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

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

Myrtle Beach Campground will host 27th annual South Carolina Fossil Fair on Oct 30

News Release--

The Award-Winning Ocean Lakes Family Campground will host Smithsonian Institute s
cientists and offer guests a chance to see fossils from all over the world

Fossils & Dinosaurs from from Ivan Walsh
October 28, 2010, Myrtle Beach, SC: Ocean Lakes Family Campground, located along the Grand Strand of Myrtle Beach, SC, will host the 27th Annual South Carolina Fossil Fair Saturday, Oct. 30 from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. This marks the 10th consecutive year that this fair has been held at Ocean Lakes.

Presented by the South Carolina Fossil Association, the fossil fair features museum specialists from the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History’s Department of Paleobiology, who will be on hand to identify fossils brought by participants. Guests can also see fossil and shell collections from all over the world.

Hands-on activities are a big hit at the fossil fair. Learn how to recover fossils at a mock dig site. Dig for shark teeth through materials from the PCS Phosphate Mine in Aurora, NC. Participants can make necklaces with the teeth they find and add beads (supplied). Guests can also tour the Ocean Lakes’ Nature Center Discovery Lab, featuring more than 10,000 shells and fossils, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

“This is a great opportunity to speak with collectors and learn more about this educational hobby,” said Barb Krumm, Director of Marketing and PR for Ocean Lakes Family Campground. “The Fossil Fair seems to get more popular each year, especially with Scout troops and school students of all ages.”

Ocean Lakes Family Campground was awarded the title of 2008-2009 National "RV Park of the Year" by the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds, and is the largest campground on the East Coast, with over 310 acres of campsites and beach house rentals.

For more information about Ocean Lakes Family Campground call 1-877-510-1774, visit
www.oceanlakes.com or find the campground on Facebook
About Ocean Lakes Family Campground--

Ocean Lakes Family Campground, a division of The Jackson Companies, is one of the largest campgrounds the United States. In 2010, it received the Earth Day Award from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control for its iCare Program. It is the 2008-2009 National “RV Park of the Year” and has received that honor four times.

 In 2006, Ocean Lakes received the prestigious South Carolina Governor’s Cup for making a significant economic impact on the state. Ocean Lakes offers nearly one mile of beachfront and features 3,447 sites — of which almost 900 accommodate larger RVs. It was built by Mary Emily and Nelson Jackson and their five daughters, and opened with 30 campsites and one bathhouse in 1971. On an average seasonal day, Ocean Lakes has over 25,000 guests enjoying the amenities that have made it a national vacation destination. It currently holds a 9.5/9/9 ranking out of 10/10/10 from the Trailer Life Directory for its overall operation, recreational offerings, services and appearance.

If you have a relevant Press Release you'd like to submit, you can reach me via Comments or by using the link at the top of this page.

Fall foliage in Upstate NY: A sudden and unexpected explosion of color, two weeks late

by Jim Bessey editor

Here in the Northeast the big fall leaf-peeping season typically peaks right around the Columbus Day Weekend. Not this year. In fact, we had barely reached 50% of peak by that time. Now, two weeks later...

While we were sleeping, and while the drizzly gray days had us yearning for Nap Time, the trees in the Finger Lakes Region quietly dressed themselves in spectacular colors -- finally. Some of our hardier trees still cling to green, and many others are already almost bare; but now the rest have decided to perform in brilliant fashion.

The breathtaking palate of colors is enough to distract a driver right into the guardrail. Even the willows have decided to join the party, though they tend to pause half-changed in shades of yellow and pale green like streamers of succotash. It's the oaks, maples and underrated sassafras that own the show, presenting a dazzling array of muted yellows, fiery oranges, and sizzling scarlet. The purple beeches and Japanese maples have the key cameos in shades of burgundy and port wine.

Our valleys are filled with mixed stands of birch, poplar, locust, aspen and ash. These prefer pale yellows and deerskin tan, with an occasional blaze of rusty orange mixed in. On the hillsides, however, the big trees dabble in burnt sienna, copper, and old-schoolhouse red. We have fat walnuts, massive maples, shaggy hickories, awesome oaks, more maples, stately sycamores, some big-leafed chestnuts, a spattering of elms that survived Dutch Elm disease, and a whole lot more maples. These old-forest trees have colored our wooded hills like a bomb in a paint store.

In town the smaller flowering trees like Dogwood and Crab (and a slew of others whose names I don't know) steal the show. They're dressed in soft tints of red like Cortland apples, leaves perfectly uniform in color. On every corner, by every driveway, burning bush shrubs (Euonymus alata) provide bursts of alarming cheap-lipstick red that looks nothing like fire to me. Boldest of all are the barberry bushes so dark they look like dried blood. The Reds are everywhere!

This incredible art exhibit won't last, of course. The brightest colors might not make it to the weekend. Already the fallen leaves decorate our still-green lawns like cinnamon sugar on toast. They flutter to the ground like slow-motion snowflakes -- one here, a dozen there, a flurry of a hundred with every gust of wind. There's a front coming through tonight, bringing pounding rains and threats of dangerous wind gusts. Maybe the show will be over by morning. Somehow I doubt that. Our trees have waited long past their standard deadline. I doubt they'll bare their branches to winter without a battle.

All photos copyright 2010 Jim Bessey. Reprints with attribution

Wendy hikes and photographs the paths at Fillmore Glen State Park

by Jim Bessey,  for Wendy Montreuil

It's an invigorating two- to three-hour walk, with breathtaking views of Fillmore Glen and its waterfalls, in the state park named for our 13th President. Wendy and her family took the trek in early October, just before the leaves began to turn. These are just a few of the many beautiful images she captured along the way.
Fillmore Glen features 5 major falls and numerous cascades
The hike includes stone-walled walks and several bridges across the creek
Here's a wider view of two of the 8 or so bridges
The entire glen hike passes through breathtaking scenery by the water
Fillmore Glen State Park is open throughout the year, and its adjacent camping area offers a wide array of campsites from mid-May to mid-October. The gorge trails close in November for safety reasons. During the 1930s the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) built most of the stone walks, stairs and bridges (seen above). Part of Dry Creek is dammed in summertime to provide a swimming area.

Round trip, the gorge trail offers a moderate to difficult five-mile hike with spectacular views. Easier access to some paved trail sections is available from the Cowsheds parking area. Find the park about one mile south of the quaint village of Moravia, birthplace of President Millard Fillmore.

Photos reprinted by permission from Wendy Monteuil, all rights reserved..
From the official Fillmore Glen State Park website:

Fillmore Glen is one of the many beautiful gorges in the Finger Lakes region. Out of all the surrounding parks (Buttermilk, Treman, Watkins Glen), Fillmore is the most rustic and closest to its natural state. Fillmore Glen  is an oasis of cool, dense woods crowding into a long, narrow gorge. Its hiking trails offer magnificent views, distinctive geological characteristics (similar to Watkins Glen), including five major waterfalls within the glen. The park has 60 campsites, a stream-fed dammed swimming area and fishing in the Owasco Lake inlet. In the winter the park is often used for hiking, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling.

How about you? Do you have trail hike pictures you'd like to share? You can reach me via Comments or by using the link at the top of this page.

Travel destinations: Fall Foliage in New York

by Charlotte Louise Nystrom guest author

    [Editor's note - Charlotte is a four-star writer at Helium.com from Greenville, Maine]

Canal-side trees pack a colorful punch in downtown Fairport, NY
In New York, autumn is the perfect time of year for adventure.  Temperatures cool to a perfectly comfortable setting and hover between the heat of summer and winter’s chill. Foliage falls from the sky, magically twirling in the wind, covering paths in all directions.

New York State is an ideal location to view this spectacular foliage display. The region is graced with a large volume and variety of broad-leaved trees, which lend themselves to the famously colorful horizon. In addition, the pattern of change trends toward a predictable order each fall, beginning high in the Adirondacks and Catskill mountains then venturing down towards long island as the season progresses, and lasting approximately two weeks in each location...keep reading

  Reprinted from the original published on Helium, by Charlotte Louise Nystrom. 
Read Charlotte's Profile on Helium.com

See this story as it appears on Helium.com

Just Camping Out is based in upstate NY. We publish stories and articles about enjoying the great outdoors in this beautiful tourist destination. Coming up, a new photo essay from our recent hike just down the road.

Do you have a camping or hiking-related feature you'd like to share? You can reach me via Comments or by using the link at the top of this page.

Finally, Fall Foliage finds Fairport -- in color!

by Jim Bessey editor

We've had a funny fall here in Fairport, upstate NY. Typically, peak fall colors coincide with the Columbus Day weekend; not this year. It's past mid-October now and half our trees still have green leaves. Two years ago, we had some of the most amazing fall leaf displays ever. This week, with a couple of near-freezing nights behind us, some of that brilliant foliage has finally returned to Fairport.

Red, orange, yellow and green welcome canal walkers downtown Fairport
Canal waters mirror the gorgeous sunlit fall foliage, facing west from town
Even the boat rentals join in the joyous burst of fall color near the Lift Bridge
A cheerful splash of color brightens the White Haven Mem'l Park near town
  All photos copyright 2010 Jim Bessey. Reprints with attribution.

Fairport hosts hundreds of cyclists, walkers, and shoppers during the fall foliage season. You'll find some of the most beautiful scenery along the canal, near Fairport's historic lift-bridge. If you come for the day or the weekend, you'll find plenty of choices for food and shopping within easy walking distance. There's plenty of free parking nearby, too. Enjoy!

Do you have a favorite fall leaf-peeping destination? Did you go there this year? If you took pictures and would like to share your foliage finds with our readers, please contact me via Comments or by using the link at the top of this page.

Fresh off the Presses: 3rd Edition of Take A Hike – Rochester « New York Outdoors Blog

by Sue Freeman

New 3rd Edition
Yesterday, a tractor trailer truck once again pulled up to the worldwide headquarters of Footprint Press, Inc. (i.e. our home). This time, its contents were the bright new 3rd edition of “Take A Hike – Family Walks in the Rochester, NY Area.” The new, updated edition lost a few trails, added quite a few new ones and now sports 67 places to go for a walk in the greater Rochester area.

The books aren’t in the pipeline yet so you won’t find any at Amazon or bookstores. But, You can order them from our web site: TAH-Roch
Add a request in the comments line and we’d be glad to autograph one for you.
This press release comes from the New York Outdoors blog, hosted by Rich and Sue Freeman. I've said it before and it bears repeating -- this is a great resource for NY State residents and tourists who love the outdoors. Always filled with info about hiking, camping, kayaking, and nature.

Our most recent posted hike was at Powder Mills Park: Trillium, Ridge and Hatchery Trails (photos!)

We hike Powder Mills Park trails: Trillium, Ridge, and the Hatchery Trail (photos!)

by Jim Bessey, editor

Before the leaves began to fall, we took a good long afternoon hike in Powder Mills Park, near Victor NY. Trails there range from easy to more than moderate, passing through beautiful stands of northern hardwoods and evergreens. 

The park includes nearly 400 acres of forested hills and green meadows. There's room for picnics, ballgames, and group gatherings in widely scattered shelters. Don't miss the Fish Hatchery or the amazing Mushroom House near the northeast entrance off Route 96.

The Trillium Trail is perfect for a weekend walk in the woods
We started out from the East Area shelter lot at the Trillium trail-head. It's a level stroll along the wetlands, along a steep hillside filled with towering maple, beech, white oak and sassafras. Trillium forms a loop with Ridge, so we veered uphill right away and climbed onto the Ridge Trail.

The Ridge Trail is a good climb through stands of oak, sassafras and maple
The Ridge follows atop a steep slope that leads down to the Trillium trail
Nick conquers a fallen tree above the big Ridge drop-off
Wetlands border the lower Trillium section, with branch trails leading in
At the eastern end, the Ridge Trail ends and hikers can descend to rejoin the Trillium for the trip back to the parking lot. We took a couple of side trips into the wetlands alongside. This is a view from one of the wooden bridges leading across the marsh.

The Ridge/Trillium loop made a fine one-mile hike that left us warmed-up for more. So we backtracked to the Fish Hatchery and trekked into the hilly woods north of Park Road there.

The Hatchery's blue loop wanders among a mixture of young and old trees
Sometimes it's tough to locate the trail among the twisted trees there
Looking up, from the trail, at the grandeur above

After struggling to find our way among the confusing blue blazes of the Hatchery loop, we'd had enough of the Powder Mills' woods for one weekend. It's a gorgeous park with several more miles of trails for us to discover ... on another day.

Up next, we tackle a lovely trail that begins just over a mile from our front door.
All photos copyright 2010 - Jim Bessey. Reprints provided with attribution.
Have you found a great hike in your area? Contact me here if you'd like to post pics and commentary.
NOTE: I've been remiss in announcing our Motorola Give-Away winner. I'll make that announcement later on this weekend. Thanks to everyone who entered, for your patience!