Chanterell Mushrooms are out and wonderful!

Hey the Chanterelle mushrooms are out and abundant! For almost 3 weeks now I have been collecting Chanterelles and have enjoy countless feasts with them. Look along streams or damp places and under Oak and other hardwood trees. They are a light orange or deep yellow color and funnel-shaped with the funnel reaching up to 4 inches.

“Just do it” will get you killed – Hypothermia

If you face an unexpected condition, you shouldn’t “just do it.”

The phrase “just do it” does not apply in outdoor survival because the worst case can be death.

For example, at Angel’s National Forest, I made the right but disappointing decision by aborting the trip. I was close to being blown away by a 50 mph wind and a 38 degree temperature. If I continued the trip, I could have faced the worst scenario; no fire, tents blown away, and suffering from hypothermia.

Sleeping in a freezing, windy weather for several hours would have easily caused hypothermia and it usually occurs due to bad decision-making in outdoor survival.

Hypothermia is a rough, painful suffering from cold temperature, and the U.S. government reports around 800 deaths each year and the chances of hypothermia increases as the age increases. Source

But if the wind was a lot weaker, I might have spent the night at Angel’s National Forest because the fire would start and the tents don’t get blown away. All these factors are important making the decision, and if you’re a beginner to outdoor survival, you should take small risk, and be attentive to the worst consequence.

My Boots

As I mentioned last month my hiking shoes must go this year. A significant tear developed in the heal and after talking with two different shoe repair establishments, all agreed that they were beyond repair. I can’t tell you how I hate to see them go. All the miles they have given me in relative comfort and stability that I was able to depend upon; now retired. I have hard to fit feet that are on the wide side with a small bunion on my right foot. So the hunt for another shoe or boot was on. I researched as much as I could reading articles from Backpacker and Outside magazines. When time allowed I visited my favorite stores REI and Patagonia and tried on more shoes and boots. The variety that is out there is astounding and overwhelming at times. I could not find one shoe that fit the bill for me and my near trips as well as the Yukon 90 day challenge. The minute I thought I found what I wanted, something else would come up to send me into another direction. Finally I decided upon an all Leather upper hiking boot, that was considerable lighter in weight than my old pair of hiking boots from years ago. These are very conservative boots with old fashioned quick tie eyelets….Amazingly secure fit, but stable for rugged conditions. They seem solidly built with no bells and whistles. Despite the new technology of lightweight boots, these I think are built to last a while.

I went this direction for several reasons. My next few adventures are going to be on some pretty rough, rocky terrain and in and out of some water. The Yukon has frequent rain showers that can last 2-4 days and I will be getting in and out of my canoe or pack-raft frequently. The boots I purchased fit and feel great out of the box with a little extra room for extra socks or late day foot swelling. So now the breaking in period has started; a little at a time. One negative note.… these new boots smell…no they stink. I don’t know what is on them, but if anyone has any ideas about this smell and how to get rid of it…PLEASE SEND ME A NOTE! I have been leaving them in the garage to get fresh air and de-gas for almost 2 weeks and they still smell…sink! I was thinking of using Saddle Soap, but then that may seal in the smell even more… Any ideas?




Hiking the PCT in the Angeles National forest

My weekend plan was to go to the Angeles National forest and hike the PCT trail.  The Elevations in the district range from 1,286 feet to a high of 9,399 feet at Mt. Baden-Powell, the second highest mountain elevation on the forest. I checked the weather and it sounded beautiful, clear sky’s with some wind 10-20 mph.  But…

My weekend in the Mountains had to be aborted.  After climbing up to 7,600 feet the wind almost blew me off the mountain.  (38 degrees 50+mph wind) I was afraid to try to put my tent up and it blowing away before I could get it staked down or worse yet pulling me off the mountain.   I did shoot some video, but….the wind noise may be high I’m afraid, and my camera and tripod kept blowing over even with a rock tied to it.

Watch Video:Angeles National Forest Vol.1

It was a tough day to go that far and have to turn around and return before night fall.

I was not in cell phone range and with this high wind a fire was out of the question for the night. I try to be ready for about any alpine emergency, but good gear preparation is in reality a very small part of the equation. It can’t and won’t compensate for poor judgment and foolishness. I felt prepared for the worst case scenario, but since I had a choice and enough time there was no need to take a risk.  Being out in the high alpine environments or wilderness; especially by yourself you must leave any ego behind.  The saying “Just do it” will get you killed. Always have a Plan B, it could save your life.  Know your limits when it comes to climbing or hiking in the mountains, don’t be too proud to abort.  Think about how you will abort the trip in all phases of the journey; think about the “What ifs, that could happen” more importantly, know how to assess risk.

Yes, I’m very disappointed that the weekend turned out the way it did, but I’m safe.

If you are not comfortable, turn around and go home….so you can come back another day when the weather is fine.

Kelly Kettle

The Kelly family in Ireland pioneered the development of the Kelly Kettle and now, for over 100 years, the unique Kelly Kettle has made boiling water in the outdoors quick and easy even in extreme weather conditions. Any natural fuel can be used to burn and create the fire which will quickly bring the water in the kettle to a roiling boil. Since only natural fuel is used you don’t have to worry about carrying gas or batteries or other types of fuel with you. Safe and easy to use, the Kelly Kettle will be one of your most used and valued pieces of camping gear.

watch the video on:

Kelly Kettles have become popular for a variety of reasons with different groups of outdoor enthusiasts.

  • Camping: If you are camping and just want a convenient quick way to heat up your water for hydrating food, a cup of coffee or for personal use, the Base Camp Large Kelly Kettle is great. It will deliver about 7 cups of hot water in just a few minutes. Your camping gear will not be complete without a Kelly Kettle.
  • Back Packing and Hiking: Backpackers and hikers love the Trekker Small Kelly Kettle for its light weight and natural fuel burning ability. Never worry about carrying heavy fuel in your backpack again. The Trekker Kettle holds a little over 2 cups of water which is enough to hydrate your dehydrated evening meal and extra for a cup of hot chocolate or coffee. You will never go on a backpacking trip again without your Trekker Kelly Kettle.
  • Kayaking:Kayaking is another outdoor sport where you don’t want to have to carry any more than necessary. Once again, the Trekker Kelly Kettle is ideal because of its light weight, use of natural fuel and how fast it will boil water when you are exhausted from kayaking all day.
  • Scouts:Scouting is a terrific youth activity and what better way to teach scouts how to camp, cook and purify water than to teach them how to use the Kelly Kettle. The Base Camp Large Kettle and the Scout Medium Kettle are both perfect for scouting activities, competitions and campouts. A scout troop with kettles for each patrol is well set up to provide purified water for use in cooking and personal hygiene for each member of the patrol. — Not that scouts necessarily worry about the later but at least they have the option.
  • Fishing and Hunting:The Kelly Kettle was created to quickly produce hot water for coffee and other hot drinks while fishing on the beautiful lakes of Ireland. The same is still true today. All three sizes of kettles are well suited for the fisherman or hunter depending on the size of the group and whether you are backpacking into a remote area to catch the big fish or bag the trophy deer or elk or just setting up camp for a leisurely outing.
  • Emergency Preparedness and Survival Use:The Kelly Kettles are an essential element of any emergency preparedness plan since in an emergency or disaster situation the most important part of survival is being able to obtain pure water. Without access to other types of fuel such as gas or propane, it may be difficult to get pure water. Since the Kelly Kettle uses only natural fuels, in a disaster you most likely will still have access to ample natural fuel in order to boil and purify water for drinking, cooking and personal hygiene.
  • The Kelly Kettles are available in three (3) sizes made from aluminum or stainless steel.

  • Base Camp Large Kettle: This kettle holds 54 oz or about 7 cups of water and comes in aluminum or stainless steel.
  • Scout Medium Kettle: This kettle holds 44 oz or about 5 ½ cups and is available ONLY in aluminum.
  • Trekker Small Kettle: This kettle holds 17oz or about 2 cups and is available in aluminum and stainless steel.

You need to be physically fit to dive.

Still, about half of the deaths can be attributed to young divers venturing into underwater caves without proper training or equipment. Fully certified cave divers undergo specific cave training that includes at least 16 instructor-led dives and several hours of classroom training. Source

Additionally, a lack of adequate buoyancy is one of the primary reasons fragile underwater environments are damaged. Poor buoyancy control leads to divers being unable to retain neutral buoyancy throughout a dive. When there is not enough buoyancy, divers have a tendency to overcompensate by swinging around wildly, trying to stay down under the water. This leads to a tired and exhausted diver, as well as a potentially ruined underwater environment. With proper initial buoyancy control, a diver is able to enjoy the dive more thoroughly and safely. Source

Poor Diver Health

Almost any pre-existing medical condition or health factor can affect a diver’s safety. Common examples include obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, breathing difficulties (temporary or chronic), a general lack of fitness, pre-existing injuries and dehydration. The biggest contributing factor-cited in 74 percent of the fatal cases covered by the study-involved divers with a body mass index in the overweight, obese or morbidly obese categories. And approximately 15 percent of fatalities examined by the study involved people who were known to have high blood pressure or heart disease.

Temporary health conditions like colds and severe allergies can also be problematic. Whether permanent or temporary, any health condition that impedes your ability to be alert, to recognize and respond to environmental conditions, and otherwise safely plan and complete a dive should contraindicate diving. Even after you recover from your illness or your chronic condition is back in check, your body needs time to recover from the effects of your medical complication. For example: Your cough may be gone, but it may take time for your chest congestion to clear. Rushing into the water before you’re physically able to breathe deeply can leave you starved for air, which may lead to panic. In this situation, trying to breathe deeply when the body just is not able to causes you to feel as though you cannot get any air at all. This leads to stress, which can lead to poor decision-making or worse, full-scale panic. Source

What was my most extreme adventure??

It was a solo boat trip in the NW Canadian Wilderness. I departed from US waters and spent a month boating up the Strait of Georgia into the Campbell River Wilderness Area.

There were many extremes. Even though I had some supplies aboard I hand-caught Dungeness Crab, gathered Oysters, and Speared fish. Of course I wore a wet suit, but still became hypothermic in 40 degree water. A Giant Pacific Octopus grabbed onto me and, a Cougar stocked me when I was trying to find some claims.

This was extreme because:
- this area has some of the fastest currents and largest tide changes in the Northern Hemisphere.
- the NW wilderness may be pretty void of people, but it’s chock-full of wildlife Killer whales, Seals, Bald Eagles etc.

Dress for Halloween before a hike

Big cats normally attack from behind, which is why many forest workers wear face masks on the backs of their heads. You don’t need to go to that extreme, but there are some basic things you should know. Here are some tips taken from a handout at a “predator awareness ” Don’t let the paved pathways and manicured hiking trails fool you. There are cougars and coyotes in most Western parks and all the wildlife officers in the world can’t guarantee your safety. Frances Frost, who was cross-country skiing alone, was attacked from behind by a cougar and killed.

That means, that if you live near, or go into, a wilderness area, there are certain precautions you must take.
- Don’t let small children play at the edge of a natural area unsupervised at dawn or dusk. That chain link fence in the backyard of your custom-built, $2-million home means nothing to a cougar.
- Don’t go jogging alone in a natural area at dawn or dusk, when predators are most active, any time of year.
- If you are stalked or attacked by a cougar, don’t play dead. Fight like hell.
Nobody is calling for the extermination of cougars, although a few have been re-located. But wildlife officers can’t be expected to capture and relocate every cougar that wanders through a park. People living near natural areas need to take responsibility for their safety.

“For the well-being of your children, please discuss basic personal safety rules prior to letting them visit a park on their own. “All wild animals are unpredictable. For your safety and the animal’s well-being, please maintain a safe distance between yourself and any animal encountered. Do not provoke animals, and remember, never feed any wildlife.”
Also, people should avoid listening to personal stereos or telephones with earphones: “The music may mask sounds or warnings alerting you to dangerous situations.”

How will the Production Co. keep track of Sherry?

Every day at 9am Pacific Daylight Time Sherry will use SPOT to send a message to say she is OK. At the push of a button it will transmit her OK message and GPS position to pre-programmed emails/mobile phones. Despite the isolation, viewers can follow her progress on the web, and she will send a message every 24 hours via Twitter, to check in and register that she is still alive, but will receive no replies. Once camera tapes start arriving the clips will be supplied on a regular basis for the website where 2 or 3 minute segments will be posted. Viewers will be able to follow the daily adventures.
June 1, 2011 Sherry will be flown to Tin Cup Lake about 60 minutes flying time from Whitehorse, the capital of Yukon. She will be dropped on the shore before heading inland along a valley called Stay Away Creek where she will pick a campsite and start building a base camp. She will move camera equipment from the landing site to her camp in a series of load shuttles. August 1 a small film crew will come to “Sherry’s camp” to finalize the adventure, and find what lessons were learned.

If I only would have known….before I went backpacking

The first time I went backpacking (I was in Jr. High school) I brought a change of clothes for every day. I also carried a giant canvas pack and a blanket.  Using the layering method with synthetic clothing reduces weight and maximizes the efficiency of the garment you do take.  Newer packs, sleeping bags, and tents are made of lighter and more durable materials.  Upgrading equipment can lighten your load significantly, and help you have more fun!

I wish someone had told me about the ABC’s of outdoor clothing ABC = Anything But Cotton. Silk or Nylon with spandex are my favorites. They need to be soft, quick-drying and have no chafe comfort.  And, I learned the hard way that extra socks are one of the most important things you should never forget; and change them frequently.

The “one set of clothes” deal is essential. You don’t need to change for many days if you’re wearing the right items, especially if you can hop into a lake every few days (with clothes on). Bring a rain shell jacket for warmth and water protection (something small and lightweight). Now, I use a smaller size backpack (like 2,000 cu. inches) unless going for 5-day+ trip. I wear hiking shoes, not boots. Hiking shoes work well unless you are walking on a lot of rock or traversing hills carrying large loads; then a heavier boot is needed. For Mountain climbing, boots are needed especially when crampons are required. I have seen many a boy scout with there big hiking boots struggling to get up the hills.  Ohhhhh I feel bad for them.

“Here’s what you need to do to reduce the risk of not surviving an un- expected stay in the woods” Start with the most important essential; leave the information about your planned route and expected return time with a responsible friend or relative.  If you are not back by a certain time, have them start a search.

Keep a small survival kit with you at all times.

I start with a waterproof stuff sack, add some extra food (I throw in a sm. Pkg. of Jerky)  add a light weight fleece jacket, a light weight rain jacket, sun hat, and a pair of gloves.  If my fingers don’t work I cant light a fire. Pack a Wool Hat. A 5 oz. Emergency Bive Sack, I like better than an Emergency Blanket because you can crawl into it and retain your body heat better.

Matches, Mirror, Compass, 50” of Cord, Water purification tablets, a First Aid kit (and I add a small Blister pack with mole skin) Knife, Pen or Pencil with Duct tape wrapped around it, Bick Lighter, or some folks prefer a Magnesium fire stick (or both) and the Loudest Whistle you can find.

If you’re in Bear Country ALWAYS carry BEAR SPRAY!  I carry it year around, and if another type of critter is giving you trouble the Bear Spray will shoot 30 feet and that’s a good distance to keep between them and you.

Learn to use tarps. They are light weight and can be rigged in countless ways with trees, rocks, paddles, trekking poles, and anything else you happen to have around. Especially when backpacking with groups it is great to have a couple for the kitchen or hang out tarps in case of rain.  They make a good place to play games under.

Don’t loose any sleep, or heat! A sleeping pad is just as important as a sleeping bag. New open-cell polyurethane foam pads trap body-heated air closer to you and the sleeping bag. This prevents heat loss to the cold wet ground.  But lots of things work, like a piece of Bubble wrap.

During my first backpacking trip I learned that adjusting the hip belt on my pack was crucial to having a successful trip and NO BLISTERS ON THE HIP BONES!!!

Headlamp, headlamp, headlamp. Never leave home without it!