In a recent news story, a man fell off a yacht into the ocean near New Zealand. He was in the water for 2 to 4 hours before he was rescued by New Zealand Coast Guard. How did he survive that long in the middle of the ocean? He took off his jeans, tied a knot on one end, then scooped air through his jeans to create a flotation device. I have always heard you could turn your jeans into a flotation device, but have never been in that situation. It’s just amazing that this gentleman survived! A miracle, really.
This had me thinking about survival situations that could come up in our very own backyard… Mt. Diablo.
We have had so much rain this winter that the hills are green and wildflowers are beginning to bloom. You know what that means, hike time! But, are you prepared to take on the trails?
I consulted a friend, who has experience with survival prep, to give you information on how to prepare and what you should bring when you are ready to venture out to see all the wildflowers in bloom:
Have a plan:
- Know which trails you plan to hike.
- Bring a buddy with you (buddy system is best).
- Make sure someone who is staying home, or not going on the hike, knows the trail(s) or area you plan to hike (give them a map).
- Have an agreed upon time that you will check-in with the person who is not with you, so they know you are okay.
- These are all precautions, so they know where to point rescuers if something should go wrong.
Pack a basic pack -or- backpack. Things to include are:
- Water (1 quart for short one to two mile hike, 1/2 gallon for several mile hike)
- A good sharp fixed-blade knife (this is a multi-use tool that is good to have in many different situations; cutting, digging, etc.)
- A signal mirror
- Basic Medical Kit (make sure it also includes ointment, ibuprofen, bandage wraps, electrolyte tablets)
- Snake bite Kit (we do have have rattle snakes here!)
- Pop up flare (to signal if you get lost and need help)
- Matches (for emergency use only)
- Chem lights -aka- glow sticks (Pack 5 – in case you get lost and need to see at night)
- Sunscreen (30 SPF or higher)
Weather appropriate clothing.
- Hat (sun hat or hiking hat)
- Hiking boots
- Long pants (helps protect your legs from the sun and poison oak)
Know your limits. Plan a hike you know you can physically handle.
Above all… have fun! Oh, and bring your camera or you’ll be bummed you didn’t get pictures of those beautiful wildflowers.