Tag Archives: back country

Surviving the Crash

This morning a little girl is lucky to be alive after her and her father went down in a small aircraft this weekend. She came out in good condition with only minor injuries. Unfortunately her daddy did not survive.

One of my fears is going down in an aircraft with Abby. We train so that we know what to do if something happens to me.

One of my fears is going down in an aircraft with Abby. We train so that we know what to do if something happens to me.

As a private pilot who travels with his daughter, this is the scenario that scares me. Often where we fly, we do not have cell reception like they did in this weekend’s case. Often, a survivor of back country aircraft accidents are  seriously injured and do not have immediate means for reaching the outside world. In many cases even if in cell range, phones are either lost, trapped, or damaged upon impact.

Abby and I have trained specifically for this scenario. Not only do we keep a survival kit in the plane, but each of us has a PSK (Personal Survival Kit) on us, so that if we or one of us escapes with just what we have on us- we have as a minimum the basics to survive. In addition, Adventure IQ offers aviation specific training to back country pilots and FREE training to General Aviation (non-commercial rated) Pilots. All they have to do is book with us.

Hard skills are just part of it. We also train the best we can for PMA- Positive Mental Attitude- this means training by herself on cold, wet, and rainy days with me observing from a distance.

Hard skills are just part of it. We also train the best we can for PMA- Positive Mental Attitude- this means training by herself on cold, wet, and rainy days with me observing from a distance.

We have the basics of what goes into a kit here.

For the PSK- it should be small and compact. A fly fishing vest is a great place to store all this stuff. Propper even has a tactical vest that we have been using in the back country for close to a year now and holds a decent amount of gear comfortably.

This is a sad case and hope my kiddo never ha s to face it. If you fly, please book training with us for both you and your family.

Here is the original article from this weekend’s crash

Using Survival to Improve Your IQ

I have always said that survival and bushcraft helps to make our brains better. It offers problem solving, creativity, the creation of new neural pathways, and building of social skills. The human brain is fascinating and even as we get older we still need to keep exercising our brains. Building and expanding the super hiways of knowledge and skill not only keeps life more interesting, but can actually reduce the onset of age related disease such as Alzheimer’s

This morning I found this great article and it happens to be from my Emergenetics instructor, Dr. Geil Browning, who is also the co-creater of Emergenetics. Please take a look at the article later, in the mean time I thought I would expand on her viewpoints into our world of survival and bushcraft.

Below I have used Geil’s ideas for building your intelligence and converted them into how survival and bushcraft training can work as an activity base to build better intelligence.

Seek Novelty

While some programming of our body is “hard wired” into us at birth through DNA, we also create new neural pathways every time we experience something new and different.

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DCIM100GOPRO

Survival and bushcraft training place you in a novel experience from the start. In my early studies with Dr. Jon Johnson of Team Leadership Results, he focused on how new and novel experiences are a platform for creating the experiential learning environment. Setting up a shelter in the woods, starting fires with new methods, and simplifying your gear to 8-12 items for a weekend hike are all part of a new experience. Taking a class in firecraft, wild edibles, or even 18th century sewing are examples of new experiences that will help build new neural pathways.

Challenge Yourself

When asked, most of us would agree that its’ life’s experiences that teach us the most. We need to learn new things every day of our life just to sustain ourselves.

The pathway along which information travels through the neurons of the brain is a neural pathway. A neural pathway created through life’s experiences. Imagine you lived in the woods and you had to walk from your cabin to a near by stream, but there isn’t a path. As you meander through the woods to the stream each day you begin to form a small path. Pretty soon, the path is wide enough you can ride a bike for faster access. Not only have you built the pathway, you have created a mini-highway to travel on. You know it so well you could navigate it without thinking about it. The only way to make it more challenging is to do it at night, or in the snow, or even walking backwards.

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Once you have acquired skills such as making fire, navigating using a map and compass, or purifying water by boiling it, you need to continue to not only practice to master, but rather challenge yourself through the use of different methods, tools, environmental challenges or by handicapping. I make on average 5-7 fires a week using various methods, none of which include matches or lighters. When I fell down the stairs a few months ago and had my arm in a sling, I challenged myself to build fires using only one hand, and at that, my weak hand to produce fire. To challenge your own fire skills you don’t need to launch headfirst into a wall, but you can try to create fire in the rain (or turned on sprinkler system), purify water without your normal kit, or navigate in the dark.

Think Creatively

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Survival and bushcraft training builds your problem solving and creativity skills better than many other methodologies. The more opportunities we have to solve basic issues in the outdoors and experiences we endure, the more we learn and grow. For the most part these experiences are a benefit even if we fail and don’t feel we had a successful or positive experience.11051824_813188598758137_1437814250976477492_n

Some of the best experiences I have had is when things were not going as panned and I had to think of new options. In 2003 I lost all my water while on a trip into Big Bend National Park. I had to find creative ways to make shade during the day so I could hold up when temps were soaring, find or extract water from plants and rock crevices, and navigate at night when it was cooler.

Another way to push creativity is by making your own gear. Anoraks, sheaths, and ditty bags are just of the few items you can start with to push your own creative skills.10425395_813166015427062_457774323447097901_n

Do Things the Hard Way

I get harassed allot for not using matches and lighters and that gasoline and flares make fire faster. But pushing myself to make fire by friction grows new pathways in my brain. I would take this one a bit further though and say to learn to endure discomfort as well. Having solid skills is one thing, applying those skills when the conditions are challenging are a step better.

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Networking

On the surface we think of survival and bushcraft training as a solo endeavor. There is a whole network of people just like you who want to increase their skill level. Working through simulated problems, learning together, and even challenging each other builds strong friendships.

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Here is a link to the original article by Dr. Browning:

http://www.inc.com/geil-browning/increase-your-iq-5-things-you-should-be-doing-every-day.html?cid=sf01001&utm_campaign=Thought%20Leadership%20Publications&utm_content=16339312&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook

Idaho Scenic Byways

DCIM100GOPROThis is the time of year to hit the scenic byways of Idaho. These are great one-day and even multi-day trips that most vehicles can handle. If you have been a steady reader of the blog or the podcast, you know we love to hit these 4-wheel adventures. Idaho has so much to offer.

When researching, make sure your first stop is to http://www.visitidaho.org/scenic-byways/ where you can order your free travel guide. While the guide lacks many of the details to plan out your trip, it does give you enough of a view to pull out the map and do some planning.

Go Prepared

While some trips don't require this much recovery gear, trips on backcountry byways requirs that you go completely preparred

While some trips don’t require this much recovery gear, trips on backcountry byways requires that you go completely prepared

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But before you head out- think of how you pack for the trip. Remember Idaho’s byways range from rural to remote. Be sure you have any emergency gear packed for the trip such as first-aid, good communications, extra water, tools, etc. Some of these byways skirt alongside backcountry areas so help will not always be a phone call away. If you have a breakdown or other emergency- you need to be prepared to stay for awhile. In my other article I briefly outline what we take on trips such as the Owyhee Backcountry Byway, one of the most remote byway trips in Idaho.

I keep a road atlas with me to do over-the-hood planning while on the road. They are great for reference along the way

Shutter Bugs

253No matter where you start out from, there are great options for awesome scenery. Be sure to pack your camera and if you are really a shutter bug, pack those once-in-a lifetime lenses you rarely pull out. This last winter I had my dad along Sawtooth, Payette River, and Western Heritage byways where he had opportunity to shoot pics of Antelope, a young brood of Sand Hill Crane, and a few other hard to get close to animals. In addition, great scenery abounds on the byways so packing a tripod and a wide angle is a must. Pack extra batteries, throw in a dust cloth for the lenses, and maybe an extra memory card. There are even opportunities for the iPod photo enthusiast so keep your car charge handy.266

Soak in the Sites

  IMG_6040 Stop off at the small museums, wineries, and state parks along the way. There are great stops along the way like Craters of the Moon National Park along the Peaks to Craters Byway or Huston Wineries along the Snake River Byway. Most have great mom and pop diners for lunch, keep cash on hand for some of the better stops. Better yet, throw in your own picnic. We usually throw in lunch for the day and stop for dinner or start off with breakfast in a non-chain dive. IMG_6043I love driving but need a break from hours of windshield time. I like to find an area where we can park and either pull out sandwiches or I can do a quick burger or two on one of our portable grills. I even throw in a few lawn chairs to relax in.

Journal It

Capture moments along the way and post in the journal

Capture moments along the way and post in the journal

DCIM100GOPROThere are 30 official byways in Idaho. I recommend creating a special journal for the adventure, and log each one with thoughts to scribe, postcards, pictures, museum tickets, etc.

 

Sometimes we will take a few days to do one or more byways- and camp along the way. This is where our home built Explorer box designed by Compact Camping Concepts is a huge benefit.

Sometimes we will take a few days to do one or more byways- and camp along the way. This is where our home-built Explorer box designed by Compact Camping Concepts is a huge benefit.

For more information checkout the article just released from Magic Valley Times-News http://magicvalley.com/lifestyles/recreation/scenic-byway-adventures-adventure-guide/article_8f53f418-d7d0-11e3-aaf4-001a4bcf887a.html

In addition, I have a few write up on my own byway tours at AdventureIQ.com including these two…

https://adventureiq.wordpress.com/2012/02/20/465/

https://adventureiq.wordpress.com/2013/06/24/touring-the-owyhee-back-country-byway/

And if you see us on the road out there-stop and say hey! We just might have a sticker or two for you!

Touring the Owyhee Back Country Byway

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Rock’n the red JK on this one. Answered lots of questions about the winch and other gear.

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Be mindful of private property. Most land owners are friendly, but remember, this is home- and for most for over a hundred years. Be polite and ask for access.

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Great photo ops out here

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Stone cattle chute- only one I have ever seen made from stone

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Post Office in (defunt) Fairly Lawn, Idah

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a real “two-holer”

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Post cards- most from the 1930-1950 in the outhouse

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You are going to get your off-pavement fix with this trip

This last weekend I was able to finally get Melissa and her camera gear out to the Owyhee Uplands Back Country Byway. Abby and I hit this road last year on the Idaho Overland trip with Beau Johnston from Living Overland. On that trip I saw a million photo opportunities so I knew I had to get her back out there.

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Taking a lunch break with the group and listening to the history of the Owyhees from people who have seen it in some cases more than 50 years.

Locally known as Mud Flat Road for its impassibility when rain and snow make the terrain an absolute mess, is the primary
access to central Owyhee County. An area rich in history has something for every overlander wanting a day or two of exploration. Off the byway, there are multiple trails to explore, and though most people do it in a few hours, we prefer either an all day trip with lots of stops or a multi-day trip to fully absorb all there is in the area.

There is really only a small window of travel. As mentioned earlier, rain makes the road slick and due to the terrian, it takes several weeks to dry out. In the summer, the heat can become unbearable for many. When Abby and I passed that area last July the temps in the shade were at 108.

We started our trip in Jordan Valley, Oregon which is about an 90 minutes from our base camp in the Boise area. Another route is from Hwy 78 near Grand View, Idaho. If you love off-pavement travel like we do, you will get mostly gravel and dirt road. You will also get the thrill of crossing back and forth over state lines a few times. There is about 90 miles in Idaho and 15 miles within Oregon.

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You are alone for the next 120 miles- be sure you go with the right gear. We help back country travelers get ready for trips just like this

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Carry a spare tire, fuel, jack, and other roadside repair equipment with you. Also, a Trasharoo helps with picking up trash along the way from the other morons.

As we say in all of our workshops and seminars, prepare for adverse situations. You are alone out here. There are no services, cell phones are out of range, and even our testing with the 2m HAM set up proved that we were alone. This makes a great case for carrying a SPOT GPS unit with you. Top off your rig with fuel in Grandview or Jordan Valley, carry 3-5 gallons of water, your survival kit, and if possible and extra gallon of two of fuel. We also carried a full tool kit along with extra hoses and belts.

IMG_0380We were incredibly fortunate to have “Frankie” along on our trip. Third generation rancher in the area, at 95 years-old has more life in her than most people. Through her we were entertained and educated about some of the small historic details including a trip to the school house in Cliffs, the old post office in Fairy Lawn (both now defunct towns) stories of moonshiners, wagon train contracts, the people she knew in the area, and even games played as children.
Please be aware that there are many parcels of private land along the Byway. Please respect private property by having the right maps and equipment to avoid trespassing.IMG_0366

This is a great trip and recommend it for all regional overlanders. Make sure you checkout our facebook page to see when we are going to be out there again or exploring other regional areas as part of Project ROVE. And as a small reminder, remember, we do workshops and seminars to prepare you for safe back country travel.

We will be doing a full podcast on this trip soon.

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School house at Cliffs, Idaho, a now defunt town

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Oregon Trail Recon

I know I still owe blog entries on the Idaho Overland trip. Technically I should finish that series first, but first…we keep adventuring and second, out of respect for the trip leader I need to provide ample time for them to post the trip report before we put ours out there. Finally, this was an opportunity to get a day in with my main squeeze, my adventure partner #1, my bride…

The plan was to take off before daylight and hit the Oregon Trail (main) trail around the Boise area at Bonneville Point and move east on the trail. Instead we hit it just east of Boise and followed it east of Mountain Home. The exit is around mile marker 71 at the old truck stop where you pick it up north of I-84.

So with dogs loaded, 5-gallons of water and fuel, a small repair kit, survival bag, and lunch we were on the road around 7:30 and on the trail after topping off with fuel at 8:00.

It was great seeing Melissa pull out her camera as we flushed all kinds of wildlife including owls, hawks, game birds, and rabbits. We even kicked up three peacocks and the first Pygmy Rabbit I have ever seen. There was also a heavy population of Bovine…and the cool part was working ranch hands working the cattle. This is all open range area so caution around cattle. If you hit one, you are liable.

I have tried to do this route in the spring and the roads are just a disaster. Our conditions included loose gravel and sand.

The route is well defined with several historical stops. I recommend researching the trail before driving it, you will get so much more out of the trip. Blood and Thunder by Hampton Sides is a good read that outlines the struggle of the west around the life of Kit Carson who traveled the trail.

We took a detour up to the Danskin Lookout. This is a rugged climb up a narrow back country trail that offers few pullouts if you come up on a vehicle coming down the mountain as you are going up.

We have had tons of fires in the local area and so smoke and visibility have been a problem. Views were not what we expected, however the area was clearer than it was down in the Treasure Valley.

The last 3/4 of a mile are the most rugged and you have a 4×4 to get to the top. Once there it was a feeling of triumph. We hung out for a bit, let the pups play, and then headed back down to rejoin the Oregon Trail.

We enjoyed the rest of the afternoon, and even though it was the first day we were below the triple digits, as the afternoon heated up we slipped out just east of Mountain Home and took I-84 back to the house.

Trips like this should really be done with extra fuel and water. The Scepter fuel canisters are perfect for trips like this. We have been extremely happy with them. Highly durable, light weight, resistant to stress from bloating, and easy to fill into and from. When you travel the back country you need to be prepared.

We have also been happy with the GoPro cameras we are using. Though we have had some difficulty keeping mounts in good repair, the cameras themselves are durable. Quick video of the trip.

Next week we will recon a little more of the trail as a prep to do the McGrudder the following week.

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Basic Survival Kit (Aviation)

The last two nights I have taught a mini-seminar for my aero club. One of the request was for a survival kit list. After not finding one on my own website ( I was sure it was transferred … so I thought…) here is a basic kit. Most of this should be placed in the vest and the vest should be worn by the pilot. Auxiliary items such as fleece jacket/shirt and the 70 oz of water should be in a pack in the back of the plane.

The reason the vest is worn is in case the crew has to egress the aircraft and either cannot get to the survival bag or is too injured to do so. (Imagine trying to crawl over the back seat of a 172 and digging around for a bag with busted up ribs, etc)

Below id the basic list of we went through in class– and with all list like this– modify to your needs, experience, and terrain and weather you are flying in. Additionally if you have passengers, you will want to increase these items as needed.

  • Signaling
    • Whistle
    • Mirror
    • Strobe
    • Smoke
  • Shelter
    • Space Blanket (red or orange)
    • 25’ Para Cord
  • Fire Kit
    • Striker
    • Tinder
    • Cotton Balls/ Dryer Lint
    • Rubber Inner-tube (1×3)
    • Candles
  • First Aid Kit
  • Navigation
    • Map
    • Compass
    • GPS
  • Water
    • Minimum 70 oz
    • Ceramic Filter
    • Puri Tabs
  • Head Gear (fleece hat and/or boonie hat- should be hunter orange)
  • Solid fuel tabs
  • Small metal cup
  • Power Bars/ Energy Bars
  • Air Force Survival Knife
  • Multi-tool
  • 50’ Para Cord
  • Light-weight fleece shirt
  • Lights
    • Head Lamp
    • Small Flash Light

 

Aviation survival is often focused on the aircraft mishap- and we often forget that a survival situation can begin simply when we fly into the back country on a Sunday afternoon and when leaving a beautiful grass strip we had to ourselves for the day…becomes a little more permanent when the battery dies or the starter fails.