Category Archives: The Ticks Tips and Tricks

How to survive a snake bite.

I don’t normal repost from others blogs but this is good information on what to do if you are bitten by a poisonous snake in a remote area. The article is reposted from FLOTOGRAPHY.

Capture

rattler

How to survive a snake bite

The Fundamental Four

Leslie Gulch
Leslie Gulch

Essential items for every hike

 I wrote this article after spending an unexpected 18 hours lost in the Owyhee’s several years ago. I had walked away from hunting camp with nothing but a 16oz bottle of water, a shotgun, three .20 gauge shells and a dog. I had a lot of time to think about what items I wished I had carried with me. While this list might not meet the Bear Grylls Man Vs. Wild approval list – it works for me. Unlike Grylls, I do not have the luxury of a cameraman following my every move, “just in case.”

There have probably been as many articles written on what essential items to take hiking or backpacking as there are people who hike.  Some of the same items will appear on different lists time and again; each hiker having their own preferences and unique methods of performing a particular task.

Much of the gear a person takes hiking will be determined by factors such as the terrain, the time of year and the duration of the hike, as well as the physical abilities of the hiker. Depending on any one of these factors, the list can easily turn into a top ten or top twenty essential items.

Whether day hiking or planning a multi-day trip into the backcountry, there are a few basic items the prepared hiker should carry with them regardless of where or how long they plan to be out. This is by no means a comprehensive list.  Think of the following items as the American Express of hiking and never leave home without them.

The knife: Knives come in many shapes and sizes from pocket knives to gadget-packed multi-tool knives to more sophisticated survival knives. Which one you carry is a matter of preference. Obviously, the multi-tool and survival knives offer more features and options, but a good sharp folding knife that fits securely in your pocked can be an invaluable tool. A knife can be used to clean fish or other game, shave tinder for a fire, manufacture spears for hunting and protection, cut strips of cloth for bandages and remove arrowheads embedded in your thigh after a day on the prairie fighting Apache. Perhaps it is unlikely you will need the latter, but it did get your attention, didn’t it?

Lighter or flint and steel: The ability to start a fire can mean the difference between life and death. Fires provide warmth, cooking, light and protection. They can be used to signal for help and provide comfort. A large part of successful outdoor survival depends on your psychological health and a fire can be one of the most fundamental elements in maintaining that health. Carry at least one good lighter. A lighter is essentially water-proof and easy to use when you are in a hurry to get the fire built. Wind-proof lighters are inexpensive and are an excellent investment.  Flint and Steel kits or magnesium fire starters are practically indestructible and with a little practice can start a fire fairly quick. Water-proof matches are seldom effective and can be difficult to light. There are more primitive means of starting a fire… like rubbing two sticks together, but unless one of those sticks is a match – it can take a lot of time and a lot of trial and error to get a fire going. Time you may not have.

Water purification system:  A healthy and fit person under moderate circumstances can live 3 days without water. Toss in extreme temperatures and exertion and that number is drastically reduced. Carry enough drinking water adequate for the conditions you plan to encounter– then double it. Always err on the side of safety. Water is heavy and carrying enough for an extended period of time might not be feasible. In addition to what you can carry, pack some type of water purification system.  There are numerous systems on the market. Which system you pick is a matter of preference dictated by the type of hiking you undertake. Smaller systems include individual filtration bottles. These filtration bottles look much like any other water bottle but have a filtration system built into them. As you squeeze or suck on the bottle – the water is forced through the filter. Water purification tablets are another means of water purification, are light-weight and take up little room in your pack. Tablets do little for the palatability of water, but are sufficient to kill disease causing bacteria such as Giardia and Cryptosporidium. Drinking unfiltered or unpurified water runs the risk of becoming contaminated with one of these bugs. The last thing you need while out hiking is a bad case of beaver fever.

Bandana: A bandana is the Leatherman of apparel. A bandana can be used to keep the sweat out of your eyes or dipped in cold water and hung around your neck to keep you cool. They can be used to keep the hair out of your eyes if you have it and to protect your head from sunburn if you don’t.  A brightly colored bandana can be used to signal your location should you get lost. Cut into small pieces, the bandana can be used to mark your trail if need be. Applied properly it can be used as an emergency tourniquet or compression bandage. Use a bandana to soak up water for drinking in an emergency and as a filter to remove sediment; just remember to purify the water before drinking if at all possible. Last but not least, tie the bandana around your head and look every bit as cool as Rambo while continuing safely on your hiking adventure.

One might wonder why food is not on this list of essential items. As stated earlier – a person can only live an average of three days without water, but the same person can live 3 weeks without food. The items listed in this article are basic essential items which can be stored in your pack at all times. Each takes up very little room in your pack but could make the difference between an enjoyable hiking experience and a harrowing plight of survival.  Not to mention how cool you will look in that Rambo bandana. Happy hiking and safe trails.

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Content Writing and Safety on the Trail

Several years ago I made a little extra money content writing for the web. The service I wrote for was fairly simple. The content service cruised search engines for user “how to” searches. The writers then picked from a Q of “how to” questions and answered those questions. For example – suppose a number of people Googled “How to split wood.” The service, by use of bots, mined that search request and dumped it in the Q for writers to choose from. Writers then go in and search the various Q’s they have expertise in and answer the question. I wrote content varying from “How to wean a miniature donkey with diarrhea” to “How to export windows event logs to Excel.” Riveting stuff. 

The writers have to follow rules and formats imposed by the content writing service. “No humor.” “No Sarcasm.” “No individuality of voice.” Pretty much tied my hands. Still….I gave it a shot. I’d done some technical writing for my job. While I don’t enjoy it – its writing and I hoped it would help with the technical aspects of my writing…like grammar, spelling and all that nonsense.  

The one saving grace in the process was the free-lance writing. You didn’t have to pull from the “How To” Q. You could make up your own content and write whatever you wanted; the caveat being method of payment. Instead of a set payment for each piece based on length and content – the freelance pieces are paid based on the number of views the article received on its respective “How To” website.  

I tried it for a few months and made a few hundred dollars. It took me longer to write a $7.50 article than it would have to pick up $7.50 worth of cans along the highway. I decided I was too obsessive to hammer out an article in under the fifteen minutes needed to make it worth it. Still…it was kind of fun while it lasted and taught me, if nothing else, that content writing was best left to those free from humor, sarcasm and individuality.

This is one of the freelance articles I wrote that gleaned me the largest financial gain of a whopping .26 cents.

 

Horse Sense

A common-sense guide to safety on the trail

 Denny

You look out the kitchen window and gaze longingly at Old Thunder grazing contently in the green pasture. Shiny as a new copper penny and slick from the summer sun stands a newly shod temptation aching to hit the trail.

Trail riding should be an enjoyable experience for both rider and horse. As with all forms of horsemanship, proper preparation before hitting the trail is essential to a positive and safe experience. Too often in our zest to gallop off into the sunset, we find ourselves in bad situations that could have been prevented with a little pre-trail planning and preparation.

It is essential that both rider and mount are physically and mentally prepared to undertake the conditions of a chosen trail. Neither horse nor rider is likely ready to undertake a 20 mile hike into the backcountry the first trip out of the pasture in spring. Take it easy and pick a nice, quiet trail that meanders gently through the countryside. Match the terrain to your abilities at any given time. Save the death defying, nostril flaring rides for Denny and The Man from Snowy River until you and Old Thunder are better legged up.

Never leave the confines of your pasture without telling at least one person – preferably a responsible one – where you are going and when you plan to be back. This is most vital if you are planning on riding alone, which is not recommended no matter how hard your inner lone-wolf might call upon your independent nature to set out on a journey of solitude.  Lying on the ground in the middle of nowhere with a broken leg, waiting for somebody to notice your horse went home without you does not qualify as an enjoyable trail riding experience. Been there…done that and have the $75,000.00 bionic leg to show for it.

Proper tack for horse and rider is essential for all types of riding. A properly fitting saddle that allows the horse freedom of movement will go a long way in enhancing a positive attitude in your trail partner; the same for bit and bridle. All tack should be in excellent repair to limit the chance of accidents caused by a broken rein or failed cinch. There is a rule of thumb I follow: if it’s metal – it will break. In particular, stay away from metal hooks and attachment points. Full leather tack is a good investment.

The rider should be as well outfitted as her mount. What kind of shirt, pants or hat you wear is of minor significance with the exception of a riding helmet. They might not look pretty, but neither does landing on your head one too many times and sporting a drool cup. However, the buck stops at the boots. Always wear a riding boot with a heel. Anything less and you risk the chance of being drug; again, not an enjoyable riding experience. Consider pull-on boots as opposed to lace-ups. Should you get hung up in the stirrup; a pull on boot will slip off easier than a lace up. If you must wear lace-ups – unlace them when riding. If for some reason you absolutely cannot see fit to put on a pair of proper footwear – sell your horse and buy a four wheeler.

Trail riding would not be complete without a convenient set of trail bags, or saddle bags as they are more commonly referred. What you pack into those trail bags is an important step in preparing for a safe and enjoyable trail experience. Your trail bags should be big enough to include the minimum items: wire cutters, pocket knife, vet wrap, Butte, Banamine, Kotex, bandana, rope, cell phone, emergency poncho,  fire starter, water and a can or two of Beanee Weenees.

Some of the above items warrant further explanation. For example: Kotex. Kotex makes an excellent bandage that is absorbent and sanitary. Vet wrap is like the duct tape of emergency preparedness. Stop a bleeding wound by slapping on a Kotex secured with Vet Wrap should get you back to the trailer and on your way to the vet clinic.

Where there are horses there is wire and they will get hung up in that wire. Always carry wire cutters anytime you are on or around horses. It is not a matter of if you will need them – it’s a matter of when.

The bandana is the multi-tool of the survivalist. Its uses are endless. A bandana keeps the sweat out of your eyes in the heat and cools you when soaked in cold water and draped around your neck. A bandana can be used in first aid as a tourniquet or fashioned into a triangle bandage. Use the bandana to filter water in an emergency. If none of these applications appeal to you, one can always wrap the bandana around the head for a cool Rambo-like appearance.

Rope or twin comes in handy if you missed the section on metal clasps. Cells phones are nice in an emergency, if you have service,  and as a backup camera when that awesome cougar runs across the trail in front of you. Note: See section on being mentally prepared for anything.

Last but not least, the Beanee Weenee. The perfect, on-the-go food, packed with protein and energy in every bean. I never leave home without them.

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Save and Happy trails

 

Don’t toss out that baby wipe, it could save your life!

Fire_Feet

I feel it safe to say that most of the really cool discoveries happen quite by accident. One such discovery presented itself during a four day pack trip into the Eagle Caps.

One of the items I like to carry in my saddlebags is a packet of baby wipes. They come in handy for washing up before lunch on the trail or as a bedtime sponge bath when you can’t quite make yourself jump in that cold mountain stream for a much needed bath.

The problem I’ve found with baby wipes is they dry out between trips. You might use a dozen or so out of a pack and the rest dry up like a popcorn fart, wasting product and money. Not anymore…

I pulled a dried up wipe out of the package and frowned; an almost full pack…useless. Cold frigid creek, here I come! I tossed the dried out sheet into the campfire on my way to the creek. I figured with as dry as it was, the wipe would spontaneously combust into a pile of ash. Not so. The wipe caught fire immediately and began to burn like a slow burning candle. Instead of ash, the wipe turned into a tar like substance that continued to burn. I picked up a twig and twirled the burning “tar” around the twig like a torch. Wow…that’s pretty cool. The now black goop clung to the twig and continued to burn for several minutes.

I used the dried up baby wipes to start the campfire the rest of the weekend. It never took more than one wipe and one match to get a fire going.

Upon arriving home, I had an idea. I wonder how easy it would be to start a fire using a baby wipe and flint and steel. I’m no Bear Grills. Starting a fire with flint and steel can be challenging. I’ve used all sorts of material from dryer lint to brittle pine needles soaked in pitch. Eventually I manage to get a flame going – but am often left staring longingly at the box of matches and can of lighter fluid nearby.

I sat cross legged in front of a baby wipe shredded into small squares – flint and steel in hand. One strike of flint on steel sent a spray of sparks over the pile of baby wipe and…instant combustion! The wipes immediately ignited and proceeded to burn into a flaming black goop akin to tar. I twirled the ooze around a twig and carried it to the burn barrel containing a week worth of personal documents and junk mail…because yes, I am that paranoid.

Bear would be proud, however, I’m left to ponder another question: What the heck are we putting on our baby’s bottoms?

 

From Babies Butts to Bonfires

Don’t toss out that baby wipe, it could save your life!

I feel it safe to say that most of the really cool discoveries happen quite by accident. One such discovery presented itself during a four day pack trip into the Eagle Caps.

One of the items I like to carry in my saddlebags is a packet of baby wipes. They come in handy for washing up before lunch on the trail or as a bedtime sponge bath when you can’t quite make yourself jump in that cold mountain stream for a much needed bath.

The problem I’ve found with baby wipes is they dry out between trips. You might use a dozen or so out of a pack and the rest dry up like a popcorn fart, wasting product and money. Not anymore…

I pulled a dried up wipe out of the package and frowned; an almost full pack…useless. Cold frigid creek, here I come! I tossed the dried out sheet into the campfire on my way to the creek. I figured with as dry as it was, the wipe would spontaneously combust into a pile of ash. Not so. The wipe caught fire immediately and began to burn like a slow burning candle. Instead of ash, the wipe turned into a tar like substance that continued to burn. I picked up a twig and twirled the burning “tar” around the twig like a torch. Wow…that’s pretty cool. The now black goop clung to the twig and continued to burn for several minutes.campfire

I used the dried up baby wipes to start the campfire the rest of the weekend. It never took more than one wipe and one match to get a fire going.

Upon arriving home, I had an idea. I wonder how easy it would be to start a fire using a baby wipe and flint and steel. I’m no Bear Grills. Starting a fire with flint and steel can be challenging. I’ve used all sorts of material from dryer lint to brittle pine needles soaked in pitch. Eventually I manage to get a flame going – but am often left staring longingly at the box of matches and can of lighter fluid nearby.

I sat cross legged in front of a baby wipe shredded into small squares – flint and steel in hand. One strike of flint on steel sent a spray of sparks over the pile of baby wipe and…instant combustion! The wipes immediately ignited and proceeded to burn into a flaming black goop akin to tar. I twirled the ooze around a twig and carried it to the burn barrel containing a week worth of personal documents and junk mail…because yes, I am that paranoid.

Bear would be proud, however, I’m left to ponder another question: What the heck are we putting on our baby’s bottoms?