The Great Outdoors: Spring Idea Books

As the weather starts to get warmer, I start itching to get outside, not only to walk (you might remember I’ve rhapsodized about walking in the past) but also to take pictures (I especially love a good nature scene) and just frolic! I wouldn’t be surprised if you’re in the same boat, given the year we’ve all had. Today I’m recommending some books to how to enjoy the outdoors as spring dawns, and so my first pick is this 2020 book: Photo Basics by Joel Sartore. Published by National Geographic, it gives great ideas on how to capture great images indoors and out; perfect for flowers poking out of the melting snow or late afternoon sunlight.

If you’re like me and you take photos while walking out in nature try these: Great Iowa Walks, an oldie but a goodie, giving some ideas of walks you can take in the state; or, in the same spirit, try Biking Iowa for bike-friendly trail rides. For quick getaways, try Great Iowa Weekend Adventures by Mike Whye or the Iowa Curiosities guidebook, available both in print and on Overdrive. To find Quad City-specific trails and adventures, check out qctrails.org for an interactive map and robust search experience.

If you’re looking to branch out and take a backpacking trip, you might like Backpacker Hidden Gems: 100 Greatest Undiscovered Hikes Across America, highlighting less-known hiking trails all across the country, or the more local Best Easy Day Hikes Cedar Rapids: Including Iowa City and Cedar Falls/Waterloo. But either way, you may want to take along Be Prepared: Hiking and Backpacking by Karen Berger. More of a cyclist? Take your bike off-road with Mountain Bike Master by Mark Langton.

If you want to focus on an urban/suburban fitness aspect, you could try Walking for Fitness by Nina Barough, or Bicycling Bliss by Portia Masterson. Don’t feel your stamina is up to going outside just yet? Ease into the outdoors with a DVD walking workout like Walk Strong: Burn Fat and Have Fun. If you’re looking for a lifestyle overhaul focused on walking and the outdoors, try The Finnish Way by Katja Pantzar.

Get the whole family involved with 101 outdoor adventures to have before you grow up by Stacy and Jack Tornio. For a deeper dive into camping and fun outdoor skills, try How to Play in the Woods by Robin Blankenship, Born to Explore by Richard Wiese, or I Love Dirt by Jennifer Ward. You could also start a family garden with Plant, Sow, Make & Grow by Esther Coombs. Then, take it to the next level with The New Gardener’s Handbook by Daryl Beyers.

Whatever activity or method you choose, don’t forget to get outside this spring! Between the vitamin D in sunlight, energizing physical activity, and opportunities for togetherness, the benefits are many and the risks are few. Any of these titles will give you a place to start, but do whatever works for you and brings you joy.

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