Yep, summer is almost over. For those of us who live in a cooler climate, that means winter and cold weather is not far away. For avid gardeners, this may seem like a horribly sad time of year. And even for those who don’t like gardening as much, losing those extra hours of sunlight and warmth can really bring you down. So, many people try to milk it as long as they can, staying outdoors every minute they can until the weather turns cold. You may have just read an article I wrote about how to spend the last days of summer. This is kind of like part two. While that article had plenty of fun things to do to enjoy the final few weeks of warmth, this time we are going to talk about some other types of things you can do.
This is the new thing that many people are doing that is kind of a remake of the old treasure hunt we used to play when we were kids. But, with geocaching, you use a cell phone, tablet, or another device with GPS to find secret treasures hidden by other people. The cache (or treasure) will usually be a small box or another type of waterproof container that is hidden somewhere outside. It has to be on public property so you do not get in trouble for being there. They are typically camouflaged so they are not too easy to spot because that would take all the fun out of it. Inside the box is usually something simple and silly like small toys, marbles, plastic tokens, or souvenirs. There should also be a small notebook and a pen or pencil. You are supposed to write your name, the date, and time that you found the cache. Take a small toy or treasure and leave one of your own. To find these caches, you will need to go to geocaching.com and find one in your area. You can choose from easy to difficult. Then, grab your GPS device and go find it. Of course, you can do this all year long, but during the summer it just seems so much more fun.
Take a Hike
So, if geocaching is not for you, maybe you would just like to go on a hike. You can do this by yourself, with a friend or family member, or even with your dog. Just make sure you check the rules if you are going hiking in a park. Some parks do not allow pets and those that do state that your dog has to be on a leash no longer than eight feet long. Bring your camera along for sure, so you can get some photos of your excursion. Other things you need to bring with you are water, some kind of snack such as trail mix or energy bars, a map and compass (because your phone may not always have service), rain gear, a flashlight, items to start a fire, sunscreen, a knife, trash bag (which can also double as a rain poncho if needed), and a first aid kit. You can buy a kit already made or make one yourself with bandages, burn cream, antiseptic wipes, antibacterial gel, antihistamine, safety pins, gauze, and latex gloves. Pack all this stuff in a good backpack that is not too heavy and make sure you have proper shoes. Also, always tell someone where you are going and when you expect to be back. You never know when something can happen.
Take a Boat Ride
This past weekend, my husband and I had the pleasure of going boating with my daughter, Jessica, her husband, John, and their son, Mason. We rented a boat from this great place called Scotty’s Trout Dock on Lake Taneycomo in Branson. I had never fished for trout before and was pretty excited to catch one. So, we spent several hours out there fishing with all different kinds of baits from worms to lures and did not have much luck for trout until I put a jig on my line and boom, caught a trout within a couple minutes. The funny thing is that I was just reeling it in to change the bait because my husband said he did not think they would hit on a jig. The other funny thing is that it fell off the hook right there on the side of the boat. Luckily, everyone saw it, so I had proof. After that, everyone decided to use a jig and both John and my husband caught a good-sized trout each. Jessica caught two of the weirdest fish I have ever seen called a sculpin. It looks like a prehistoric fish. She also caught a sunfish and Mason dropped both his pole and his sunglasses in the lake. Poor kid. But I think he had fun. Until it started storming and we had to hightail it back to the dock.
Look at the Stars
This may seem boring to some people but sitting out on the deck looking at the stars is an awesome thing to do at the end of summer. The mosquitos are dying off and it is not too hot and muggy, so you are not uncomfortable and sweaty. If you live out in a rural area like we do, you will love to just sit and hear the summer critters like the crickets, locusts, and frogs. This is another activity you can do during the cooler months, but it is not as fun when you have to be all bundled up in a coat. While you are out there, maybe you can catch some fireflies! That is something you cannot do in the winter!