If I could give you just one piece of advice in hopes that you would get outdoors more often and have more fun this summer (and all year long, for that matter) it would be this: Join a club. Now, I'm not really a social/group person, don't think of myself as a "joiner," but, even so, I can't begin to number the great times I've had outdoors with various clubs.

The granddaddy of them all, here in the Northeast, is the Appalachian Mountain Club, and its 12 affiliate chapters. For a complete listing go to http://activities.outdoors.org/search/index.cfm/action/main. cfm/action/main. Taken in aggregate, the AMC and affiliates offer literally thousands of opportunities each year to meet up with like-minded folks and have fun outdoors.

One of the things I like most about the AMC is it has various "committees" within the chapters. These committees focus on different aspects of outdoor fun, hiking, biking, paddling, trail maintenance, etc. If you like to specialize, you can immediately find a group of like-minded folks to join.

Over the years, I have done avalanche training courses, trail maintenance weekends, a Telemark ski clinic, snowshoe adventures, wildflower hikes, an "over-50" hiking weekend and a number of less-formal hiking and paddling adventures with various AMC groups. Many times, my sweetheart, Marilyn, has joined me, and she's always had a wonderful time, too.

Next weekend, I'm spending two days on whitewater with the New Hampshire chapter of the AMC in its annual spring paddling school (