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A Half-Dozen Outdoor Thoughts for the Long Weekend Ahead

1. One happenin' outdoor place to be this weekend: Yosemite National Park. The reason: Once a year, usually in mid-February, a combination of factors align to turn the park's Horsetail Fall into what looks like a ribbon of fire. The annual phenomenon got a mention this morning on NBC's Today show. Follow the link to view a Horsetail Fall video we've previously highlighted on The REI Blog, with photography tips from long-time Yosemite photographer Michael Frye.

2. Speaking of videos, this trailer of a forthcoming independent documentary on the John Muir Trail (by The Muir Project) got many of us in the mood for hiking in some sunshine. If you haven't already seen it, it's worth a look:

3. Until summer settles in, one place to do some hiking right now is in your own city. Seriously. Check out my recent post that describes my patchwork, dreamed-up 22-mile hike from a friend's house in Southern California to Hollywood last month, when I crossed 2 mountain ranges in the process. Unexpectedly fun, and good exercise to boot.

walkingI mention this in particular because urban adventure and on-foot urban transportation are becoming something of a recurring theme these days. The New York Times reports that a nonprofit group in Denver is campaigning to have the city certified as a Walk Friendly City, encouraging people to seriously consider walking as a transportation option, burning calories and boosting health as a result. To me, and I'm guessing many fellow walkers, this is a trend worth watching. 

skier4. It's still winter, by the way. Mammoth Mountain in the California Sierra is bragging about collecting 2 feet of fresh snow from a recent storm. If you have snow near you, get some skis or a sled and go play it in this weekend.

5. The 20th season of The Amazing Race starts Sunday night on CBS. I'll be watching.

6. Presidents Day is Monday (Feb. 20). A good day for those fortunate enough to have the day off to go catch some fresh air somewhere doing something fun. Did you know the National Park Service administers 7 historic sites connected to George Washington and Abraham Lincoln? They are:

George Washington Birthplace National Monument in Virginia. 

• Washington Memorial in Washington, D.C. (where I descended its 898 steps as an eighth-grader).

George Washington Memorial Parkway, which winds through Virginia and Maryland, offering some nice walking and biking on the Mount Vernon Trail and elsewhere that traffic patterns permit.

Lincoln • Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park in Hodgenville, Kentucky, where he was born on Feb. 12, 1809.

• Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial in (where else?) Lincoln City, Indiana.  The site kicks off a series of 50th anniversary events on Sunday.

• Lincoln Home National Historic Site in Springfield, Illinois.

 Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., which offers its own interactive website.

Everybody, find a reason to get outside this weekend and take in some fresh air. Springtime is just a month away.

Horsetail Fall photo courtesy of Michael Frye. Lincoln home photo courtesy of the National Park Service.

Posted on at 5:34 PM

Tagged: Horsetail Falls, Lincoln and Presidents Day

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