Going outdoors is a good time to unplug, but there are ways smartphones can make it more educational and more lightweight than a dozen guidebooks. Consider these downloads:
• Geocaching to find hidden treasures across the state.
• Map and trail programs such as AllTrails for gentle hikes, adventurous bike trails and scenic climbs.
• Nature guides such as Audubon Birds help identifying birds, animals, trees and plants.
• Night sky maps such as SkyView and northern lights forecasts.
• Weather.com for early warnings when storms threaten safety.
• Minnesota Department of Natural Resources apps for finding lakes, recreation areas, and buying hunting and fishing licenses.
• First aid (American Red Cross) for emergencies.
Lisa Meyers McClintick