The world is getting hotter. The ice caps are melting. The seas are rising. Mother Earth needs saving for sure. But here’s the thing: that old gal still likes to have a good time. And this Earth Day we’re celebrating Ma Earth in the best way possible — by encouraging our readers to get out there and enjoy all that this good planet has to offer. There are trails to hike, creeks to fish, and places to camp. So what are you waiting for? Get to reading this issue and get on out there and hit the great outdoors. Save buying those solar panels and that hybrid car for another day.

How leaving the house helped one writer get back to where he once belonged

There was a time when anywhere inside was the least likely place to find me. Spring, summer, fall, or winter, I was outside, in the woods or on the water, kicking up leaves or tunneling through the snow.

How Not to Start a Campfire

1. Pick a spot to build your campfire. One school of thought is to find a nice clearing to make a fire. That just doesn’t work for me. I prefer a sturdy tree (or group of trees) or a large pile of brush in which to construct my campfire. It provides a nice preexisting structure to make the creation of your masterpiece much easier. Also, keep in mind that a forest canopy overhead provides great shelter for your fire from the wind and rain.

A Newbie’s Guide to Camping No-nos and Yeses

This past fall break, a group of our friends took a trip up to the Blue Ridge Mountains, more specifically Lake Toxaway, N.C. In our collegiate minds, we would bring loads of beer, large tents, grills, food, guitars, pillows, pans, chairs, and all that other stuff that makes life easy. Little did we know that when we arrived, the two-mile hike to our site — the one that we imagined would take no time at all — would end up being a nightmare haul, featuring sprained ankles and crying fits.

Close encounters with an undead alligator

I didn’t have a good name for the feeling until I read George Orwell’s 1984. At the time I found myself facing an alligator, the best description I had came from my younger brother. He used to say, after nearly falling to his death as Mario in Super Mario Bros., that he had “cweepy baws” — the sensation of your testicles crawling up into your gut.

The only guide to a woodland rendezvous you need

“I wanna get you in the Georgia Dome on the 50-yard line/ while the dirty birds kick for t’ree/ and if you like in the club we can do it/ in the DJ booth or in the back of the VIP.”

Even man’s best friend can enjoy a good hike

My dog Charlie suffers from performance anxiety. He will not pee in public.

When it comes to nature’s TP, leaves of three, let them be

“Does a bear poop in the woods?” Sure, but what about you and I? Those charming Charmin commercials are so damn deceptive. Toilet paper doesn’t grow on trees, so we’re left with the next best option — leaves. Folks, for the safety of your hiney’s health and mine, I give you Leaf it Alone: A User’s Guide to Nature’s TP.

Where to hit the trail

A round-up of local hiking spots

The low-cost, laid-back fun of fishing

One can’t traverse the Charleston area without encountering water. Even a quick drive from neighborhood to neighborhood usually involves crossing over a creek, river, or inlet of some kind, and the harbor and ocean always loom nearby. It’s easy to take the grand beauty of the local marshes and waterways for granted.

A round up of local camping spots

When you get a good group of friends together for a camping trip, odds are that you are going to have a blast and make some memories, good or bad. And for all the praise we give Mother Nature, those of us who have to work within the confines of an office don’t often get to enjoy spending quality time with her. To make it a little easier, we’ve compiled a short list of choice camping spots in the Charleston area where we think you might have a good time just being yourself, without that technological umbilical cord.