Thursday, May 22, 2008

Wilderness Medicine

It happens. We trip, slip and manage to mangle ourselves, miles from the nearest road, much less the nearest medical clinic. That's why it is so important to follow the old Boy Scout motto "be prepared."

For me, that means having along the necessities of medicine needed to care for what can occur. because the bushcrafters mantra is the more you know, the less you carry, my kit is small. Small is good, uncomplicated, uncluttered, easy and quick. Small is likely to be carried. We all know that a fully stocked hospital quality first aid kit is of no use if it is not present when needed, back in the rig or camp. With this small kit I can take care of most any wounds... but what is it missing, what eventualities can happen that I should plan for?

I have been doing some reading lately. Actually, reading might be to strong a term. Scanning might be better. I have read all these books though, and combined with a bit of thought and planning, as well as some basic medical training (I am an EMT-Basic), I feel I am well prepared to overcome just about any situation I might face in the backcountry.

I should also mention that this is my emergency first aid kit. I only use this stuff for emergencies. I have a couple band aids and some pain relievers (Tylenol PM) in my toiletries kit.

I highly recommend that you do your own research. Dig around on the internet, visit Barnes and Noble, go borrow a book or few from your local library on wilderness first aid. It is a very important part of being prepared for the adventures we undertake.

Here's what is in my kit:
Bandages (also called band-aids)
Iodine pads
Alcohol pads
Neosporin/ antibiotic ointment
Athletic tape
Gauze pads
Cotton tipped swabs (AKA q-tips)
Cough drops
Salt/ rehydration tabs
Pain relief tablets
*Not in picture:
smallest model Swiss Army knife (mainly for the scissors and tweezers)

All this weighs less than 1# and fits in a really small amount of space. It is always with me in the backcountry.

Saturday, May 17, 2008


I suffer terribly from allergies. If you have them, you know how bad it can be. My nose is always stuffy, my eyes can tear up at the drop of a hat.... tons of fun. Last year I went to the allergist for the first time. They did the whole allergy test-prick you on the back thing. And I am allergic to just about everything out there. Grasses came up negative on their test, but I know I am allergic to cheat grass/ foxtail. When I go hiking I can feel it.

But the best part about having allergies is the wonderful view you get when they are at their worst and you are out hiking...

Saturday, May 10, 2008


I'll admit it. I love gear. For me, gear is that all-encompassing term that, when it all comes down to it, toys. Some think of big boy toys as trucks, motorcycles and such. For me, big boy toys are the things that allow me to flourish in the outdoors. Knives. Yeah! Backpacks. Got a few. Stoves. Check! Tents. How many do I need? Sleeping bags and pads, lanterns, fly rods, float tubes, pots and pans, water bottles... the list goes on. Totally contradictory to my desire of a simpler life, uncluttered by "stuff." And yet, piece by piece, my collection grows and never seems to shrink. Without digging in my boxes in the garage I know I have at least three tents, three sleeping bags, two multi day packs, two messenger-type bags, two stoves, three lanterns. Redundancy is good, and I feel good having enough stuff to allow others to join me, but at what point is it too much?

This summer I want to thin the heard, streamline the quiver, cull the unused. It will be a challenge. I don' like to get rid of my fun stuff. I like my knives, and what if I need this or that? But the point is, I can only USE one knife at a time. I can only USE one tent at a time... one fly rod, one float tube, one multi-tool.

Maybe I can sell some of the stuff. Use the money for a new longbow. Now, a fella can't have to many bows.....

Monday, May 5, 2008

Sharpening knives

I am sharpening retarded. I have tried just about everything. The little carbide scrapers. They do OK, but they take a lot of metal away and it's not REAL sharp. I have a little Gerber ceramic and diamond sharpener gadget that works on the same principal, even uses the same angle. Still not REAL sharp. Several years ago I purchased a Japanese waterstone set, but it was time consuming messy and I still wasn't getting good results. But recently I was looking for some Ray Mears videos on You Tube and found this video. GREAT STUFF!!! Bingo, my knives were sharp. In no time flat I had sharpened the whole house full of knives. No small task since I have more than a couple in my stash and the kitchen knives. Just goes to show that a little tutoring goes a long way, a little shared knowledge makes the difference. Hope you enjoy it.

This years hunts

Well.... they may or may not happen! They may be short. Bu then again, they may go off without a hitch.... all because of life.

Life #1: My lovely wife is pregnant with our first child! Hooray! We are pretty excited. She isn't too far along, the due date seems a long way off with the recent 70-80 degree days, fresh cut lawns and leaf buds just beginning to come out. But a week away during the end of the second trimester for my elk time in the mountains seems a bit greedy and self centered. But then again, if that's what I need to stay sane,... we shall see.

Life #2: I am currently jobless. Thats right, still looking for some gainful employment. I am also looking at school which is the more tempting option. But not knowing when it would kick off throws a wrench into the whole hunt thing.

But still I plan. I pour over maps and sort gear. I fantasize about close encounters of the ungulate kind. I practice shooting almost daily.

What to do, what to do.

Priorities. Responsibility. Life is good.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Knife craft techniques

I recently stumbled across this great video of Andrew Price demonstrating some knife techniques. I have the Kellam Puukko knife he is using and it is great. I have never used the soft-of-the-knee technique but I might have to give it a go.