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A Campfire Permit is required year-round
for the use of any type of fire or backpacking stove used outside a developed
campground or picnic area! These
permits are free and are available from any Forest Service office. The
restrictions on types of fire allowed change with the fire danger conditions.
During periods of extreme dryness, cold camping may be required. Please be sure
to check with a Forest Service office or Information Station for current fire
danger information before each trip.
The greatest wildland hazard is fire. Be extremely careful with any type of fire - one careless act can have devastating affects. If the area you visit permits wood campfires, keep the following guidelines in mind.
Use a portable stove for cooking, then build a small fire for relaxing. Use only dead and down wood. Never break branches from standing trees, even if they look dead. The tree may not be, and breaking branches can injure it. If you use only a small portion of the available wood, campers who come after you will be able to enjoy a campfire, too.
To build a fire, first select a level spot away from overhanging trees, bushes, or dry grass. With your shovel or trowel, clear a large circle to bare dirt. Hollow out a fire hole, 1 to 3 feet across and 5 to 6 inches deep. Pile the soil around the edge of the firehole. Keep the fire small and never start a fire in windy weather. Make sure your fire is dead out when you are ready to leave your campsite, and return the area to its natural state before you leave.
Water from lakes, streams, and springs may be
clear, cold, and free-running. It can look, smell and taste good, but you should
be aware of possible danger.
CRYPTOSPORIDIUM and GIARDIASIS are diseases that may be contracted from drinking untreated "natural" water. Although incapacitating, they are not usually life-threatening for people with healthy immune systems. They do, however, pose a serious threat to people with AIDS or other diseases that weaken the immune system. Symptoms usually include diarrhea, loss of appetite, abdominal cramps and bloating. These discomforts may appear a few days to a few weeks after ingestion, and may last up to 6 weeks.
Most people are unaware that they have been infected and have often returned home before the onset of symptoms. Other diseases can have similar symptoms, but if you have drunk untreated water you should suspect cryptosporidium or giardiasis, and inform your doctor. With proper diagnosis these diseases are curable when treated by a physician.
All water from natural water sources should be boiled at least 5 minutes. Chemical disinfectants such as iodine or chlorine tablets or drops are not yet considered as reliable as heat in killing cryptosporidium and giardiasis. Although these products work well against most waterborne bacteria and viruses that cause disease. In an emergency where a chemical disinfective must be used, iodine is often more effective than chlorine. If possible, filter the water first, and then allow the iodine to work at least an hour before you drink. Some filtering devices now on the market may also be effective.
For short trips, take a supply of water from home or other domestic source.
Caused by a rapid loss of body heat,
hypothermia is the most dangerous illness of backcountry travel. It can strike
on a balmy day, under conditions you least expect. Often victims don't recognize
the symptoms, simply because they can't believe hypothermia could strike under
comparatively mild travel conditions. The victim may have to rely on fellow
travelers to spot the attack and act to insure recovery.
Drastic lowering of the inner body temperature causes rapid and progressive mental and physical collapse. Symptoms include fits of shivering, vague, slurred speech, memory lapse, fumbling hands, lurching walk, drowsiness and exhaustion, and apparent unconcern about physical discomfort.
Get the victim out of the wind and wet. Restore body temperature. Skin-to-skin contact is quickest. Place the victim in a dry sleeping bag, then have one or two heat donors surround the victim. If the victim is conscious, give warm drink - even hot water (not coffee or other stimulant.) When fit for travel, carry the victim out in windproof and waterproof covering.
Altitude sickness may occur if you overexert
at high elevations where oxygen supply is reduced. Symptoms include fatigue,
weakness, headache, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, and shortness of breath
on exertion. Victims should stop and rest, breathe deeply, and move slowly to
Hyperventilation is caused by too rapid breathing and the decrease of carbon dioxide level in the blood, causing light-headedness and a cold feeling.
Calm the victim and have them relax and breathe into a glove, bag, or hat until normal breathing is restored.
Exhaustion occurs because the person may be pushing too hard. They may be embarrassed to ask the group to slow down. A good principle of backcountry travel is to take it slow, rest often, and drink and snack frequently to restore body energy.
Sudden, unexpected mountain storms are common
throughout the year. Be aware of the possibility of thunderstorms during the
summer, and snow in late spring or early fall.
During lightning storms it is best to avoid open areas such as meadows, ridges, and mountain tops, and to stay away from isolated trees. Find safer shelter among dense, small trees in the lower areas. If this is not possible, lie down flat on the ground. In all cases, remove metal frame backpacks and metal tent poles, as lightning is attracted to them.
Steam flows will be high and swift following rainstorms and during the snowmelt runoff in early summer. Stream crossings can be hazardous. Check with a local Ranger Station for current conditions. Check current weather conditions as the National Weather Service
Be prepared, practice safety, and have a unique wilderness experience.
Be sure to take these essential items along:
check list for: outdoors activities
- Maps [ ]
- Flashlight [ ]
- Lantern and fuel [ ]
- Nylon rope for food hang [ ]
- Handkerchief [ ]
- Camera and film [ ]
- Plastic garbage bags [ ]
- Toilet paper [ ]
- Toothbrush and toothpaste [ ]
- Compass [ ]
- Watch [ ]
- Feminine hygiene products [ ]
- Binoculars [ ]
- Notebook and pen [ ]
- Towel [ ]