When it rains…

So here I am sitting inside on this rainy day, just thinking, ugh I wish I could be doing something outside. Then all of a sudden I think to myself “Why can’t I?!” I love being outdoors and adore the smell of desert brush after it rains, but what about during the rain. The other day as I was walking my dog Sasha, and it started to sprinkle, I remember our pace picking up and both of us eagerly rushing back to the house.

 I feel like our whole lives we have been taught to fear the rain. I can remember my mom and especially my sweet grandma, always calling us when there was thunder or when they felt the first rain drop on their skin. But I just don’t know why rain gets such a bad rap. I live in Reno, so…in the desert, and it seems like the second we get the tiniest bit of precipitation, our world comes to a screeching halt and people forget how to drive, all because there windshield wipers are on.

I was born in Florida and the rain there is much different than it is here in Reno. The humidity is so high in Florida that after a rain storm you didn’t feel more refreshed or like the air was cleaner. You simply felt more wet and sticky. The little rain we get here in Reno is amazing and extremely refreshing to me. Nothing cools you off better than a sudden summer rain and the gentle breeze that typically accompanies it.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I couldn’t live in Washington where it rains most of the year, but I do promise to start enjoying myself OUTSIDE more! I’ve also come up with a little list of things I’d like to do in the rain


  1. Kiss in the rain – “Awe” Okay, mushy moment is over; I just see it in the movies and thought, “eh! Why not?!”
  2. Splash in puddle – this is something we all loved doing as kids and our parents hated!
  3. Take a easy stroll with the dogs – one of my dogs loves the rain, her name is Mimi, and her mother, also a German Shepherd, hates it so maybe we’ll try our little walks in the rain again.
  4. Go camping – sitting around a campfire or under a canopy of trees with the rain coming down through the pines trees sounds amazing!

I encourage everyone to GetOUT! There and let the rain pour and enjoy it while it lasts out here in the desert or wherever you are! Follow me on Twitter at @cynthiabonca.

Tips for first time shooters


If I haven’t made it clear, I love the outdoors and one of my favorite outdoors sports is shooting. I am not the most accurate when it comes to skeet and clay pigeons but it’s still fun to get out there and have a good, safe, time. I hope to pick up some competition shooting courses and get into the sport after I am done with school this summer as well. But my favorite type of shooting happens out at Boca range and its usually also around my favorite people!

One thing I have learned over the years with taking friends shooting, is that everyone has a different skill level and different insecurities and fears about shooting. I have compiled this little list of tips and what to’s and what-not-to’s that I have learned during my shooting trips with friends

  1. Don’t assume anything – don’t assume that the person you are taking shooting knows the same or about the same as you do about guns gun safety.
  2. ALWAYS start with a quick “Hunter’s Safety” refresher – make sure you re-teach the basics! Always point the gun downrange, keep your finger away from the trigger until you are ready to shoot, safety on until you are ready to shoot, one-shot one-kill.
  3. Proper attire – shooting in the spring and summer is my favorite time but its hard to dress appropriately when its so nice outside! Ladies – don’t wear a bikini top or a low-cut top if you don’t want hot casings down your blouse! Also, always wear sturdy shoes to ensure you have a strong and equal stance…no flip-flops! Don’t forget earplugs/earmuffs and sunglasses/protective eye wear.
  4. Go when it’s not busy!  – if you’re taking a first time or inexperienced shooter, pick a time when it’s not rally busy. The new shooters can get easily distracted or intimidated and there is no room for that in safe shooting!
  5. Take your time – Rome was not built in a day and Clint Eastwood wasn’t born with a 6-shooter in his hand! Make sure you are prepared to take your shot, stand comfortably with the gun down range, safety on until you’re ready to shoot and then…SLOWLY pull the trigger.
  6. Pick the right “sized” gun  – I am a big fan of Clint Eastwood but my 100lbs frame is not built for the Ruger .44MAG I shot last year! It’s a beast of a gun and it is far too powerful for me. When I take friends out, I usually start them off with a .22 pistol or even .22 long rifle so they get comfortable getting set up with a clean shot and not too freaked out from the kick of the gun.
  7. Have fun & be safe – shooting is lots of fun, but only when you’re being safe. I cant tell you how many times I have left a range because a cackling girl was waving her pink .380 around the range.

So there are just a few tips for having fun and being safe around a first time shooter. GetOUT! There and enjoy the ranges! Follow me on Twitter at @cynthiabonca.

I should bring what when I’m hiking?!

I recently read an article on the American Hiking Society website about the top ten must haves for any hike. I couldn’t help but chuckle as I was reading through the list embarrassingly enough, not marking off half the items they had listed.

It got me thinking that I am really not always the safest hiker. I may have heard this from co-workers or family members but having a list made it even more clear that I need to take a little extra caution when I’m out hiking, especially on my.

The ten things to have on a hike according to the AHS were:

  1. Appropriate footwear – something I don’t always have, especially if I’m taking a hike spur of the moment!
  2. Map and compass/GPS – well if my trip is going to last more than a few hours in the day light I make sure I bring a GPS and brushing up on a my compass and map skills would also probably be a great idea.
  3. Extra water and a way to purify it – I typically bring an extra Nalgene bottle with me on all hikes but I typically only bring a purification treatment for overnight hikes.
  4. Extra food – I have a very fast metabolism and can every hour or two if allowed so I’m pretty good about bringing extra food. At the very least I bring a protein bar with me on hikes.
  5. Rain gear and extra clothing – Hmmm….I fail epically at this. On my first hiking trip I over-packed. By over packed I mean a 50lbs pack on a three day hike, oh and did I mention I weigh a whole 100lbs, that I would be a minimalist when it came to my pack and I may have gone too far to the other extreme, I typically bring a mid-weight jacket and a beanie, and maybe socks, for extra clothing.
  6. Safety items: fire, light and a whistle – I’m on the fence with this one. I have a flashlight application on my phone and I have a distress whistle on my car keys, and I have a flint on it as well. However… often times when I’m hiking I leave my keys with my car and bring only a book of matches with me. I do pack headlamp on all late evening trip and overnight ones as well.
  7. First Aid Kit – for day hikes I leave this in the built in- First Aid Kit that came with my Terri but on overnight trips, my first aid kit takes up the majority of my pack. My mom is a nurse and I have seen far too many infected wounds on a trail – lessons learned I guess.
  8. Knife or multi-purpose tool – I really can’t be the only person who feels like pockets knives and Leatherman’s are as easily misplaced as socks! I have lost so many pocketknives and tools camping I quit keeping count, I typically leave the tools in my car during day hikes, but this article made me reconsider this potentially dangerous practice. You really never know when you’ll need your knife to cut something loose or whatnot.
  9. Sun screen and sun glasses – when I was younger I never wore sunscreen since I have a relatively dark-olive complexion and did really ever burn. That all changed when I started camping on summits above 7,000feet. The summit rays are a lot more powerful and damaging than those I was raised under in Florida. I also never leave the house for any reason without my sunglasses.
  10. Daypack or backpack – I typically don’t take a pack with me on short hikes but after reading tips #1-9 I am seriously considering adding a hiking pack to my survival bag I keep in my car.

So there I was thinking I was “Joe-Cool” hiking around with just a water bottle and maybe a phone… not my best choice in hindsight. I encourage you all to GetOUT! There, be safe and smart while you’re enjoying the outdoors and use these tips from the AHS to create your own pack. Follow me on Twitter at @cynthiabonca and let me know what else you keep in your pack!

Survival Shelters

Shelters primary function is for protection from the environment and other dangers such as wild animals.  Shelters provide physical comfort as well as psychological (especially if you have a fire). They can be made from any resource that surrounds you:  trees, grass, branches, mud, rocks, and even snow.

When choosing your site make sure it has good drainage, it’s away from dry river beds, out of the wind, and away from insect nests. Some basic types of shelters are an A-frame, Lean to, under a tree, under a overhang, in a cave, in a tree well, a snow trench, and of course the famous igloo.

A fellow outdoor lover provided me with just a few basics about choosing and building  shelters in different areas.

Basic areas

  • Use any material you have at your disposal such as traps or canvas for a quick set up.
  • Branches or leaves should be layered from the lowest point to the highest point of your roof (like shingles)
  • Watch out for loose rock form overhangs
  • Caves have a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning
  • A knife will make your life a lot easier
  • South facing entrance will give you the most warmth from the sun

Jungle areas

  • Banana leaves and bamboo have thousands of uses
  • Burning green leaves keeps the bugs away
  • Clear the floor of your shelter to avoid bugs and snakes
  • Don’t sleep on the ground, because of the bugs and other creepy crawlies

Desert areas

  • You’re kind of out of luck here, unless you find some shade
  • Cover yourself in sand, you will lose less water
  • Keep your body covered from the sun with loose fitting clothes
  • You should have brought a hat; a big dorky floppy hat is more preferable
  • Be ready for a cold night

Mountain areas

  • Pine branches are good insulation
  • Use the leeward (out of the wind) side of snow drifts
  • Leave a low spot in your snow shelter so the cold air has a place to settle
  • Round the roof of your snow shelter so you won’t get dripped on all night
  • A hatchet works the best here

Sea and coastal areas

  • Stay with your raft
  • Look for birds
  • On shore watch out for high tide

Whether you’re building a shelter for survival or for fun, remember to use your common sense. As always GetOUT! There and enjoy building your new shelters! Follow me on twitter at @cynthiabonca and let me know how it goes!

Five things I want to do before the summer is over…

I can’t away from the number  5 so I guess you’ll have to suffer through this exciting, well to me at least, list of things I want to before the summer is over.

1. Opening night of the river

For the last several years now, the last weekend of April has meant Opening Day of the Truckee River. The general story behind this weekend is that before the river became closed to bait fisherman in California, this last weekend in April always marked the first official day of fishing and spring camping. I adore the river and am fortunate enough to have a secluded place to camp each year. I am counting the days until next weekend and the first of MANY camping trips at the river this spring and summer. And when the river warms up, it’ll be time for floating the river!

2. Mt. Rose

Growing up I was so sheltered and my parents never wanted to take risks. Well seeing as I love to push buttons and boundaries, my older brother and I started a little tradition of hiking Mt. Rose with other kids our age on the 4th of July. It may have terrified our parents and rendered us almost unable to stay awake for the fireworks, but it was such a great day hike.

3. Go four wheeling

As much as I enjoy hiking, there are just some days or long weekends when taking a jeep or rock crawling rig just sounds so much better. I have plenty of guy friends with great jeeps, old junkers, jacked up chevy’s and then those with true crawlers and when I lack the energy to hike, I love to hope in their rigs and just go. There are things you see from a rig that you miss on foot and vice versa, either way, we are enjoying the outdoors!

4. Travel

I am starting my summer off by taking a road trip to Seattle with a close friend, followed by one week of overtime at work and then 17 days in Romania! Now I’m not big on planning, but I guess two months is as far as I’ll go(especially since it means cheaper airfare), but once I get to Romania I plan on not planning. I have general idea of some countryside villages my family is from that I’d like to visit and I also know that I plan on spending quite some time hiking in the Transylvanian Alps. All I know is I intend on going to as many places that let me get my outdoors fix as possible!

5. Go shooting!

I have guns on the brain! Today I put in for a mule deer tag and I am hoping that between my younger brother and I we will have a freezer full of venison by year’s end. But in the mean time, I want to get out to the range at Boca and sight in some rifles and test out a few more pistols before I buy my very own. I’ve got my eye on a few Ruger’s!


Well those were my five goals, as always I encourage you to GetOUT! There and forget the plans and just enjoy the outdoors. When you get back you can follow me on Twitter @cynthiabonca.

Five things I dislike about the outdoors

To keep things fair, after writing my article all the things I love about the outdoors, I thought I’d write about some of the nuisances that make me somewhat “dislike” the outdoors.

  1. Not time enough to get outdoors

There just never seems to be enough time in my week to get outdoors. I guess then that my gripe really isn’t with nature and being outdoors, as much as it is the lack of time in my schedule to be able to really enjoy it. Either way, I think that the outdoors should be brought inside and around the more populated areas as much as possible.

  1. Closure of public Lands

I have several friends on a local commission in Northern Nevada who are fighting daily to keep public lands open to the public. With the closure of lands like Moon Rocks, this is extremely popular for motorized sports like, four wheeling, which is my favorite, also comes the closure of hiking trails and the roads leading to them. A big part of this movement to close public lands is the lack of care taken by visitors. I strongly encourage everyone to clean up after themselves whether they are camping in the true wilderness or at a public land area. Help keep public lands open for our future generations.

  1. Campsites

I genuinely hate campsites. I have the pleasure and fortune of knowing people, who know people, who know how to get to the more secluded parts of the lakes I like to camp at. I have camped at one campsite in my life and it was awful. There was a curfew and a limit on the number of people, tents and campfires per site. Did I mention how expensive they were and how hard it can be reserve a spot and deal with getting settled in to it once you arrive? My favorite places to camp are 1. Far away from other people, and 2. FREE. There are far too many beautiful and untouched places that we can set up camp at that you should never have to pay to sleep outdoors.


  1. The Distance

This fits in with my gripe about not having enough time to spend and get outdoors. I am a firm believer that you should try to get outdoors as much as possible and even taking a walk outside counts if you can’t get all the way out town. I just wish that people realized that yes, some really spectacular places are high up in the woods and on top of mountains, but there are other places closer to town in which you can enjoy the outdoors, one great example is Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. The thing I dislike most about the distance is my own hesitation to drive to my favorite spot on the river because I would have to deal with traffic.


  1. The Company

Sometimes you go camping with a large group, sometimes it’s just you and your sweethearts, other times its you and your dog, but most importantly, sometime you go to be alone. There are times when I am camping that I truly love to hear the stories of others I meet on the trails, while there are times that I wish the people who I came across would get eaten by one of the bears undoubtedly lurking nearby.


If you hate the outdoors, that’s fine, don’t come outdoors! If you love you the outdoors then I still encourage you to GetOUT! There more and overcome the things you dislike about it. When you get back you can follow me on twitter at @cynthiabonca.


Five Things I Love About the Outdoors

Since I’ve been cooped up inside with a sinus cold the last few days, I really got to thinking about how much I would love to be anywhere but in my room. That sparked me to think about why I love the outdoors so much so here are my top five reasons. Enjoy!

  1. The physical stuff

One of the things I love so much about being outdoors is the hiking or walking about aspect. Its an incredible rush to know that you are about to conquer the behemoth of a mountain in front of you, or make it through a thick patch of willows and across a creek. Mostly I just enjoy the fact that I am outside and I can push myself  as hard or take it as easy as I want, just as long as I am nowhere near a city!

  1. Scenery

Speaking of being away from the city, let me just make it clear that I don’t live in New York City or anywhere even remotely that size. I live in the Biggest Little City in the World: Reno. However, between all of the construction and work and school, I just need a change in pace and scenery any chance I get. I love taking walks and just enjoying the mountains and the river and how untouched they still are just 30 miles from Reno. When I’m out on longer camping or hiking trips I always a few moments to really look around (and photograph) all the views and little things I may never get to see again, well at least until the next time I’m out and about.

  1. People you meet

I get a lot of grief from the motherly coworkers in my office when I tell them stories about the interesting people I meet on trails or even at my favorite little tucked away spot on the river but it’s just another part of being outdoors that I love. There are trips outdoors where I’ll run into two or three people and others’ where I won’t see another human being for days and both fine with me!

  1. Smell of a campfire

This really should be the number one thing on my list because I cannot camp without a campfire. I don’t need smores or anything fancy. I just love the smell of a campfire and the company it comes with. Sometimes it’s great to have a group of friends gathered around a campfire and others it’s nice to just listening to the popping and crackling of the fire and the river flowing nearby.

  1. Sense of accomplishment & serenity

Going to back to number one, and the ability to set your pace, is also the ability to set goals and achieve them. I love setting new goals at the beginning of a hike or adventure and really trying to meet them.  Sometimes I really don’t want to do much of anything outdoors and I just like to enjoy the peace and quiet.

Whatever your reasons are for loving the outdoors, I encourage you to GetOUT! There and just enjoy the outdoors. You can follow me on Twitter at @cynthiabonca and let me know what you love about being outdoors.