Coming December 2019
YOUR HIKE by Michele Oshel Rosa
Releasing December, 2019 at all major retailers
Michele is known as "Artemis" while hiking and delves into her second book, but her first nonfiction novel. Aching to learn everything there is to know about hiking and phenomenal survivalist tips? Looking to pick up new ideas for a hike of any duration? YOUR HIKE is loaded down and packed with tips, tricks and how to’s in an easy to read format.
Snippet of topics:
- Planning a hike
- Trail etiquette
- Packing and choosing gear
- Sleeping in trail shelters
- Selecting a campsite
- How to hang a bear bag
- Purifying and filtering water
- Winter Hiking
- Back country hygiene
- Trail medicine and first aid
- Preventing and treating tick-borne diseases
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**IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE** The following section should not take the place of seeking immediate rescue, medical assistance, and or treatment. The purpose is to bring awareness to the symptoms of hypothermia, and quickly address dangerous circumstances until help arrives.
Definition of hypothermia: A potentially fatal condition which occurs when core body temperature falls below 95°F (35°C).
Five ways the body can lose heat
- Evaporation: Body heat turns sweat into vapor, caring body heat away.
- Convection: Heat loss by air or water moving across skin.
- Conduction: Direct contact with a cold object. For example, laying on a cold sleeping pad not rated for winter weather.
- Radiation: The body radiates 40-45% of its body heat through the head and neck. Other pulse points can put radiation loss around 60% due to condensed blood circulation.
- Respiration: Cold air entering lungs drains heat while warmed by the body. Breathing through the nose helps warm the air since it takes longer to reach the lungs in smaller doses.
Types of Hypothermia
Primary Hypothermia: The body's heat-balancing mechanisms are working correctly but internal heat is lost due to extreme cold air or water. Primary hypothermia from cold air takes several hours to become critical. But, cold water draws heat from the body exponentially faster, taking as little as fifteen minutes to an hour to kill a person.
Secondary Hypothermia: Heat loss due to impaired heat-balancing capabilities of the body is secondary hypothermia. A person cannot respond adequately to slightly cold environments and loses body heat quicker than average. Body heat-balancing mechanisms could fail due to: strokes, diabetes, malnutrition, bacterial infection, thyroid disease, spinal cord injuries, use of medications and mind-altering substances. Insignificant amounts of alcohol can cause secondary hypothermia by interfering with the ability to recognize and avoid freezing conditions.
Symptoms of hypothermia
When the body’s core temperature drops by only one or two degrees, the brain triggers physiological and behavioral responses to help restore heat.
- Weak pulse.
- Clumsiness or lack of coordination.
- Drowsiness or very low energy.
- Slurred speech or mumbling.
- Slow, shallow breathing.
- Confusion or memory loss, further compounding awareness of the cold.
- Unaware of a hypothermic condition if symptoms worsen gradually.
- Shivering stops and feeling warmer without change in environment.
- Loss of consciousness.
- Frostbite develops on outer extremities (skin will look blue or back and have no feeling).
- Bright red, cold skin (in infants).
Treating hypothermia when ALONE on the trail
WARNING: Body temperature should increase by no more than a couple of degrees per hour. These tips and steps do not replace getting the proper help and medical attention when needed.
- If wet and start shivering, stop hiking and make shelter before the sun sets resulting in lower temperatures. If without a sleeping bag bivy, do not put a footprint under a tent. See step 7.
- Determine if suffering from secondary or primary hypothermia and address any contributing factors within control. An example would be checking blood sugar if diabetic or stop the consumption of alcohol.
- Do not build a fire unless: in a constructed trail shelter with a fireplace, wearing dry clothes, consumed a hot meal, and shivering subsided. Time needed to make a roaring fire takes time and energy than one safely possesses. In very low temps, heat from a fire does not radiate enough to melt bottles of ice six inches away. While in the throes of hypothermia, the body and mind might be too numb to tell if skin is burning.
- Bring a pack into the shelter to quickly access needed items.
- Change into any dry clothes, hat, gloves, socks, and puffy coat. If without dry clothes, put on raingear.
- Start drying a shirt by wrapping it loosely around the head. Body heat will quickly dry a wicking shirt. Once dry, choose another garment to dry in this fashion. Properly vent the shelter from the humid process. Do not damage clothes by placing too close to a fire.
- Get inside a dry sleeping bag on a pad or a wet synthetic bag. If without a bivy, tuck a tent footprint around the bag, increasing the temperature rating. In the absence of a sleeping pad, place pine needles under the tent for insulation.
- While warming, avoid sleeping and losing awareness of severity.
- Place a stove on a sit pad (prevents freezing while cooking) and light under the vestibule. Within a minute the tent will warm from the flames. You will need to make hot meals and drinks all night so conserve fuel by bringing water to a near boil. *Avoid carbon monoxide poisoning by refraining from cooking inside a shelter but under a vestibule. Take care while cooking in a sleeping bag to not knock over a stove with the bag and clumsy cold hands.
- While the water heats, select a fatty meal and a hot beverage. Foods loaded with fat and complex carbohydrates are harder to digest and the body will work harder, creating more internal heat. Ration enough food to eat periodically during the night if feeling chilled again. The hot food and water will raise the body’s core temp and spirits.
- The body pulls heat from extremities to preserve core temperatures, exposing these areas to frostbite. After eating, and having sufficient water supply, turn the stove back on to heat enough water to fill a bottle. Place in the sleeping bag foot box. The stove running once more will elevate the temps in the shelter. *To prevent burns, do not place hot water directly on numb skin. What happens to ice when hot water is poured on top? It cracks. Directly warming numb skin too fast is very painful, damages the skin, and could burn.
- Once shivering has subsided, take inventory of the situation, and formulate a survival plan until help arrives or safe to resume hiking to town.
- Place your water filter and water stores in your warm sleeping bag to prevent freezing.
- Keep your mind occupied to prevent panic and falling asleep.
- Heat more water and drink. Dehydration complicates hypothermia.
- After shivering has subsided and in dry clothes, make a fire if possible. If large rocks are near, build a heat reflection wall two or three-feet high facing the shelter to direct radiating heat.
- If you have a fire and a sleeping bag is wet, use the line of a bear bag to hang the sleeping bag near a fire. To fully dry, occasionally rotate and flip inside out, careful not to burn.
- With a dry sleep system, warm a rock next to the fire, wrap in a bag or cloth, placing in the sleeping bag instead of wasting fuel boiling water for a warming bottle. Rocks retain heat for longer periods but be careful not to melt the bag’s synthetic shell.
- Do some camp shores to keep moving and generating heat. For example, gather more firewood, build a heat wall, add insulting leaves to the sides of a shelter, and gather snow or water. Also, pile snow, pine needs, or leaves around the sides of a shelter to further retain heat.
- Double check tent or tarp lashings are tight.
- Do not panic. Given enough time, clear thinking, and hydration; it is possible to get lifesaving dry clothes and sleeping bag.
- When presented with limited options and conditions, it takes a lot of work to remedy and stay on top hypothermia Until help arrives or safe to hike, do not break the routine and relax enough to fall asleep; getting cold once more.
- Once safe, correct and replace any gear with poor functions or failures. Not all hikes are about chasing rainbows and summit views but learning precious lessons, making a hiker more prepared for the next great adventure. Take what you learn and teach others, and meat the next winter hike as a pro with a remarkable story.
How to Ford a River
A river or stream with tiny ripples might look tame enough to cross but looks can be deceiving. Rivers have hidden currents forcefully moving one or two feet underneath the surface. The water current could be strong enough to sweep someone off their feet or put tremendous pressure on knees, buckling them.
Test the strength of the current
- Test river hydraulics by sticking out a long stick far out as possible to feel pressure from the current against the stick. A valuable trekking pole could rip out of a hiker's hand.
- Then, toss the stick into the moving water and observe how fast it floats downstream and where it goes to shore. The test will show which way a someone will float if falling into the water. If the stick disappears underwater, beware of dangerous suction holes or whirlpool.
Other moving water hazards
- Breaking waves “stopper”: The top of a swell that collapses down on the upstream side.
- Constricted wave: When a narrowing channel constricts the flow of water, making it flow faster, sometimes forming waves.
- Drop: Water dropping straight down to form a waterfall
- Eddies: Water rushing around obstacles can create a reverse current as it tries to fill the void created by an object. The phenomenon sometimes creates whirlpools or voids.
- Gradient: The steepness of a riverbed and bank, compounded by slippery mud, can often make it very difficult for a swimmer to get out of the water.
- Holes: Water flowing over a ledge or rock creates a void, trapping objects in the circulating flow. Unlike eddies, the circulation goes up and down not around to the side.
- Hydraulics: Water circulating on top of itself. The churning waves below a dam or spillway is an example and look like soft boiling water.
- Rapids: Water flowing over boulders and logs, causes turbulence in the form of choppy waves.
- Wavetrain: A series of non-breaking waves.
How to select an area to cross
- Climb to a higher vantage point above the stream, to read and study the water. Make a mental note of coves, rocks, and logs which will help get you out of the river if swept downstream.
- Chose to enter the water on a bank 45 degrees from a safe place to exit the water if swept downstream. The angle will give someone enough time to swim with the current and wash up on the safe spot.
- Look for large animal tracks on both sides of the embankment, indicating a current slow enough for animal crossings.
- If rapids are spotted, find a "V"-shaped flow of smooth water pointing downstream, indicating a clear channel through the rocks. Rocks lying just under the surface cause rapids or wave trains, indicated by a “V” pointing upstream.
Getting ready to cross
- Unclip a pack’s waist and sternum straps. While crossing, if a pack becomes tangled in a branch or weight shifts making it hard to hold up the head, be able to quickly shed it.
- Do not cross with a pack under the chest. Laying across a pack will not float a person but possibly drag the crosser faster downstream or pulled under.
- Double check footwear is tightly tied and will not slip off. While crossing, as much traction as possible is needed. For protection from sharp objects, do not cross in bare feet or waterproof socks. If footwear needs to come off, attach to the pack. Do not hang footwear from the neck because the weight could pull down, making it harder to hold up the head.
- Anything needing to stay dry place inside a waterproof bag and inside a backpack. All items in an open side pouch or net should go inside. I have seen buoyant rain gear come loose and float downstream.
- Do not cross with others connected by rope. If one falls in, the others attached could easily be yanked in by the current or loose balance and fall into the water. Instead, create a handhold by tying one end of a line to a log or rock and as someone fords the water, they extend the rope as they cross. Once across, tie off the rope on an anchor point. The rope can guide heavy packs across by attaching them to the rope with a locking carabiner, sliding it along during a crossing.
Do not use a log jam to cross water. People who fall in while crossing could roll under, hit in the head, and pinned underneath without air.
When falling in fast-moving water, ditch the pack as soon as possible and point feet upwards. By keeping feet as high as possible, the possibility of feet and legs becoming caught on stones or logs is limited. If someone has caught limbs, the weight and speed of the current with drag a swimmer under the water.
If caught in a hydraulic or water feature, do not panic and swim for the side or the bottom, trying to break the circular cycle. Do not swim directly against the water hazard but diagonal from the direction of the pressure. An exception is when unable to break loose. Before exhausting all energy, swim hard into the current and curl into a ball. With luck, a swimmer might be driven below the re-circulation and shot out of the hydraulic. Remember, keep your breath because all water and everything in it eventually moves downstream.