Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Prudent Prepping: The Hills Are Alive

The dust has settled and the First 72 Hours have passed. Now we concentrate on what to do in, and how to plan for, the long term via Prudent Prepping.

The Hills Are Alive 
And you might not like with what... 

While hiking in the local Regional Park this past weekend, my friends got me involved in geocaching. For those not familiar, geocaching is the recreational activity of following GPS directions to find hidden markers. These markers can just as easily be in urban settings as in the country, with several different caching websites offering slight variations to the basic event.

This is a modern version of orienteering, which I learned in Boy Scouts *mumble*-ty years ago. I found the use of a GPS program on a phone much easier to use than an Army surplus compass and trying to count steps from waypoint to waypoint.

You may or may not know California is suffering through its third year of drought. This adds to the fire danger and also to another problem: Bugs, specifically ticks and yellowjackets.

Western Yellowjacket Queen.
Photo courtesy Wikipedia.
Yellowjackets here in California (more correctly wasps) are usually ground dwellers, but can build nests in walls or other hollow spaces. Since they do live in the ground, seeing and avoiding nests can be a problem, especially when it has been so dry. Wasps need lots of food to maintain their nests, and in dry times normal sources are not there, which makes people and our food even more of a target. During the hike with my friends, we had to get up and leave the picnic area due to a cloud of yellow jackets hovering over the tables.

None of us are allergic to stings, so there was no panic as we moved down the trail a bit to eat our snacks. Even so, I was glad to avoid being stung and needing to break out my ancient Sting Kill swabs. I need to buy several more packs to put into my other first aid kits and also into my truck kit, since Firehand's post on vehicle gear made me look at my stuff and I found several things out of date or damaged in my truck 1st Aid kit: triple antibiotic, bandaids, single use eye wash and Sting Kill. Somehow the Sting Kill tubes leaked or were broken, soaking the small pack of band-aids.

Adult Pacific Coast Tick
Photo courtesy of UC Davis.
There are several different ticks common to California and I'm not expert enough to easily tell them apart. The University of California, Davis has this informative article describing the different ticks and the areas where they can be found. While we were on well-marked trails and did not go off into the weeds or underbrush, two of us (including myself) found ticks crawling on our shirts. The more common ticks here can transmit Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and there have been several cases of Lyme Disease reported here in California, but it is unclear if the disease was contacted here or not. My friends did not bring their dogs along, which reduced quite a bit of worry on their part. With the different once-a-month treatments available for dogs and cats, keeping pets flea and tick free is much easier than ever.

I made certain to go over my sock area and waist when I got home and then put my clothes through the wash, to make sure nothing was there.

The Takeaway
  • Get outdoors, try something new and have some fun with friends, We're going to be complaining about the weather soon enough.
  • Be aware of the pests in your area and plan accordingly for accidents.
  • Check all your first aid kits regularly and rotate out old items.
  • As a reminder, the offer for WAPI's at the lowest price on the 'net is still on! Leave a comment on the blog or the Blue Collar Prepping Facebook page.

  • The only things ordered this week were 3 packs (5 each) of  Sting Kill ($11.54 from Amazon).

As always, if you have comments, suggestions or corrections, please post them so we all can learn. And remember, Some Is Always Better Than None!

NOTE: All items tested were purchased by me. No products have been loaned in exchange for a favorable review. Any items sent to me for T&E will be listed as such. Suck it Feds.

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