"We like camping better!" --Raymond Alexander Kukkee

view of the north shore Critter Pond, KOA Canandaigua NY [c] 2009 jcb

In the Zone: Jim Johnson's Hiking and Nature page

by James Johnson, guest author

[Editor's note - Jim is a prolific writer and site steward at Helium.com ]

ocean beach view from the mountainJim Johnson would like to invite everyone and any one to visit the Hiking and Nature Zone , hosted on Helium. It was designed for those that like the outdoors. It has flowers, birds, and scenic vistas as well as fun information and links to other hiking and nature articles. It is for those that like to explore the natural world!

Here's Jim's intro:
A hiking and nature zone is just what it says, about hiking and experiencing nature, having adventures. It is about walking places and discovering locales that are missed by many because they won't walk or take time to truly explore. I hope to populate it with birds, butterflies, bugs, flowers and strange plants as well as scenic vistas, that is provided I can find out how to download photos!

Read Jim's article, Surviving in the Wilderness, on Helium.

Posted by request from James Johnson. Read Jim's profile at Helium.com

Jim and his wife, Nikki set up Adventure Tours/Top to Bottom as a guiding agency in 1993 and were the first licensed hiking guides on Nevis. The police were worried and sent out observers hidden on the trails. The reports were that "they looked at birds, bugs, and plants, and told bad jokes". Most would agree with this.

See more articles from Jim on Helium.com

Do you have a related Zone or blogsite you'd like to share? If you'd like to submit your web page for posting, you can reach me via Comments or by using the link at the top of this page. ~Jim Bessey

Starlight, a campfire, and a good book: Heaven

Camping offers us the chance to get away from our regular routine -- the mailbox and bills, email, household chores, the telephone and television -- whatever we choose to leave behind. We spend time with family and friends just talking, playing games, fishing, playing volleyball, swimming, hiking, and grilling food outdoors.

By the end of a good day at the campground the kids are exhausted and the grown-ups can gather around a campfire under a starlit sky. Heaven. Daytime's little breezes and noises die down in the darkness, and the night-bug chorus harmonizes with the sputter and crackle of burning logs.

Eventually, usually before midnight, those gathered around the fire stretch and yawn dramatically. Cloth chairs get stowed; trash goes into the embers; the bottles and cans are tossed into the bin for recycling.

"Whew, I'm beat. See you in the morning," is the parting consensus.

If I'm not too awfully tired, this is the time when I reach for whatever novel I'm reading at the time. I've got a big iron shepherd's crook I can stick in the ground next to my favorite chair. It holds the gas Coleman lantern at just the right height above my right shoulder.

Then I find the page where I left off, settle into my comfy canvas chair, and spend a solitary half hour escaping even farther from daily life into someone else's world. Beside me the lantern hisses softly. By now the campfire is a pulsing blend of orange and gray, with only an occasional quiet crackle. Surrounding campsites are silent and mostly dark. Makes it very easy to disappear into a well-written story for a while.

For me, that's the perfect ending to a good day. I'd never head for the campground without a good book from one of my favorite authors. Here's a review of the novel I just finished reading yesterday.

Book reviews: The Hard Way, by Lee Child

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There's a line in Lee Child's tenth Jack Reacher novel, "The Hard Way," that sums things up perfectly:

"Reacher, alone in the dark. Armed and dangerous. Invincible" [page 420]

Former US Army MP Major Jack Reacher has been wandering among us for eleven years now, since "The Killing Floor" from 1997. Lee Child's debut novel and first in this series, earned both the Anthony and Barry Awards for Best First Novel.

Reacher is a tough guy to know, much less to love. But he's the one person you'd want by your side in a showdown; that much is certain.

The man travels light:

"...Reacher had long ago quit carrying things he didn't need. There was nothing in his pockets except paper money and an expired passport and an ATM card and a clip-together toothbrush. There was nothing waiting for him anywhere else, either..."

Read more

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How about you? Do you have a favorite novel you'd like to share? What do you like to do at the end of a long day camping? Drop me a line via Comments or by using the link at the top of this page.