I am hiking across acres of Southwest Colorado with my fabulous best friend, a Black Mouth Cur that I named, appropriately, “Blessing” on our morning “walk” through the fields and woods of the farm where we now live. It is out … Continue reading
Do NOT eat tuna. Period. ALL the bluefin tuna is radioactive. ALL. A year ago they told us they were surprised to find the fish contaminated after limited exposure to radioactive water. As this article points out, all of the bluefin tuna being caught now have spent their entire lives exposed to radioactive water. If you didn’t hear the warning a year ago, please hear it now.
Every bluefin tuna tested in the waters off California has shown to be contaminated with radiation that originated in Fukushima. Every single one.
Over a year ago, in May of 2012, the Wall Street Journal reported on a Stanford University study. Daniel Madigan, a marine ecologist who led the study, was quoted as saying, “The tuna packaged it up (the radiation) and brought it across the world’s largest ocean. We were definitely surprised to see it at all and even more surprised to see it in every one we measured.”
Another member of the study group, Marine biologist Nicholas Fisher at Stony Brook University in New York State reported, “We found that absolutely every one of them had comparable concentrations of cesium 134 and cesium 137.”
That was over a year ago. The fish that were tested had relatively little exposure to the radioactive waste being dumped into the ocean following the nuclear melt-through that occurred at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in March of 2011. Since that time, the flow of radioactive contaminants dumping into the ocean has continued unabated. Fish arriving at this juncture have been swimming in contaminants for all of their lives.
Radioactive cesium doesn’t sink to the sea floor, so fish swim through it and ingest it through their gills or by eating organisms that have already ingested it. It is a compound that does occur naturally in nature, however, the levels of cesium found in the tuna in 2012 had levels 3 percent higher than is usual. Measurements for this year haven’t been made available, or at least none that I have been able to find. I went looking for the effects of ingesting cesium. This is what I found:
When contact with radioactive cesium occurs, which is highly unlikely, a person can experience cell damage due to radiation of the cesium particles. Due to this, effects such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and bleeding may occur. When the exposure lasts a long time, people may even lose consciousness. Coma or even death may then follow. How serious the effects are depends upon the resistance of individual persons and the duration of exposure and the concentration a person is exposed to.
Folks, someone forwarded this article to me and I am struggling to maintain my composure as I read this incredible editorial.
I strongly and urgently suggest that you take the time, as the piece is lengthy, to read this. Many of you may already know at least part of these details, I recommend that you continue reading it to the end. The implications and ramifications of the recently signed executive orders (and more!) are staggering.
Every person should read this report whether you believe in the apocalypse and what the Bible says about it, or not. You don’t need to believe the Bible to understand what is superbly articulated in his synopses. This information is not in reference to the second coming of Jesus Christ the Messiah, but details the dire, dangerous and deadly situations we are about to face. And it is very, very ugly.
The Apocalypse Is Upon…
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Japan’s nuclear risk in the wake the earthquake and tsunami has some people stocking up on potassium iodide tablets and crystals because it can be used to help prevent one certain type of radiation poisoning. Potassium iodide pills have been given out to Japanese evacuation centers and certain other people in proximity to the damaged reactors, but most other people do not need KI and will not benefit from it. The Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) is urging peoplenot to take potassium iodide at this time. Here are some reasons why it won’t help you and could hurt you:
- According to the AEC, if you are in Taiwan or the United States, taking KI outweighs any benefit you might gain from the compound. The level of radiation presently is too low for people to…
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AMAZING WHAT A LIGHTWEIGHT PIECE OF ALUMINUM FOIL CAN DO FOR THE TREKKER.
- Signaling device.
- Keep lunch warm.
- Pile in and take-away ashes from your campfire.
- Can become a cooking “plate” over hot coals.
- Fashion a food platter, fork, spoon, bowl, whatever you need rather lugging the real deal.
- Under your sleeping bag to keep it dry, you warmer and insulated.
- Keeps matches dry.
- Fishing lure.
- Funnel for drip coffee.
- Reflect light for a great photo op.
- Fix loose battery connection in your flashlight.
- Radiate solar heat.Wind shelter to start your fire.
- Stop a leaky tent roof. NOT if there’s lightening!
Trail Safety when practiced, will enhance your hiking experience because you will know ahead of time what to do should a problem present itself. These tips are general. I encourage you to do your own, and more thorough research. I’m available to answer questions and value your comments and concerns. Lets get to it:
Signs of bear presence:
Look for bears up in oak trees foraging on the acorns, or bedding down on the other side of a felled log, (don’t just hop over logs, check what may be on the other side first) near streams (they can NOT hear you when they’re near running water, so know that it’s easier to surprise them there) and among berry patches. More signs of bear activity are overturned rocks (foraging for grubs and worms), claw marks on tree trunks (announcing their prowess, height, and territory to other bears, sample photos at the end of this post), among heavy brambles and brush, or flattened grassy “beds”. The most obvious is the bear track, which to me looks similar to a human bare foot print. The tracks will have a “pigeon-toe” pattern, each paw print will show the piercings of their claws in front of the toe marking. Also you can easily scan for fresh scat, dig marks, tracks, clawing markings on the ground where a bluff or animal challenge had previously occurred since you are checking the ground in front of you anyway. Caves, hollow trees and logs and even under dense brush are common “dens”. In other words, they’re everywhere, but there’s no reason to be frightened by it. Simply be aware that you are in their backyard and enjoy the adventure, camera-ready!
Learn to identify scat and tracks, (I found Scats and Tracks by James C. Halfpenny, Ph.D very helpful) you will be amazed at how fascinating this can be! After capturing the scat or track on film, you can research it when you get home and the thrill of discovery is enhanced by the challenge the research presents. Don’t be timid about breaking apart scat with a handy twig to discover if there are berries, fur, or bone in it. Fur and bones, probably feline and canine. Berries, fur, hairs and garbage probably bear. Once the bear begins to feed on meat, the scat will be black in color with a stronger odor. Do not sniff scat, some can be hazardous & toxic when inhaled directly. (Raccoon scat can be mistaken for bear scat and the raccoon scat can carry a parasite that is fatal to humans.)
A bear cub will make a sound that sounds to me just like: “MA!” or “Maw!” which is their distress call. You know what to do. And it’s not scream and shout and run all about. Be calm, back away, deep breath now, you can do this. (But doubtful you ever will need to.) My personal experience was, the cub was more frightened of me and went scrambling up the nearest tree, calling “ma!” which gave me plenty of time to calmly leave the area. (Disappointed at a photo op missed, but I’m not completely stupid about photos.)Black bears often follow well-established trails. Wide double ruts formed in the grass or the ground are a good indication of a bear trail. In wooded areas, these trails often go under obstructions. They are careless about the amount of sound they make vs an animal that is stalking you such as the cougar. Listen as you hike.
Danger signs: A distress call from any of our wild animals’ young is a definite get-away-from-the-area signal. You will recognize it immediately once you’ve heard it, regardless of the type of animal. I had stopped for a comfort break and as I prepared myself I heard this odd meowing, but not quite a meow and there was a definite “distress tone” to it. 2+2 I’m thinking it almost sounded feline, when my ah-ha moment engages: Oh Snap! I rushed out of the bushes and headed far, far away. My nemesis the cougar, flashes of its beautiful but powerful body raced through my imagination. Near her distressed cub/kitten? I think not! So use all of your senses while on trail. It will become second nature to you, much like noticing traffic problems before they happen.
NOTE: Don’t carry your car keys or phone in your pack. If you need to throw your pack as a deterrent, there go your keys as well. Keep them in a zip-up pocket on your person or safety-pinned inside a pocket. On your person! I learned the hard way.
Food Cache: Another danger are food caches. Usually you will know immediately from the distinctive odor and/or the abundance of flies that there is a kill in the immediate area. DO NOT REMAIN IN THE AREA OF A KILL OR FOOD CACHE. Remain calm, and leave the area. Animals are highly protective of their caches.
They are gorgeous animals, big, strong and potentially lethal. They like to be at the highest point, but they also are at ground level, under brush for surprise attacks. Even at a distance a brief glimpse should be cause for alarm. Though the cougar is most likely to leave the area, you should group together and travel with caution.
If there are repeated sightings, be prepared to aggressively defend yourself and others. Be alert and on guard for the remainder of your hike. Also, the mountain lion is crepuscular, so plan the hours of your hike around that. This is one animal I highly respect and depend completely upon the Lord for help and protection against. He is more than capable! Then I subsequently rely upon my training, research, experience and upon my God-given senses.
If attacked by a mountain lion, appear larger: Raise your arms. If you have trekking poles raise them over your head, appear large. Pick up small children. Throw stones, branches, or whatever you can reach without crouching or turning your back. Wave your arms slowly and speak firmly in a loud voice. Women, lower your voice, sound masculine, decisive. The idea is to convince the mountain lion that you are not prey and that you may be a danger to it. Fight back if attacked, using anything as a weapon. Since a mountain lion usually tries to bite the head or neck, try to remain standing and face the attacking animal. Fight back aggressively! It goes without saying, but I must; a cougar attack must be reported.
Precautions, good sense:
- Make a wide detour or leave the area if you see a bear at a distance. If you cannot detour or retreat, wait until the bear moves from your path. Always leave the animal an escape route.
- Do not run. Most bears can run as fast as a racehorse. A scream or sudden movement can trigger an attack.
- Don’t throw anything at a bear; it may provoke an attack.
- Do not wear scented perfumes, sunblock, chapstick, etc. as scents attract a habituated bear.
- Do not pack-in food that is not in bear containers.
- Never feed a wild animal. It is a disservice and a disgrace! The animal will likely end up euthanized because of it.
- The sight or sound of multiple flies, ravens or crows means you are near a carcass. Leave the area immediately.
- Heavy, foul scent, like old, spoiled meat. Carcass, a sure sign to detour safely.
- Menstruating women should hike another time when you’re not on your cycle.
First Aid Snake Bite:
One should always carry an ace bandage and small – large band aids with them on any hike. To treat a snake bite, wrap the limb a few inches above the bite snugly with the ace. The idea is to slow the lymphatic not the blood flow. You are NOT applying a tourniquet! You should be able to get a finger under the ace, between the ace and the limb. Do NOT suck-out the venom. Try to avoid unnecessary exertion. Obviously, get medical help immediately. Take a few cleansing breaths and force your thundering heart to slow down, calm down. Rarely is a rattler bite fatal. Expensive, extremely so, yes. Fatal no. You will probably feel faint, it’s that post-adrenalin download. Go ahead & squat so that should you faint, you don’t have far to go. Just practicalities here. Where you were bitten will be painful and may begin to tingle. Don’t stress it, it is what it is. You’re not dying out in the wilds. If you have a pen in your pack (some people take notes on what they observed during the hike) draw a circle around the bite, 2″ from the center of the bite. Write the time down. This will help first responders. It will swell. Again, it is what it is. Be calm, your body is responding the way it should.
Hiking alone? Well, with that fire starter in your 10 essentials, if it is safe to do so, start a signal fire only if you are in a very clear area around you and above you, so that a responding helicopter will be able to CLEARLY see you and the smoke. Lay flat, spread out for the maximum exposure for the helicopter overhead, you want to be a very broad, wide “target”. Spread out that large red bandana you had in your ten essentials. When the helicopter is overhead, signal with your hand a slithering snake, (remember they’re viewing this from overhead, make the proper adjustments.) then the striking motion & point to the body part. They’ll understand & arrange medical & evac for you.
No possibility of a signal fire, trees too dense? Not the ideal situation, but you need to hike out. Get your composure, obviously pray, and be as easy on the affected limb as possible, you may have to scoot your way downhill rather than chancing wide, deep steps. Limit your mobility while being safe. No trekking poles? Snag a downed limb to use as a cane, the less stress on the affected limb the better. (Assuming it’s a leg.)
Since I hike during the week, (low trail traffic) I encounter snakes a lot. Remember with weather patterns changing, that snakes are out from their hibernation at atypical times (at least for my state, CA) and you do need to keep an eye out for them. They like the trail and rocks, anywhere that the sun can bake upon them. If you encounter a snake whose eyes look clouded-over, it is in the process of shedding its skin. THEY ARE VERY UNPREDICTABLE DURING THIS PHASE. Just a heads up.
You’ve probably heard about this. You can customize your pack, but here are a few that really are essential:
- Extra water!!
- Fire starter (I use cotton balls saturated with vaseline in an old, small film canister.)
- Waterproof matches
- First Aid to include ace bandage and band aids
- Map. You printed the trail details from a website? Don’t leave the directions in the car!
- Sunscreen. Large red bandana
- Extra clothing (ie extra jacket, preferably waterproof)
Remember, there are always exceptions to the rule, these are wild animals. But the more informed you are as to their usual behavior, the more relaxed and confident you will be on handling any encounter.
Do your research from various sites on how to handle animal encounters pertaining to the area and state that you will be hiking in, for your general 411 and safety confidence. If you’re camping, after you’ve set-up go chat with the ranger and see how they handle wildlife for their particular park. If you’re hiking in a different state, please check with their local forestry dept., and with their fish & game for wildlife information particular to their state. I also look up the fire department number for the area that I’m hiking. Some small towns are volunteer fire dept and have a direct number which is actually faster than 911. Do your research. When you know how to handle a situation in advance, the more relaxed you will be while on trail, making your adventures truly sensational! My knowledge is far from replete, so please, do your homework!
Leave no trace is essential! You got to enjoy your views litter-free, so please pass it on. It’s important that we all practice good stewardship. I carry a small sandwich bag in a designated pocket to collect any used tissue that I may have had to use (allergies), perhaps you have additional tips on keeping wildernesses beautiful and vibrant, I’d love to hear from you!
If you have something to add, I value your comments. More Identifying Photos below. Your comments at the end of this post may help someone else logging-on to read & learn. Please post your comments!
OK, I’M IN THE WILDERNESS, NOW WHAT DO I DO? . . . Lions & Tigers & Bears, Oh My!
Ok, no lions and tigers and no Auntie Em either. But definitely time to explore the practicalities and safety issues of wildlife encounters. Remembering that all wildlife are indeed wild and are extremely dangerous when provoked. So let’s learn how “not to provoke”. Also, the more you know and understand equales empowerment, and the calmer and more assured and safer you will be while on trail.
Black Bear. You’re hiking an area that has a lot of switchbacks, blind corners and you’re in bear country. We don’t need to startle mama bear with her cubs, so softly talk or sing, or pray out loud as you near those blind corners. Occasionally check the ground ahead of you for tracks or scat to alert you to its presence. Their tracks look like bare people feet (at least to me) and their scat is significant and full of berries or fur. If you see garbage or saran wrap in the scat, you have a habituated bear in the area. Time to reconsider your hike. A habituated bear associates humans with food, making them uncharacteristically aggressive and eventually a dead animal by our euthanizng hands. Not to mention at minimum, a rattled you.
Well, lookie there, a black bear. What to do? Has the bear seen you? If not, don’t announce yourself and simply detour or turn back. Calmly. It has seen you? Stop where you are. Be calm. I know you did NOT bring McDonalds or tuna sandwiches with you, or any food to entice wildlife, so is the bear considering you a food source? If somehow a packed picnic lunch found its way into your pack, remove your pack and toss it on the ground ahead and away from you. Disassociate yourself from it and begin to back away. Do not run or turn your back on the bear; that’s what prey do and loud noises might force it to protect itself. Again, DO NOT RUN, it will stimulate the animals predatory instinct. Black bears often will bluff charge, it will be difficult, but stand your ground. After it stops a few feet from you, you can continue your backing away and the bear will definitely investigate the pack that you left. Don’t bother going back for it, which is why you pack your car keys and turned-off phone (otherwise the battery will wear down trying to find a signal while you’re in the mountains) on your person, preferably in a zip-up pocket or safety-pinned to your clothing. (I had to re-hike a snowy and difficult trail looking for car keys once. Lesson learned.)
Being respectful and aware of the animals comfort zone will go a long way. Another point to remember is that dogs irritate bears. If you hike with an unleashed dog, please change that habit, it’s a danger to Spot and to other hikers. Secondly, as your dog jogs ahead, encounters a bear, it runs back to you for protection. Guess who they are leading back to you? Yup, Spot just brought you one big unwanted “gift”.
My biggest problem is getting an enounter on film, getting the camera out fast enough to capture the rare moment. And you may want to check behind you occasionally, especially if you’re preoccupied taking pics of your exciting encounter. Remember, BEAR SIGHTINGS AND ENCOUNTERS ARE UNUSUAL. I have been in the bear country for the majority of my hikes, 2-3 times a week and it took over 3.5 years before I actually sighted a bear. Bear encounters are rare. So relax and have fun!
Snakes. While you’re checking the ground ahead of you for scat to avoid, protruding roots or rock to trip you up (aka ‘speed bumps’), and for anything alive, you may as well look for snakes. Snakes are shy critters and prefer not to interact with you. They are typically unaggressive. They usually slither away before you’ve approached them since they have sensed your “trespass” by the vibration of your steps. They don’t have ears, can’t hear you so if you’re screaming at it, it’s for naught. If it’s a rattler and it actually rattled at you, (they do not always rattle) it’s simply warning you that you’re too close. It wants it’s “space”, so give it some. The last thing a snake actually wants to do is to bite you, as any close encounter with another animal (including YOU) puts the snake at risk as well.
Please, do NOT go chasing after it because you have “great video” especially if it is rattling at you. You are putting yourself and companions at risk and you are needlessly harassing animal life. You have most likely chased it into an area where there are other snakes & while you’re videoing one, you have others who see you as a threat. Quite the picture, isn’t it? If that isn’t enough incentive, not only is a bite very painful but will run you $100,000 AND UP for anti venom that is if you get to medical within a reasonable time. More on first aid in Part Two http://ow.ly/gY1UB
Back away and wait for it to wander off. It out-of-the-ordinarily lingers? Then from a distance, toss a few rocks around it, no need to hurt or kill it, and it will move away to the nearest brush or rock hideaway. Or you can stomp your feet, to the snake it will feel like an entire army is approaching, and as shy as it is, off it will go. If it’s injured you may need to pull from your patience reserve, but it will eventually get out of your way. I usually “X” mark the trail dirt with my trekking pole so that on my return I can be aware that there was one at that spot on my way up. Also, I use my poles to tap the rock in front of me as I descend from a hike since I can’t see what’s beyond or under the rock ahead. They like to hide in the crevices. ALWAYS tap-out any log or rock that you intend to rest upon. For your hiking times you can purchase a pair of *snake gaiters if that will make you feel safer, which I wear when I’m trail-blazing and off trail. Again, my biggest problem with snakes (well, every wildlife encounter) has been getting the camera out fast enough. Even after accidentally standing on a really ticked off & coiled rattler, (NOT RECOMMENDED) I wasn’t bitten, by the grace of God. I repeat: accidentally! (W.T. the Novice chapter 7) I’ve learned to stay on trail while on regular treks since then! Do NOT approach or handle snakes, or any of our wildlife. And, generally, a triangular head means venomous. A rounded head, not. But I’m speaking generally and from experience from within California; I’m not familiar with other states and their wildlife. So do your research before you hike. As a rule, the young venomous snakes, if they strike, in their inexperience tend to over-envenomate which is what makes their bite more dangerous. Keep your distance, please. But no need to be freaked out now that you know their behavior, you know what to expect and how to respond.A Bobcat will most likely run from you, or simply watch you as you pass. They’re the size of a really overgrown tom cat and generally do not pose a threat, but such a sighting is definitely camera worthy!
The cougar is dangerous and has been known to attack people and children. If you’re hiking with a group, all the better. But if you’re the smallest person in the group, you do not want to be last in line. It signals weakness, possible prey to the cougar. In CA, a woman was attacked from behind as she rode her bike along a fairly trafficked trail. The animal was later euthanized.
They are gorgeous animals, big, strong and potentially lethal. They like to be at the highest point, but they also are ground level, under brush for surprise attacks. Even at a distance a brief glimpse should be cause for alarm. Though the cougar is most likely to leave the area, you should group together and travel with caution. If there are repeated sightings, be prepared to aggressively defend yourself and others. Be alert and on guard for the remainder of your hike. Also, the mountain lion is crepuscular, so plan the hours of your hike around that. This is one animal I highly respect and depend completely upon the Lord for help and protection against. He is more than capable! Then I subsequently rely upon my training, research, experience and upon my God-given senses.
If attacked by a mountain lion, appear larger: Raise your arms. If you have trekking poles raise them over your head, appear large. Pick up small children. Throw stones, branches, or whatever you can reach without crouching or turning your back. Wave your arms slowly and speak firmly in a loud voice. Women, lower your voice, sound masculine, decisive. The idea is to convince the mountain lion that you are not prey and that you may be a danger to it. Fight back if attacked: A hiker in Southern California used a rock to fend off a mountain lion that was attacking his son. Others have fought back successfully with sticks, caps, jackets, garden tools and their bare hands. Since a mountain lion usually tries to bite the head or neck, try to remain standing and face the attacking animal. Fight back aggressively!
Deer. Believe it or not, they can be aggressive. Simply keep your distance and appreciate these lovely creatures from afar. Do not approach and feed. If a wild animal appears docile, is bedded down and is allowing you to approach it? There is something seriously wrong and it will most likely attack you in lightening speed. Leave wild animals alone. If you accidently stumble upon one up close, do not look it in the eye. Stay still, look down, it will take off.
Fox, Coyote, Bighorn sheep. These fascinating animals commonly will avoid you, but if you get the privilege of sighting them, I sincerely hope you brought your camera! Fox packs actually use one area for scatting, called a fox latrine. When you see multiple, thin, fur-embedded scat you have probably hit upon a fox latrine. Get your camera ready, they are so fun to watch as they track mice underground!The bighorn sheep will tolerate your presence as long as you are quiet and do not look them (or any animal) in the eye. They feed on the brightest of food, the bright color signals high nutrition. So, when we thoughtlessly release those mylar balloons into the atmosphere, the sheep are dying from feeding on them. FYI.
Coyote, in a pack should be considered dangerous. Pack attack on humans are not a common occurrence. Again, if you’re carrying food, you’re making yourself a target. If approached, toss that Bigmac!
TWO-LEGGED THREATS: And if you routinely hike alone, may I suggest that you carry some sort of pepper spray?
REMEMBER: Preparation is key, watching for danger signs will become habit, a very good habit, and you will be able to enjoy your trek with confidence and calm. Yes it’s wild out there, just not so savage that you should stay away.
* I’m very happy with the snake gaiters that I purchased from Uplanders Warehouse http://ow.ly/gOq8n
Your comments, concerns, personal experiences and information is greatly encouraged! Your comments may help someone else! Also check back for updates on Part 1 and Part 2 of the Fight Or flight blog. Scroll for my next blog, Part Two.
Click for Part 2 http://ow.ly/gY1UB Discussed in FIGHT OR FLIGHT Part Two: Signs of Presence, Danger Signs, Precautions, First Aid for snake bite.