Friday, November 28, 2014

Serious Winter Jacket

This Columbia jacket has become my go-to choice for serious winter expeditions.
I love the many generous pockets, snaps and heavy duty zipper, Velcro on the cuffs and inner pockets.
I actually found this jacket while browsing a thrift store and snapped it right up. 

Its a medium and over-sized, not intended for dinner out, but for hours in sub freezing, below zero even, winter here in Idaho. The sleeves are generous and I can layer fleece underneath. Its quite comfortable and light, excellent for driving, too.

Previously, I wore a jacket that fell below the waist, but now, hoping for a call-out on Idaho's search and rescue unit, I moved up to brand name outerwear.

I like this color scheme as well because it blends with various environments.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Calorie Meltdown

Monte Belle Wilderness Map check

Active rain or shine, hikers know they can pile on the calories and stay in shape.
But, what happens during the holiday season, post long distance hike?

You eat. And eat. Seems the body is making up for days of ramen and oatmeal by stuffing down turkey and pie.
So what's a hiker to do if they want next season to open without an extra ten or twenty pounds around the middle? That extra load will kill your knees, fight you every ascent, and demoralize you when your favorite pieces don't fit.

Its a struggle. A hard one. Your stomach is growling. All those muscles you put on last summer want Food!

Time for activity. Get out and ski, walk, lift weights, snowboard, swim. Yeah, right.
Somehow I can eat a million calories and wear off 423.
Stevenson Island Ski (Lake Yellowstone, 325 feet of thermal hot spots surrounded by square miles of water)

I get it. 
Food choices.
Find the food you love, but portion control that baby. Eliminate the butter, oil and gravy. 
Stay away from beer. Beer makes beer guts.
Wow, and wine. Wine is sugar left to its own devices. Perfect. Just what I need.

No, seriously. Home made vegetable soup, lots of hard crisp apples, butter free popcorn (dry filler, I know), rolled oats (not the prepackaged cereal with 160 calories per infant serving.)

It's hard, but way harder to get those pounds off. 
Happy holidays. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Life and Death in the Backcountry

While researching for my upcoming book, of Moose and Men, Ridgerunning in Maine's Hundred Mile Wilderness, I started wondering what the web says about accidental administration of adrenalin via an EpiPen. Among various links, I found this page Allergic Reactions and EpiPens

Last summer on the Gulf Hagas Trail, we had a nest of hornets that would get riled up when dogs were off leash. Turns out, the paper nest was at black lab nose level, right on the easier Pleasant River Tote Trail.
Once, while hiking the loop, I met a mom whose daughter had just been stung for the first time in her short life. Her father was allergic and after the incident, she headed straight back to the parking lot.

Of course, Benadryl can be purchased over the counter and carried as an emergency response to allergic reactions. Some use it after encountering poison ivy.
It doesn't always work and can cause drowsiness.

Untreated, a severe reaction can cause shock followed by death. If you know you're allergic to bee stings, carry a pen. You'll need a prescription, but its worth it.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Search and Rescue Basic Pack

On my person is:
appropriate footwear (solid boots)
a watch (yes, cell phones don't count, sometimes there's no service or the battery dies)
pen and paper, for copious notes on subject and search area
layered clothing including official Orange shirt

My Lightning 50 forms the base of my system. The inner pouch and extra straps have been removed to keep the system light and tight.

In the pack, as required by the unit:

whistle, compass, mirror, 
rain jacket and pants
layered clothing as weather dictates
tarp, bivy sack
2 liters of water
enough no-cook food for 24 hours, at least 2,000 calories
50 feet flagging tape (for marking areas)
25 feet rope
sleeping pad
jack knife
two independent light sources, with spare batteries for at least 8 hours
metal cup and spoon
first aid kit consisting of ace bandage, gauze, bandages, neosporin, mole skin, scissors, tape, 
sunscreen, chapstick, sunglasses, pain reliever
medications you use
personal hygiene (toilet paper, hand sanitizer,tooth brush, tooth paste)
for me: reading glasses, pair of binoculars, camera
hiking poles, hat

Saturday, November 8, 2014

New Passions

Sorry its been so long since I posted.
After driving from Maine by way of Chicago, avoiding all tollways and thoroughly enjoying the trip, I headed back home to Idaho.

Then, the next day, I attended my first Idaho Mountain Search and Rescue meeting. Held every Tuesday evening, this general meeting allows people to join, ask questions and listen to debriefings by specialty teams, including the K-9, Technical, Logistics and Man-trackers.

After putting in an application for full membership, one goes through the SAR Academy, three sessions totaling 10 hours of instruction. A pack check is required so that if called on a mission, they know you have all the gear to be self-sufficient for twenty four hours.

I passed the test. Its not necessarily an Ultralighter's dream, but I'm well equipped for nearly anything I might encounter. My survivalist skills may come into play. I'm sure to learn from the highly skilled team members as well.

Hopefully, I'll be on missions and training all  winter, eventually completing Winter certification.This is a highly skilled organization. It works with authorities to find and rescue anyone, and charges no fees. Donations and fund raisers provide the necessary capital.

I'll post my 24 hours pack list next week. See how much of it you carry on your outdoor adventures. The 48 hour pack list adds a few more items, and the 72-hour Search and Rescue pack basically just adds more food to be mission ready. Stay tuned for a full list.

Meanwhile, I'm working through the second draft of my non-fictional book: Of Moose and Men-Ridgerunning in Maine's Hundred Mile Wilderness. Also I'm shopping for a motor home to use as my base camp. See my other blog:// to read the rant and warning about buying from online scammers.