Friday, April 2, 2010

The Boy Scout Motto

For those of you that were never Boy Scouts or that may have been living in a cave for most of your life, the motto is Be Prepared.

You can consider this the annual “lets be safe out there” article. For those of you that have been reading the blog for a while this may be a little boring but we are continually getting new folks as readers so I like to repeat myself on occasion. And let’s face it, we all get a little complacent at times in what we do.

Spring has sprung and for some of us the temperatures have already been in the 90’s. This means that you will be consuming more liquids as you hike and you may run into some nasty little things like snakes and bugs that can be detrimental to your health.

I know that I have been guilty of not taking my gear with me on what is supposed to be a short walk from time to time, thinking I won’t be that far away and if I need something I can always come back for it. Well, if any of you are like me, you almost always have to come back for something or wish that you had or that short walk turns into a hike and then you don’t have your gear.

I almost always have my obligatory 30 pound pack with me but I occasionally leave my camera behind. Why thirty pounds worth of stuff? Some would say I’m just a glutton for punishment but I would said I’m just a little anal about being prepared. I was an Eagle Scout after all!

What should you have with you on your treasure hunts? That will depend on where you are hunting, the type of terrain, the weather, etc. There are many variables about the type of things you should have but in my opinion you should always have enough liquids to get you twice as far as you expect to be. This would include plenty of water and a back up bottle of Gatorade. Gatorade is almost a must if you are hunting in the heat. It will do a lot more for you than just plain water.

I know a lot of you will say you can go without water for a while but why? I know it can be a pain in the ass to carry your backpack with you if you think you are just going to be gone a short time but you never know what might happen or what you might find that will keep you out longer than you expect. Seasoned hunters are almost as guilty of this as the newbies. Just last year I went on a short hike with a friend of mine the day before the annual treasure hunters get together and although he was giving me a hard time about not taking my camera he only had one small bottle of water with him. That’s it, nothing else.

So here it was June, about 90 degrees outside with about 75% humidity and we were walking in the mountains. Needless to say, I had to keep filling his water bottle up from my camel back just so I wouldn’t have to carry him out of the mountains. OK, it wasn’t quite that bad, I guess I could have dragged him instead of carrying him but the point is, you need to be prepared for more than just what you expect.

Along with plenty of liquids I would suggest having a small first aid kit, an emergency blanket, a knife, some matches or other fire starting equipment, a flashlight, preferably with some spare batteries and a pair of leather gloves.

This is of course on top of what I would consider as standard equipment such as a GPS, a compass, cell phone, two way radio and a sidearm with spare ammo.

See, I am just a little anal!

I can’t begin to break down every little thing that you might need because that changes from location to location but I would implore our readers to take some time and consider where you are hunting and the dangers that may be involved and plan accordingly. Take the time to sit down and make a list of what you will need and what you might need and then figure out a way to put it into a package that can be carried by one person comfortably.

It’s always nice to hunt with a partner so someone can be there to go get help if necessary or just to laugh at you when something stupid happens. You should also always let someone know where you are going to be and when you will be back, just in case. It never hurts to Be Prepared you know!

Let’s be careful out there!

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