Identifying poison oak and poison ivy are pretty basic skills.
You learn, you memorize, you take the knowledge for granted.
After a few beers, I headed for the trees.
I plucked a leaf, did my thing, and rejoined the party.
I thought I was sitting too close to the fire or that maybe my shorts had taken on a little too much sand.
I excused myself again, spread my sleeping pad under the trees, and went fetal.
“Is this what you touched?” He snatched a leaf and waved it in my face.
It takes on seawater and stores the salt in its leaves.
Back in camp, word spread fast.
I was gifted an alcohol wipe, which brought no relief to my sand-abraded skin.
Hunters, the Surprising Saviors of Our Public Lands.
Yet America’s public lands and America’s tradition of sport hunting are so intertwined that they’re virtually synonymous.
And the latter is responsible for conservation in this country.
Hunters pay billions of dollars that go toward protecting this habitat.
It’s also what Zinke is threatening to undo.
Tawney credits this increase largely to the GOP’s ongoing war on public lands.
No other traditionally conservative group is currently waging such a public campaign against current GOP policy.
Hunting employs over 700,000 Americans.
Will the protest of a core and vocal group of GOP voters be enough to save our national monuments?
“Zinke should know that sportsmen are watching,” says Tawney.
The Right Gear to Bear-Proof Your Camp.
The sun was setting over the Idaho mountains, the ham and spuds were warming up, and the whisky was on the rocks.
Then two black round ears appeared over the Coleman stove.
It turned into a very short camping trip.
Here’s a sample: Stringing your food from a tree branch is the tried-and-true method of securing your groceries.
This method is cheap and light and provides hours of entertainment as you seek a suitable tree and attempt to lob the rope over the limb without entanglement.
BUY IT NOW Bear-resistant panniers and coolers Your run-of-the-mill cooler is no match for Yogi and Boo-Boo.
You can visit the website of the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee and download the list of government-approved, grizzly-tested grub boxes.
Military grade zip-top bags keep the scent in.
It worked like a charm on a recent float trip, when an unexpected portage forced us to camp on a small bench that had no large trees.
5 Items Every Survivalist Can’t Pack Enough Of.
Despite my best planning, I ran out of 550 cord on a recent camping trip.
Just make sure you carry enough.
The average pack contains 25 to 30 matches.
If conditions are damp and windy, it may take several matches to get a fire lit, leaving you with the capability to only light a few fires per pack.
Matches are so small and light, there’s no reason to limit your stock on the trail.
Food is the fuel that keeps your engine running.
Carrying extra food is a like an insurance policy against going hungry.
I’ve run out of cord, and you probably have too.
At least a hundred feet of 550 cord should be included in your gear, though that’s barely enough for a bear bag line and a few lines for your rain fly.
Don’t Believe the Lies.
No one I know seems to be able to say, definitively, what has happened to us and to our beautiful republic.
The nattering pundits of television and the internet claim that we are a nation hopelessly divided.
They—these expensively coiffed soap-locks; these poltroons of right, left, the bizarre, the interplanetary, and the fungal—claim that our very own citizens seethe with hatred for one another, that we agree on nothing, that we batten on the potent energies of scorn and the thinnest gruels of despair, that we’ve forsaken all we once held self-evident and in common.
A new poll shows extraordinary unity among us Americans—right and left, rich and poor—when it comes to hunting and fishing and our unique and hard-won brand of conservation that makes them possible.
But first, any reader worth his or her salt will want to know who conducted this poll, how it was conducted, and who stands most to benefit from publishing its results, so here are the answers: The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership conducted the poll in partnership with Public Opinion Strategies to find out as much as possible about how American outdoorsmen feel about conservation.
As to who benefits from the poll?
“What’s most interesting in this is that there seems to be no division between political parties when it comes to people’s actual beliefs on these conservation issues,” Joel Webster of TRCP recently told me.
I was fascinated by the poll, since I’ve overdosed on the news lately, and to listen to the news is to see a nation whose citizens are at one another’s throats.
The belief is false—we are already banded together, Americans all, disputatious and ornery as ever.
How to Survive With a Headlamp.
Flag down rescuers Flash your light in groups of three to indicate distress.
Wave it to create a visible arc.
Out of battery?
Tap lightly around the side of the lamp with a sharp rock to separate the silver cup behind the bulb.
Catch fish If your batteries die or you can’t ignore your hunger, repurpose reflective elements to attract fish.
Then smash the headlamp casing and fashion a gorge hook (pictured) from a shard of sharpened plastic.
Start a fire Strip and splice wires from the guts of the lamp until you can touch the ends to either terminus of a AA or AAA battery.
This shorts the battery, turning the wire red-hot with electrical current.
Use your needle to work loose nylon strands from the headband to use as thread.
How to Forage Safely.
If I don’t have a field guide with me, how can I tell if a plant is safe to eat?
Plan B is a song and dance we call the Universal Edibility Test.
If you’re an impatient eater, beware: this is not a quick process.
First rule out known baddies like poison ivy, then wildcards like mushrooms, many of which can kill you in just one bite.
If there’s still no reaction, ingest a small piece and wait eight hours.
Feel good after eight more hours?
Can I achieve the same effect using sunlight?
– Shelby Terraza, via email All UV rays destroy pathogen DNA, but unlike an easy-to-use Steripen, sunlight takes some coaxing.
A new PET water or soda bottle works best.