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12 safety tips for your next hiking adventure

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Ready to venture through the wilderness? Here are 12 tips for staying safe during your next hike.

1. Choose a trail that’s appropriate for your skill level
2. Never hike alone
3. Let someone know where you’ll be and when you plan to be back

4. Bring a map of the area and local trails
5. Start early and make sure to finish your hike before nightfall
6. Check the weather and trail conditions before heading out
7. Pack the appropriate gear, even for a short hike
8. Know what animals are native to the area and what to do if you encounter them
9. Wear appropriate footwear and bright, visible clothing
10. Snack frequently and drink water before you get thirsty
11. Protect yourself from the sun and insects
12. Be careful near precipices

Above all else, stay on clearly marked trails and use your common sense. If something looks like it could be dangerous, keep your distance

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A beginner’s guide to golf equipment

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Are you hoping to take up golf this summer but don’t know a wood from a wedge? Here’s a rundown of the equipment you’ll need before heading to the golf course.

Golf clubs
You can have up to 14 clubs in your golf bag. These are the main ones you’ll use to get the ball down the fairway and into the hole.

• The driver packs the most punch. It’s used to launch balls from the tee box.

• Woods 3, 5 and 7 resemble the driver, but since the club faces have more loft, they can hit balls directly off the ground.
• Irons are the most used clubs. They’re put to work for middle-distance and approach shots. It’s easier to control your ball flight with an iron than with a wood. Golfers tend to have five to seven irons in their bag (not including the wedges).
• Hybrids are a cross between irons and woods. They deliver greater control than woods but more distance than irons.
• Wedges have the most loft and are used for shots around the green.
• The putter is used on the green to tap the ball into the hole.

Other essentials
Here’s everything else you’ll need while out on the links.

• A golf bag to put all those clubs in.
• Proper golf attire including a collared shirt and golf slacks or a skirt. Most golf clubs have a dress code you’ll need to follow.
• A golf glove so you can grip clubs more easily.
• Golf shoes so you can keep your balance when swinging.
• Golf balls, tees, divot tools and ball markers — all of which you can fit in your bag.

Before heading out on the course for the first time (or the first time in a while), it’s worth having a lesson with a professional. Golf is a highly enjoyable sport but it takes some time to get the hang of.

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Which camping experience is right for you?

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Whether you’d rather battle the elements or preserve your comfort, there’s a camping experience that’s right for you. Here are some of the different ways you can get close to nature this summer.

Backpacking
Are you an experienced camper who wants to venture deep into the wilderness? Then backpacking may be right for you. This type of camping involves carrying all your gear on your back and hiking to one or more remote campsites. Sleep at the base of a mountain, at the edge of a stream, on the shore of a lake or anywhere else your feet may take you.

Tent camping

Tent camping can include all the comforts of home but if you’re looking to rough it, you can forgo the excess gear. How far away from civilization you go is also entirely up to you, with thousands of campgrounds across the country to choose from. The amenities available at each campground differ but many are equipped with showers, laundry facilities, potable water and electric outlets.

RV camping
RV camping is more comfortable than tent camping. It’s especially practical if you want to live in the wilderness for an extended period or if you want to visit a number of different parks. There are RVs for every budget, from small folding camping trailers to luxury motorhomes. If buying isn’t an option, it’s also possible to rent RVs.

Cabin camping
Cabin camping is perfect if you’re looking for a home away from home nestled in the wilderness. There are many types of cabins that can be rented, all the way from modest shacks to luxurious cottages. Undoubtedly, at a certain point a camper becomes a cottager, but you can decide for yourself where that line falls.

No matter what type of camper you are, remember to always let someone know where you’re going and when they can expect you back. Happy camping!

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Essential gear for summertime hiking

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Anything can happen in the wilderness. That’s why it’s important to be well equipped when hiking, even if you’re only planning on being out on the trails for a few hours. Here’s a list of everything you need for a day hike.

• Backpack (20 to 40 liters is ideal) and a waterproof bag cover
• High quality hiking shoes and socks
• Moisture wicking clothing

• Extra clothes including rain gear, a fleece vest, a long-sleeved shirt, dry socks, a warm hat and gloves
• Sun protection including a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen
• Head lamp and spare batteries
• Identification
• Watch
• Trail map and a compass
• Toilet paper
• Fully charged phone
• Plenty of water
• Food and snacks
• Survival kit that includes a multi-purpose tool, duct tape, rope, a lighter, a whistle, a survival blanket and water purification tablets
• First aid kit that includes adhesive bandages, scissors, splints, bug spray, over the counter pain medications, tweezers and antiseptic ointment
• Trekking poles (not essential, but nice to have in many scenarios)

You may not use everything on this list during your hike, but if you need it, you’ll be happy you thought ahead.

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How to choose the best course for your golf getaway

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Does your dream vacation involve hitting the links? With a bit of planning, you can make golf the central component of your next trip. Here are the factors to zero in on when selecting the perfect spot for your upcoming holiday.

• The surroundings. For many, the beauty of the course and its natural surroundings are essential to having a great golf holiday. Think about the particular type of weather and terrain you most appreciate and plan accordingly.

• The difficulty. Even if it’s the most stunning course you’ve ever played on, you probably won’t enjoy yourself if you need to take too many extra strokes. Look at the course and slope ratings to determine the level of difficulty.

The course rating is the score the average scratch golfer shoots on the course. The course slope indicates a course’s difficulty for a bogey golfer. It ranges from 55 (very easy) to 155 (very difficult), with 113 representing a standard level of difficulty.

• The price point. A golf trip can be planned and executed on any budget. The most affordable options tend to be golf packages that include accommodations, green fees and sometimes club storage, cart rental, driving range access and deals on dining.

• The extras. Since you can’t spend the entire day golfing, it’s a good idea to find out what else the area has to offer. For instance, you might opt to stay at a resort with an outdoor swimming pool and spa. Or you might select a golf course near a town where there’s lots to do. These are especially important considerations if there are non-golfers among your travel companions.

Once you find the course you’re looking for, make sure to book your holiday well in advance. You aren’t the only one dreaming of a golf getaway!

Let’s not forget about our own great courses here in Warren County.

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8 ways to save money on your summer vacation

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Looking to take a summer vacation, but don’t want to spend too much? Stay within your budget by following these eight tips.

1. Travel locally. If you stay close to home, you’ll save money on transportation and accommodations. You might be surprised at what your area has to offer.

2. Find free activities. Many municipalities host summer events at no charge. Alternatively, take advantage of the bike paths, waterways and parks that are always free.

3. Time your trip right. Avoid vacationing during the high season when there will be more tourists and higher prices to pay.

4. Factor in exchange rates. The foreign exchange rate can make a seemingly good deal unaffordable, or a pricey trip surprisingly inexpensive.

5. Plan ahead. In general, the earlier you book your flight and hotel, the less you’ll pay. You’ll also pay less for flights in the middle of the week as opposed to flying on a weekend.

6. Avoid hotels. There are many cost-effective alternatives to hotels. Look for local campgrounds, youth hostels or vacation rentals instead.

7. Cook your own meals. Choose a vacation rental with a kitchen or a hotel room with a kitchenette. One trip to the grocery store may be all you need to feed you for a week.

8. Consult a travel agent. They may be able to access lower prices for plane tickets and accommodations that aren’t available to the general public. Travel agents are also great sources of information about your destination.

With careful planning, you can have a great vacation this summer without breaking the bank.

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6 ways to enjoy the great outdoors

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Ready to head outdoors and take in the fresh air and awe-inspiring views? Here are six ways to get out into nature this summer and have fun doing it.

1. Hiking. Head into the woods for a day of walking through the wilderness. Hiking trails are easily found all across the country, so pick one that matches your skill level and enjoy the excursion.

2. Horseback riding. Riding is a great way to connect with an animal while tramping through the woods with friends.

3. Camping. What better way to get back to nature than with a few days of camping? Escape the hustle and bustle of modern life so you can enjoy sleeping under the stars.

4. Kayaking. This type of paddling is ideal for most outdoor explorers, whether you’re looking for an adrenaline rush or a relaxing afternoon on the water.

5. Cycling. If you’re looking for a way to combine sightseeing with exercise, use bike paths and trails to explore a region’s must-see treasures.

6. Bird watching. Find a quiet spot on a bird reserve and keep your eyes peeled. This is the perfect way to spot birds and other animals in their natural habitat. If you’re patient, you’ll be rewarded by seeing a variety of wildlife.

Large parks are among the best places to participate in these activities. Consider spending time exploring national and state parks in your area this summer. All of this is our own backyard.

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6:30 pm Pour Me Another Fluid Art @ Strokes of Creativity
Pour Me Another Fluid Art @ Strokes of Creativity
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Pour Me Another Fluid Art @ Strokes of Creativity
Two classes in July – the 18th and 26th at 6:30pm. Pre-Registration is a must! Pour Me Another is an actual class. You will learn the ins and outs of paint pouring and go home[...]
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PAVAN Showcase Performances @ Sherando High School
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PAVAN Showcase Performances @ Sherando High School
You are cordially invited to PAVAN Showcase Performances: 5:30 pm – Solo Recitals 5:30 pm – Art Gallery Open House: Browse art works at your leisure 7:00 pm – Concert performances by Guitar, Theatre, and[...]
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10:00 am Design a chair for the SPCA CHAI... @ SPCA of Winchester, Frederick, and Clarke Counties
Design a chair for the SPCA CHAI... @ SPCA of Winchester, Frederick, and Clarke Counties
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Design a chair for the SPCA CHAIR-ity Brunch @ SPCA of Winchester, Frederick, and Clarke Counties
Calling all artists!! Design a chair for the SPCA CHAIR-ity Brunch and save homeless animals. Pick up a chair from the SPCA Thrift Shop, build a chair, up-cycle a chair, paint a chair, or upholster[...]
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1:30 pm Botanical Drawing 1 @ Art in the Valley
Botanical Drawing 1 @ Art in the Valley
Jul 23 @ 1:30 pm – 4:00 pm
Botanical Drawing 1 @ Art in the Valley
Learn and practice the art of botanical drawing in pencil with local artist and instructor Elena Maza. Tuesdays: 1:30pm – 4:00pm, July 9th – 30th. Classes will be held in our upstairs studio at 205[...]
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6:30 pm Pour Me Another Fluid Art @ Strokes of Creativity
Pour Me Another Fluid Art @ Strokes of Creativity
Jul 26 @ 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Pour Me Another Fluid Art @ Strokes of Creativity
Two classes in July – the 18th and 26th at 6:30pm. Pre-Registration is a must! Pour Me Another is an actual class. You will learn the ins and outs of paint pouring and go home[...]
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3:00 pm Teacher Classroom Door Hanger @ Strokes of Creativity
Teacher Classroom Door Hanger @ Strokes of Creativity
Jul 27 @ 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Teacher Classroom Door Hanger @ Strokes of Creativity
Welcome in the new school year with a Personalized Classroom Door Hanger! Make your choice of a pencil, bus, apple or cloud sign. Must preregister with deposit of $10 and the choice of shape by[...]
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12:00 pm Crop With Us @ Strokes of Creativity
Crop With Us @ Strokes of Creativity
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Crop With Us @ Strokes of Creativity
Come Crop With Us Sunday, July 28, 12 noon to 5:00 pm. Receive a gift for pre-registering and attending. $15 No refunds. Feel free to bring your own snacks or drinks!
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10:00 am Design a chair for the SPCA CHAI... @ SPCA of Winchester, Frederick, and Clarke Counties
Design a chair for the SPCA CHAI... @ SPCA of Winchester, Frederick, and Clarke Counties
Jul 29 @ 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Design a chair for the SPCA CHAIR-ity Brunch @ SPCA of Winchester, Frederick, and Clarke Counties
Calling all artists!! Design a chair for the SPCA CHAIR-ity Brunch and save homeless animals. Pick up a chair from the SPCA Thrift Shop, build a chair, up-cycle a chair, paint a chair, or upholster[...]
10:00 am Let’s Explore Art @ Strokes of Creativity
Let’s Explore Art @ Strokes of Creativity
Jul 29 @ 10:00 am – 12:30 pm
Let's Explore Art @ Strokes of Creativity
Monday July 29th – Wednesday July 31st – Friday August 2nd 10:00 AM -12:30 PM Ages: 6-9 $100 per student: Includes an art supply kit and snack & drink Day One: Lines, lines, they go[...]
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1:30 pm Botanical Drawing 1 @ Art in the Valley
Botanical Drawing 1 @ Art in the Valley
Jul 30 @ 1:30 pm – 4:00 pm
Botanical Drawing 1 @ Art in the Valley
Learn and practice the art of botanical drawing in pencil with local artist and instructor Elena Maza. Tuesdays: 1:30pm – 4:00pm, July 9th – 30th. Classes will be held in our upstairs studio at 205[...]

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