Map, Compass & GPS

Map, Compass & GPS
Wild flowers along Fall Creek on the way to the Green Lakes - Oregon

Monday, May 18, 2015

Snakes In The Backcountry

Are you ready for rattlesnakes?  The following post is from a site that I just found:  This is great info as you head into the back country.

Be Rattlesnake Safe
05/22/13 -- As warm weather returns, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is reminding the public to be rattlesnake safe. All of California is snake country. Much like bats, rattlesnakes are often misunderstood. They play an important role in the ecosystem by keeping rodent populations under control.
California has six venomous snakes, all of which are various species of rattlesnake. They are heavy-bodied, blunt-tailed with triangular-shaped heads. A rattle may not always be present, as they are often lost through breakage and not developed on the young. Additional species information can be found here
California snakes, rattlesnakes, venom, outdoor precautions, bite, hiking, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, King snake, poison
Rattlesnakes are generally not aggressive and usually strike when threatened or provoked. Given room, they will retreat and want to be left alone. They are not confined to rural areas and have been found in urban environments, lakeside parks and golf courses.
The best protection against unwelcome rattlesnakes in the yard is to have a “rattlesnake-proof” fence. The fence should either be solid or with mesh no larger than one-quarter inch. It should be at least 3 feet high with the bottom buried a few inches in the ground.
Keep the fence clear of vegetation and debris. Encourage and protect kingsnakes, which prey on rattlesnakes, and other natural competitors like gopher snakes and racers.
On rare occasions, rattlesnakes can cause serious injury to humans. Most bites occur between the months of April and October when humans are most active outdoors. The California Poison Control Center notes that rattlesnakes account for more than 800 bites each year in the U.S. with one to two deaths.
CDFW recommends the following outdoor safety precautions:
  • Wear hiking boots and loose-fitting long pants.
  • Never go barefoot or wear sandals when walking through wild areas.
  • When hiking, stick to well-used trails.
  • Avoid tall grass, weeds and heavy underbrush where snakes may hide during the day.
  • Do not step or put your hands where you cannot see, and avoid wandering around in the dark.
  • Step ON logs and rocks, never over them, and be especially careful when climbing rocks or gathering firewood.
  • Remember, rattlesnakes can swim so never grab “sticks” or “branches” while swimming in lakes and rivers.
  • Teach children to respect snakes and to leave them alone.

What to do in the event of a snake bite:
  • Stay calm and wash the bite area gently with soap and water.
  • Remove watches, rings, etc, which may constrict swelling.
  • Immobilize the affected area and go to the nearest medical facility.
What you should NOT do after a rattlesnake bite:

  • DON’T apply a tourniquet.
  • DON’T pack the bite area in ice.
  • DON’T cut the wound with a knife or razor.
  • DON’T use your mouth to suck out the venom.
  • DON’T let the victim drink alcohol. 
Another excellent video post is available at

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Oregon Lake Drains Like A Bathtub

From the Telegraph

9:30PM BST 06 May 2015

The water mystery: Lost Lake drains like a bathtub in Oregon

Every year the water from a lake in Oregon disappears down a 6ft-wide plug hole

The lake is draining gradually all the time but as there is less rain in summer it becomes completely dry

The lake is draining gradually all the time but as there is less rain in summer it becomes completely dry Photo: Ryan Brennecke
A lake in Oregon fills up each winter and then drains like a bath tub as a 6ft-wide hole opens up.
It is caused by tunnel-like lava tubes, of which there are many nearby.
The lake is draining gradually all the time but as there is less rain in summer to replenish the lost water it becomes completely dry.
A nice post by Mr. Allen.  Do check his video.  
Having been a long time resident near Lost Lake there were years after heavy snow fall that debris would fill up the lava tube keeping the lake well stocked with water because of the plugged hole.  I used to fish and kayak there quite a bit.
Beautiful surroundings for sure.
The drain/lava tube is nothing to mess with.  Once in, no way out.

Friday, May 1, 2015

New Website For the Outdoor Man or Woman

One of my former students sent me a link to a relatively new web site -  Clever Hiker.  I especially like the videos.  

The quality is quite good.

I just book marked it.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Survival Kits

Several years ago I was listening to the Field and Stream radio show.   John D. McCann was interviewed about building a survival kit that would fit into an Altoids can.  I then learned about his book Build The Perfect Survival Kit.

I was a bit dubious at first but by the end of the interview I went on line and bought the book.

This is a super book.

The front half goes through different items that can be put into a survival kit.  McCann then evaluates each item.  The last half he provides templates for different types of kits based on activity.  For example, the kit a day hiker would use is completely different from what a SAR team member might carry.

This book belongs in your personal library.

Image result for build the perfect survival kit

Sunday, April 19, 2015

GPS Vulnerability

An I-Team investigation revealed that a radio navigation station operating near Searchlight in southern Nevada was shuttered by the government in 2010, against the advice of top scientists. The station was later vandalized.
The LORAN station was part of a radio navigation network that could have served as an important safety net should the orbiting satellite system fail.
The LORAN radio navigation station in Searchlight was just one of two dozen similar facilities scattered around the country.
The decision to close the Searchlight LORAN and other valuable stations like it prompted some serious questions.
Interesting point of view.  Read the complete post here.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Navigation Term of The Month


Declination is the angle measured between true north and magnetic north. Declination must be factored into all wilderness trips
Account for declination before leaving the trailhead.  I like to keep my navigation simple and personally use a compass that can be adjusted for declination such as the Brunton 8010G or the Silva Ranger.  Declination information found at the bottom of a topographic map is frequently out of date.  Check the web site  for the current declination.

 “A compass is basically a magnet mounted on a pivot, free to turn in response to the pull of the earth’s magnetic field.  The housing protects the needle and helps you relate the direction in which the needle points to directions on the map and on the land.  A compass by itself can’t tell you where you are or what you are looking at but it can tell you about direction….”

Staying Found, The Complete Map & Compass Handbook, by June Fleming

NOTE:  June Fleming's book is probably available at your library.  It is a great read on land navigation.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Cascadia Tsunami Survival

The following AP article appeared in the Bend Bulletin.

By Jeff Barnard / The Associated Press 

GRANTS PASS — About 5,500 more people could survive a major tsunami hitting the Pacific Northwest if they just walk a little faster to higher ground after roads are knocked out, a new study shows.
The report published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences looked at 73 communities along 700 miles of coastline in Oregon, Washington and Northern California. The area is considered most at risk from the next major earthquake and tsunami in the Cascadia Subduction Zone, where two plates of the Earth’s crust come together miles off the coast.
Emergency preparedness experts generally agree that after the quake and tsunami, most roads will be too damaged for driving, so people will have to walk to safety.
Geographers estimated 21,562 residents would not make it to safety if they walk slowly — at about 2.5 mph. But if they walk faster, at about 3.5 mph, the death toll drops to 15,970. About 70 percent of them would be in Washington, nearly 30 percent in Oregon and very little in California.