrying the gears as well. Thus, some indoor climbers who have recently tried the sport later found themselves loving it.

Although indoor climbing gears are expensive, beginners of this kind of sport can always rent one in the gym itself. Then, you can save and buy the gears when you get hooked up on the sport. This is better than buying all the pricey equipment and realizing it's not for you. Yet, even if these gears cost a lot, it will keep you protected; prevent you from falling or getting injured.

Here are the gears needed in this kind of sport:

* Rock Climbing shoes - This is an essential climbing gear for a climber. It is chosen depending on the kind of rocks that are being used in climbing walls, as well as the type of climbing walls and climbing typ. This is if you are climbing: for a competition, in a gym, for bouldering, as a sport or for mountaineering practice. Thus, the types of rubber, lacing material and curvature, shape and heel construction should also be considered.

* Belay Devices - These equipments are used for the safety of climbers. Nowadays, manufacturers have been continuously doing everything to improve repelling and belaying equipments.

* Climbing Ropes - Ropes are important to the climbers for it is used to protect them from falling and are tested to meet the standards of the UIAA. The quality of these ropes should be the best so as not to comprise the climber's safety.

* Climbing Harness - A harness is used as a diaper sling attached to the climbing ropes. It is also called a diaper sling because it is worn just like a diaper.

* Climbing Holds -These climbing holds are made of fiberglass, silica sand and epoxy. Climbing holds have various types and this would include handles, slopes, side pulls, edges, jugs, jibs, crimpers and many more.

* Quickdraws - This gear is a newly added gear for climbing. Quickdraws consist of two carabiners that adjoin a runner. It also has a webbing sling attached to a carabiner. It has a measurement of 4 ½ to 10 inches when it comes to the distance. The other carabiner is in a bending position while the other carabiner is straight.

* Crash Pads - This is similar to the gymnastics mats that are used in outdoor bouldering. Aside from this, it is used as a protection from falling. Crash pads have certain features such as: hiking shoulder straps, pockets, like straps, launch pads and many more.

* Fingerboard - This training device can be placed where there is limited space and can be mounted on top of a doorway. It is a training device for finger strength training.

* Child's Harness - An adult's harness is very much different from a child's harness. This is due to the fact that it is smaller as compared to the adults. It also has smaller leg sizes and waists. They are also divided into 2 distinct types which would be the child's waist harness and the full body harness.

* Chalk Bags - A chalk bag is needed and is definitely considered as one of the needed climbing gears a climber must have handy. It serves as a type of protection or prevention against dangerously falling while climbing. This is worn by strapping it around a climber's waist and attaching it to the middle part of the back, particularly the butt part. It is used by both outdoor and indoor climbers, as well as mountaineers and big wall climbers.

* Climbing Helmets - This gear is the most essential part of a climbing gear. It is used in rappelling, mountaineering, caving and outdoor climbing. It protects your head from falling rocks that has a tendency to fall really fast. Due to gravity even the smallest rocks can cause a tremendous blow if you don't wear a helmet. This should go with wearing something for your eyes as well.

* Rope Bags - Ropes are noted to lose it strength when it is mixed with dirt and water. Plus, if it gets exposed to UV light. Thus, this gear can protect your rope gear.

* Extreme Sports Clothes - Climbing clothing is durable and functional at the same time. This extreme sports clothing are flexible and strong unlike other sport clothing that are not as flexible as it is.

An example of a gym that offers Indoor Climbing is: The Banffe Centre, Sally Borden Gym. Their Climbing Gym Equipment Rental is as follows:

* Harness-$5.00
* Carabiner/Belay Device-$2.00
* Shoes-$5.00
* Complete package is $10.00
* Chalk Bag-$2.00
* Climbing Gym Rates for Adults: $10
* Belay Test: $5
* Youth (4 years old up to 15 years old)-$4.00

This Climbing Gym's hours of operation are from Mondays up to Fridays from 4:00 PM up to 11 PM. On weekends, their hours of operation are from Saturdays up to Sundays from 2:00 PM up to 10:00 PM.

Indoor Climbing is fun and it is a good form of exercise, many were reluctant to try this sport but once they have, it de a real difference in their lives.


Choosing the Right Carabiners for Your Climb

Before going on any climb, you'll need to access what kinds of equipment you'll need for your trip and be able to pack your necessary gear accordingly. There are several different types of carabiners that you can choose from that vary according to size, shape and gate size. Having the right carabiners for your trip and understanding how to use them are very important, as your life may be depending on them. Here are some quick tips for choosing the right carabiners for your climb.

Consider Your Needs

Before choosing any kind of carabiner for your trip, you need to consider what you will be using them for. Different styles of carabiners are designed for different tasks, so you'll want to ask yourself what kinds of climbing you'll be doing, as well as the kinds of protections you'll be clipping into. If you're just starting out climbing, you may want to get the assistance of an expert or experienced salesman for some help.

Explore Your Options

Once you know what kinds of carabiners will be best for your trip, take a trip to the store and look at some examples of carabiners they have there. Try to get a feel for how they work, how easy they are to clip into, and how smoothly the gates work. If you're looking at getting some locking carabiners, try to get comfortable with locking and unlocking the gate with one hand. You'll find that different people prefer different models, so choose some that are easy for you to use and operate smoothly.

Does Weight/Size of the Carabiner Matter?

While it's always best to climb light, be sure to consider the weight of your carabiner as well, as light weight carabiners aren't always the way to go. Super light carabiners can result in lower gate-opening strengths and eventually a lower life span for your carabiner. Plus, narrow carabiners can harm your ropes as well. The size of your carabiners should really be based off yoru personal preferences. Larger shaped carabiners can be easier to handle and hold a lot of gear, but take up a lot of space and add extra weight to your gear.

Check Your Carabiners

It's always important to continually monitor your climbing gear to watch out for cracks, sharp edges, corrosion, and other signs of excessive wear and tear. Even a small hairline crack in your carabiner makes them extremely dangerous and should be trashed. If one of your carabiners has a fall greater than 20 feet, it should also not be used.

Climbing is unique from many other sports in that a fall may severely injure or kill the climber. If you have any questions or are unsure about a piece of equipment, be sure to consult with an expert.


Essential Rock Climbing Equipment For The Sportsman On A Budget

More and more people are quickly discovering the thrill and satisfaction of rock climbing as a sport. The exhilarating demands of this passion, coupled with the intoxicating satisfaction of conquering nature's wonders with your sheer will and physical efforts, make rock climbing a truly addictive endeavor. Although it is addictive, care must be practiced.

But people can't simply pack their things in their bags and venture to the great outdoors to embark on rock climbing adventures. It's a little more complicated than that. For starters, proper pre-climb training is necessary, to build your strength and endurance which are both required by the exhausting challenges of the sport, and to prepare your mind to make sound decisions while scaling the sides of cliffs and crags. Also, you'd need the right rock climbing equipment to ensure an enjoyable, and more importantly, a safe experience for yourself.

Here lies the problem that most people who are interested with rock climbing do experience.

Though training can be gained for free through the aid of friends and acquaintances who have amassed the required experience in this discipline, and even community clubs that are devoted to the sport, rock climbing equipment are not as easily procurable. You'd need to spend for the gears and items you will need, and not everyone can afford the amount necessary to purchase them. I myself do not climb rocks!

This, however, should not be a bar to your enjoyment of rock climbing. All you need is to procure the necessary rock climbing equipment which is considered as basic for the sport. What are these? Here is a list of the "must have" supplies for your initial foray into rock climbing:

* Helmet. You need to protect your head from potential bumps or falls. You could get a helmet for as low as $35.
* Harness. A harness will provide the support you need while scaling cliffs and crags. You could get one for as low as $35 as well. Harnesses are quite durable. They'll serve you for many, many years.
* Climbing shoes. These are also called as approach shoes. Their distinctive feature is a clip that has a locking carabineer. You could buy a pair for $80 up.
* Safety carbineer. This is needed to lock into your harness and your rope.
* Rope. An absolute necessity, though if you're climbing with a group, you could most probably share one with the team.

Rock climbing is actually a more affordable discipline than other sports in its category. For as long as you stick with the basic rock climbing equipment, this passion doesn't have to be inaccessibly expensive. Study all of the information you can get on the subject and make your purchases over time or use a web site like Ebay (tm).


Enjoy The Health Benefits Of Wild Game Meats

Over the last few years, more and more people are adding healthier alternatives to their diets. As a society, we're becoming much more knowledgeable about healthy choices, fat content, and artificial ingredients. There has been a growing trend away from some of the traditional high fat and high cholestorol meat choices, while seeking out healthier, easy-to-prepare alternatives. Certain types of wild game meats, previously largely unavailable in the marketplace, are turning up more and more frequently on restaurant menus and dinner tables.

A recent dining trend over the last 10 years has been a move away from high fat, high cholesterol meats. We've become much more knowledgeable about healthy choices and avoiding high fat content and artificial ingredients. More and more restaurant owners and individual consumers are experiencing the healhy benefits of wild game meats, such as buffalo meat, elk meat, ostrich meat, and several others.

Conversely, wild game species cannot be sold, but can be harvested (hunted) for personal use. In essence, farm-raised game are specifically intended for the consumer marketplace, and are proving to be more and more popular as people discover their health benefits in comparison to traditional meats.

Further, those who may have been put off from trying unfamiliar types of meats are often pleasantly surprised at the mild, lean taste of game meats. Today's restaurant patrons will often see choices such as buffalo, ostrich, elk, caribou, and even rattlesnake. That said, the term wild game meat is still widely used and widely accepted as encompassing non traditional meats.

Several prominent restaurant chains are now offering wild game meats, such as buffalo, ostrich, elk, caribou, and others. The clean, mild taste of these alternative cuts of meat are pleasant surprises to those who have never tried wild game meats. In actuality, it is farm raised game that's served on restaurant menus, although the term wild game meat is the most accepted term when referring to meats like buffalo, ostrich, elk, etc.

How Healthy Are Wild Game Meats?

One of the most notable benefits of wild game meats are their fat content vs. traditional meats. Ostrich meat is lower in fat content than chicken breast, and surprisingly, elk meat is slightly less than 1% fat. Conversely, ham is approximately 6% fat and roast beef ranges from 6-10% fat. In fact, ostrich and elk meat have less fat and cholesterol than fish.

Demand for wild game meats continues to increase, not only due to their low fat content but because they are high in protein and very easy to prepare. Specialty suppliers and online resources sites offer cooking tips, and elk meat, ostrich meat, and buffalo meats are packaged as burgers, steaks, or roasts. Wild game meats are easy to cook, and most diners are pleasantly surprised with their taste.

Discover Wild Game Meats


A Travellers Guide to India

India is a vast country with a vast population, two thirds of which lines in rural locations. Bounded by the Himalayas to the north, it occupies a natural subcontinent.

India shares common borders with China, Bhutan and Nepal to the north, Pakistan to the north-west, and Burma to the north east. To the east, almost surrounded by India, is Bangladesh. Near India's southern tip, across the Palk Strait, is Sri Lanka.

The country has 28 states which vary greatly in size, population and development. Each has its own government. There are also seven Union Territories with their Lieutenant Governors or Administrators.

The official language is Hindi, written in the Devanagari script. It is spoken by close to a third of the population as a first language. English is an 'associated language'. In addition there are 18 official state languages.

India has benefited greatly from the 'global economy' and the IT revolution and besides its traditional heavy industries, is now a major player in IT and software development, and call centre outsourcing. Even so 350m people remain in poverty.

India's largest cities are Mumbai (formerly Bombay), Delhi, Kolkata (formerly Calcutta), Chennai (formerly Madras), Bangalore, and Hyderabad.

The Foreign Office warns that there has been continued violence in the Kashmir Valley between armed groups seeking secession from India and against all travel to or through rural areas of Jammu and Kashmir (other than Ladakh), and all but essential air travel to Srinagar. It says there is a high level of conflict and terrorist violence in Jammu and Kashmir (excluding Ladakh). 'Jammu City is somewhat safer but attacks still occur'.

It also advises against all travel in the immediate vicinity of the border with Pakistan other than travel across the international border at Wagah, and against all but essential travel to Imphal (by air) and against all travel in the rest of Manipur and Tripura. 'Kidnapping, banditry and insurgency are rife throughout the north eastern region, particularly in Assam'.

Even in Mumbai British Nationals are advised to take care and avoid demonstrations.

'There is a high threat of terrorism throughout India', says the Foreign Office. 'Attacks have targeted public places, including places of worship. They could also target places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers'.

However, 'over 600,000 British tourists visit India every year' and most are trouble free.

Between the months of December and April, flights leaving India become very full. Passengers may find themselves 'bumped off' flights even if they have confirmed seats. All international departures must therefore be re-confirmed at least 72 hours before departure.

The Foreign Office warns that penalties for possession of drugs can be severe. The penalties paedophile offences are also severe. And visitors to India should also be aware that Indian family law is very different from UK law and particular caution is needed when, for example, child custody becomes an issue.

There are health risks with seasonal outbreaks of some illnesses. Local medical facilities are 'not comparable to those in the UK, especially in more remote areas', says the Foreign Office. 'However, in the major cities private medical care is available, but is expensive'.

Travellers to India must obtain a visa before travelling. Foreign nationals arriving in India on long term multiple entry visas are required to register with the nearest Foreigners Regional Registration Officer within 14 days of arrival.

Overstayers are fined and may be prosecuted or detained and later deported. They may also need to appear in person at the Ministry of Home Affairs in Delhi.


Jamaica is an Exotic Place

Jamaica is an exotic place with a wide variety of things to do. From hiking and beaches to cities and shopping, there is truly something there for everyone. The weather is temperate and the transportation is simple. This is a place that should not be missed in your travels.

Jamaica has a very interesting and rich history. The African influence is strong here, since the island served as a central hub for the slave, sugar, and rum trade. It was the best location for this since it is directly in the middle of the Caribbean Sea. Travelers can explore some of the ruins left behind from this time while on their visit.

Searching for food on the island will yield some fascinating results. Most food has a little bit of a spicy kick to it, but travelers can also easily find more mild flavors. There is a huge variety of meals, so visitors are sure to find something they will enjoy. For instance, jerk pork, fruits, seafood, and specialized coffee are all available to hungry travelers. Even the pickiest of eaters will manage to find something they like.

Transportation on the island is extremely easy. You can travel by plane, train, boat, bus, or car. This is wonderful because no one will get car sick or sea sick, since you are able to travel by your preferred method. You will also not be required to rent a car as there are busses to take you from place to place. This will save you money and the stress of driving in a foreign place.

This island on the Caribbean Sea has some of the best weather. There is an alleged rainy season from May to June and then from September to October. However, the rain only lasts for a short time and is usually followed by sunny skies. The temperature only changes by about ten degrees throughout the entire year. A windy season hits the island in April, but is not much to worry about.

One of the most wonderful things about Jamaica are the outdoor activities. If you want to challenge yourself, you can go on a hike through the elevated terrain. If you would like to relax, you are welcome to lie on one of the many white sand beaches and swim in the blue waters. Waterfalls are another land feature that are abundant on the island.
If you prefer being in the excitement and movement of a city, you are in luck. The island has a number of large metropolises to keep you entertained. You can explore each one and compare their differences during your stay. Shopping is also available, which means travelers can walk away with some unique souvenirs for their family, friends, and selves.

Truly, Jamaica is an exotic place. From the beautiful weather to the variety of activities, all visitors will leave happy and wanting to return. When deciding where to stay, you have a choice of resort, hotel, or villa. You cannot loose either way.


An Exotic Location To Holiday

When considering your annual vacation, there are so many possibilities and so many things to take into consideration that it can take the best part of six months to decide, particularly if you are going with a partner or children and their needs and desires have to be considered also.

Much also depends on budget but if you shop around, there are some last minute bargains to be had which could see you jetting off to somewhere much more exotic than you had originally planned, like Brazil, for instance.

Brazil holidays truly are a special experience. You will have the balmy weather that is to be expected south of the equator and a culture that is so diverse across the country that you can experience many different things in one trip. If you are looking for a honeymoon destination, consider a Brazil holiday for that touch of paradise to begin your life together.

A crystal clear ocean to swim in, packed with an abundance of precious corals and vividly coloured fish is the perfect setting for scuba diving or snorkelling. If you wish to simply soak up the rays and perfect that tan, a Brazil holiday will give you the ideal opportunity. White, sandy beaches and palm trees swaying in the breeze with a view of mountain ranges in the distance are all conducive to a truly relaxing break.

Brazil is famous for its colourful festivals and street parties with locals and visitors alike joining in the fun. Carnivals are going on all year round with one thing or another to celebrate, any excuse for a party!

The streets of this beautiful place are packed with places to eat, drink and socialise until the early hours and the properties themselves are a sight to behold.

From rows of pristine white homes with sun-baked terracotta roofs to the more colourful districts with multi-coloured houses painted in vivid, eye catching colours, there will be awe inspiring sights everywhere. The locals are all very friendly and will meet and greet visitors with open arms. The streets are also full of the wonderful sound of children's laughter.

When you choose your Brazil holiday, you will have the choice of built up towns that are more than well equipped to cater for families from top notch hotels to basic amenities that leave you free to come and go as you please. There is also the other side of Brazilian life where you will easily be able to find a little secluded cove where lush greenery wraps itself around small, sandy beaches with lapis blue waters lapping at the shore. Rock pools will keep the children entertained for hours as will a trip inland where you will easily come across an abundance of unusual wildlife that is as colourful as the people of this country.

For those who simply cannot go on holiday without a little shopping expedition, Rio De Janeiro is the place to be. This is a thriving city on a par with London when it comes to the modern, designer shops that line the smart streets. Take time to explore this part of Brazil and you will find, tucked away in little side streets, gift and craft stores where you can buy, for a very reasonable rate, special gifts that say something about the country itself, things that are unique to Brazil itself and that are often lovingly made by hand.

So, it would seem that as long as you like the heat, Brazil is the perfect holiday destination, whether it be a family holiday, exploring holiday or romantic break for two.


How Do I Survive a Lost in the Woods Disaster?

There are several reasons that even the most experienced outdoorsman can find themself stranded in the wilderness. Here are few of the most common scenarios and ways to deal with them.

Plan Before You Leave

Before you embark on any wilderness trip, it is essential that you notify at least one person of where you are going. If possible, provide a map and a detailed itinerary so rescuers know where to look for you. This will significantly lower the amount of time you have to survive should you find yourself stranded. Stay as close to this itinerary as possible; your life may depend on it.

Another way to ensure wilderness survival is to pack a good emergency survival kit with enough supplies to keep you alive for up to three days. It takes surprisingly few things to sustain life and provide for the most common scenarios, so this is an easy way to protect your life.

Physical Injury

This is a common scenario for hikers and hunters: You trek deep into the woods, then sprain an ankle so severely that you cannot walk. How do you hike out of the woods with only one good leg?

Regardless of the type of injury, your first action should be providing good first aid. This will be easy if you have a first aid kit--and you should, because every survival kit includes one. Once you have treated the injury, your next step should be to evaluate your chance of successfully making your way back to civilization. If you can contact help via satellite or radio, this is the best solution. If not, ask yourself whether you can hike out without worsening your wound or endangering yourself. If neither is possible, sit tight and wait for authorities to find you. With a well-packed survival kit, you know you will at least survive.

Lost in the Woods

Just a short meander off the beaten path can leave you hopelessly lost in unfamiliar terrain. Unless you have a landmark to guide you, wandering will only exhaust you and leave you even more disoriented. When deep in the wilderness, the chances of running into a more experienced hiker are next to nil. How do you find your way home?

First, try that cell phone. Contacting authorities and then letting them find you is always the best plan, however embarrassing it might be. If you have no way to call for help, look for a body of water. Rivers usually flow toward towns, so following one will likely take you out of the woods. Experienced outdoorsmen may be able to orient themselves by finding landmarks or by using constellations, but do not attempt to find your own way unless you are confident you can actually do it. Because wandering usually leaves you even more lost, the best plan is to sit tight and wait for authorities.

When Bad Weather Strikes

Even with satellites and radar, the weather experts are often wrong. How do you stay warm and dry while stranded in a cold and wet forest?

In most weather situations, the wisest choice is to make a shelter and stay there. This includes rain, snow, blizzards, thunder storms, and even tornados. The key to a good homemade shelter is to make it on high ground (so water rolls away from it, not into it) and to cover it with a water resistant material such as leaves. If you have that survival kit, you can wrap the whole thing in a plastic garbage bag and huddle in the dry warmth until the weather clears or rescuers find you. Again, the key is to stay warm and dry. Hypothermia and other exposure-related illnesses can set in rapidly if you are cold enough for a long enough period of time.

Running Out of Necessities

You knew you forgot something! And now here you are in the middle of the wilderness without some essential item. What do you do?

This depends on what you are missing. First, consider the nature of the item as well as how far into the woods you happen to be. You may be able to live without socks, but water is a necessity. If you cannot live without the item, your choices are to go back (if you are near enough to do this), call for help, or find an acceptable substitute.

Even in these very different scenarios, the advice is surprisingly similar. Contact authorities if possible; if not, think critically about different means of escape and their odds of success. If finding your way home safely is not probable, wait for authorities to come to you. With appropriate planning and this solid logic, you should be able to successfully navigate any wilderness emergency.


Insect and Wildlife Photography Tips - How to Take Great Pictures

Many times people think they can only take amazing wildlife pictures away from home, but many times, you can get great pictures right in your own backyard.

Photographing Wildlife with Feathers or Fur

Depending upon where you live, there are lots of ways to convert your yard into a wildlife sanctuary for birds, frogs, squirrels and other critters.

If you want to feed wildlife, don't feed them food from your cupboard but instead follow the wildlife attraction and sustainability tips from the National Wildlife Federation so you can be sure you're helping them and not hurting them.

By following the advice from wildlife experts, you will also be creating an environmentally friendly landscape that will be good for the animals and the environment.

Take some time to read up on the species you want to photograph so you can better understand their habits and hopefully take better pictures of them. And you will be better able to avoid attracting potentially dangerous predators into your yard. You might also want to check out the code of ethics posted for professional nature photographers by the North American Nature Photography Association.

Just as with photographing pets, when you take a picture of a furry or feathery wild critter, follow these guidelines:

* Use natural lighting to your advantage
* Fill the frame with the subject
* Focus on the eyes
* Shoot from various angles
* Capture personality

Photographing the World of Insects

Wildlife photography also includes the tiny world of insects. Butterflies, dragonflies, snails, ladybugs, honeybees, bumblebees, spiders are all commonly photographed subjects.

Like animals, photographing insects can be challenging. Here are some tips from the pros to help:

* Like with larger wildlife, it will help to know your subject's patterns of behavior. Watch where the butterflies land and see if they prefer one flowery shrub more than the others. Then stake it out and wait for the subject to come to you. And be ready!

* To get the best shots of small creatures at rest, use macro mode and fill the frame. Your camera's manual will tell you how close your macro mode works. If you stay within the recommended range and hold your camera very steady (using a tripod) you will get some nice sharp shots.

* You should use sports mode or flash to freeze action unless the insect is sitting very still.

* Most insects are very sensitive to carbon dioxide and will run or fly away if you breathe directly on them. So when you lean in to take the photo, make sure to hold your breath! However, there are some insects like beetles that will freeze when you breath on them.

* Keep in mind some insects and spiders pack powerful, even deadly venom, so know your bug before approaching.

* Try to take pictures in early morning or twilight because insects slow down with cooler temperatures and it will make it easier to shoot a picture. Insects can see shadows very well so don't approach from the same direction as the light casts.

Photographs of wildlife can make for beautiful fine art, the type that you'll want to frame and display proudly and give as gifts. You can also use your animal or insect pictures in photo crafts like in calendars or greeting cards. There are simply lots of wonderful things you can do with your beautiful animal and insect pictures so have fun capturing the wonderful world of nature.


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