As election season reaches its peak and the ballots will soon start hitting the mail, I have one goal: get as far away as possible. The first weekend of November may not sound like the best time for backpacking, but that’s all part of the allure. An overnight trip relying on homemade wilderness shelters, garbage bag ponchos and soaking wet fire starter is already in the mix. While expensive trips to REI or other outfitters might help me gear up, it’s really the how-to information from my local library that’ll help me survive the rainy and cold November nights.
Unsurprisingly on topic is the outdoors magazine BACKPACKER, which provides gear guides, trip recommendations, survival skills, and information relevant to the backpacking world. In November 2012’s issue, currently on the shelf, there are some handy survival tips discussing the stages, signs, and outdoor treatments of hypothermia, a brush-up on creating shelters, lighting a fire in rainy conditions, and other skills that will no doubt be taken full advantage of in the wild. For those still looking to gear up, the magazine offers many in-depth buying guides to equipment of all kinds, as well as suggestions for the best places to purchase them.
Well, with gear in hand, I needed a map of attack. After pressing the research using the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s website, I finally found a place where my pistol-toting partner and I could backpack in, set up an overnight shelter, and possibly bag some small game. Not much of a hunter myself, it still pays to research the rules and regulations in order to keep us safe out there. I had questions upon questions and libraries are the best place to start getting the answers. I was able to find a map of the location online, but I found an even better one in the Oregon Atlas & Gazetteer in the reference section of the library. It clearly maps out where we can and cannot go, and with a few photocopies in hand we are almost ready to set out.
The final item is a small survival handbook that I can take with me. All the great tips and skills discussed in Backpacker won’t mean a thing if I can’t remember them when I get lost and panic. A quirky but functional guide to wilderness survival here at Cedar Mill is Basic Essentials Survival by James E. Churchill. It has quick guides and diagrams to building fires, finding water, navigating when lost, and packing checklists. All that weighing in at about seven ounces makes it well worth packing along. The boy scout’s wilderness survival merit badge guide is also a fair resource.
Armed with gear, maps, and survival skills, I think I have enough to pack out. So now it’s off into the rainy wild, and with a little luck I’ll survive to blog again.