Monday, December 12, 2011

Rattle Snakes and their Bites

When camping it is possible that you will come across a Rattle Snake or two(VERY dangerous creature). If you ever see a Rattle Snake it will look like this.

Note the patterns on its back so you can recognize a Rattle Snake in the wild.

When you first see a Rattle Snake you've got to be calm and slowly back away from it without turning your back to it, otherwise it can get you! (if you have a shotgun go ahead and kill the snake!) If you're hiking or camping in an area that has snakes it wouldn't hurt to bring a snake bite kit with you. A snake bite kit will suck out the poison if you get bitten and give you time to get to a hospital.

One time my cousin was rock climbing and as he came up over a ledge he saw a Rattle Snake with its mouth open right at the level of his face! If that snake had bitten his face he very well could have died! Be careful as ever when you see Rattle Snakes!

Dutch Oven Cooking

Using a Dutch Oven to cook with while camping can be a very rewarding experience. You can cook almost anything inside a Dutch Oven. Hell, one time my old Scout Master cooked a peach cobbler on our camp out for one of the best desserts I've EVER had!

You can cook beef, chicken, stews, breads and anything you can imagine in your dutch oven. There are plenty of dutch oven recipes all over the internet that you can use.

I do recommend that you use a dutch oven for cooking while on a camp out.

To get the dutch oven ready for cooking you have to get the briquettes ready for cooking, put the briquettes into a pile and pour lighter fluid on them, then light them up. Once they are all hot and ready you can use them for cooking.When cooking with a Dutch Oven you place briquettes underneath the Dutch Oven as well as on the lid to heat the entire oven.

Types of Campfires

The first and most obvious type of campfire you can make is called the “tee pee” campfire. Get a pile of small sticks and/or papers and build a tee pee around it by standing up logs and sticks by leaning them against each other. With the small bits of wood, paper and twigs on the inside of the tee pee you will want to light those first and it will gradually grow until all the wood is on fire.

Another type of fire is called the “platform fire.” Place two logs/sticks about a foot and a half apart from each in a parallel manner. Then pile logs and sticks across the top to make another “level.” Then add more sticks and logs across that level to make an additional level.

Disposing of Garbage and Dirty Dishes at the Campsite

When you go camping it is important that you dispose of your garbage and dirty dishes properly. Never put dirty dishes and garbage inside the tent you are sleeping in. Critters such as skunks, porcupines, raccoons and even bears will find your dirty dishes and garbage at all costs. They can smell those left over bits of food from miles away! Bring some rope and put your garbage and dishes into two different bags which are both tied to the rope, then throw the loose end of the rope over a tree branch and hoist the garbage and dirty dishes into the air so critters cannot get to it, tie the loose end of the rope to something in order to keep the garbage and dishes up in the air.

One time when I went camping it was my friends birthday, he had a big chocolate cake inside the tent. Then we heard sounds, there was something walking around the tent! We looked and saw a skunk! I told my friend that it could definitely smell his chocolate cake, so we did what we had to do, we all "pitched in" and ate that cake. Soon after that the skunk left our campsite.

Never bring food into your tent it could be dangerous when a bear gets a whiff of that!

Ticks and Bugs while camping

When I was a Boy Scout there was one particular hiking adventure I will remember. Flies swarmed me during that adventure because I didn't take showers often enough. One morning while camping out I saw a tick that was bulging with blood it had taken from me. I was that smelly target it was looking for. Remember, flies and ticks use their smellers to find animals and people that are "suitable" for them. So take a good shower before you go camping.

Of course you can always go to your local outdoors store or internet to buy some tick repellent. Follow directions on the tick repellent bottle.

After you're done camping get naked in the shower and check your armpits, arms, legs, crotch and neck for ticks. Always check for ticks after camping and hiking because they can make you extremely sick and could even kill you. If they don't kill you they will annoy you a great deal. My grandfather once had a tick inside his armpit that caused him pain every time it began chewing a tunnel through his flesh, that pain lasted for about a year before he finally went to the doctor and had it removed.

Tinfoil Dinners

One of the easiest ways to prepare food for camping is to get the food ready at home before you go. There are lots of ways to prepare tinfoil dinners and I will show you how to make my favorite kinds: Fine chop a potato or two. (when you chop the potato into smaller pieces it will take less time to cook) Chop up some carrots(small chopped). Chop up some onions. Chop up some chicken or beef and mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. Add salt and pepper to your liking (or use garlic salt for good flavoring), then get a large piece of tinfoil and lay it out on the table. Pour out the contents of your tinfoil dinner onto the tinfoil. Wrap the tinfoil up and around it then place another layer of tinfoil over the top and then wrap that around the bottom. Then place yet another piece of tinfoil on the table and place your tinfoil dinner on that piece and wrap it up over the top. The idea here is that you place several layers over the top and bottom so that none of the juices from the tinfoil dinner can escape while it’s getting transported and cooked.

The best way to cook a tinfoil dinner is when the campfire dies down and becomes coals. Place the tinfoil dinner directly on the coals and cook for about a half hour, then cut a hole in the top at the half hour mark to see if the potatoes are tender. When the potatoes are tender you know your meal is done. It is useful to bring a pair of gloves to grab your tinfoil dinner out of the campfire so you don't get burned. Of course, don’t forget to bring forks, knives, maybe some ketchup and napkins. Yum yum eat em up!

Tents, Campers and Make-shift shelters

My favorite kind of tent is a hammock tent. With a hammock tent you don't have to remove any rocks or sticks before you setup the tent because the hammock tent is suspended above the ground between two trees which makes for a nice comfy sleep! Other kinds of tents are usually more affordable than hammock tents and may be what you're looking for. For non-hammock tents you can get a propane heater for fall, winter and early spring so you can camp year round and stay warm.

WARNING: If you are camping during the winter be careful with your propane heater, if it starts snowing while you are asleep it can be particularly dangerous for the following reason: Falling snow can melt on the tent and form ice which blocks out the tents natural flow of air, when that happens the propane heater will burn up all your oxygen and possibly suffocate you in your sleep. I know a man who died that way. Always watch the forecast for your area before camping in the winter with a propane heater. (unless of you are in a camper trailer, then you'll likely be OK)

The other way you can camp is inside a camper trailer. Camper trailers require that you have a truck to pull them or place on the truck bed. Camper trailers are good at keeping you safe from large animals, such as bears and moose. Another advantage of camping trailers is that you can stay warm and go camping during the winter by using its built in heater, or a portable propane heater. Another advantage of a camper trailer is that you will have access to a toilet! (no more squatting to do a number 2! )

If you're a hardcore outdoors person or if you are stranded in the outdoors there are still other camping shelters you can make out of the materials in the forest! For shelters of that type you can find information on Google under the search terms “Wilderness Survival Shelters” or simply find what you are looking for in the Boy Scout handbook.