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Crossing Patagonia: Human & Dog First Aid on a 1,150 Mile Journey

Monday, April 16th, 2018

This year, adventurer Stevie Anna traveled over 1,150 miles with her adventure dog Darcie and two horses on a solo horse pilgrimage across Patagonia, a journey that took about three months. Two years of careful planning – including training in human and dog first aid – helped her #BeSafe and successfully accomplish her goal. We asked her to share about the expedition and how she prepared herself and her four-legged companions – here’s what she said! 

Exploring the Last Wild Frontier

I moved to Patagonia, Argentina, nearly three years ago where I fell in love with the gaucho culture and began working as a horse guide with Carol Jones, whose grandfather ran with Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid for some years here in Patagonia. After having experienced the slice of heaven that lies along the Andes Mountains, I decided to learn more of my new home by crossing it by horseback.

In a land that refuses to be explored by any other means, traditional horse-packing across Patagonia provides a traveler the chance to step back in time while exploring the culture and rugged, unforgiving landscape of one of the last untouched places on earth. This past November, I embarked on a solo expedition covering over 1,150 miles of Patagonia with my two horses Bandido & Sundance and my adventure pup, Darcie.

My adventure pup Darcie

My mission for this horse pilgrimage was to document the culture of this last wild frontier solo with my fur companions. I named the project Patagone. The native word here in Patagonia for foot, paw, or hoof is pata, and since we’d be traveling by all three, “Patagone” suited the journey perfectly.

The Patagone team: Darcie, Bandido, & Sundance

A Journey 2 Years in the Making

One typically thinks of the journey being the most difficult part of an expedition, however the preparation process proved to be just as much as a challenge as being on the trail itself.

I began preparing for the 1,000 mile journey nearly two years in advance. My list of things to learn ranged anywhere from how to shoe a horse to a crash course in dog first aid for my dog Darcie, as well as classes from a local doctor on first aid for myself.

Trail Safety: Choosing the Right Gear & Training with Experts

Through the years we’ve gone through a lot of gear and even a few makeshift solutions of our own, but there’s just some things that the trail can’t teach you. For that I turned to Andrea, the local veterinarian here in Patagonia who has been so gracious as to train me on emergency care for dogs over the past few months. We utilized all of the resources that Adventure® Medical Kits had, such as their Canine Field Medicine dog first aid guide, as well as an Adventure® Dog Medical Kit.

Together, Andrea and I came up with practical trail solutions that are easy to find in this part of the world and are often multipurpose for both Darcie and my two horses (for example: gauze, gloves, bandages, etc.). In addition to the Adventure® Dog Kit, the Canine Field Medicine guide also accompanied me on my journey, which proved an excellent resource guide and go-to manual for Darcie’s medical needs on the trail.

For myself, I found the Mountain Series Comprehensive medical kit to be perfect for weight and usability for my ride. Martin Buchuk, a local doctor here in Bariloche, Patagonia, helped with a crash course in outdoor first aid and running through how to use all of the supplies in my medical kit properly. Key points that we covered were dislocated shoulders from a bad fall from a horse, dehydration, deep wounds, and major injuries such as head traumas.

Looking through the Adventure® Medical Kit for first aid supplies

While having the proper equipment can save you and your dog’s life, it’s important to have experience understanding how to use the materials and medications properly for both you and your pet. Prevention is always key to a safe journey, but even at that, accidents can happen, so knowing your environment beforehand; taking first aid, CPR, or a wilderness first aid course; and knowing your medical supplies is crucial to staying safe in the backcountry.

Dog First Aid Packing List

 

A look at Darcie’s packing list for Patagone

For Darcie, I started with Adventure® Medical Kits Workin’ Dog first aid kit as a base and then customized it specifically for the expedition. The end medical kit included:

  • Nitrile Gloves
  • Splinter Picker: Great for removing embedded grasses that get lodged in-between paws as well as ticks.
  • EMT Shears: Good for cutting off dead skin from wounds as well as the hair around it. Cut hair around wound without lifting hair up. Should be cleared away without falling onto the wound naturally.
  • Cotton: Good for cleaning wounds as well as ears, etc.
  • Iodine: My vet suggested mixing iodine and the saline solution into one mix for cleaning out wounds.
  • Hydrogen Peroxide: Good for cleaning wounds and can be used to induce vomiting in case of poison consumption: 1 tbs per 10-15 lbs of dog. No more than 2 doses.
  • QuikClot® Advanced Clotting Gauze: Excellent for any deep wounds.
  • Hemostat Forceps: A must have for any major inquiry which requires you to pinch an artery, etc. The rule of thumb for heavy bleeding is 1. Direct pressure. 2. Elevation. 3. Pressing on a pressure point.
  • Instant Cold Pack
  • Irrigation Syringe
  • Saline Solution: It’s good to get a squeeze bottle of this with the top used for contact lenses so that you can apply a pressure when using this to clean out dirt from wounds.
  • Disposable Skin Stapler and Staple remover
  • Superglue: Can be used to close clean cuts.
  • Razor Blade: Used for clearing hair from a wounded area on the skin.
  • Antibiotic Ointment
  • Antiseptic Wipes
  • Alcohol Wipes
  • Antibiotics
  • Antihistamine: In case of any allergic reactions such as a bee sting.
  • Anti-inflammatory: I carried this primarily in case of a horse kick to the head to prevent any major brain swelling, but it is good to carry in case of any emergency in the backcountry.
  • Gauze Bandages
  • Sterile Dressing
  • Thermometer

While you can buy or even make many items that will keep your adventure pup safe outdoors, one should note that a lot of safety comes with the trust and bond you build with your dog, mutual respect, and some intense time spent in training. Commands can be one of the biggest lifesaver and preventative measures you can take in insuring your pet’s safety. Training your dog to be off-leash is crucial so that he/she knows how to behave. NOT CHASING WILDLIFE, ETC.

My First Aid Packing List

 

A peak at Stevie’s packing list for Patagone.

We ended up altering the Mountain Series Comprehensive kit for my specific journey, adding some medications and materials that would apply for the season and conditions here in Patagonia during my ride. My final kit included:

  • Bandages & Dressing
  • Cotton: Good for cleaning wounds as well as protecting your ears against the brutal, cold winds of Patagonia.
  • Gloves
  • Trauma Pads
  • GlacierGel®
  • Moleskin: These saved me on those especially long days in the saddle! They’re a must for any rider or hiker for preventing blisters or sores.
  • Oil of Clove
  • Temporary Cavity Filling Mixture: Excellent if you know you’ll be far out in the backcountry and away from the dentist office. It’s easy to apply and will save you from a world of pain.
  • EMT Shears
  • Splinter Picker
  • Thermometer
  • Medications: Acetaminophen, Antacid, After Bite® Wipe, Antihistamine, Injection for Anaphylactic Shock in case of bee stings, antibiotics, pain killers in case of major accident, Diamode, Diotame, Glucose Paste, Ibuprofen, and Oral Reydration Salts which are mandatory for any long journey where you’re at risk for dehydration.
  • Zinc Oxide
  • Scalpel Blade
  • Povidone Iodine
  • Syringes
  • Tincture of Benzoin Topical Adhesive
  • Triple Antibiotic Treatment

Journey’s End

 

Arriving at El Chalten, over 1,150 miles from where we began

After 85 days on the trail, the animals and I reached our final destination of El Chalten, Patagonia. We traveled over 1,150 miles over nearly three months to get to that point. One might call that a successful expedition in itself, but after seeing the potential dangers that had lain before us, hearing the history of other riders loosing horses to puma, colic, etc. or arriving to their endpoint with skinny animals, I pride myself more on the fact that me and my animal team completed the journey healthy, fat, and happy.

All the prior training and two years of preparation allowed us to reach our end goal together and without so much as a scratch. The few issues that we did have on the trail were minor, and the medical kits served them perfectly.

Treating Darcie’s paw using the Adventure® Medical Kit after she got poked by a wire fence

Patagone: A Story of People

I knew that the people of Patagonia were a kind and caring people, but during the ride my eyes were completely opened to the generosity of the people across the entire country. They opened their door to us, fed me and Darcie dinner (Patagonian lamb!), and always gave me plenty of pasture and roaming area for the horses. We actually ended our journey a bit fatter than when we had initially departed.

The best part of the journey? The people.

People always ask me what the best part of the journey was, and without hesitation I answer that it was the people, the people that helped me prepare and supported me during the journey such as friends, family, companies, and even strangers. It was the people that helped me during the ride, opening their door to me and my animals, and all the people who were there sending me kind messages of support not only during my ride, but even now after it’s been completed.

Everest Expedition Day 1: International Mountain Guides Update

Wednesday, March 28th, 2018

International Mountain Guides’ 2018 Everest Expedition is underway! The Everest Expedition Leader sent us the below note from the teams’ first day on the trail. We’re proud to the be the official medical kit sponsor of IMG and can’t wait to hear more about this year’s journey to the highest peak in the world. #BeSafe out there! 

Hey Adventure® Medical Kits!

I just wanted to take a minute and say thank you again for all of the support you give IMG. As the Everest Expedition Leader I can tell you that the kits you give the guides, and the ones we use to cover the overall expedition, are absolutely invaluable. Clearly we hope to never need them, but it’s nice to know they’re there if we do.

Everest Team 1 on the trail to Namche. PC: Greg Vernovage

We’ve only been on the trail for one day but things are going great. The gear checks in Kathmandu went perfectly. We got the first flights out of Kathmandu and all safely arrived in Lukla today, which is huge. We’re right on schedule.  I’m with Team 1 in Phakding right now getting ready to head up to Namche Bazaar.  Getting up the ‘Namche Hill’ will be the team’s first test, but I have a feeling they’ll do just fine. Namche sits at about 11,000ft. so we’ll hang out there for a couple days and acclimatize. We’ll be at EBC in about 10 days. Team 2 led by Emily Johnston and Team 3 led by Craig John & Ang Jangbu aren’t too far behind.

It’s great to see everybody’s hard work come together. Lots of smiles and a good buzz in the air. It’s great to be back in Nepal!

IMG Guides and Sherpas are excited for the journey ahead! PC: Harry Hamlin

Thanks for all you do for us!

Greg Vernovage

IMG Everest Expedition Leader

Basic First Aid Skills- How to Treat a Sprained Ankle

Tuesday, June 14th, 2016

ankle injury

Adventure Medical Kits Empowers You Series

Heading out into the wilderness can be an amazing experience that allows you to explore remote areas and challenge yourself. As a smart adventurer, you’ve probably already taken the steps to prepare for your journey by bringing along the basics for survival (Food, Water, Shelter, First Aid Kit, extra Clothing ) and knowing the terrain. But anytime you’re a few hours from advanced medical care, you are assuming risk and should be prepared for injuries and illnesses. That’s why it’s good to know some first aid basics. In our Adventure Medical Kits Empowers You Series, we’ve compiled a list of skills and treatments we consider essential for anyone who goes out in the backcountry. Our articles are not a substitute for professional medical training or treatment. We recommend taking a full Wilderness First Aid course for more comprehensive knowledge and seeking professional care as soon possible.

Basic First Aid Skills- How to Treat a Sprained Ankle

Taken from Adventure Medical Kits’ Wilderness & Travel Medicine Guide, By Dr. Eric A. Weiss

There you are, just hiking along the trail when suddenly the footing changes and you roll your ankle to one side. You feel it stretch and maybe even feel it tear. It stops you cold and it hurts.

SPRAINS

A sprain is stretching or tearing of ligaments that attach one bone to another. Ligaments are sprained when a joint is twisted or stretched beyond its normal range of motion. Most sprains occur in the ankle and knee.

Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms include tenderness to the site, swelling, bruising, and pain with movement. Because these symptoms are also present with a fracture, it may be difficult to differentiate between the two. Use caution and treat the injury until x-rays or further medical evaluation is available.

Treatment

  1. First aid begins with R-I-C-E (see below). If the victim cannot bear weight at all, use a splint to stabilize the foot and ankle and get assistance out of the backcountry.
  2. If the victim can still walk, use a C-Splint,  compression wrap or tape the ankle for support.
  3. Continue R-I-C-E-S for at least 72 hours following an injury and administer a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) such as Ibuprofen, 3x per day with food to reduce pain and inflammation.
  4. As soon as possible, seek medical evaluation to determine the need for X-rays to check for fracture.

A leg tensor bandage being applied outdoors

R-I-C-E-S- Immediate steps for treating sprains and strains

Rest: Resting takes the stress off the injured joint and prevents further damage.

Ice: Ice as quickly as possible as it will reduce the swelling and pain. Apply an ice pack or cold compress to the area for up to 20 minutes, 3-4 times per day. Follow with a compression bandage. Wrapping is key, as the joint will swell as soon as the ice is removed.

Compression: Compression wraps prevent swelling and provide support. Pad the injury with socks or soft items, and then wrap with an elastic bandage. Begin the wrap at the toes and move up the foot up and over the ankle with the wrap. The wrap should be comfortable but not too tight. If the victim experiences numbness, tingling or increased pain, loosen the wrap.

Elevation: Elevate the injury above the level of the heart as much as possible to reduce swelling.

Stabilization: Tape or splint the injured area to prevent further damage.

Next Steps:

Continue R-I-C-E-S for at least 72 hours following an injury and administer a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) such as Ibuprofen, three times per day with food to reduce pain and inflammation.

 

Why Carrying a Sterile Suture Kit is a Good Idea…

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

Hello,

I am a fan of your medical kits and just saw that the one of your Travel Kits had a suture kit in it, good idea. I just got back from a few months in Colombia with a smaller  Travel Kit that did not have the sutures. Went on a hike and about two days in, I gashed open my shin. Some Colombian military guys came by and stitched me up with a sewing needle, needless to say it was not pleasant.

Getting Stitched up in Columbia

Getting Stitched up in Columbia

I think an upgrade is necessary for my next trip. Anyway thought you guys might get a kick out of that, I sent a picture of it as well. Keep up the good work your kits have saved my butt in more than one country!

W. Gatchell

AMK Response:  Thanks for the feedback!  Just to clarify, our Suture/Syringe Medic is now sold separately and can be added to any Travel or other line of medical kits that we offer.  Always a good idea to add some QuikClot to your first aid kit as well, just in case you need to stop the bleeding and don’t have a professional around to stitch you up.

What is the Best Kit for an Extended Backpacking Trip in Asia?

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

Question:
I’m back packing through Asia for 6 weeks and would like to know what you would recommend for a first aid kit in case of an emergency.  Thanks, Dan R.

Answer:
Dan,
For 6 weeks in Asia, I highly recommend our World Travel kit plus a Suture/Syringe Medic. The World Travel kit is designed for trips like yours, with comprehensive wound-care supplies and a large suite of medications for pain, flu, and stomach maladies.

The World Travel also contains our Comprehensive Guide to Wilderness and Travel Medicine by Eric A. Weiss, M.D. The guide includes information on wilderness and travel medicine including: “Weiss Advice” improvised techniques; “When to Worry” tips; 97 illustrations; recommended prescription medications to pack; medical supplies for extended expeditions; and information on how to use the components of your Adventure Medical Kit.

The Suture/Syringe Medic contains sterile supplies to administer IV drugs or injections in case the medical clinic in the area you’re traveling doesn’t have sterile needles or sutures. Since it is still a common practice in many developing countries to re-use supplies, it is important to carry a sterile set that you can give to the medical provider that is treating you.

Be sure to read our blog to learn more about avoiding the most common ailment that travelers face.

Thanks for your interest, and let us know if you have any further questions.
Frank Meyer, Marketing Director and Co-Founder

HAVE A QUESTION? ASK OUR EXPERTS!

AMK’s Frank Meyer on KGO AM 810’s “On The Go” SF Travel Show

Monday, April 20th, 2009

Adventure Medical Kits’ marketing director Frank Meyer appeared on San Francisco’s KGO AM 810’s “On The Go” Travel Show on Saturday April 18th.

In the first segment Frank discusses with host John Hamiltion the Ultralight Series, the Adventurer, the S.O.L. Pak and other essential gear for camping in Northern California.

In the second segment on KGO AM 810,  Frank talks about the World Travel kit, Ben’s & Natrapel 8 hour insect repellents, AfterBite and other must-pack items relevant for adventure travelers.

Oh Noooo! …Tips for Treating & Avoiding Travelers’ Diarrhea

Friday, March 6th, 2009

Oh Noooo! …Tips for Treating & Avoiding Travelers’ Diarrhea

By Christopher Van Tilburg, MD

After an all-night flight to Santiago, Chile, last year, I passed out a pack of AMK’s Fresh Bath Travel Wipes to everyone in our group right before hitting the tarmac. It was rejuvenating.And, the antibacterial properties actually do more than refresh, they function to prevent the most common travel related illness – travelers’ diarrhea.

The Risk of Travelers Diarrhea (TD) is higher than malaria: it is the most common affliction when heading overseas. According to the Centers for Disease Control, TD affects 30-50% of all travelers to high-risk areas. That’s 50,000 people per day and 10 million per year. TD is essentially food poisoning, which occurs when consuming food or water that is contaminated by bacteria, parasites, or viruses. It gets on your food or hands, and then down your gullet. (more…)

Travel Kits are the Perfect Prescription….

Thursday, March 5th, 2009

The Reviews are coming in:
AMK’s travel kits are the perfect prescription for smooth, safe travel, here and abroad! 

From the Examiner.com, 3/1/09

Never leave home without them!

And we ain‘t talking about credit cards. … We found the perfect take-along items for those sojourns you will be taking this week and next. Trust us: Spend the few bucks on these items, and your trip will go smoothly and safely.  Read more…

BE SAFE – Travel Tip – Carry Suture and Syringe Supplies

Thursday, March 5th, 2009

BE SAFE Tip – Travel Tip – Always Carry Suture and Syringe Supplies

When traveling in Developing Countries carry sterile suture/syringe supplies to hand to a local professional medical care provider to insure the use of sterile needles. Over 10 million people per year contract a lethal disease such as HIV and Hepatitis through the re-use of needles.

You can get a Suture Syringe Medic Kit here.

Learn more travel medicine and first aid tips – click here for Dr. Weiss’s Comprehensive Guide to Wilderness and Travel Medicine.

World Traveler Kit – Four Stitches and Keep on Surfing!

Monday, January 12th, 2009

Dear AMK:

I just came back from a ten day surf trip down to Playa Hermosa, Costa Rica and I had to send you some photos because to be honest, my Adventure Medical Kit saved my entire trip. I got the World Traveler kit last summer when I went down to Costa Rica to surf the first time because it was designed for travel to Third World Countries.  This time that kit came in handy as I ended up taking a fin above my eye and getting a minor gash in my forehead.

I was very lucky and the only other person in the water was an American ER Doc and he ended up stitching me up that morning in a restaurant allowing me to go out and surf a four hour session later that afternoon.  Without the kit, my surf trip could have been over.

Thanks!

David S.

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