The 7 Most Secluded Hikes in the U.S.

In my younger years, I frequented the Sherburne Wildlife Management Area (WMA), deep within Louisiana’s 1 million–acre Atchafalaya River Basin, to hunt migrating waterfowl or whitetail deer in fall and winter. In summer, I always returned to hike and camp and was usually the only soul on the maze of trails or in the bayous, making the region a far cry from the crowded state parks nearby. The property became a place of solace, where I knew I could trek for miles in the backcountry, sharing it only with bears and alligators.

These WMAs exist in most states and are maintained for wildlife habitat. They make for fantastic hiking trails and pristine forests after hunters pack up for the season. With our national parks growing ever more crowded, we rounded up seven of the best WMAs around the country for those who want to avoid the masses.

These Are the 7 Most Secluded Hikes in the U.S.

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How to Write Blog Posts People Actually Read

The difference between a blogger and a diarist is that bloggers want other people to read what they write. The whole point of blogging is to get yourself, your knowledge, or your business out into the world.

It doesn’t matter if you’re blogging about science, entertainment, your business, or fiction, your ultimate goal is to capture eyeballs.

Gone are the days of click-bait headlines being the best way to draw visitors. Thanks to Google’s ever-evolving algorithm, content is king again.

In this guide, you’ll learn how to get your blog noticed by writing quality posts that can turn visitors into loyal readers or customers.

Not sure I’m following these rules with a link post oriented blog...but there’s some fantastic ideas in here.

Write Better Blog Posts: How to Write Posts People Actually Read

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The Power of Positive People

“I argue that the most powerful thing you can do to add healthy years is to curate your immediate social network,” said Mr. Buettner, who advises people to focus on three to five real-world friends rather than distant Facebook friends. “In general you want friends with whom you can have a meaningful conversation,” he said. “You can call them on a bad day and they will care. Your group of friends are better than any drug or anti-aging supplement, and will do more for you than just about anything.”

I'm pretty sure this is why people have been drawn to the up and coming YouTuber Cody Wanner. His energy and positivity are infectious.

The Power of Positive People

 image via New York Times.com

image via New York Times.com

Forget the Click Bait...Content is King Again

The difference between a blogger and a diarist is that bloggers want other people to read what they write. The whole point of blogging is to get yourself, your knowledge, or your business out into the world.

It doesn’t matter if you’re blogging about science, entertainment, your business, or fiction, your ultimate goal is to capture eyeballs.

Gone are the days of click-bait headlines being the best way to draw visitors. Thanks to Google’s ever-evolving algorithm, content is king again.

In this guide, you’ll learn how to get your blog noticed by writing quality posts that can turn visitors into loyal readers or customers.

Here’s what we’ll show you:

  • How to come up with a blog strategy
  • How to brainstorm blog post ideas
  • How to write and format attention-getting posts
  • SEO basics
  • Tips for avoiding errors and breaking through writer’s block
  • Some killer online tools for bloggers

There is a TON of good stuff here. If you want some good tricks of the trade...this is a good place to start.

How to Write a Good Blog Post

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Die Hard: The Quintessential Action Movie

The first shot of John McClane in Die Hard is his left hand digging into the armrest as his plane lands at LAX. We can see he’s wearing a wedding band on his ring finger. His seatmate then gives him an unusual piece of advice about surviving air travel: once he settles in, he should take off his socks and shoes and make fists with his toes on the rug. Then he reaches up to the overhead bin, revealing a holstered gun dangling from his midsection.

All of this is mundane stuff. It’s also a prime example of why Die Hard remains the greatest American action movie since it was released 30 years ago this week.

I still love watching this movie...every Christmas season. :)

Die Hard at 30: how it remains the quintessential American action movie

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Is This the Perfect Backpack for Your Adventure Photography?

As a frequent traveler who often needs to bring a lot of camera gear with him on his adventures, finding the right backpack for a trip can be a real challenge. My natural inclination is to always go light and fast, carrying as little as possible. But since I need to capture photos of my journey to share in my stories later, bringing heavy camera gear works counter to those instincts. Lugging around a camera body, a couple of lenses, extra batteries, a charger, and possibly even a drone can really slow you down, particularly if you don't have the proper bag to carry all of that equipment – not to mention your laptop, tablet, water, food, snacks, and other gear you need to survive on the go. After years of searching however, I think I may have found exactly what I've been looking for at last in the form to the new Fjord 36 from a company called NYA-EVO.

After I wiped the drool off my mouth, I had to restrain myself from buying this backpack that combines two of my favorite things to do...Or maybe I won’t restrain myself.

Gear Closet: NYA-EVO Fjord 36 Photography Backpack Review

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How 21 Van Life Experts Make Money

Let’s face it, we all want the freedom to travel when and where we want. But it all sounds unrealistic and the question about money is the most daunting and difficult one to answer.

Well, luckily for you, being a trust fund baby isn’t the only way to fulfill your adventurous dreams.

And in hopes to prove this, we interviewed 21 of the biggest and most well known nomads and asked them…

“How do you make money while travelling the world in your home on wheels?”

21 Van Life Experts Share How They Make Money While Traveling!! - ProjectVanLife

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How to Take the Ultimate California Road Trip

Still, arriving in Santa Cruz, I smiled as we pulled up to Outwesty Camper Vans, where we were greeted by the shop's mellow owner, Dave, and his terrier, Benny. Dave, a self-described Westfalia addict who's been restoring vans for a decade, introduced us to Georgia, a burgundy "89 automatic. "Can we pop the top?" Bennett called, swinging from the van's crossbar. Unfazed, Dave showed us the cubbies and the kitchen, the fold-down bed and the pop-up roof. We packed our not-so-minimalist life into the tiny spaces, and Dave waved us off.

First, renting one of those old Westfalia and sounds cool. Second, this trip sounds amazing.

How to Take the Ultimate California Road Trip

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History Matters Too...

The title of this post is a nod to my wife who is currently getting a Masters Degree in History. I give her a hard time about her love of all things history related, but I caught this article below and it struck a chord with me.

One of those cognitive scientists spoke on the Tuesday panel: Daniel Willingham, a psychology professor at the University of Virginia who writes about the science behind reading comprehension. Willingham explained that whether or not readers understand a text depends far more on how much background knowledge and vocabulary they have relating to the topic than on how much they’ve practiced comprehension skills. That’s because writers leave out a lot of information that they assume readers will know. If they put all the information in, their writing would be tedious.

But if readers can’t supply the missing information, they have a hard time making sense of the text. If students arrive at high school without knowing who won the Civil War they’ll have a hard time understanding a textbook passage about Reconstruction.

I’ve always felt fortunate that in my younger years I didn’t have TV. My parents could only afford to pay for cable whenever the summer Olympics came around, and we never got the free network channels (lived in a valley). This meant that I read a TON as a kid. My reading comprehension was always years ahead of my peers as I got further in to my school years and was reading books meant for adults almost before I was a teenager.

The implication is clear. The best way to boost students’ reading comprehension is to expand their knowledge and vocabulary by teaching them history, science, literature, and the arts, using curricula that that guide kids through a logical sequence from one year to the next: for example, Native Americans and Columbus in kindergarten; the colonial era and the American Revolution in first grade; the War of 1812 and the Civil War in second grade, and so on. That approach enables children to make sense of what they’re learning, and the repetition of concepts and vocabulary in different contexts makes it more likely they’ll retain information. Not to mention that learning content like this can be a lot more engaging for both students and teachers than the endless practice of illusory skills.

I look back on all those things my mother had me do as a child during summer breaks. Keep a journal. Read certain books. Write about those books.

After reading this, I appreciate that now more than ever. Looks like I’ll have to start siding with the wife when she wants to take the family to all those historical sites now.

Why American Students Haven't Gotten Better at Reading in 20 Years

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These are the North American Mountains You Want to Photograph

For many landscape photographers, mountains represent the pinnacle of subject matter.

Not only can you photograph gorgeous mountain peaks covered in snow, but there's also plentiful opportunities to capture things like forests, lakes, rivers, glaciers, wildflowers, wildlife, and even the Northern Lights.

The question, of course, is what mountain ranges should you photograph?

Here's a few landscape photography tips for the next mountains you need to photograph.

Top Mountain Ranges in North America That Photographers Love to Photograph

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These are the North American Mountain You Want to Photograph

For many landscape photographers, mountains represent the pinnacle of subject matter.

Not only can you photograph gorgeous mountain peaks covered in snow, but there's also plentiful opportunities to capture things like forests, lakes, rivers, glaciers, wildflowers, wildlife, and even the Northern Lights.

The question, of course, is what mountain ranges should you photograph?

Here's a few landscape photography tips for the next mountains you need to photograph.

Top Mountain Ranges in North America That Photographers Love to Photograph

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How to Use Instagram as a Travel Guide

Use geotags

Instagram has always allowed you to tag your location in posts and you can now tag them in stories as well. By clicking the location tag, you can not only see pinpointed where the hotel, restaurant, or graffitied wall is located on a map—you can see photos taken by other Instagrammers there.

"Any time I travel and want to check out a new restaurant, I look up that place on Instagram's geotags to see all the photos people posted at that location. Ninety-five percent of the time I choose what to order off the menu based on people's photos. It may seem like I'm overly reliant on Instagram, but it's actually saved me from ordering food that I probably wouldn't have wanted had I seen a photo of it." —Rachel Coleman, Condé Nast Traveler's social media director, @rachelecoleman

"Hashtags have become an incredibly over-saturated wasteland. You'll be searching a certain destination like China and there will be posts from all other corners of the world mixed in. Generally, geotags are more accurately tagged." —Brendan van Son, travel photographer, @brendanvanson

I’ve been saving places in a “places to go” private list on Instagram for a while now. I do like this next peice of advice for those who might try this out too.

Don't let the 'gram define your trip

As we've said before, Instagram is the highlight reel of travel and while it can provide so many good tips and ideas for your next trip, you shouldn't rely exclusively on the app for your planning.

"So many people these days focus way too hard on photogenic destinations. I used to go somewhere like Peru and people would obviously hit up Machu Picchu. But, they'd also head to places where the history, culture, and experience in general couldn't be captured in a photo, but that had a lot of personal value. Nowadays, they just head to Machu Picchu, the Colored Mountains, and leave. They definitely focus too much of their planning by using Instagram, rather than guides." —B.V.S.

How to Use Instagram As a Travel Guide

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You’re Going to Want these National Parks Posters

The Fifty-Nine Parks Print Series is a project helmed by the National Poster Retrospecticus that features screen-printed posters depicting many of the US national parks. The artwork for each one is stunning, and together they truly put the diversity of these awesome places on full display. It doesn’t hurt that they got an eclectic mix of artists to apply their unique styles to the series.

For every poster sold, the project directly donates 5% of the proceeds to the National Park Service.

Um, yes please.

The Fifty-Nine Parks Print Series

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The Best Thru-Hikes You’ve Never Heard Of

The Appalachian and Pacific Crest trails get all the attention—and the foot traffic—but there are plenty of long walks that aren’t crowded. These five offer the best glimpses into unspoiled wilderness, spanning each region of the country. From hot springs and vistas in the Rockies to less-frequented trails in southern Appalachia, there’s something for every thru-hiker’s skill level.

The Best Thru-Hikes You've Never Heard Of

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How to Plan a Sober Vacation For Those In Addiction Recovery

When someone is seeking treatment for addiction recovery, there are a variety of options to consider. Travel might be just that solution to kick dependency habits that keep you from living the life you desire. 

When thinking of planning a vacation, the first thing that comes to mind is often the idea of letting loose from the hassles of everyday life, parties, fun and hanging out with locals. Socializing in much of the world involves alcohol in these instances. Navigating a sober life that’s still filled with excitement and adventure is absolutely possible, but you need to do some planning ahead. Here are some tips on planning a vacation for those in addiction recovery. 


Planning Strategically Before the Trip — What If I Get Tempted? 

A common worry for a sober traveler, particularly those who have recently left treatment, is the probability that he or she can avoid temptations. After all, we live in a world where drinking has become a pastime activity. However, this doesn’t mean you have to give up enjoyment just because you are abstaining from alcohol or drugs; it just means that careful planning must take place.

Most importantly, always remember that you are not alone. According to a study conducted by The Washington Post, at least 30% of Americans don’t drink and half of the world opts for an alcohol-freelife as well. Remind yourself of this, and don’t feel pressured to engage. Many places touted as party capitals are still filled with individuals who are abstinent, and you can all have a great time without the substances.

Truthfully, there is no foolproof way to avoid alcohol because it is all around us. You canscout out some places and activities ahead of time that will limit your exposure to temptation, however. Use Google Mapsand sites like TripAdvisorto scope out the area from afar, and plan your daily adventures in places that you won’t be surrounded by bars, clubs, and potentially seedy parts of town. Use the opportunity to try something new and exciting that will take your mind off of what you aren’tdoing, and keep yourself busy throughout the trip.

 

Planning the Trip — What Are My Options?

There are a variety of inexpensive resortsand group retreatscatered to the sober individual. This idea takes the stress away from having to avoid places on your own and will open the door for meeting new sober friends.

Shop around for a trip that you’ll really appreciate, but don’t be afraid to branch out of your usual comfort zone. If you’ve grown up on the coast your entire life, try a mountain vacation instead of the beach. If you’re country grown-and-bred, grab a sober ally and check out a major city like Seattle, Denver, or Los Angeles. The great part about city traveling is that there’s so much to do, drugs and alcohol can be forgotten as you’ll be surrounded by activity based alternatives and can easily pick a new location if you wind up somewhere that temptation is arises.

 

Planning for the Worst — What Should I Avoid?

If you travel with others, avoid people and situations that will tempt you. Seek out alternate routes that won’t cajole you into your old life and those that aren’t filled with bars, lounges, and other places where drugs and alcohol are consumed. Even if a city is known for this type of activity, there are always alternative options available.

A strong support system is also highly-recommended to keep you on track. Though studies show that friendships can help you live longer, it’s the quality of a friend that counts. You may even replace risky activities with healthier ones, such as joining a fitness center, volunteering or helping those with their own addictions. Try to avoid old friends who push your old life onto you. Instead, seek out new ones who will lead you in the right direction.

Leading a sober life offers a world of possibilities. If you are a recovering addict with a longing to travel, don’t put off life. Take the necessary steps in order to ensure that you continue on the sober path in your newfound adventures.

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101 Ways to Fight Climate Change

Curbed searched communities across the country and around the world, consulted experts and advocates, and pulled from our voluminous coverage on sustainable cities to create a go-to guide for climate action. Our goal is to provide practical, implementable advice on an individual level, as well as to illustrate the power of collective commitments. We hope you will share more of your own ideas, inspirations, and suggestions in the comments.

Big list. Some obvious things we all do (or should) and some I hadn’t thought of. The below has to be my favorite.

  1. Visit our national parks. Many of our treasured national parks are on the frontlines of climate change; for example, Glacier National Park may be glacier-free within a few decades. Here are some environmentally sound places to stay while you visit.

I love our National Parks. Happy Earth Day.

101 ways to fight climate change

 NASA’s “Global Selfie” Earth mosaic contains more than 36,000 individual photographs from the more than 50,000 images posted around the world on Earth Day, April 22, 2014.

NASA’s “Global Selfie” Earth mosaic contains more than 36,000 individual photographs from the more than 50,000 images posted around the world on Earth Day, April 22, 2014.