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Helping Save the Colorado River Watershed from Invasive Species

December 7th, 2017

Canyon Country Youth Corps members rafting downriver to provide conservation work

The Colorado River Watershed begins high in the snowcapped Rocky Mountains, providing a vital water source for cities across the Southwestern United States from Las Vegas to Grand Junction to Los Angeles and San Diego. This watershed also provides vital water to California farmers in the “world’s breadbasket.”

Clogged Waterways & Lost Habitats

Invasive tamarisk and Russian olive trees have clogged these waterways, destroying native habitats, wasting an important water supply, and making recreational activities difficult. Adventure® Medical Kits supports youth crews in removing these invasive species through their donation of medical and first aid kits to the Canyon Country Youth Corps.

Overgrowth and brush from invasive species have clogged the Colorado River Watershed

Overgrowth and brush from invasive species have clogged the Colorado River Watershed

Restoration & Conservation Work

Canyon Country Youth Corps has been working with its partners on an intensive removal effort along the Dolores and Escalante Rivers for over the last five years. These two rivers have been chosen because they are major arteries into the Colorado River. If tamarisk and Russian olive are removed from these and other arteries, seeds will stop flowing into the Colorado River, thus protecting the larger watershed from the further spreading of these invasive trees.

Rafting down the river

Rafting down the river to reach areas that need clearing out

Removal efforts require Canyon County Youth Corps members to raft far into the remote backcountry on these rivers for up to 10 days at a time. When pulling together a work trip along these rivers, things can become challenging. Crews need to carry chainsaws, fuel, hand tools, and herbicides. Sections of these rivers are remote. The Canyon Country Youth Corps often uses horses to reach the Escalante River. The Dolores River goes from wild whitewater to a trickle within a few miles, making the rafting experience an adventure.

The breathtaking beauty of the Colorado River Watershed

At the beginning of a recent trip on the Dolores River, a scout raft was funneled into a boulder and three of its occupants were launched into the river. Luckily no one was hurt, but the crews were prepared if there had been an injury because of the medical kits they had from Adventure® Medical Kits.

Camping along the river edge for the night

Camping along the river edge for the night

Conservation: A Team Effort

These important efforts to remove invasive species involve a number of different groups. The Tamarisk Coalition, Escalante River Watershed Partners, Dolores River Restoration Partnership, Western Colorado Conservation Corps, Southwest Conservation Corps, and public lands agencies from the affected states and federal government work together to complete this effort. Often, these trips require authorization from wildlife biologists or environmental clearance because crews go into sensitive areas with endangered birds or delicate ecosystems.

Big thanks to Adventure® Medical Kits for their support of this work. They are helping make our waterways healthy and sustainable.

About Canyon Country Youth Corps

 

The 2017 Canyon Country Youth Corp crew

For over 30 years, Four Corners School of Outdoor Education has created learning experiences about the Colorado Plateau through programs like the Canyon Country Youth Corps. This program hires young adults to complete conservation and other service projects on public lands in order to support the health and accessibility of these lands.

Adventure® Medical Kits is proud to have supported the work of Four Corners School’s for over 20 years.

Team Adventure Medical Kits – 2017 Season Recap

November 30th, 2017

Elite athletes joined forces with Team Adventure Medical Kits for the 2017 adventure racing season with huge success! This year, the team participated in some of the sport’s most challenging races and proved their skill against the world’s greatest adventure racing teams. Check out this season recap to learn about the team’s 2017 challenges and successes, newest member, and increased world ranking. – Adventure® Medical Kits

GODZone Adventure Race – Queenstown, NZ

Team Adventure Medical Kits kayaking in the GODZone Adventure Race

The first big event for team Adventure Medical Kits of the year. The GODZone race circumnavigated Lake Wakatipu and covered some amazing mountain terrain. Every leg of the race delivered amazing views and kept the teams excited for more. The race had a deep field of very strong teams, and the 8th place finish kept the team hungry and training hard for the Cowboy Tough Adventure Racing World Championships (ARWC) in August.

The team running through the river on a canyon trail

Summer 24hr Races

Building up to the ARWC, Team Adventure Medical Kits participated in two 24hr races: The Teton Ogre in Victor, ID (2nd place) and the Never Summer AR in Grand Lake, CO (1st place). These races were a perfect build up for the Cowboy Tough and allowed the team to hone their skills.

Team captain Kyle Peter carrying his bike up a hill

About 1.5 months out from the ARWC, the team was informed of a devastating injury to team captain Kyle Peter that would keep him from participating. After numerous discussions and time debating the path forward, the team contacted Olof Hedberg to race for the team during the ARWC and become an additional member of the team. The team was confident that Olof brought the right ingredients to the table for the team to still succeed in Wyoming at the Cowboy Tough race, even with the team captain temporarily out.

Olof Hedburg, the team’s newest member, preparing for a race

2017 AR World Championships – Cowboy Tough – Wyoming

The gun went off at the base of the Jackson Hole Ski Resort, and teams set out for Casper, WY. Traveling through three mountain ranges and the high deserts in-between, the race proved to be fast and furious with the top teams trading positions numerous times a day.

Team member Mari Chandler in the ARWC

Midway through day two, the team was in 7th place, but only a mere 2hrs from 2nd place. The team thrived on the intense competition; every pedal stroke, every navigation decision was that much more meaningful. Team Adventure Medical Kits played their cards right and stayed motivated even until the final climb up and over Casper Mountain, where they passed the Swedish Armed forces team and crossed the line in 3rd place!

The team pushing to place in the ARWC

Finishing Out the Year: USARA Nationals

With the ultimate goal of 2017 finished, the team had one more race to round out the calendar: The USARA Nationals. Team captain Kyle Peter was back to test the waters of his fitness, status of his injury, and see how things would go. Teams faced tricky navigation decisions and nasty east coast thicket.

A team member prepping the Ultralight/Watertight .7 medical kit for a race

Team Adventure Medical Kits rounded out the race with a 3rd place result. Strong showings from some of the other U.S. teams was great to see and were an encouraging sign for teams moving forward.

Adventure Racing World Series Ranking – 2nd Place!

The team celebrating their 3rd place finish at the ARWC

With the great performances Team Adventure Medical Kits had in the 2016 and 2017 AR World Championships and numerous other ARWS events over the last two years, the team is extremely excited to have moved up to a 2nd place ranking in the Adventure Racing World Series! This has been a hard-fought goal of the team, and to accomplish this ranking means that Team Adventure Medical Kits is the 2nd best Adventure Racing team in the World!

It is goes without saying that these achievements would not have been possible without our great sponsors. See the ARWS webpage for the overall ARWS rankings.

About Team Adventure Medical Kits

Team Adventure Medical Kits is made up of athletes that focus on multi-day and multi-sport expedition races that take place around the world. Safety is imperative to every adventure racing team’s success, which is why they take our medical kits, survival gear, and bug repellent to the most remote and rugged places on earth. Kyle Peter, captain of Team Adventure Medical Kits, has led teams to 1st place finishes in four US National Championships and to 2nd and 3rd place finishes in the World Championships. Kyle and his team’s consistent success over the years has earned them the respect of the global adventure racing community.

Lifetime Outdoor Enthusiast. Completely Unprepared. – Lessons in Wilderness First Aid

November 9th, 2017

Ever wonder what you’d do if a medical emergency happened while you were out in the wilderness? One of our employees recently took a course in Wilderness First Aid at SOLO Schools. She’s extremely excited to share what she learned! – Adventure® Medical Kits

My dad and I after hiking up Mt. Lafayette

My dad and I after hiking up Mt. Lafayette

An avid hiker, I grew up scaling the White Mountains of NH with my father without injury (excluding your normal blisters and scrape). Though I lacked personal experience with first aid in the wild, I knew wilderness emergencies weren’t uncommon.

I remember the day my father came home from a hike and said he’d spent 20 minutes near the top of Mt. Lafayette helping a stranger descend only a few hundred feet of the trail. The stranger fell and shattered his kneecap on the rocks, making every step excruciating. Thankfully, they bumped into a rescue team on a practice climb that quickly became real, and my dad continued down alone.

My dad and I on top of Mt. Jackson

My dad and I on top of Mt. Jackson

Since that day, I’d often wondered what I would do if faced with an injured hiker on the trail. Would I be able to offer any help at all? Miles from professional care surrounded by trees and mountains, I wasn’t equipped to be someone’s best chance at survival, and what if that someone was my dad?

This year, I was given the opportunity to attend a Wilderness First Aid (WFA) course at SOLO School of Wilderness Medicine. Walking onto the campus, I was unsure of what to expect out of the next two days. If nothing else, I was excited for the chance to learn a few first aid tips from wilderness experts. I learned much more than that.

Wilderness First Aid: Day 1

“Is anyone NOT ready?”

When you have five people about to attempt lifting an injured companion, you don’t ask “Is everyone ready?” You may not here the responding “no” over all of the “yes’s.” With a possible spinal complication, missing something and dropping your injured friend is not an option.

“Okay… one, two, three, lift!”

With one smooth motion, we lifted our patient from the cold ground to waist level, all without moving his spine. Surprised at our success, we froze for a moment, before the team leader (holding the patient’s head) followed up with, “Okay, we move on three!” We traversed the rough ground and safely placed our friend onto a foam pad. Thrilled at our success, we listened to feedback from our instructor and “injured” friend on how they felt our practice had gone.

Practicing making splints at a SOLO course

Practicing making splints at a SOLO course. PC: SOLO Schools

We’d only met each other earlier that morning, but as we stood outside the main building in the afternoon sun, our group was already beginning to turn into a team, forged by a common desire to learn and to be prepared to help others. Like me, my fellow classmates were driven by this desire to take the WFA course at SOLO. None of us were disappointed.

In 2 Days, There’s a Lot You Can Learn

Over the course of those two days, I was immersed in an innovative, hands-on learning experience. I learned how to improvise splints out of coats and bandanas, immobilize a victim’s spine with backpacks and baseball caps, and treat wounds ranging from lacerations to serious burns with items like honey and rain jackets. We covered assessing both unconscious and conscious patients, including identifying and treating life threats, monitoring vital signs, maintaining a soothing presence, and making an evacuation plan.

Improvising a leg splint. PC: SOLO Schools

How often should you change burn dressings? How do you recognize potentially life-threatening infections? When should you be concerned about a spinal injury? What should you do in a lightning storm? What are the early signs of shock, and how can you treat it? These are only a handful of the questions we learned how to answer.

New Skills to the Test

 

Assessing and caring for a patient.

Working as a team to practice assessing and caring for a patient. PC: SOLO Schools

Not only did we learn though – we also did. Hardly an hour of lecture would pass before our instructor had us outside practicing our new skills, with some of us acting as patients and some as caregivers. Outside, lifting companions, assessing broken bones, and applying pressure to stop major bleeds, our class of about 20 learned how to manage difficult patients, quickly assess scenes, and rule out spinal injuries.

Course Highlights

So out of this whirlwind weekend of knowledge and skill application, what did I enjoy most? This is gonna take a list:

  • Our instructor. Seriously – she was awesome! An amazing resource for both professional medical knowledge and practical ideas for when situations actually occur. From improvisation techniques to a great sense of humor, I couldn’t have asked for a better teacher. And she encouraged questions!
  • My classmates. I emerged out of that class with new friends who love the outdoors like I do, yet have a variety of experiences and backgrounds to speak out of. They asked relevant, insightful questions of our instructor that contributed to everyone’s learning. From a grade school teacher who leads the school’s hiking club to a wilderness first responder getting recertified, our differences and similarities worked together to make learning fun and effective.
  • Learning what’s left to learn. Headed into the WFA course, I knew I didn’t know enough… but I didn’t know how much I could know! Now, I have a firm grasp of what wilderness emergencies I’m equipped to handle and which I’m not, and I’m excited about the possibility of furthering my knowledge with another SOLO course in the future.
  • Packing recommendations. Ever wonder what you should be carrying for first aid supplies? Or have a first aid kit but only a vague idea how to use it? That’s part of what makes this course so great – throughout the day, we got tips from our instructor and each other on the most useful supplies to pack and when and how to use tools like an irrigation syringe, triangular bandage, tourniquet, and more.

Choosing to Be Prepared

 

Hiking down Mt. Washington with my dad

Hiking down Mt. Washington

Whether you’re a trip leader or just an outdoor enthusiast looking to become more prepared, I highly recommend the WFA course at SOLO as a great starting point to build a foundation of first aid knowledge that could save your life, a friend’s, or a total strangers. If you own a first aid kit and haven’t taken the time to look through it, this course is a must for preparing you in how to use what’s inside. A bit of advice I learned from my course: first aid supplies are only as effective as the person carrying them.

About SOLO

The oldest continuously operating school of wilderness medicine in the world, SOLO offers wilderness medicine education on a variety levels for everyone from outdoor enthusiasts to trip leaders to trained professionals. The WFA course is a 16-hour course that provides a 2 year certification and covers the basics of backcountry medicine. On the other end of the spectrum, SOLO’s Wilderness Emergency Medical Technician (WEMT) course lasts a month, and participants who pass emerge with the national EMT certificate and thorough training in wilderness-specific medicine and long-term care. Courses can be attended on their campus in Conway, NH, or at off-site locations across the United States.

Hail, Puddles, & Lessons in Backcountry Tenting

October 26th, 2017

What would you do if hail started pelting your head when your miles from civilization with only a tent for shelter? Keep reading for a humorous account of how a fellow adventurer handled this situation and to hear what she learned about handling weather in the backcountry. – Adventure® Medical Kits

You Should Visit Middle Velma Lake in Desolation Wilderness

A beautiful sunset over a lake

Middle Velma Lake (after the hailstorm)

The surroundings are absolutely stunning. On a recent trip to the lake with friends, we were lucky enough to get this amazing sunset on our last night. It was a beautiful and peaceful moment following a less than enjoyable hailstorm that had taught the three of us a few things about outdoor preparedness.

I would like to think I am the type of person who reacts very calmly when things don’t go as planned in the backcountry. Looking back on that last day of our trip, I wouldn’t say I was freaking out; however, I also definitely wouldn’t say I was making decisions that were helping our situation. I certainly wasn’t prepared.

Earlier That Day

The view from our campsite

“Let’s swim to the island one more time!”

It was a gorgeous day and we had already swam out to the island earlier, but Ashley was very excited to do it again. Audrey and I agreed to go with her, but once we got knee deep in the water we both chickened out. There were dark grey clouds rolling in, and I was worried it might lightning and thunder again as it had the day before. What I should have been worried about was that our tent fly was off, a hailstorm was about to hit, and we had ingeniously pitched both our tents in what was soon to become a massive puddle… But I didn’t know any of that yet.

After we decided not to swim to the island, it started to lightly sprinkle. We briskly made our way up to our campsite to put our rain flies on.

The Next Hour

At first, we were really excited.

“It’s really raining – this is so fun! We should rig a little shelter up so we can cook dinner underneath it!”

“Great idea! I have this blanket, and we can unravel this survival bracelet to use as string and tie it up to these trees.”

Our initial excitement at the rain

I am sure there is a really easy way to unravel a survival bracelet, but it took us forever. When we finally got the string loose, it became apparent that I had no idea how to “rig a shelter,” and the two strings were so short that we finally abandoned the shelter and dinner idea all together. At this point, the rain was being accompanied by marble-size hail balls that caused us pain by landing on our heads, so we decided to get in our tents.

Once we got into our tents, there was a sense of relief. However, although we were no longer getting pelted with hail, we were soon all a little worried. Would the hail continue to get bigger and bigger? I cannot speak for Ashely and Audrey, but for me that was when the fear set in a little. Can Tahoe get golf ball size hail? Ashley and I started laughing nervously about the time her car was totaled in Omaha from a hailstorm.

The hail thankfully didn’t get any bigger, but we quickly ran into our next problem: We had strategically placed our tents in very soft dirt. The spots looked so soft and nice to sleep on because they were dried up puddles. By the time we realized what was going on, it was too late. I unzipped the tent to see how high the water was and was shocked to find that under the rainfly our backpacks were sitting in a 6” puddle, and my shoes were floating.

The puddle where our tent originally was

We needed to move our tent as soon as possible. The bottom of the tent zipper had turned into a very floppy dam that, if it broke, would flood our tent immediately. Thankfully, we managed to get the tent moved without breaking the zipper dam. We ended up relocating it to the most uncomfortable location ever, but at least we knew it wouldn’t flood again if the hail and rain came back.

What I Learned…

From the Rain

Take precautions to keep your gear dry. Always have your rainfly on, no matter how sunny it is, and don’t unpack your sleeping bag/pad until you go to bed. If we had been on a walk (or swimming to the island again!) when the hail hit, our tent and sleeping bags would have been soaked. Line your backpack with a garbage bag or have your clothing in a waterproof dry bag. We had garbage bags over our backpacks, but that didn’t protect our clothes inside the bags from the puddle. Just in case your sleeping bag does get wet, bring an extra lightweight bivvy or survival blanket. Oh – and choose high ground over sleeping comfort when you’re pitching your tent!

We were really lucky. Not all our clothing got soaked and we had enough dry items to go around for the three of us. The temperature that night only dropped to maybe 50°. We had an uncomfortable last night sleep and a lot of gear to dry out, but it could have been much worse. What if everything got wet and it dropped to below freezing? If that had happened, would we have considered hiking out 5 miles down 3,500 ft. to Emerald Bay in the dark? No thanks.

Our gear drying out from the storm

From the Hail

Pack supplies for a sturdy shelter (and know how to rig one!). Before heading out on a trip, you should always keep an eye on the weather for the area you’re heading to so you know if you need to change plans due to approaching hail or thunderstorms. However, severe weather can occur unexpectedly and come on quickly, as we experienced, leaving you little time if you’re miles from civilization and underprepared. The first thing you should do in a hailstorm is seek shelter.

We were too far out to take cover in a car or any sort of building, but we certainly could have prepared more by covering our tents with a shelter rigged from a heavy duty blanket or tarp and some paracord. Set at an angle, this would have provided our tent with more protection from the rain and hail. As we discovered, it’s probably best to rig shelter before it starts actually raining and hailing.

A Couple Other Very Important Tips

  1. Don’t bring multi-colored quinoa backpacking; it takes forever to cook and tastes terrible if undercooked.
  2. Do eat Mac n’ Cheese after a hailstorm with your friends!

The three of us ready to head home!

8 Edible Plants (and Their Killer Cousins!)

October 11th, 2017

Ever wonder what you’d do if you found yourself in the wild without sufficient food and water? To survive, finding water has to be a top priority, but once you’ve found drinkable water, you’ll need to determine what’s safe to eat. We asked Paul Turner, an avid outdoor traveler with experience finding food in the wild, for some tips on identifying edible plants and avoiding poisonous ones. Not only did he send us some amazing information, but some fun recipes to try as well! – Adventure® Medical Kits

Finding Food in the Wild

I had a chance to attend a short survival course in Brunei, a country filled with biodiverse rainforest. The course had me breaking a wild chicken’s neck and skinning a frog just to prepare whatever meals we can get in the forest. Of course, there are less gory ways to get food when you’re out in the wilderness.

You can impress your family and friends by finding the edible plants and preparing exotic meals. If not, it’s still a good knowledge to have just in case you’re lost in the forest and have finished your food supplies (I hope this never happens!). It’s important you know what plants are poisonous so you don’t end up harming yourself or your friends.

One bite from the Deathcap Mushroom can bring you to the underworld and it only takes one Belladonna leaf to make you so sick, you may wish you were dead. Additionally, just like some people are allergic to poison ivy while some are not, you may have an allergy or personal health concern that others may not have. For this reason, I urge you to adopt this mantra: If you’re not sure about a plant, don’t pick, cook, or eat it. 

Plants that Kill

Doll’s Eyes

Doll's Eyes
Description: White berries taste sweet and act like a sedative, stopping the heart and causing a quick death.
Characteristics: This flower looks scary enough that you wouldn’t want to try it. It looks like a bunch of eyeballs connected with red branches.
Where to find it: Found on the eastern side of US and Canada. The flower blooms from late summer to early fall.

Angel’s Trumpets


Description: This pretty looking but deadly plant can cause heart failure, paralysis, and coma.
Characteristics: Its flowers looks like a bunch of dangling white, yellow, or pink bells.
Where to find it: Originally from South America, it is common now as a home-grown plant.

Strychnine Trees


Description: Bears green to orange fruit so toxic that 30 mg. can trigger convulsions and death.
Characteristics: The funnel-shaped flowers let off a rotten smell, and the orange berries are covered in a smooth and hard shell.
Where to find it: Found in southern Asia, India, Sri Lanka, and Australia.

English Yew


Description: It is safe for birds – they know which parts are poisonous – but just 50g could stop your heart.
Characteristics: These evergreen plants have needles, not leaves. Its berries have a seed sitting inside that is lethal.
Where to find it: Commonly found in churchyards in the UK.

Water Hemlock


Description: They are North America’s most poisonous plant, triggering seizures and death.
Characteristics: The green or white flowers are grouped together, looking like an umbrella.
Where to find it: Commonly found along streams and in wet meadows.

Wolfsbane


Description: Its poison is so virulent, indigenous people tipped their arrows in it when they hunted.
Characteristics: This plant has helmet-shaped flowers that come in white, pale greenish-white, pale greenish-yellow and purplish-blue colors.
Where to find it: Commonly found in the mountains.

Rosary Pea


Description: This climbing vine with red seeds is 75-times more powerful than Ricin.
Characteristics: The plant has a red pea with a black spot at one end that looks like a ladybug.
Where to find it: Commonly found in tropical areas around the world.

Belladonna Berries


Description: 10-to-20 Belladonna berries can kill an adult. It causes hallucinations and severe delirium.
Characteristics: They look similar to other berries but have white or purple flowers that are in the shape of a star.
Where to find it: Tropical areas in the US.

Castor Plant


Description: Their seeds contain Ricin. Eat four, and you’d better have a will.
Characteristics: The plants have fluffy red flowers and star-shaped leaves.
Where to find it: Spread across tropical regions and also commonly homegrown as ornamental plants.

Edible Plants

Salmon Berries


Description: They look like over-sized raspberries that are yellow, orange, or red when ripe.
Characteristics: The easiest way to spot them is to find the bright pink flower on their plants.
How to eat it: Give them a good squeeze to create a refreshing juice. Save a portion, drop in some pectin, and make Salmon Berry Jellies.
Nutrient value: High manganese contents with plenty of Vitamin C and K.
Taste: The taste can vary from bland to sweet.
Where to find it: Found in open forest areas along the Pacific Coast from California to Alaska.

Cattails


Description: They’re very distinct looking with willowy, long stems and fuzzy, elongated heads.
Characteristics: White stem bottoms are delicious eating; use the heads as campfire tinder.
How to eat it: Fry, chop for a salad or show off your campfire baking skills by making prehistoric bread using this recipe.
Nutrient value: Includes vitamin K, magnesium, fiber, iron, and vitamin B6.
Taste: Cattail eaters say it tastes like bitter cucumber.
Where to find it: Around the circumference of water-based wetlands.

Dandelions


Description: Dandelions grow wild in clusters, covering fields each spring.
Characteristics: Look for bright yellow flowers and willowy stems.
How to eat it: Eat the entire dandelion: roots, leaves, stems, and flowers. Use a cast iron pan to make dandelion greens with garlic.
Nutrient value: Vitamins A and C, plus lots of beta carotene.
Taste: They taste bitter raw, but are delicious when cooked.
Where to find it: Once spring arrives, they’re everywhere!

Lamb’s Quarters


Description: This plant looks nothing like lambs, but it pairs well with chops.
Characteristics: Broad leaves resemble and taste like spinach and are best picked before flowers appear.
How to eat it: Add leaves to your salad or chop up young shoots and add them to stew. Camping with vegans? Make a pot of Chole Saag.
Nutrient value: Packed with protein, vitamin A, calcium, phosphorus, and potassium, but keep your portion size down if you’re prone to kidney stones.
Taste: In the same ballpark as spinach, chard, kale, and collards.
Where to find it: Fields, forests, gardens, and near rivers and streams.

Wild Onions


Description: Resembles chives, ramps, and garlic. Look for scallion-like shoots poking out of the ground. NOTE: Death Camas are wild onion’s dangerous doppelganger. If the plant does not smell like onion, do not eat it.
Characteristics: Wild onions add flavor to foods, and eating them can also reduce blood pressure and lower blood sugar.
How to eat it: Wash and chop for salads, stews, soups, and chili or make this breakfast treat: Cook a cup of washed, peeled, and chopped wild onions in a cup of stock until liquid is absorbed. Stir in 6 eggs, salt, and pepper then scramble.
Nutrient value: Get a big boost of vitamin C, plus other vitamins and minerals.
Taste: Delicious. If you never met an onion you couldn’t eat, wild onions may be the best forest find of all.
Where to find it: Fields and forest floors, especially in cool weather. Always sniff before you pick. If you don’t detect an onion or garlic odor, it’s not an authentic wild onion, so don’t harvest it.

Pine Trees


Description: There are 100+ types of pine trees on Earth – most have edible bark and needles.
Characteristics: Needles grow in clusters, often exclusively at treetops.
How to eat it: You can eat pine nuts, simmer needles in water to make tea, and boil or pan fry white inner bark. NOTE: Don’t consume any part of these pine species: Ponderosa, Lodgepole, Juniper, Monterey Cypress, or Western Yellow.
Nutrient value: Pine is rich in vitamins A and C.
Taste: Bark tastes “pine-like,” but when cooked, it assumes the flavors of recipe ingredients. Try making Crispy Pine Bark by slicing bark into thin chips and frying them.
Where to find it: Pines grow on every continent.

Clover


Description: Found throughout the world, clover is a tiny, vivid green plant that grows in thick clusters.
Characteristics: Clover leaves have distinctive trefoil leaflets, but lucky ones have 4 rather than 3. If you find a 4-leaf clover you may want to save it for luck rather than cook it! Flowers are red or white.
How to eat it: Clover tastes better boiled or sautéed than raw. Eat the young flowers of either color, but not the aging brown ones.
Nutrient value: According to Denmark’s Department of Forage Crops, white clover has more minerals and proteins than grass.
Taste: Clover can taste bitter if eaten raw but if you cook it, it’s delicious. Use the youngest leaves – particularly if you brew clover tea with honey to soothe a sore throat.
Where to find it: Just about every open area that’s covered with grass.

Plantain


Description: This broad-leaf weed grows wild just about everywhere. You can eat the stalks and the leaves. Harvest in the spring for best taste.
Characteristics: Considered by  to be one of the 5 healthiest backyard plants on the planet, look for rippled, green leaves, tall stems and flowers. Don’t confuse this weed with the tree that bears banana-like fruit.
How to eat it: Plantain is delicious pan fried in olive oil – especially if leaves are young and tender. If stalks are less than 4 inches high, they’ll be tastier. When preparing, the tough, fibrous stems are at the bottom and tender parts on top.
Nutrient value: Like dandelions, this weed is packed with vitamins and minerals. Place a leaf on a burn, insect bite, or wound if you find yourself in need of first aid.
Taste: Called “the poor-man’s fiddlehead,” plantain tastes like asparagus, though leaves can assume flavorings of other ingredients when cooked.
Where to find it: One plant expert calls this weed “as ubiquitous in the city as broken glass,” but it’s equally prevalent in rural fields and forest floors.

Bloom Where You’re Planted

These 8 specimens of edible plants are just the tip of the iceberg, as there are so many more plants you can pick and eat while camping. I haven’t even touched on the subject of mushrooms! Be careful to correctly identify plants, and you’ll stay safe, enjoy new taste sensations, and become even more comfortable every time you camp.

About the Author

Paul Turner is a certified instructor trained in tying various knots and has conducted high rope courses for kids. He is also the man behind TakeOutdoors.com, which provides insights of camping and gear guides for the outdoor enthusiasts. Follow him on Facebook and Pinterest.

 

 

Sources
Angel Trumpets by Asit K. Ghosh under Creative Commons License
Rosary Pea by Homer Edward Price under Creative Commons License

Multi-Day Wilderness Trips: Choosing a Medical Kit

September 27th, 2017

We asked a wilderness guide for tips from his experience on how to be medically prepared for trips into the wilderness. He provided us with great questions to ask yourself before you choose a first aid kit for a multi-day adventure, as well as insight into his personal process. – Adventure® Medical Kits

Backpacker headed out on a trip.

Have you covered the other basics (food, shelter, survival)?

As I get organized to lead a group into the wilderness, being prepared fills my mind as a top priority. Once I have my bases covered on the topics of shelter, food, and clothing, I consider the smaller items that can easily get overlooked. These items cover the topics of safety and comfort and include things like lighting, cleanliness, evacuation (typically a satellite communication device), and first aid. I don’t need to bring a survival kit on my multi-day foray into the wilderness, since my tent, sleeping bag/pad, clothing, food and camp kitchen are the greatest survival kit of all times. I do, however, need to bring a medical kit.

Does your medical kit have supplies to treat common injuries?

Those who enjoy the wilderness need to have some lessons in first aid and a reliable medical kit, as the best way to know what to bring as far as first aid material goes is to first be educated in how to address a variety of medical situations in the backcountry. This will help you identify what items you need, but you also need to understand what your highest priority medical items are based on the most likely injuries to occur.

The best medical kit is the one that can manage the most common injuries that occur in the woods and mountains. Having spent thousands of days in the wilderness over two decades and having been a full time guide for the past 7 years, I have found the following issues to be the most common ones that occur and need treatment:

  • Blisters
  • Cuts
  • Scrapes
  • Burns
  • Knee/ankle injuries

To manage most of these issues, keeping them clean and dressed can be the difference between a nuisance and a major infection. A medical kit needs to be fully stocked with alcohol prep pads, sanitizing wipes, gauze pads of various sizes, and a syringe for irrigating cuts. Along with these, adhesive bandages of various sizes, as well as athletic tape, need to be included to dress a skin deep medical issue.

Adventure Medical Kits Mountain Backpacker Kit

The Easy Care First Aid Organization System found in Adventure Medical Kits features injury-specific compartments with clear labels.

Can you find the first aid supplies you need quickly?

One thing that is often overlooked in medical kits is the layout. If someone is being treated, efficiency is important. To be efficient, the kit needs to have everything labeled and organized. When you head out there and review the details of your medical kit, or if you are purchasing a new one, make sure it meets the following criteria:

  • Has adequate amounts of high quality material, appropriate for your trip
  • Is organized and labeled
  • Contains a booklet for reviewing proper treatments
  • Is made of durable material
  • Is not too heavy

In an ideal world, we go out there into the backcountry many times and never touch our medical kits. In the event that we do need it though, it needs to be the right thing, so don’t hold back when preparing or purchasing this crucial wilderness item.

About the Author

Daniel Laggner has been a full-time guide and wilderness survival instructor for 7 seasons and has over 20 years experience in outdoor sports and the outdoor industry. He has conducted several long-term expeditions, spending weeks in the remote wilderness of the Colorado Rockies, Sierra Nevada, and northern Patagonia. He is currently Lead Guide and Co-owner of Treks and Tracks.

What Experts Pack: The Mountain Series Recharged

September 14th, 2017

With over 30 years of guiding experience on the world’s greatest mountains, International Mountain Guides (IMG) is the definition of #adventureequipped! IMG guides know how to lead expeditions safely, which is why Adventure® Medical Kits is proud to have partnered with them for over 20 years. We’re excited to share this note we received from them during their Mt. Rainier season, where they’ve been testing out the Mountain Guide Kit from the Mountain Series Recharged. – Adventure® Medical Kits

Mt. Rainier

IMG climbers above the clouds on Mt. Rainier

Tye Chapman here at International Mountain Guides reaching out on behalf of our guides to say “Thank You” to Adventure® Medical Kits for the new med kits they provided this year and their continued support over the years.

Choosing to Be Prepared

With over 50 guides guiding close to 1500 climbers and trekkers on all 7 continents, on over 150 climbs, treks, and expeditions around the globe each year, you can imagine we take the safety of our climbers and guides seriously.  Simply put, that is why we work with Adventure® Medical Kits. There’s no better partner to ensure that our guides and expeditions are fully prepared for medical emergencies.

What We Pack

IMG climbers on summit of Mt. Rainier

IMG climbers on summit of Mt. Rainier

So what are we packing? Well, at the Guide level all of our guides are equipped with the new Mountain Series Mountain Guide Kit. What we like about these kits are the Find It Fast Map and the semi-transparent and secure pocket. These features make it easy to find supplies when we need them.

At the Expedition level, we carry a few different kits depending on the duration of the expedition and number of climbers or trekkers involved. A few examples include the Mountain Series Mountaineer Kit and the Professional Series Expedition, Professional Guide I, and Mountain Medic kits.

Everything We Need & Nothing We Don’t

While it’s impossible to prepare for every possible scenario, Adventure® Medical Kits has spent years dialing these kits in to provide us with exactly what we need, and equally as important in the mountains, nothing we don’t! Thanks for the continued support Adventure® Medical Kits. Although we hope never to need your emergency medical supplies, it’s nice to know you’re there when it counts!

Putting the Mountain Series to the Test

IMG climbers headed up Mt. Rainier

We’re in full swing on Mt. Rainier with climbs coming and going every day now. I’ve heard it many times already this summer, from several of the guides, that the Mountain Guide kits are perfect. They’re so well thought out and are the perfect size for our groups on not only Mt. Rainier but around the world. The kits you sent this spring have already been in Nepal, Russia, Bolivia, Mongolia, Europe, Tanzania, and Alaska with upcoming trips to Mexico, Ecuador, Argentina, Chile, Nepal, and Antarctica to name a few.

IMG Guide Jonathan Schrock is calling in on the radio from the summit of Mt. Rainier as I type this note. After 10 years at IMG, I still love getting that radio call!

Stay safe this summer!

Tye Chapman

International Program Director

www.mountainguides.com

Photo Credits: Austin Shannon, Senior Guide

The Last Day on Everest: Ending an Expedition Safely

August 31st, 2017

An International Mountain Guide climber in the upper Khumbu Icefall. Photo Credit: Dallas Glass, Senior Guide

Expedition Experts

International Mountain Guides (IMG) has been organizing Everest expeditions for over 35 years – they’re definitely experts and the definition of #adventureequipped! With 482 summits of the highest mountain on earth, IMG and its guides understand how to lead expeditions safely, which is why Adventure Medical Kits is proud to have partnered with them for over 20 years. Check out this note we received from Greg Vernovage, the Expedition Leader for the 2017 Everest expedition. As he speaks on wrapping up the 2017 Everest season and exiting the Khumbu Icefall, Greg reminds us of the excitement of completing an expedition and the importance of ending expeditions well, whether they be big or small. – Adventure Medical Kits

Leave Nothing Behind

Mount Everest 2017 is in the books. Everyone came down off the mountain, which left only a couple days of cleanup for the IMG Sherpa Team. We dried tents, and packed and carried gear back down to Everest Base Camp.

Not Done Till Your Team’s Done

The climbing season is not over for IMG until the last Sherpa is out of the Icefall and arrives back at Everest Base Camp (EBC). The final morning of climbing started like many mornings with burning of Juniper at our Puja Alter, followed by the Sherpa Team heading out. When the last Sherpa arrives back to EBC, a couple things happen.

  1. First, a split second pause, followed by a collective deep breath, and my thought, “We are all safe now.”
  2. The second and much more noticeable reaction when the last Sherpa arrives at EBC is a group cheer! We are out of the Icefall and off the mountain! Congratulations!

Pack & Celebrate as a Team

 

Climbers on the summit of Lobuche Peak in Nepal

Climbers on the summit of Lobuche Peak in Nepal. Photo Credit: Dallas Glass, Senior Guide

We finished up the final day working around EBC: packing, organizing, making loads for yaks and porters and wishing each other well. For the final night at EBC, the Sherpa Team gathered one last time in the dining tent, eating Dal Bhat and talking as confidently as ever about the strength of the IMG Sherpa Team. As I went to bed that final night of the 2017 Everest Expedition, I could hear the Sherpa singing and dancing. A perfect end to a great season on Mt. Everest!

On behalf of the entire 2017 IMG Everest Team: Thank you Adventure Medical Kits for all of your support! The med kits got hit hard again this year, but luckily it was for the bandages and ibuprofen, not the trauma shears.

Until next year…

Greg Vernovage
Expedition Leader
www.mountainguides.com

Lending Some Adventure

July 20th, 2017
ANDREW PRINGLE OF THE WASHINGTON TRAILS ASSOCIATION POSES IN A SEATTLE GEAR LIBRARY SPACE THAT THE ORGANIZATION RECENTLY OUTGREW, DUE TO DEMAND. (PHOTO COURTESY OF OUTDOORS EMPOWERED NETWORK.)
Sponsored content underwritten by LEKI

Kids who spend  time in wild nature reap all kinds of benefits, including improved physical and mental health, lower stress, and higher confidence. Yet many kids and their families have never camped nor hiked. The biggest  barrier to getting in the woods? The significant cost of outdoor gear. Now, “gear libraries” across the United States are addressing this challenge by enabling many organizations serving youths to use borrowed gear—for free.

The concept of lending gear isn’t new—universities and other organizations have been doing it for years. “What’s unique is that we’re empowering youth workers and teachers—these really important people within communities—by training them and then linking them with local gear libraries,” says Kyle Macdonald, founder of the Outdoors Empowered Network. His organization trains youth development leaders to take their groups on outdoor excursions. Once they complete the training, they can check out gear and get out on the trail.

“Enabling leaders who already know the kids is key,” says Macdonald, who founded the network after leading groups with the Appalachian Mountain Club—which pioneered the model with its Youth Opportunities Program in 1968—and later founding Bay Area Wilderness Training (BAWT). “The kids really got a lot out of it, they bonded with each other,” Macdonald says, recalling the excursions he led with the Appalachian Mountain Club. “But, they were going to go right back to their communities, and I thought, ‘This is something that’s just not quite as good as it could be.’”

One day, at a hut along the Appalachian Trail, he saw a group of youth workers and teachers finishing their training through the Youth Opportunities Program, which provides outdoor leadership training to urban youth development professionals in the Northeast. That’s when it clicked. “I thought, ‘They know the kids—they should be the ones taking them out.’” With the Appalachian Mountain Club’s blessing, Macdonald took that notion to California and in 1999 created BAWT, with a stated mission “to affect a generation by connecting youth to nature by breaking down the barriers to access—fear, expensive equipment, transportation, and trained adults to take them on immersive outdoor trips.”

Today, that model of training-the-trainer and lending the gear is on the rise, both within and beyond the Outdoors Empowered Network, says Macdonald, who notes that he’s heard of at least five gear library programs poised to open in Colorado alone. Other Network members include Los Angeles Wilderness TrainingForest Preserves of Cook County CampingChicago Park DistrictFamilies in Nature, and the Washington Trails Association.

Of the kids served by Outdoors Empowered Network programs, 85 to 90 percent are people of color, and most are from disadvantaged communities. Often, they are already connected to community-based organizations offering after-school programs, refugee nonprofits, or churches that have some kind of recreation programs. “It’s generally the schools and the communities that don’t have the resources to have a teacher hand the parent a gear list and say, ‘We’re going on a camping trip, and we need all this gear—please go buy it.’” About a third of the gear within the Network’s libraries has been purchased, and the rest has been donated by companies such as Osprey Packs, Keen, North Face, and GSI outdoors.

The average Outdoors Empowered Network outing is a three-night camping trip, but some are longer, and some are day hikes. Usually groups stay close to home, though  others drive several hours to get to their destinations, sometimes  crossing state lines. Teachers and group leaders, Macdonald says, bring a mix of outdoor experience to the Network. Some have never camped before; others are veteran backpackers.  “The one thing that they all feel passionately about is that they see the kids that they work with aren’t getting these opportunities,” he says. “They want to help the kids understand that public lands are for them.”

Often, kids’ lack of outdoor experience is eye-opening. Macdonald recalls taking a group of kids to the beach in San Francisco, during which one third grader looked really tentative. “He walked down toward the wet sand, asked what happens where the sand changes color, and eventually, got into it and then just played for hours.” Afterward, Macdonald learned it was the first time the student had touched wet sand. “He lived less than seven miles away from the Pacific Ocean.”

“Gear libraries are generally for the schools and the communities that don’t have the resources to have a teacher hand the parent a gear list and say, ‘We’re going on a camping trip, and we need all this gear—please go buy it.’”

Detroit Inspiring Connections Outdoors (ICO), a Sierra Club outreach program that offers wilderness experiences and environmental education, also  maintains a gear library, now in its third summer in operation. The gear library  was born when REI stopped renting out gear from its stores in southeastern Michigan, and donated much of its rental equipment to Detroit ICO. Says program chair Garrett Dempsey, “We suddenly had way more capacity of gear than we had volunteers and youth to take out on trips.” Partly because Dempsey had seen the benefits of a gear library first-hand while volunteering with BAWT, Detroit ICO decided to make the gear available to other local organizations serving youth.

A high school outdoors club and a zoological society’s youth leadership program are among the many groups that use Detroit ICO’s gear to take kids camping. The library also helped the local Girl Scouts resurrect its backpacking program. “The sites the troops once used had not been visited for many years, so they borrowed backpacks to get out there again,” Dempsey says. “They were blazing trails and rediscovering these old backcountry camps—and rediscovering a backpacking culture in the regional Girl Scouts program, too.”

Detroit ICO is currently working with the Outdoors Empowered Network, the City of Detroit, and other groups to rehabilitate a once-popular campground in a Detroit city park. The idea is that Detroit ICO’s gear library will serve as the campground’s initial source of gear, allowing local groups to take kids camping and enjoy nature—“right there in the city,” Dempsey says.

One Outdoors Empowered Network member, the Austin-based Families in Nature, works with families rather than youth groups—aiming to connect family members to nature, and one another, through time spent outdoors.  Although its gear library is a little over a year old, it’s already stocked with camping gear as well as field lenses , binoculars, compasses, and fishing poles.

“The gear library allows us to expand our reach and fulfill our mission without having to raise huge amounts of money to support a large staff of instructors,” says founder and director Heather Kulhken. “It also enables diverse communities to bring children and families into nature—for example, when transportation is a barrier, we can help schools or communities host camping trips on their own land. We also loan gear to schools and train teachers to take their classes out into nature to learn for the day.”

Getting kids engaged in the outdoors, Macdonald maintains, offers “long-term benefits [in terms of] health, graduation rates, and just stress levels, alone. For a kid who comes back from a wilderness experience, those lessons reaped are ones that start to come out weeks later, months later, maybe even years later.”

What to carry in my sled pack when exploring and guiding on my Ski Doo?

June 16th, 2017

To even think that people still snowmobile without wearing a pack still boggles my mind!  Why are you depending on someone else to save you in any unfortunate circumstance if one were one to happen?  In the She Shreds Mountain Adventures backcountry survival lessons, I always make sure to go over what everyone in the group has in their pack before we head out on an adventure, to make sure we are prepared for anything.  I highly suggest doing this with your buddies that you regularly ride with.

“You’re out there on your own far from civilisation, be the most prepared you can be!” – Julie-Anne Chapman

                                                                                                                            

  • Full first aid kit Survive Outdoors Longer make amazing pre-packaged kits that you can add your own goodies to.  Its suggested to carry everything from band aids, antiseptic wipes, compress dressings, splints, gauze, triangular bandages, trauma/accident report sheets, etc, etc.  Make sure to keep all of this in a water resistant bag!  And it wouldn’t hurt to take a first aid course so you know how to mend someone.  The last thing they want is you trying to splint a broken bone if you don’t know how.  You ask why would someone even attempt to touch someone with a broken limb?  Well, because lets say you are very far from the trucks, you would want to make the limb immobile (make it the most comfy you can) for their ride down.  You’re out there on your own far from civilisation, be the most prepared you can be!
  • The pack itself – 18L (Highmark by Snowpulse avalanche pack recommended).  I rock the Ridge 3.0 vest. You want to be careful how much weight you carry on your back.  The Ski Doo LinQ bags are amazing to carry all the extra stuff you dont want on our back.
  • inReach Explorer and Sat phone – two way communication SOS device that relates on iridium satellites.  Incase you need a helicopter for a big bobo, or text your lover at home (when you’re out of cell range) to get dinner started, these little gems of devices are awesome.  The inReach tracks you wherever you are in the world, allows you to communicate with people via text and email even when you are out of cell phone range, and if you call for SOS, your GPS coordinates are dispatched to the closest search and rescue in the surrounding area. The sat phone allows you to have a direct conversation if you need to request rescue gear brought to the scene.
  • 40-100+ft rope & carabineers – for rescuing “your buddy” that thought the throttle was the break when he approached the crevasse really fast.
  • Shovel & probe & transceiver– duh!!  Wear the transceiver on your body, not in the pack!  Duh!
  • Snowmobile tools – hose clamps, spare break leaver, shock pump, basic kit with wrenches, sockets, screwdrivers, zip ties, duct & electrical tape!
  • Survival kit – All hell breaks loose.  You have to stay the night in the backcountry.  I hope you are prepared! Survive Outdoors Longer make perfect survival kits to suit your every needs. Pack extra warm clothes/gloves, a tampon (to dip in your gas tank to ignite a fire), water resistant/strike anywhere matches, flint, wood carving tool (knife), compass, mini fishing kit, whistle, flare, bivvy sack…  And make sure to keep all of this is a water resistant bag!
  • Two way radios – You’re deep in the trees or over in the next drainage and you can’t find your buddy.  “I’m out of gas, Do you copy Bobby Jo?”… “10-4 rubber ducky on my way with the jerry”.
  • VHF Radio – to communicate with outside world to assist with things such as heli a evacuation
  • Mouth guard – For when I like to think I’m going so big that I need one.
  • Snow science tools – Snow saw, ruler, inclinometer, aluminium crystal card, thermometer, 10x loupe, field book (I call it my old lady diary, it’s the only book I write daily logs in). Always good to do your own research on what the snow is doing.   Once you are comfortable using your transceiver, I highly suggest taking an avalanche course that touches on snow studies/science. A course that will help you understand why avalanches happen. Doing a multiple day backcountry trip and don’t have access to the avy reports for days?  It’s a must to have these tools to observe what the snow is doing over such a period of time.
  • Extra food and water – High calorie food, energy blocks
  • A wood saw – We all go into trees!  It’s so much easier to saw a branch off than to flip a 500lb machine that is all tangled in branches.
  • Head lamp – I’ve seen people smash their lights out on a tree and have to sled out in the dark with only their head lamp shining the way. Frankensled makes a great helmet lamp that attaches with a GoPro mount.
  • Extra goggles/lenses– The worst is when your goggles are all fogged up and you can’t see where you’re going!
  • Extra fuel – Going on a long haul?  Pack a jerry on your tunnel.  Don’t be the kid that’s full pin all day and runs out of fuel first and uses everyone else’s fuel!!  Every pack has a buddy like that!
  • An extra belt for the sled
  • One last thing – always find out if there is a safety cache near by with spine boards, etc. or a cabin you can make yourself a warm fire in.