Sunday, July 12, 2015

List:06 Things That Can Get You

mosquitoes, ticks, spiders, wasps and fire ants. We also have scorpions, not sure if that's really a bug though.

Use common sense to try to avoid. Wear a hat or bandanna, lightweight long-sleeves and long pants with your pants tucked in your socks in ticky areas. That getup will also help with mosquitoes. Squirt DEET on your cuffs and bandanna, not on your bare skin. 

Don't put DEET on sensitive fabrics and printed fabrics will run, wool can be eaten away, it's harsh stuff! It must be removed before you get in your sleeping bag, so you will have to strip and use wet wipes before bed. There are more natural repellents that are far less harsh and far less effective. For each 10% of DEET in a product, it's good for that many hours. 100% DEET will last 10 hours.

Turn your shoes over and knock them together to dump out nocturnal visitors and if turning over or moving logs, watch for spiders and scorpions. Fire ants make big, visible mounds, so walk around them.

Be aware of where your hands and feet are at all times. Walk around fallen trees instead of over when at all possible. Don't reach up onto ledges you can't see and be aware around water. Back away from snakes you see and give them lots of room to escape, which they will happily do.

Mammals:Bears, raccoons and skunks-
Don't hike with a dog, they are critter bait.

In bear country, follow local regulations. They will be posted at the trailhead. Practice hanging your food and pack at home and on the trail, realize it may take up to an hour of the evening to locate a good tree branch, get a rope over it and hang your stuff. Be patient, weight the end of your rope with a rock or a small stuff sack filled with pebbles, toss underhand.

Skunks-keep calm if you see one. Move away slowly, don't throw something at it to scare it off. You are the one who needs to leave. If it has you trapped in your tent (I got trapped in the bathhouse by a HUGE one once) you just have to wait it out. Trying to scare them off will backfire.

To lessen all scary mammal encounters - Don't dump any leftovers or cooking water out on the ground and always hang your trash and food well out of reach. Don't sleep in what you cooked in. Don't leave any gear out for them to rummage through.  Store your trash in odor blocking bags.

Rodents like mice, chipmunks and ground squirrels will chew right in to your tent if they smell food. If you can't hang your pack, leave your zippers unzipped. Small animals will explore if they smell food and better not to deal with gnawed holes.

The Poison Trio (oak, ivy and sumac) and nettle.

From exposure to bumps takes a few hours, so don't panic. If you get in something you know you are allergic to, try to wipe down with a baby wipe as soon as you can, especially your shoes. Anything with lather to it will break up the oils. If you are really prone, bring along Tech-Nu or another ivy cleanser.

Nettle will give an itchy rash. A baby wipe will help a little once the rash is up, or any cool damp cloth. If there are any stinging hairs stuck in your skin, use a piece of duct tape or the sticking parts of a bandaid to pull them out. A plaster of mud left to dry and then brushed off will work, too.

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