Map, Compass & GPS

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

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Maps for Your GPS

Here is a link to the GPS File Depot

Lots of information and maps.  Many of the maps are free.

While you are on the site take a look at the forums for information about quick fixes to many of the Garmin receivers out there.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Poisonous Flowers and Plants

I have never been an expert on the flora and fauna of my surroundings.  I can do better.

I recently received a very nice email from the teacher of a group of young people working on a survival project.  They have used some of the references off my web site ( for their project. 

Best of all, during the course of their research they also found a site on the poisonous flowers and plants in the backcountry.  This site offers a collection of links to other web sites.  Many are links to universities.

Great information.  Thanks guys.

To check out this site go here.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Air Ambulance Support

Air Ambulance Membership-Is it worth it?  Is it too expensive?  Or, is it just right?
I have no problem justifying to myself spending money for hunting tags and fishing equipment.  My wife thinks it crazy that I hesitate at the thought of purchasing an air ambulance service membership.  I mean- how many extra shells and lures could I get for that same expense?  I argue that the chance of needing such a service is few and far between. But truthfully, every now and then I hear a story that easily could be any of us.
Take Bob and his good fishing friend Jason.  They were fly fishing on a beautiful river in Eastern Oregon.   While sitting on the bank and tying on a new fly, Bob experienced excruciating pain that began to radiate throughout his chest. He was certain he was having a heart attack.
It turned out that an air ambulance was critical for Bob’s survival.  Accompanying Bob on his flight to Boise was a critical care flight nurse and a respiratory therapist.  Bob survived his ordeal, attributing the superb care he received in flight as a major factor to his outcome.
This brings us back to my wife’s point.  In Central Oregon, with air ambulance membership, an entire family is covered for only $58.00 a year. Bob, if he didn’t have a membership, would be paying anywhere from $15,000-$30,000 for a single trip. Do the math. That’s one heck of a lot of shells and lures. Not to diminish the added value of having me around for additional hunting seasons too.
How many of us bring our buddies, kids and loved ones with us during an outing? Why do we always pack a First Aid kit? We don’t plan on having to use it, but it sure is nice to have it if needed.  So, how does a responsible backcountry traveler prepare?
An air ambulance service is a very viable option. AirLink is the service in Bend, Oregon.
Earlier this summer, I visited with Stacy Durden of Saint Charles Health Care in Bend. It was a very illuminating conversation.  I learned that AirLink is a contracted component to the hospital’s critical care service program.  AirLink provides helicopter service on site at the hospital and has two fixed wing aircraft at the local air port. The stats are impressive. Routinely, three to four missions are flown daily with over 12,000 missions annually. Since beginning flight operations in 1985 AirLink has transported over 20,000 patients.  I asked Stacy what a hunter or hiker should do in an emergency. Her response was don’t delay making a phone call to 911.  Those initial minutes in an emergency are precious.  Be crystal clear what the situation is. Emergency 911 Dispatch will coordinate and determine what assets to send. Geographic coordinate information (e.g., Latitude and Longitude) from a Global Positioning System receiver and a geographic reference (e.g., the south shore of Suttle Lake) is very helpful. Having a fully charged cell phone is a big plus as you may receive several calls from the 911 dispatch center and other first responders. Though hunter fatality numbers are generally low, the experience and skills an air ambulance crew brings to an emergency is significant. Think how many times do you go out into the woods hiking, fishing or just camping; ever have an unplanned situation come up?  What about the travel time on the highways and over the passes-if a knucklehead crosses the line and rams into you? Do you want to chance that critical time to save you or your child’s life?
The response talent is absolutely the best. Crew assignments flex to patient requirements. Critical care, respiratory therapist, and even neonatal nurses are available. Pilots commonly have years of fight time and are exceptionally experienced; many are former military aviators.
I found it comforting to know that AirLink has reciprocal coverage with other services in the Northwest such as Portland’s Life Flight Network.  Membership runs $58 annually for the family, including children away at school. Extended family (such as a mother-in-law) permanently living with the member’s family are covered too. In an emergency, the patient’s insurance will cover part of the service costs; membership covers the balance.
For my family, the $58 family membership is worth the cost. It doesn’t rust, need maintenance or replacement batteries. It is a great deal for the investment - just remember to reload it every year.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Buying a GPS for Christmas

Are you shopping for a new GPS receiver this Christmas?  Looking to buy one for a spouse or friend?  Here are a few suggestions to keep in mind.

The Holiday Season is a great time to start looking for a new GPS.
Manufactures are offering discounts and coupons can be found on line.  Search the Internet for sales promotions and the ads in the Sunday paper.  I will occasionally use to establish a price baseline.
Keep in mind that some models with good discounts could very well be out of production.  Evaluate what your needs are and if the price is right and the receiver fits all your requirements, then you are set.
One web site to take a look at is  I found this site recently via Twitter. is packed with information on what’s new and happening in the world of GPS.  Importantly, at the top of the page, click on “buyers guide” and then select the category that fits your requirements (e.g., auto, outdoors, etc.)
I think the recommendations provided are spot on the mark.
For example, in the realm of “Budget GPS for hikers” the Garmin Venture HC is recommended.  There are less expensive units on the market but for the dollar/pound you do get a lot for the money.  Importantly it offers a color screen, is USB capable (upload and down load data) and accepts detailed topographic maps.
The Garmin Oregon 450 is recommended as the mid-range receiver for hikers.  The Oregon provides a touch screen display, barometric altimeter, an electronic compass and very capable mapping and imaging systems are available for download.
What would I avoid? I won’t buy a used GPS or one that has been refurbished.
I want a model that allows me to:
·         Enter many waypoints
·         Edit waypoints
·         Manually enter waypoints (example: your friend provides you the coordinates to a wonderful place next to a bubbling brook for a camping site)
·         Many map datum selection options
·         Will accept topographic maps.
·         Those with less steady hands might consider are receiver with buttons on the front.  Test this in the store or borrow a friend’s.  Ditto for touch screen models.
·         Up load and download GPS waypoints and track data.
If I had to, options could I do without:
·         An electronic compass
·         A touch screen display
·         A barometric altimeter
Good luck in your search for that new GPS!!!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Kummerfeldt In Africa

Peter Kummerfeldt is a survival expert and a master story teller.  He is not verbose and gets right to the story!  Lions at 50 feet, oh sure, that happens all the time.  This is from his blog:

The evening started rather unspectacularly with not much being seen except a few impala. Long after dark the spotter saw some eyes that turned out to be two, and then three lions about fifty yards away. When turning off the road to get closer the driver didn’t see a very large warthog hole into which the front end of the Land Cruiser disappeared! The lions came closer. The driver got out to see what could be done about the situation while the spotter tried to keep tabs on the lions and at the same time illuminate the hole so that the driver could see what needed to be done. What was hilarious was watching the antics of the two staff trying pay attention to the whereabouts of the cats while at the same time fend off the insects which were attracted to the headlights and the spot light. It had rained earlier in the day - the flying ants were swarming and the air was thick with beetles and other assorted insects that crawled all over the driver and his helper. It got so bad they had to cease their efforts to get us unstuck and go into the dark and strip off their clothing to rid themselves of the insects. For the four of photographers sitting in the back of a completely open vehicle in the dark it was both scary and hilarious at the same time. Because we were mostly in the dark the bugs didn't bother us as much as the others.
To read the rest of his post and view his wonderful pictures go here.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

GPS Web Site

Check this web site out for a lot of information on GPS receivers.

I found this new website out on Twitter the other day.

Very comprehensive.

Gear reviews, updates and lots of technical data.

Visit GPS Track Log for more info. 

Friday, December 2, 2011

GPS Electronic Compass

What interferes with your GPS receivers compass?

Even an experienced hiker will forget about gear that is carried in the field that potentially impacts a digital electronic compass.  While teaching a community college class on land navigation a student asked me what affects a GPS receiver’s electronic compass? This was a great question and offers an opportunity to assess equipment.
In my map and compass (magnetic) navigation class I make a point of discussing the care that should be taken while handling a compass.  A rifle barrel, flash light, radio and other metal and electronic bodies will impact the compass’ magnetic needle.  To see this first hand, move a flashlight next to a compass and the needle will move noticeably.

It never occurred to me that my digital compass would behave similarly.
In November while elk hunting and camping east of Oregon’s Cascades mountain range, I decided to check this out.
To read the rest of the post go here

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Night Travel

What should you consider if you must travel at night in the wilderness?

The day started clear and bright as the hikers left the trail head near Newport, Oregon. The temperatures were to be moderate most of the day with slight cooling in the evening. They pressed on determined to reach the summit before twilight. After reaching the summit at dusk, the group started to make their way back to the trail head as fog began to roll in. Within an hour the darkness was becoming a problem and the safety of continued travel became questionable.
So what are some basic considerations for night time travel and navigation in the backcountry?
First, let us consider that we are not in a “lost hiker” scenario. If lost, the best thing to do is to just stay where you are. This makes the job much easier for the searchers.
Further, recommendations are based on the concerns and issues of hiking when it is really dark, not during the period of a full moon with some ambient light.
One of the key factors in this situation is to have an understanding of the physiology of the eye. Our eyes are designed to provide optimal performance during periods of light. The components of the eye (the retina, rods and cones) are arranged specific to their function. The cones are the discriminators of fine detail and color. Cones are the most effective in light, and are located near the center of the eye interior. In complete darkness, a cones’ effectiveness is significantly reduced. Rods are located on the periphery of our interior eye, are not fine detail discriminators and have a higher sensitivity to low light levels. Rods are important to our night time vision.

To read the complete post go here.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Technology Preparedness

Are you and your electronics ready for a natural disaster??

Here is an article from last summer that was featured in the Chicago Sun Times.

The article is a bit "chatty" at first so jump to the middle to get to the heart of the matter.

by Andy Ihnatko

If I complain about how Hurricane Irene has left me without power or Internet access for the past three days, please do be assured that I’m keeping it all in perspective. Brattleboro, Vermont -- which has been one of my favorite road trip destinations for years, and the place I will most definitely recommend if you’re visiting this part of the country and want to feel as though you’ve really seen New England -- got absolutely clobbered.

Many residents lost their homes; some lost their lives.

In the face of that . . . yeah, losing a week of productivity and a fridge full of food is just an inconvenience.

Thanks to Irene, I’ve had three consecutive nights of monastic contemplation, free from the distractions of sinful extravagances like television, Internet, interior lighting, and food or drink that’s noticeably hotter or colder than room temperature. During that time, I’ve been thinking about the various preparations I made when the storm alerts started popping up last week. Common household storm advice can be found pretty much anywhere, and it’s all good stuff. But there’s a modern layer of preparation that incorporates the digital dimension of your life. If you need to evacuate, then really all you care about is getting yourself and your loved ones to safety. Second on the list are those preparations for being stuck in the house for days, or without access to the grid.

To read the rest of the article go here.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Understanding The Scale Of A Map

Maps come in various scales, sizes and variety.  This post makes sense of map scale and what that means to the hiker. defines map scale as:

“A ratio which compares a measurement on a map to the actual distance between locations identified on the map.”

A topographic (topo) map’s scale information is located at the bottom center of the map.  Other maps will generally have scale information in the large map key that outlines many of the features and data printed on the map.

The map scale for a United States Geologic Survey (USGS) 7.5 topo minute map is highlighted below.

A closer look of the scale information:

The area circled in red is the ratio discussed by  Note that the ratio has no units of measurement assigned (e.g., feet, meters, acres.)

To read the rest of the post go here.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Refresh Your GPS Skills

 The hunting season is almost a wrap!  Let's take the time to take another look at your GPS skills.

Now is the perfect time to practice and improve your GPS skills  to get “dialed-in” with your receiver.

GPS will get you back to the truck or help you return to your favorite spot.   Confident use of the receiver comes with practice and frequent use.

Here are some simple recommendations to try in the field.

  • Dump those old AA batteries, put in new ones, and replace them again in 4 months.  If you leave your GPS on all day in the field expect to change the batteries nightly.  Consider using lithium AA’s, they last longer and work better in cold temperatures.

  • Verify that you are receiving enough satellite signals.  Check this on the satellite status screen.  Four satellites are the minimum. 
To read the rest of the post go here.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Thank You!

I really appreciate the recognition that my post "Navigating a Topographical Map" received on the Survival Mom's website.  A big thank you to Leon for posting the article on!

There are dozens of survival blogs, websites, and forums out there, and it's impossible to stay on top of them all. I did a little research and here are the #1 articles from the summer season from some of my favorite survival and preparedness blogs, as well as the Top 5 from The Survival Mom.
I also have a coupon code from a new advertiser, Pantry Paratus ("prepared pantry"), just for my newsletter readers! Get $25 off any purchase of $75 or more* with this code: MOMOCT. This offer expires November 12.
Happy reading!
* * * * * *
Canadian Doomer: "How the very poor live"
Survival Common Sense: "Navigating a Topographical Map"
New Life on a Homestead: "Natural Treatment for Poison Ivy Rash"
And the Top 5 stories from the summer season at The Survival Mom blog:

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Water Purification

Kummerfeldt's review of water purification.

There are still far too many people using iodine tablets to disinfect their water when there is a much better product on the market - chlorine dioxide. There are also too many people drinking water that has not been disinfected simply because they don't like the taste of iodine not knowing that there is a new product on the market that doesn't leave an after taste.
Chlorine dioxide tablets made available by the Katadyn Company and also by Potable Aqua have been around for several years now but have not been embraced enthusiastically by those who recreate or work in the outdoors. Old habits die hard I guess. Or perhaps it's just ignorance! Either way you are putting your health at risk by drinking water that has not been disinfected.

If for no other reason you should consider using tablets that release chlorine dioxide because of its effectiveness in killing cryptosporidium, an organism commonly found in water - something that iodine was never able to do effectively.

Regardless of the manufacturer the tablets are individually packaged in sheets of ten tablets per sheet and are sold in containers of twenty or thirty tablets for $10 - $13.

Disinfecting your water is easy. Simply drop a tablet into a quart or liter of water and the chemical will destroy viruses, bacteria, Giardia and Cryptosporidium leaving no chlorine after taste.

For more information on Micropur tablets go to

Friday, October 28, 2011

Topo Maps - Update

Here is a wonderful site to check out on Topo Maps!!!

I am currently teaching a Navigation Class (a 3 credit class) at my local community college.

While preparing for my class on topographic maps I came across this fine power point presentation from the "World of Teaching." 

The power point presentation is FREE and provides a nice overview on topographic maps.

Go here for the presentation; Maps.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Alcohol Stove Review

Hikin Jim has written another excellent post on what is a simple and reliable alcohol stove.

Alcohol stoves seem to be the darling of anyone trying to “lighten up” in terms of their pack weight. Just one problem: There are so many alcohol stoves out there, how can anyone make sense of them all?

Some stoves are fussy and hard to work with. Others are unstable, more likely to spill than to cook your dinner. Still others take forever and the slightest breath of wind robs them of all their heat. While I want to lighten up as much as the next guy, I want a stove that works. There are some good stoves out there, and I’ve “done the math” to pick one out, which is presented below.

But before I go on, let me say that alcohol stoves aren’t for everybody. Most alcohol stoves do only one thing well: boil water. If you’re a gourmet cook, you may as well skip this article. But if you’re seriously trying to lighten your pack, my pick for an alcohol stove is worth a read. With a lightweight stove setup like this one, I’m able to get a typical fair weather weekend load down to under twenty-five pounds including food and one liter of water. That’s without cutting any comforts. If I want to start really scrimping, I can go even lower.

To read the rest of this post go here.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Sharpening Your Knife

What works to sharpen my knives?  This is what works for me.

My friend Leon recently wrote a fine post about what knife to carry in your pack.  He provided several recommendations.

This post supplements Leon's by discussing how to keep that knife sharp.   What kind of knife sharpener I would want in my pack.

There is no better way to spark a campfire discussion than to offer your suggestion on what is the best knife sharpener or sharpening system.   Opinions vary greatly.  There will be lots of experts.   My intent is to discuss what works for me.

Over many years I have experimented with an electric sharpener, wet stones, ceramic sticks and steels.  Most were satisfactory but I was looking for something that was portable, consistently provided a keen edge, worked well both in the field and kitchen and didn't require a box to keep all the implements together.  I sought a tool that would sharpen quickly.  I was not looking for a tool that would turn my knife into a razor.   I was looking for something simple.

At a Outdoor Show in 2005 I bought a sharpener made by Edge Maker (visit   I liked it so well that I purchased several as gifts.

The price was less than $20.00.

The model to the left has crossed metal sticks that you pull through.  One set sharpens your knife blade; it gets you started.  The other hones the blade and is the final step.  As I pull or draw my knife's blade I'll vary the pressure so that at the end I apply minimal pressure while honing.  I've used this system on my German kitchen blades, my hunting knives and most recently on a Case kitchen knife purchased at a local thrift store. 

It there a draw back?  The first worth discussing is that with an extremely dull and beat up knife you will pull some metal away from the blade.  If the knife is in really tough shape consider that you are restoring the bevel to the blade.  Second, the crossed metal sticks can develop flat spots.  The manufacturer's packaging discusses how to fix this by using a process actually twists the metal sticks.  That said, I have used my set on many, many knives and have yet needed to accomplish this repair.

Similar to the Edgemaker product is a tool called the Hunter Honer.   

The first noticeable difference is that it is compact and takes up far less space than the Edgemaker sharpener.  I have sharpened a few knives with fine results.  This model offers two methods of sharpening the blade.  The first is to dry hone the steel as you would with the other unit.  Pulling the knife through with modest pressure.  The other options is to use a small amount of honing oil (provided with the sharpener) to develop and even sharper edge.

The suggested retail price is $29.00.

Leon's article can be found here.

Topo Maps - Your Key To The Backcountry

A quality topograhic (topo) is your key to backcountry navigation.  Coupled with a compass and GPS, a topo is an important planning tool that identifies land features, contours, trails and resources.

Reviewing a topographic map is usually the starting point for the planning of any back country trip.  A topographic map is your road map to the outdoors.  It provides you detailed information at a scale that is meaningful and detailed.  For years, the US Geologic Survey (USGS) has been the principal publisher of accurate maps.  Within the last decade we have seen many innovations in mapping products that include new mapping companies and publishers, software, maps for the GPS, and “Apps” for the iPhone.

Still, the USGS map remains the standard for back country navigation (visit the USGS’s site at   I’d also recommend looking at June Fleming’s “Staying Found” or Bjorn Kjellstrom’s “Be Expert With Map & Compass.”  Once you develop a map foundation you will easily shift to many of the other products on the market today. 

Many publications, videos, and web sites will give you a complete rundown on the features, symbols and components to a map.  This article will discuss a few of the key features that you should be aware on a 7.5 minute map.

To read the rest of the post go here.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Right Knife For Your Pack

Best Choices for Backpacking Knives

by Leon Pantenburg

Elk Lake, Oregon is one of the major re-supply places for through hikers on the Pacific Crest Trail. Every year, a handful of long-distance hikers will walk border-to-border on the trail. They generally start in Mexico in April, and start trickling in to the Elk Lake Resort about August, en route to Canada.

I was eating lunch, and noticed a young lady trekker loading her pack for the next section. She had opened her re-supply box, sliced a chunk of cheese, opened several large packages and cut a shoelace, all with her tiny, Classic Swiss Army knife.

“It’s all you need,” she commented. “I have to go lightweight and I don’t carry an ounce that isn’t needed.”

I carry a Swiss Army Classic on my keyring everywhere. (To read my review of the Swiss Army Classic, click here.   And for lightweight hikers, who go long distances with minimal equipment, a Classic may be a reasonable choice. On a well-traveled trail like the Pacific Crest or Appalachian, you’ll seldom be isolated from other hikers for very long.

But that doesn’t mean you don’t need a knife for backpacking. Get separated from the group, off the beaten path in the backcountry, or in some sort of wilderness survival situation and you may desperately need the appropriate knife.

If I could only pick one tool to take along in the wilderness, it would be a knife. The uses are limited only by your imagination. But which one is best for your backpacking needs? How do you balance weight versus practicality?

To read the rest of Leon's post go here.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Compass Navigation

Topic Two: Moving Through the Backcountry.  This post deals with the considerations a hiker should take while navigating and moving through the wilderness.
Before leaving for a backcountry trip, there are three important steps to accomplish before leaving home. First, tell someone where you are going and when to expect your return.  Second, leave a map of your planned route with that responsible person and in your vehicle. Third, fill out the trip plan I have posted on my web site at; the trip plan stays with the responsible person.  As a Search and Rescue volunteer I have learned that these key steps can make a huge difference in you having to spend an unplanned night in the woods and being found----especially if you incur an unexpected injury or loss of communication.
The following are suggestions to consider before and during a trip into the backcountry.
While compass accuracy is important, many underestimate the topographic map as a key component in backcountry navigation.  I recommend carrying a set of maps that include a 7.5’ United States Geological Survey (USGS) map and a map like a United States Forest Survey map.  The USGS map gives me the detail information of the immediate area while the other map covers a much broader area.  I look for significant land features that will surround my direction of travel.  Features such as distinct mountain peaks, a stream, and a ridge line are just of few topographic “hand rails” that can help.  For example, if a large stream is to be on your right and it’s not there, it is time to double check your navigation picture.
Figure 1
Additionally, every hiker must 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.  This way I don’t have to worry about the math (do I add easterly declination or subtract it?)  Declination information found at the bottom of a topographic map is frequently out of date.  Check the web site to obtain the declination for the location you will be visiting.  For more detailed information on declination visit
To read the rest of the post go here.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Getting Your GPS Ready For Your Fall Hunt

Tune up your GPS before you leave for the woods.  "Dump the junk" and be ready for the backcountry.

With Elk season approaching, last month was range time with my favorite rifle.  I spent several hours sighting-in that rifle and testing my preferred reloads.  Altogether, I’ve spent probably five hours shooting, adjusting and cleaning my firearm.  Then I am spending time getting gear together, going through my check list to make sure I won’t leave anything behind.  I am all done right; wrong.

If I am like the average hunter I am only about 90% complete.  To ensure that all my preparations are done correctly I need to factor in my land navigation.  I have a few suggestions to get your GPS receiver ready for your trip.
  • “Dump the Junk” – Delete those old waypoints from last year. Save old waypoints on your PC by using a free program found at, or write them down on a piece of paper. Don’t use your GPS as a filing cabinet.
  • Open the GPS’s main menu option and then select tracks. Select the option that allows you to clear your tracks or track log. Tracks are what folks call the “bread crumb” trail and can be seen on your map page.
  • Visit your receiver’s manufacture’s web site to see if there are any software updates. You won’t improve the maps that may have come preloaded but upgrades will improve the efficiency of your receiver’s operation. Only download the upgrade that specifically matches your GPS.
To read the rest of the post go here 

    Monday, October 10, 2011

    The Hiker's Checklist

    This is a fine article by Matthew Sturdevant from the Hartford Courant.

    Just what should the hiker carry in the backcountry?

    On a vivid day last fall as the leaves ripened to their fiery hues my fiancee, Susan, and I hiked through woods nearTerryville.

    Our itinerary was explained simply in an online hiking guide: walk in, hike a loop for a few miles and return to our starting point. Trouble is, the trail markers we were supposed to follow were about as common as fallen leaves zigzagging in a labyrinth through the woods. A few hours later and we had wandered into another county — ending up on Johnny Cake Mountain Road in Burlington.

    It was dusk. No way were we going back into the woods to retrace our steps. Following the road back to our car would take more than a couple of hours because there is no direct route. We took the easy way out and called a friend for a ride.
    I didn't expect to get lost during such a short day hike in a patch of Connecticut woods. As an Eagle Scout raised in a camping family and a wilderness canoe guide for five summers in Maine, I thought nothing of a short afternoon jaunt in the Nutmeg State. We couldn't possibly stray too far, right? Wrong.

    To read the rest of Matthew's article go here.

    Oregon Hunter Rescued

    Oregon hunter rescued from the Mount Jefferson Wilderness.  Thankfully they had all the right gear.

    PORTLAND, Ore. --

    The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue Team, along with Linn County Search & Rescue and the Deschutes County Search & Rescue Horse Team, undertook an all-day rescue effort for Mike McLaughlin, 59, of the Portland suburb of Clackamas, said Jefferson County sheriff's Capt. Marc Heckathorn.

    McLaughlin fell while hunting in the Jefferson Lake area late Friday afternoon, making it impossible for him to walk out with his son-in-law and hunting partner, Brett Yeager, Heckathorn said.

    Yeager helped him into a sleeping bag and tent and climbed down the mountain for help, taking about four hours along an overgrown trail, Heckathorn said.

    A plan was devised, and teams from Jefferson, Linn and Deschutes counties began the search at 6 a.m. Saturday. Teams went in by two different routes, utilizing parts of the Pacific Crest Trail. The first team reached McLaughlin at around 1 p.m., and he was evaluated by medics, Heckathorn said.

    The overgrown trail system in the area hampered rescue efforts, making the seven- to eight-mile trek very slow, the sheriff's captain said.

    McLaughlin was brought by horseback to the Cabot Lake Trailhead, where he arrived around 8 p.m., Heckathorn said. He then left the area in a private vehicle to seek additional medical assistance, Heckathorn said, adding that he was in stable condition.

    Yeager's father, Gary Yeager, said the two had gone up Thursday night and on Friday afternoon decided to switch locations.

    “They were all packed and ready to go when Mike just stepped funny,” he added. “He couldn’t put any pressure on it.”

    Brett Yeager then set the tent back up and made sure McLaughlin was in a sleeping bag and had plenty of food, then he started hiking back out.

    Monday, October 3, 2011

    Make A Survival Kit Part Of Your Wardrobe

    by Leon Pantenburg

    I hadn’t dumped a canoe in years, so unexpectedly entering the water just above the John Day River’s Clarno rapids was quite a shock. I righted myself, pointed my feet downstream and tried to follow the course originally set for the canoe.

    The Central Oregon rapids last about three-quarters of a mile, and we’d managed to hit a rock cross-ways right at the head.

    My wife, Debbie, paddling in front, was also thrown out of the canoe. Her head bobbed above the rapids as she navigated the whitewater.  Several minutes later, I pulled myself out in the slack waters of an eddy.

    From downriver, Debbie waved to show she was OK.  Picking my way over the rocks toward her, I did a mental inventory of my survival tools. Everything we had, all of our fishing, camping and survival gear, was headed downstream toward the Columbia River.

    It was a hot day, with no danger of hypothermia, and the other members of our float party were at the scene. Neither of us was injured, and it was not a survival situation.  But if we had been alone, here’s the survival tools we had left: I didn’t lose my hat, glasses or the GPS in my pocket.  But the Moro knife was gone from its sheath on my belt, and the butane lighter in my left front pants pocket had disappeared.  A whistle was attached to my life jacket . I had charcloth in a plastic bag, firestarter and my key ring survival gear, except for the flashlight, still worked.

    Debbie had a whistle, too, but her survival gear was somewhere downstream. But even soaking wet, we could have started a fire to warm up and signal for help.

    You could get dumped out of a canoe, thrown off a horse that runs away or be in a shopping mall or hotel when there is a power failure. In these cases, all you’ll have is a survival mindset and the tools in your pockets or on your person.

    But a little planning can help a lot if you make some basic survival tools part of your wardrobe.

    This is what I carry on a daily basis:

    These items are on a separate key ring that clips to my car keys or belt loop.
    Integrate these items into your wardrobe and "wear" them every day. You may be grateful you did!

    To read the rest of Leon's post go here.

    Only Three Words That Can Get You In Trouble

    The following post is from Peter Kummerfeldt.  Three words that can get a back country traveler in trouble quickly.

    NEVER SAY "I AM JUST....................."

    I spent this past weekend roaming around Rocky Mountain National Park photographing the glorious fall colors and the antics of the elk in the early stages of the rut.  I also spent time observing the thousands of people from all over the country there to participate in what has become an annual ritual.  With regard to the people I came home with two impressions. Firstly it amazed me how few people of those in the park over the weekend actually set foot on the ground and walked anywhere other than the few manicured walkways around two lakes.  The mentality seemed to be "If I can't drive there I ain't going there!" Secondly, of those that did get out of there car how few had given any thought to the possibility of how quickly the weather can change in the Rockies.  Other than those that were obviously headed out to climb the tall peaks the rest of the weekend warriors were under dressed, under equipped and under skilled to cope with a weather change - or any other emergency situation that might have occurred. Slip-on shoes, shorts and a tank tops were the name of the game.

    I have long maintained that the most dangerous trip that you can go on is the spontaneous "Let's take the kids for a walk this afternoon" type of trip. Little thought goes into the possibility of something bad happening and even less goes into the preparations needed to cope with an accident or incident that place people in danger. They fall into the "I am just............." trap! We're just going to drive up to Rocky Mountain National Park this afternoon and walk the loop around Bear Lake. What could possible go wrong? The sun's out. We won't be very far from the car and if we get in trouble we'll just call the ranger for help! A lot can happen and sometimes people die before help can arrive! Never say "I am just" going to do anything! Again, you are setting a trap for yourself. Instead, in anticipation of a trip stop for a moment and consider all of the "what ifs." Think about the things that might go wrong and ask yourself if you're ready to cope with the consequences of a walk-in-the-park. And if not then don't put yourself or the lives of your family or friends at risk.