After making a few wrong turns on roads winding next to cornfields and cows in rural Pennsylvania, my girlfriend–Kathleen–and I pull in to the small parking lot at Buttermilk Falls Natural Area. The early April sun is unusually hot today and there is little escape from the heat as many trees are only pushing out flowers and showing swelled leaf buds, ready to burst into green.
Take only photographs; leave only footprints.
–Sierra Club dictum
The snow has all melted and warm air fills the nostrils. It is finally Spring! Time to lace up the hiking boots, waterproof the tent, put air in the bike tires, and get outside again.
There are some great advantages to spending time in the outdoors: the fresh air is not only wonderful but it can have benefits for the mind and body as trees release healthful chemical aerosols; physical activity is good for the body and mind and sunlight helps the body produce vitamin D; park entrance fees and camping fees are considerably less than other attractions and hotels or resorts (sometimes free!). However, before entering the wilderness, there are some things every responsible outdoorsperson should know–outdoor etiquette.