Hiking Safety

Having made my share of mistakes in the wilderness over the years, I have compiled a list of gotcha’s that can be applied to any outdoor adventure. I urge you to print this out and store with your outdoor gear. Hiking can be a most rewarding distraction from the daily grind, but safety should NEVER be taken for granted!

Preparation

1) Plan your hike. You are more likely to have a safe and happy hike if you “plan your hike, and hike your plan”. To rush out on a big hike w/o proper planning is asking for trouble! ALWAYS notify someone close to you where you will be and how long you will be gone.

2) Know your terrain. Use every resource available to get to know your hiking trail before you set out. This will prepare you for the walking conditions. “Are there streams to ford?, Elevation changes?, Is terrain rocky or smooth?”, Just some of the questions that can be answered BEFORE you set out.

3) Know your climate. Hypothermia is real, dangerous, and misunderstood. Hypothermia can strike in relatively warm environments. Hypothermia plain and simple is a rapid cooling of the body. This can be caused by cold, wet or a combination of both. Hypothermia can easily be prevented with proper preparation.

In The Pack Essentials

1) Potable water. Always have fresh water available, on any excursion. It is also a good idea to bring along purification tablets and/or a filtration device. Having the ability to produce drinking water can be just as important as the water you pack in. I also bring along some protein snacks, just in case.

2) First Aid Kit. Although an obvious choice, it is surprising how many folks go in the wilderness without one. Items as simple as pain relief tablets can be a welcome addition when you are far from civilization. Other items are bandages, tweezers, moleskin, antiseptic, needle and thread (for repairs).

3) Fire and light source. Matches and a lighter are essentials for me. I usually pack along a small piece of commercial starter stick for quick fires in moist environments. I also pack a small conventional flashlight and an LED light, as well.

4) Clothing. It is always wise to pack some extra layers. The weight of these items will be dictated by the environment, err to the side of caution, as temps can fluctuate greatly, especially in mountainous environments. An extra pair of socks can be life savers.

5) Orienteering. Packing along a map and compass has gotten me out of a jam more than once. I also carry a cell phone, even though I may not get reception in most places, in a pinch, I may be able to get a call out.

The single most important item to pack on your next hike is common sense. Making sound decisions while on the trail will keep you out of most troubled situations. If you hike with your family members, especially children or seniors, remember that they may not have the stamina handle the same level hike as you, and you ultimately must make the right decision.

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5 Useful Tips On Trout Fishing

In fishing, trout are one of the favorite “fishing friends” of most anglers. These crafty fish are abundant anywhere. The native habitat of these crafty fish depends on the type of trout.

For brook trout, the native habitat includes the territory from Labrador westward to the Saskatchewan, while the rainbow trout is a native of the Pacific slope from Alaska to California.

On the other hand, brown trout has found its way into the waters of every state in the United States except Florida, Arkansas, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Texas. It has been reported in the waters of some of these states, but according to conservation officials, no authentic reports have been received. It is also found in many parts of Canada.

In trout fishing, there are some factors that need to be considered in order to have a successful catch.

1. For trout fishing, the leader should not be greased. It will not sink far enough to cause any difficulty when picking the line and lure from the water, but if it is allowed to float; it will cast a shadow on the bottom of the stream which may scare the trout.

2. The trout is one of the fishes that are usually secured through the use of the dry fly. For trout, the current as well as the pools should be fished. It may sometimes be a bit difficult to keep the fly from sinking or dragging because of the various conditions of the current, but this is a matter that the angler will have to figure out for himself.

3. It is not good practice when fishing for trout to fish directly upstream so the flies, line, and leader will float directly over fish. The fisherman should make the cast from one side of the stream so the fly will only float over the fish.

4. It is important to make the first cast the best. A feeding trout will usually strike the first lure presented if it is cast so that it will float over his private domain. The angler should never fail to fish the lower end of the pool first even if the trout are rising in the middle or upper end.

5. Trout are sometimes very moody or selective and will try the patience of any angler; hence, possibly a fly with less hackle will do the trick or it may be necessary to use a spent-wing fly or a fan wing.

Indeed, catching trout fishes can be lots of fun. The anglers just have to remember these tips in order to have a happy catch.

 

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Fishing Kit

Before going deeper into the technicalities, make sure that a fishing license is secured. To be an amateur fisherman there are basic pieces of fishing equipment needed to complete your exciting journey in the fishing world. Knowing the line type and matching the right rod and reel to the fishing technique is just basic common sense. Match these tools appropriately and expect a more enjoyable experience for a more comfortable fishing. There are several things that causes the reel to turn into a bird’s nest, don’t worry, even experienced fishermen encounter this every now and then.

The main objective is to match the rod, the reel, the line and the lure. These will only cost a newbie around $25 to $40 and they could last for years. The 3 main issues when shopping for a rod are: Guides that are attached to the rod; Grip or handle holds the rod and could come in either cork or foam. They come in different lengths so the comfort to the user must be considered; and the reel seat where the reel is connected.

Dealers make a lot of fishing rods that could either be single or consist of two or more pieces when assembled. The connection is very simple; just connect the male and female ends together to make sure the guides are lined up. This would only last for a minutes. Sometimes, lubricants are needed. When shopping for a rod, slightly bend it to get the feel of it. Again comfort should be considered when using the equipment.

Rods of any type will work. It should be around 6′ long and medium weight. Even a long stick will work. This should be long, straight and flexible so it will not easily break. The most popular rod is Graphite because it is so light yet so strong. Wispy rods should be up to 4m long to be used for long casts in moderate winds.

There are a lot of fishing lines to choose from and it can be very confusing to find the best. It is mostly made of nylon and “monofilament” that comes in spools of different lengths that are called Tests. The larger the fishing line the thicker it is in diameter. Find a piece of a 4lb. or 4 lb. Test that is almost 10′ long for the basic rig.

The basic rule is that all the gears should match. To summarize your fishing kit, it should include other stuff as well: net, stringer, line clippers, fishing knife, first aid box, a pail of bait, sunglasses, fishing hat, and talking about the basics, don’t forget your SNACKS!

 

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Six Reasons For You To Take Up Rock Climbing

As children many of us enjoy climbing. However, climbing isn’t just for children, and taking up climbing as a hobby could be great for you. Here are some of the top reasons why rock climbing could be your next big passion, and why so many people make it a part of their lives.

Outdoors: Rock climbing can get you outdoors, and often takes you to some really beautiful places. You could find yourself in a local valley, at a national park, or even somewhere on the other side of the world. There is great climbing everywhere.

As an outdoor activity, rock climbing also ties in well with other hobbies such as camping and canoeing. You could happily spend a day paddling up a river to a climbing spot, enjoying a challenging climb, and then paddling back to your camp at the end of a great days climbing.

Indoors: Although rock climbing is more common as an outdoor activity, you can also enjoy it in indoor environments. Many gyms and public sports centers have climbing facilities. This is great for those who don’t have time to get to natural climb spots, or who live in the middle of a big city. It’s also useful for times when the weather is bad.

Graded: Rock climbing routes are graded. This indicates how difficult the climb is likely to be. As a climber, you will start out only able to tackle the lowest graded routes. However, with time you’ll improve and be able to tackle harder routes. This grading system allows you to gauge your progress, helping you to recognize your improvement and that of your friends.

Non-competitive: Generally, rock climbing is a non-competitive sport. The only person you usually compete against is yourself  to see if you can go that bit further and harder. This makes it a more mentally relaxed pursuit, even though it’s one of the most physically demanding of all sports. Generally all you have to worry about is you and the rock. This makes it therapeutic, helping you to stay focused and stop thinking about the stresses of your daily life.

Competitive: While much rock climbing is non-competitive, there are competitive options for those who are interested. Competitions are usually held at indoor locations. Climbers compete in rounds, and are judged on speed, point-reached and various other indicators.

Fitness: In addition to the outright fun that rock climbing offers, it also improves fitness. Climbing itself is strenuous, and will challenge you whether you are a beginner or have become quite advanced. It uses all of the muscles in your body to from the tips of your toes to the tips of your fingers and everything in between! Your legs, guts, core, chest, shoulders, back, and arms will all be put to the test.

After a certain point, you’ll probably even need to start a training program in order to continue to improve your climbing. Having lots of endurance as well as all-round body strength are essential to advanced climbing.

These are just a few of the reasons why so many people today enjoy rock climbing as part of their lifestyle, and why you should consider taking up rock climbing yourself. It’s great fun, challenging, good for the mind and great for the body. Whatever you got to lose? Go ahead and give it a go!

 

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