Backpacker Magazine – June 2012
Murphy’s Law, meet your match. Our experts offer trip-saving fixes for 44 mishaps, from bug bites to bad partners to broken bones.
by: Jason Stevenson
UP your chances of survival with a copy of "Felix the Sugar Glider Be Safe Hike Smart" (Amazon) and a compass! Before you go, be sure to calibrate your compass for the declination at the location where you will be hiking. Go to: http://magnetic-declination.com A compass doesn't need a signal or batteries and works in all types of weather but you need to know how to use it and this book makes learning how to use a compass easy. Felix! explains how to orient yourself using a compass, a compass and a map, a map and no compass, no compass and no map. Look for it on Amazon, "Felix the Sugar Glider Be Safe Hike Smart." Anyone wanting to know direction and especially for those who want teach these skills to children might enjoy learning from this book. To feel more confident about orienting ourselves outdoors, we read thru this book before every hike - it's only about 34 pages and illustrated. The ability to know your way and know where you are is something we all need in any survival situation not just while hiking. Learn to stay found by using a compass and paying attention to your surroundings. Felix! teaches the reader what survival items to pack (for the car and for the trail) for a day-hike, trail ethics, what to do if you get lost or scared, and how to get rescued, just incase you end up unexpectedly spending the night outdoors.
Don't follow the advice to toss pebbles at a Woodpecker. It is against the Federal Migratory Bird Act to injure OR disturb them.
Diarrhea can happen from other sources or reasons than drinking under treated water. I stopped using those expansive "Filters" when 1st Need came onto the Market and haven't gone back except for an occasional visit with Chlorine Bleach or Chlor-Floc when doing superlite trips... Food Allergies is one area I rarely seen mentioned in all the rags and websites. Especially if your snacking from Mother Nature along the way or from the ingredients in some of your freeze dried or homemade food packets. Cilantro will do a number on me, and you thought it was Montuzuma's revenge from the poor cooking conditions at that resturant, nope, it might have been the Cilantro! same with Nutmeg, there is a trend of putting Nutmeg in Italian sauces which is stomach irratant just like MSG, Cilantro and a few others.
Imodium is the best over the counter remedy but what if you did not foresee a problem and didn't bring any along..What do you do..Learn of the Wild plants..There are over 20 Plants out there that have been used by native Americans and Explorers, including Lewis&Clark, for over 300 hundred years or more to treat Diarreha. I would learn of the ones growing in your hiking area and how to prepare them. Here are just a few: Horsemint, Fireweed, St.Johns Wort, Sweeteverlasting or Rabbit tobacco and Daisy Flea Bane.
Busted Knee...Oh I can relate to this one..While slowly decending and enjoying the view of Lake Sabrina from Blue Lake in the Eastern Sierra's a group of "club" hikers went past me, one knocking me in the back which caused me to stubble on the downward slant which caused my left knee cap to momentarily dislodge itself sending me sprawling and rolling down the trail for about 25 feet. I was vocalizing my pain quite loudly and called for someone in the group to help me,,they just kept on walking probably to meet their Bus or something and didn't want to be late for Cocktails in Bishop..I layed there for some time seeing if the throbbing in my knee would subside, which it didn't. I took my pack off and attempted to stand with the help of my hiking poles, nope, went right to the ground. I usually carry an Ace bandage and some Duct tape which I gladly had done this time. I them out of the pack and then used the Saw Blade on my Victorninox Work Champ to cut two thick branches from a bush growing nearby and used the thickest lower pieces to form about an 8-9 inch brace on either side of the knee. I then took two aspirin in hopes of decreasing the amount of inflamation in the knee. I had Vicodin along but always saved that for teeth injuries or something worse than the knee. I then wrapped the area above the knee to below the knee with the duct tape, bascially making it immoble as I could. It bent a bit which is ok you do not want it frozen stiff which can stop the circulation. Next I wrapped the two sticks on either side of the knee using the Ace Bandage. After some time I say about an hour and a half by the way the Sun was moving, the throbbing in the knee faded a bit and I managed to get up on both legs with the help of the Hiking poles facing uphill. Thankfully I had been stealth packing and my Pack weighed less than 20 twenty pounds since I was on the way back and had used up 8 pounds of food and only carried half a Bottle of water. For the 1st hundred yards or so I slowly and stiff leggedly back down the hill, then I switched to side saddling which seemed a bit easier, in no way was I going to try going straight forward otherwise I would get a face plant for sure. Instead of an hour to get to my car it took three hours and I'll be danged not one fellow hiker did I meet. Once I got into the drivers seat and lifted my leg in it felt much better and after the drive down to Bishop I felt I could make it back to San Diego without making an ER Visit but I did catalog in my mind all the ER's that would be enroute.. Upon arrival in S.D. I went to the E.R. where I was given all the stand image tests and neuro tests and X-Rays. That was over 20 years ago and I still need an over the counter knee brace to support down hill hikes...
Desert Water..Always carry a Plastic groundsheet along for the reason many Desert Plants contain potable fluid, BUT many people will have reactions in some form to drinking that fluid. Barrel Cactus fluid is a prime example, a lot of people who try it become nauseated. The Remedy I found to work the best after doing various forms of testing from various published "Survival" Manuals, was to dig a hole 2 feet deep and about 3 foot wide. Make a flat rock floor at the bottom about 1 foot square or larger if you can. Set your Drinking cup (I use a Cup which measures 1 cup for cooking purposes) place it in the center of the rock floor. Take all the "Green" plants and Cacti you can and crush them and surround the Cup with a pile of wet green vegetable matter. Next take your Plastic ground sheet and place it over the hole and place a marble size pebble in the center over the cup. I have averaged (which means more or less) a 1/2 a cup of water in two hours between noon and 1400 hrs. from the resulting condensation.
Here is a short list of Plants that have been used to treat Poison Ivy I would learn to recognize one from your area. I have used Dandelion, Wild Lettuce and Horse Nettle with good results: Dandelion, Wild Lettuce, Candian Thistle, Horse Nettle, Labador Tea, Sweet Fern, Smooth Alder, White Oak, Northern Red Oak, Broomsedge. Chance meeting with a Backpacking Editor, run as fast as you can....
" I have 10 acres and 9.9 acres are in Poison Ivy."
Thanks for the tip on Zanfel, Gregg.
For the 10 acres: ROUNDUP!
I absolutely loved your blog!! Very helpful and funny.
I have 10 acres and 9.9 acres are in poison Ivy. I use Zanfel, $40/1 oz at Walmart. Follow the instruction exactly and the ich will be gone in minutes and rash and blisters will dry out in 24 to 48 hours. You may have to re treat the effected area up to 3 times, but this stuff works better than anything I have used since becoming sensitive to this plant.
Don't pack severed body parts directly in ice or snow or water if here is a chance of reattachment-doing so will damage the tissue beyond repair. Pack in clean plastic baggie, then keep it cold. (reference: Merck manual online)
It seems the Mythbusters recipe works best for skunk smell: hydrogen peroxyde 1 quart baking soda 1/4 cup and one tablespoon liquid dishwashing soap (like dawn).
I refer you to them. Great hints and fun to read!
For skunks I discovered distilled white vinegar works better than tomato juice for de-scenting a dog, and if you clip the free end off a porcupine quill before trying to remove it it will deflate, it comes out easier.
Great hints... Well Written and useful!!!
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