Five for Friday: Five signs that spring has sprung

1. It’s getting warmer outside

One of the biggest ‘bummers’ for me is dealing with long winters- – and I feel like this last one was one of the longest. The cold winds, wet drizzle and grey skies just don’t appeal to me. Luckily, it seems to have come to an end at last. For the past two to three weeks, I’ve been sleeping with my windows open, and it feels great. In fact, today, I wore shorts and sunglasses to work. Hooray for ‘casual Fridays.’

But why is it getting warmer? A common misconception is that the earth is actually closer to the Sun during the spring and summer, causing the weather to warm up… but, that is a misconception.

From Wikipedia: “In spring, the axis of the Earth is increasing its tilt toward the Sun and the length of daylight rapidly increases for the relevant hemisphere. The hemisphere begins to warm significantly causing new plant growth to “spring forth,” giving the season its name.”

2. I can’t breathe

With the nice weather comes higher pollen counts, and for me that means that my sinuses go haywire. Fortunately, I can track the pollen forecast on this website, which will tell me how I won’t be able to breathe that day. Of course, pollen counts really depend on the weather (temperature, precipitation, and regular seasonal trends), and the weather depends on where you are geographically located. My buddies in Texas have been “sportin’ shorts” for about a month now.

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Five for Friday: Five ways to get OUTSIDE and HAVE FUN

Biketouring.jpg                                Riding a bicycle across America?

This summer I’m going to be riding a bike from Portland, Oregon to Portland, Maine. Why? Well… first off, why not?  Second, I want to see the country from a bicycle- – which is to say: I want to really see the country, not just from a TV screen or from an airplane. How much gas is this going to take me? Barring the plane trip to my starting destination and the road trip home… NOT A WHOLE LOT. Can you think of ways to travel that have a relatively small impact on the earth?


To do this bike trip, of course, requires a LOT of gear, so I was thinking about heading to REI this afternoon to look at some pannier bags for my bicycle. While discussing this with my editor, we reflected on how it’s pretty hip to dress like you are a serious outdoor enthusiast, while not actually being an outdoor enthusiast. This fashion style shall henceforth be referred to as “wilderness chic.” I say, if you are sporting your North Face jacket but haven’t gotten out to a local park to do some hiking yet, this spring is your chance to ‘walk the walk’ and ‘talk the talk.’


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