CLICK ON THE PHOTO AND VIEW SLIDE BY SLIDE TO SEE THE WHOLE STORY IN THE COMMENTS
In these stories I sometimes confess some serious mistakes, so I'm not bragging about anything,
rather trying to share my experience that can save your life and/or someone in your group of adventurers.
IN EACH CASE THERE ARE SERIOUS ELEMENTS THAT DID SAVE MY LIFE.
In 2003 I left the Highline Trailhead on a 27 day, no-resupply 236 mile "expedition," criss-crossing the High Uintas Wilderness Area.
I had on my back and around my waist 83 lbs. of equipment, and food/water.
I got a late start that first day, but made 6 miles and camped with a giant problem.
My deformed and painful "motorcycle knee" had me ready to throw in the towel.
The knee, injured in 1976, was so painful I decided I couldn't go on.
Sleep was impossible so I turned to the book I'd brought for the trip.S1-03
Pain kept me from sleeping--so off and on I read through the night. What a life saving book choice!
For details on this experience, see my "1,000 Mile....Backpack" You can get this gem of a book at: http://bit.ly/9k4qFt By morning the decision was made, I HAD TO GO ON!
Little did I know that as Lance struggled to beat cancer, I would also be diagnosed with cancer in the "complete physical" I went through after successfully completing my "expedition."
Two surgeries followed, plus radiation treaments and the battle was on for me to also become a "cancer survivor." S1-04
During each day Exedrin (3 twice, morning and noon) got me through until evening.
2 hours after setting up my camp each afternoon the knee pain would begin.
I would fill the little pot with cold water, get up on all fours and stick my knee in the cold water for 10 minutes.
The relief gave me an hour of sleep, and then I would repeat the process--all night, every night.
Several times I was able to use snow, and at Deadhorse Lake was able to gather up a bunch of hail for the treatment.
In later years I learned it was effective to just lay my knee on my cold 2 quart water bladder. S1-05
Each day began taking cod liver oil gel caps (that for 25 years had solved my arthritis problems), Glucosimine/Chondroiton/MSM capsules,
and taking Excedrin during the day. The knee never bothered me until 2 hours after setting up camp each night.
I would then go through the treatment explained in the previous captions--continuing for 27 days.
I have never removed the Lance Armstrong wristband since first acquiring it in 2004.
Make a contribution and get a few at: http://bit.ly/aTVDDh S1-06
Now for my first Survival experience--in 2004, the 2nd summer.
Between trips my "motorcycle knee" gave out and was operated on August 18th.
Eighteen days later on September 5th I drove to the Henry's Fork Trailhead.
I had wanted to bivouac on Kings Peak for a full moon at the end of August. Now in September
there would be a sliver of a moon, so with frost covering everything early at the Trailhead,
I packed up and headed up the trail. It had snowed,
and many miserable people were coming down the trail. B-156a S2-02
I limped about 9 miles up Henry's Fork and camped. It had been nearly a month since exercising, and the effort wore me out.
I felt sick, and didn't want to eat, but took my "marathoners" supplements--Endurox, extra Glutamine, and Calcium/magnesium, and normal vitamins.
By 9:00 p.m. I felt hungry and had a good dinner. B-156b S2-03
From my camp I had this view of Kings Peak--my objective was to bivouac up there.
I was soon on the trail, and above timberline heading for Gun Sight Pass. B-156c S2-04
I was still limping but felt pretty good approaching Gun Sight Pass B-156d S2-05
That 2nd night I set up my camp on the east side of Kings Peak.
I had hiked about 7 miles, all above timberline, and again I was totally fatigued, with that "marathon" feeling after a hard race-
-on the verge of being sick, and not wanting to eat. I force fed the supplements, and again by 9:00 p.m. the bad feeling passed,
and I ate a good meal. The plan was to leave my camp there and the next day do a day hike down to U-75 lake where
I had caught the large brook trout the year before. See it at: http://bit.ly/d3iwVq I wanted to try for an even larger one.
I got this photograph early the next morning. S2-06
Here I am approaching U-75 lake, with Mt. Jedediah looming over the scene--BUT THERE WAS A SERIOUS PROBLEM.
I had hiked a couple of miles cross-country from my camp, and dropped down at least 1,000 feet in elevation. As I was approaching the lake,
I was overwhelmed with a terribly sick feeling. I had a fever, headache, an awful case of diarrhea, and was weak as a rag.
Nonetheless I pushed on to take a couple of casts in the lake--but my heart wasn't in it. I had to concentrate on survival.
For that I had to get back to my camp where I had medications, and would be alright even if it snowed. S2-07
I had to get from here back up there where my camp was literally my only salvation. By now I had on my Lance Armstrong wristband,
and even the yellow jersey. As I plodded along I recalled all the hell he had gone through to survive and then comeback.
I also recalled Michael Jordan with the flu playing in that fantastic championship game against the Jazz, but I didn't have the I.V.'s, etc. that he had.
I only had faith in the Lord and prayer. I literally prayed out loud hour after hour as I stumbled and struggled upwards, asking
for strength and courage & having a sort of life review! S2-08
It was near dark when I finally made it and crawled inside my tent, overwhelmed with a feeling of humble gratitude.
The feeling of having made it, seemingly AGAINST ALL ODDS, was incredible!
Little did I know that was just the beginning of a real survival experience.
I immediately started taking 2 of the emergency antibiotic tablets (Azithromycin), and other medications.
Redmond Clay was also taken with every evacuation, along with my supplements. Eventually I was able to eat a little something,
and then an attempt at sleeping. That turned out to be another new experience--I had for the first time in my life a breathing problem.
Every time I would dose off, I would immediately wake up short of breath. I tried everything but nothing would work. It was a long night.
I believe, due to my weakened condition, I was experiencing for the first time "high altitude sickness." S2-10
Luckily my medications, prescribed by the Dr. who operated on me, included a narcotic pain-killer S2-11
I knew it would take a couple of days for the antibiotic to begin taking effect. For the next two days the wind picked up to near hurricane force.
I had to anchor all the stakes of my tent with large rocks to keep it from blowing away. The plan had been to get my photos on that 4th day,
and then head for the Trailhead as on the 5th day it was supposed to snow. But it would at least take the 4th and 5th days for the medication
to begin taking effect. I prayed for the storm to be held off long enough for me to get out of there. Now, in 2009, I recognize that part of my problem,
along with other things, was experiencing for the first time in my life, "High Altitude Sickness," perhaps due to age, the surgeries (cancer & knee),
radiation treatments for cancer, and a month of inactivity. For more information, check out: http://www.princeton.edu/~oa/safety/altitude.html S2-11
As I laid there waiting for the medicine to take effect, I called the family with the phone and let them know I might need some help, but to wait....
On the 5th day I began feeling that the medicine was making a difference. I decided to rest until 3:00 p.m. and then try and hike up over Anderson Pass
and a bit down the other side to get a photograph or two of the peak. But, when I tried it I didn't feel good. I took 3 more Excedrin,
and rested another 2 hours thinking it would be best to get the photos as the sun set anyway. So at 5:00 I started up, then chickened out
and halfway back to the camp got mad at myself for turning around. I went for it. S2-12
It didn't come easy, but I got the photo I wanted and was rewarded with a treasure as the setting sun turned the mountain to gold.
Going up to the pass and back was for me a test. If I made it, I would conclude that the next day I would head out. I didn't know how.
I even thought of just leaving my pack and trying to go all the way to the Trailhead with no load (and coming back for the pack next year).
But, I knew that it would likely be too much and I would need my equipment to survive. The next morning I packed up and gingerly headed
down the mountain, thinking that I had to do it carefully enough so that the sickness wouldn't become aware that it had a great chance to knock me out
for the count! I rested frequently. I finally got down to a meadow, limping across it when I all of a sudden turned my ankle, and so had to continue limping
with both legs! I finally made it to Gun Sight Pass and down to the Dollar Lake area where I set up my camp. S2-13
I set up my camp, fixed my first hot meal in 4 or 5 days and felt pretty good S2-14
I called home and let them know I would make it on my own and to not worry S2-15
Night came on and I gratefully settled in for the night It was anything but a friendly night. I began calculating how long it would take me
to get to the car the next day, when all of a sudden I was wracked with pain, feeling as though numerous butcher knives were being jammed
into my heart! I grabbed my chest and applied pressure, feeling that if I didn't contain it, my heart would literally burst. . .and I desperately cried out a simple prayer,
"FATHER IN HEAVEN, I HAVE KIDS THAT ARE STILL DEPENDANT ON ME AND I HAVE TO WALK OUT OF HERE TOMORROW. . . PLEASE HELP ME!"
At that moment I felt my heart literally jumping around inside my chest, and then it was over. I carefully let the pressure off, removed my hands,
and began breathing deeply. I still went through a quite tentative night, with breathing problems, but made it through.
It took me the entire next day to make it to the Trailhead and my car, but I did make it. S2-16
From the Henrys Fork Trailhead I headed north to Ft. Bridger & a good rest. I was pretty tired, but so grateful that there aren't words
adequate enough to describe the feeling--First, thanks to Lance Armstrong, and to Michael Jordan whose examples didn't let me quit, and then profound
gratitude to the Lord who gave me strength and whose miraculous hand saved me in my time of need. I slept peacefully that night with no breathing problems,
no heart irregularities, nor any other difficulties. The next morning as I drove west towards Utah I could see the High Uintas to the south with a dusting of new snow.
I could have been repulsed by them because of what I had gone through, but they looked as beautiful and inviting as ever, and as I drove I began
my plans for continuing my Uinta Project until achieving my goal of exploring, photographing, and sharing
every nook and cranny of this majestic swath of beauty. S2-17
Can't hardly talk about SURVIVAL without talking about --BEARS & other possible dangers from animals.
Here I relate a real bear story, plus having to fire a warning shot for the first time. S3-01
In 2007 I finally saw and photoraphed bear tracks in Utah--but in Canyon Lands National Park.
In all my years hiking the High Uintas I'd never seen a bear, nor even a bear track. S3-01
I wasn't too cautious until I met Josh Christensen--and heard a real BEAR STORY.
In 2001 he was a Forest Service employee hauling supplies with horses to a crew up Lake Fork (above Moon Lake), at about 9,500 ft. elevation.
One young volunteer from the East would write letters home describing how miserable he was--mosquitoes, bad food, rained all the time, etc.
His family sent him a package delivered by Josh, who, near the camp sighted bear tracks and warned them to have a clean camp.
They got a good fire going. At about 1:00 AM Josh was abruptly awakened by a blood curdling scream, and saw the boy in his
sleeping bag being dragged from his tent by a bear. S3-02
The boy had received a package of OREO cookies, and not wanting to share hid them inside his sleeping bag. Josh grabbed his rifle
and fired a warning shot. The bear dropped the boy and charged Josh who was chambering another round--but it jammed.
The bear hit Josh sending the rifle flying, and had him in a bear hug. Josh thought "I'M A GONNER!" Then recalled a TV program on
the Discovery Channel with a fellow in the jaws of a shark. The guy hit the shark in the snout and was dropped. S3-03
"I GAVE HIM MY BEST ROCKY BALBOA PUNCH, AND HE DROPPED ME!
He frantically found his rifle, and shot the bear. He patched himself up as best he could, and immediately mounted up and headed for
civilization to get help. He told me he had seen bears before at lower elevations, but that year, due to the drought
the bears ranged farther and higher looking for food. S3-04
Best to be cautious, hanging your food and smelly items 12-15 ft. high, and 6 to 8 feet from the trunk S3-05
Sometimes you have to string a line between 2 trees and hang your stuff from it S3-06
On the trail along the streams heading for the high country PEPPER SPRAY would work well, but inside your tent?
If a bear attacks your tent, pepper spray will hurt you, and not the bear. Most of my backpacking is above 10,000 ft. so I don't worry about bears,
except along the streams leading to the high country. When I have felt the need, I have the .45 ready for a fast draw.
A handgun is certainly not an essential. Maybe I should say, "only if you have a Concealed Carry Permit." If you feel the need a
better choice than mine would be a .45 cal. GLOCK 36--small and light, saving 13 oz. over what I carry. S3-07
Cattle grazing all along the trail to Allsop Lake. I never could have guessed what would happen next.
This segment is from the "galleries" section, 2009 Trips--to Allsop Lake. S3-08
At a rest stop I laid down using my camera waist pack as a pillow with Colt .45 near at hand--see comments.
At going on 74, I had to rest for 15 minutes every 30. I dozed off and began waking up hearing a strange sound--a huffing and puffing,
heavy breathing noise. I opened my eyes and 15 feet away was a beast with snot dripping from his nose, fire in his eyes, and he began
pawing the ground ready to charge. I was an obstacle keeping a mud spattered Charolais bull from moving his cows up the canyon.
For 26 years I ran a dairy and beef herd in Guatemala and had close calls with my bulls. (continued). S3-09
Several of my employees were put in the hospital--so it was serious business. I wanted a portrait, but figured survival came first.
I jerked around my camera bag and pulled out my Colt .45 and camera and immediately fired into the air. A "BOO!" or some other juicier word
would have probably worked, but a blast from my .45 sounded more dramatic. He whirled and I clicked off my Nikon shot--a bit blurry, but a keeper. S3-10
Wished I could have got a good frontal shot as he loomed over me with snot dripping from his nosetrils
and fire in his eyes while he pawed ready for the charge, but . . . . S3-11
WARNING SIGN--on 14,264 ft. Mt. Evans, CO -- HYPOTHERMIA
Here it is mentioned on a sign in Colorado. Following I will recall a survival experience that involved hypothermia
that nearly every year kills someone in the High Uintas. S4-02
The danger of HYPOTHERMIA, when your body has lost its ability to warm you.
My closest call was on the Red Castle trail when a rain storm all of a sudden began. I had on my windshirt, put over it my poncho to protect me
and pack, and took refuge under some trees to wait it out. It got more intense, and the temperature plummeted. My previously sweaty body and damp clothing
cooled quickly. It became a deluge like I had never seen in the Uintas. Friends, at that moment in the Wind Rivers, called it "a monsoon"
and were forced out of the mountains. Water running underneath wet me and cooled me more. One hour and more passed. I began trembling
with cold and realized I had to do something quickly before my mental clarity was gone. I jumped up, gathered my gear and looked for a larger tree
and spot to set up my shelter. (continued). S4-03
I covered my pack and camera gear with the poncho, got out the stakes and rope and set it up as a lean-to.
I pulled out my bivy bag, slipped my inflated pad inside, along with my sleeping bag, and had alongside my pack to access drink and food.
I quickly removed all my wet clothing and slithered down into the bag. I mixed an energy drink (ENDUROX with extra glutamine,
and Cal-Mag) and downed it, while eating an energy bar. I then went to work inside my bag doing isometric exercises, and prayed that
my body would warm up. It gradually did. If it hadn't of, I was prepared with emergency warming, seen a bit further along.
Another option, if you had a companion, would be to cuddle up! S4-04
The rain finally let up and the sun came out. I quickly spread my wet clothing, damp bag, etc. to dry
as much as possible before the day ended. It was especially important to get my down sleeping bag as dry as possible as
wet down looses its insulation value, and I had to able to keep warm at night. S4-05
Then I had to get a fire going to further dry out, cook dinner, and be able to down a hot drink. But, the rain had literally soaked everything
like I had never seen. No dry branches around the base of trees, nor dry pine needles. Everything was soaked and rubbery.
I gathered up the best I could find, but would have to dry it out--and needed fire to do that. S4-06
For fire to dry out your campfire wood, you need to have always a ziploc bag of pine pitch
you can gather along the trail, such as you see here. S4-07
Here you see a piece of wood that is mostly pine pitch. You can easily get it burning.
However, my strike anywhere matches were a problem. There wasn't a dry rock on which I could strike them.
I finally resorted to using the file from my tiny Leatherman Squirt tool. S4-08
The pine pitch burns good, and long--enough to dry out your firewood.
It isn't a bad idea to have a simple lighter such as seen here. On the other hand torch lighters just don't work at high elevations. S4-09
I gradually added more firewood and pretty soon was ready to have a hot meal and drink, and finish drying out crucial items. S4-10
Nothing quite like a nice warm campfire, and food cooking after having had a close-call with hypothermia. S4-11
A campfire is the best way to warm and dry yourself when your body isn't capable of doing it.
Of course with an ongoing "monsoon" fire wasn't an option.
See my previous comments about firemaking, and also the "CHALLENGE..." slide show from 2007. Sorry, if the campfire offends you,
but just like there are those who are only going to give up their gun by "prying it from their dead, cold fingers,"
I'm like that with my campfire. Me and Jedediah Smith need our campfire. S4-12
These chemical warmers could save your life.
My experiences with "near hypothermia" has me taking 10 oz. of these--for that rare emergency, to warm my body inside my sleeping bag,
along with help from energy drinks, and bars. The other option to warm your body would be to snuggle up with a 2nd party! S4-13
ANOTHER SURVIVAL STORY THAT MIGHT SAVE YOU!
It was September 9th when I headed out a bit late for Crater Lake. I came in from the North up East Fork of Blacks Fork, over
12,300 ft. East Fork and 11,700 ft. Red Knob Passes and down across the Upper Lake Fork Basin's arctic tundra. Up on the passes the
weather had closed in on me. I had my windshirt on over a long sleeved T-shirt and then the poncho and it was enough as long as I was moving.
Down from the passes I stopped to rest, me & equipment covered with the poncho, and fell asleep. When I awakened I had cooled off,
and with my humid clothing I had begun chlling. That was bad news for this old guy, especially
since just before the trip I had been exposed to a sick daughter. S5-02
Below the cliffs leading to Crater Lake I set up my bivouac camp.
I felt sick with a fever complicated by a bad tooth on my one good side that made chewing impossible.
There was an intestinal disorder too and I began taking Redmond Clay with every evacuation, and immediately started
the emergency antibiotic treatment (Azithromycin). For the tooth, I saturated a large piece of cotton with triple antibiotic cream,
and dental lidocaine ointment, wrapping it around the bad tooth area. Then I prayed. In 24 hours I could chew
again and eat and the intestinal problem was solved. S5-03
WARNING SIGN--on 14,264 ft. Mt. Evans, CO -- HIGH ALTITUDE SICKNESS was possibly part of what I was experiencing
--and it would get worse if I climbed higher. S5-03
I laid there waiting for the antibiotic to take effect. On my radio I heard that snow was on its way
and so time was short. I tried to call the family on my GlobalStar Satellite phone, but couldn't get a signal as I was up
against the mountain. The next summer Skycall Communications began providing me with the very reliable Iridium phone.
At about 2:00 a.m. of the 2nd day I began feeling the antibiotic treatment taking effect, and even dreamed I'd climb up
to Crater Lake and accomplish my mission. But in the morning realized I needed 1 more day of rest. S5-04
I moved out 3 days after beginning the antibiotic treatment--then was stopped by a blizzard at the last trees.
The snow melted quickly, so intense cold wasn't a problem.
I had gone prepared for cold with my down hunting gloves, lightweight long-johns,
waterproof pants, and bivy bag that gave me 10 more degrees of warmth. S5-05
At my "edge of the tundra bivouac camp" I got on the phone and it worked. I called my brother, Ted Packard.
He got in touch with the Forest Service office in the Uinta Basin and forwarded to me the weather report that boiled down to
"DON'T MOVE! STAY WHERE YOU ARE OR YOU MIGHT DIE! THE WEATHER WILL BE BETTER IN THE MORNING."
They told me there were 2 Wilderness Rangers nearby and gave me their satellite phone number. As it happened the next day
up on the 12,300 ft.pass, I just about didn't survive. To attempt it 1 day sooner perhaps would have been my demise. S5-06
The camp was set up quickly due to the snow, but then improved and made livable.
If the snow hadn't of stopped me, and I had kept on up to the passes, I would have been in bad trouble.
Best to never panic, but think clearly and use wisdom. S5-07
The next day was far from perfect, but I had to get moving.
With a bit of sun shinning I was up, packed up and ready to leave for 12,300 ft. East Fork Pass you see in the background
enveloped in clouds. I was quite calmly doing all I could, then with a word of prayer put myself in the
hands of the Lord, and confidently headed for the pass. S5-08
During the days of sickness I luckily learned a survival secret: LAUGH MORE--LIVE LONGER.
I knew that getting over that mountain would be a real challenge, and so prepared to laugh my way up to 11,700 ft Red Knob Pass,
then continue a mile along the ridge up to 12,300 ft. East Fork Pass and down the other side. I had recorded on my little
digital recorder all of the "50 Great Jokes," and all the funny stories from the magazine. Of course in it all I fell in love with Reese Witherspoon!
WHEN IT GOT TOUGH I LISTENED TO IT ALL AND TRIED MY BEST TO LAUGH MY WAY UP AND OVER THE MOUNTAIN. S5-09
Halfway up the pass I was feeling good, but with more fatigue, a little more altitude, combined with the weakness of having been sick, all coupled with my fight to be a cancer and heart attack survivor,
I began feeling a multiplicity of complications: Altitude sickness, an acute headache, a feeling like a ton of bricks on my chest, and pain up my left arm and heart area--all prompting me to action.
I took my last medications, vitamin/mineral supplements, and energy drink, and then got on the phone with Russ Smith. Here I am on East Fork Pass making the emergency call when it was snowing
with hurricane force winds. The snow I mention isn't seen in these photos as I was too busy surviving. The background photo was taken on the way in. S5-10
I explained my situation to Russ Smith. Up on the pass I had perfect reception.
Then had to hang up while I put on my poncho to protect me from the snow, and then back to Russ.
As I talked I had to keep moving down the mountain to the north. S5-11
Moving towards my previous alpine camp--just in case.
As I moved down the satellite phone conversation became a conference call between me, Russ, and the Summit County Sheriff.
The first option was to send people on horseback to get me. They would have had to trailer horses all the way to the trailhead, taking hours,
then a 9 mile ride up to where I was headed for. I told them to forget it. Then they got on the line the Medic Evac Unit
at the University of Utah Hospital. To get a helicopter in for me they needed my coordinates. S5-12
I felt I had to get to the little clump of scrub alpine firs where I had camped on my way in
--just in case I would have to spend the night in the mountains. Russ worked patiently with me and finally I was able to give them
the coordinates. I didn't want to spend the night alone there and maybe have to beg the Lord--again, for help, only to hear Him say:
"SON, I SAVED YOU THE LAST TIME, BUT YOU SEEM TO BE A SLOW LEARNER--YOU'RE ON YOU OWN THIS TIME!" S5-13
I moved slowly towards my goal. S5-14
This had been my camp on the way in. I figured if they couldn't come get me, I would be able to survive here.
When I got here I promptly lost the satellite signal. Then all of a sudden the phone rang.The helicopter was 4 minutes away.
I spread out my red bivouac bag on the ground so they could see me, putting rocks to hold it in the wind. The helicopter came
over the mountain, I waved my hands, but they flew right by and disappeared over the next mountain. But I was talking to the
dispatcher, and he to the pilot, and after 2 more passes they finally saw me and swooped in. S5-15
I WAS FEELING GREAT!
By the time they arrived all the stuff I had taken, coupled with dropping down 1,300 ft., had me feeling pretty good--so,
I told them to drop me off down at the Trailhead and I would drive home, and go see a doctor the next day! They didn't think
that was very funny. So I went for the other option: "Drop me off at the Lavell Edwards Stadium as the BYU game is about to begin!" S5-16
They sat me down and connected me up to their instrument.
In spite of having been resting for 30 minutes, my pulse was very fast, my blood pressure way high, and the
oxygen level in my bloodonly half of what it should have been. Apparently there was an emergency after all.
For better understanding of much of what was happening, "High Altitude Sickness," click on: http://www.princeton.edu/~oa/safety/altitude.html S5-17
They loaded me on the stretcher, shoved me in the helicopter, and shut me up with an oxygen mask
on my face--and off we went to Salt Lake City and the U of U Hospital. I stayed overnight and checked out alright.
Jesse picked me up the next morning and we immediately drove all the way out to the Trailhead, and I drove me car home.
Once down from East Fork Pass, I probably could have made it alright, but for solo backpacking,
a satellite phone is a must, and every group should have one.
Now, in 2009, recognizing much of what I was suffering as "high altitude sickness," I could have saved a lot of money by just
DESCENDING TO LOWER ELEVATIONS. Of course it was more dramatic to get up on 12,300 ft. East Fork Pass in a blizzard, but
I should have rather just gone down Lake Fork to Moon Lake, called home with the satellite phone and had
them come and get me--then drive around to the north to get my car!
See my discussion in TRIP #1-- http://bit.ly/9KO5dk S5-18
Here you see the Iridium Satellite Phone, and what I now consider A MUST--THE SPOT SATELLITE TRACKER. You can rent, or purchase both, or either, from
Russ Smith at www.skycallcommunications.com. Let me explain the marvelous SPOT Tracker and show you how it works. S5-19
SPOT SATELLITE PERSONAL TRACKER: The World's First Satellite Messenger. Learn details at: www.findmespot.com
A NEW SMALLER MODEL IS NOW AVAILABLE.
The SPOT Satellite Messenger gives you a line of communicatiuon with friends and family
when and where you want it, and emergency assistance when and where you need it. For the low cost of
a service subscription, SPOT works around the world, even where cell phones don't. You can buy it for around $149.95 from
Russ Smith at SKYCALL COMMUNICATIONS, at REI, and other outdoor outlets. The annual subscription for service costs $99.95.
For a solo hiker it is a must. Every group should have one. S5-20
Once you have it registered you can send messages to friends, and family that you are alright, that you have need,
and/or hit the 911 button, and have emergency help on the way.
Let me show you how I used it on all of my trips last summer. S5-21
Through your computer you program email addresses of 10 people, and your message.
From your trip location hit the OK button and your message is instantly sent to your list.
This is the message I sent every day to my list. Each of those 10 of course could forward it to many more.
Those receiving it could then click on the Google Earth link at the bottom of the email message, and it takes them instantly
to Google Earth and pinpoints your exact location. On most trips I started sending a message on leaving my home,
next from the Trailhead, and from there on one a day once camp was set up. I'll next show
you the first transmission from our Golden Anniversary Backpack. S5-22
The first Google Earth transmission from the 2008 GOLDEN ANNIVERSARY BACKPACK.
I always begin as I leave home--and the last on my safe return. S5-23
Here is what they saw when I sent the message from East Red Castle Lake.
Then they can zoom in on your location. See the next image. You will notice that the quality gets better. S5-24
You are looking directly down on Red Castle Peak, and the area, with an exact pinpointing of my bivouac camp.
For most purposes the SPOT Tracker is about all a solo backpacker, or a group of Explorer Scouts would need-
-one for the entire group. Having a satellite phone would give you the added ability to explain what the emergency was,
or to be in communication with friends and family about any emergency you might need to know about.
NOW LET'S ZOOM IN EVEN MORE. S5-25
WOW! Is about all I can say. We are looking directly down on Red Castle Peak and lakes.
If I was having an emergency I would just have to hit the 911 button.
I have now purchased my own SPOT Tracker, using my REI dividend--that I get from my REI Visa card purchases.
I will also have a satellite phone for the 2010 season as I will continue as a correspondent for KSL
Radio's Utah Outdoors program each Saturday morning. S5-26
Here's my good friend Russ Smith. He can fix you up with a rented or purchased phone, and a SPOT tracker..
If Russ doesn't have a SPOT TRACKER for sale, you can find it at: http://bit.ly/8YlCpJ
The older model I have is available used, and also the new smaller version. GS-112
LIGHTNING --DEADLY IN THE HIGH UINTAS.
Along with hypothermia, this is the deadliest killer in the Uintas.
Some of you might recall my camp right on the crest of Bald Mt. seen here.
It was a good thing that there was no lightning storm that night. S6-02
WARNING SIGN--on 14,264 ft. Mt. Evans, CO -- LIGHTNING!
I will be expanding this segment soon. S6-03
S7-01 This important subject has been mentioned in several of the previous SURVIVAL segments.
Let me here add to it by attaching the key portions of the story of my first 2009 trip
in which I discuss somewhat the subject, and have links to more information.
This was to be a test, to see if I was going to experience "high altitude sickness" or not. I drove up past Heber, then up and past Strawberry Reservoir and down to Duchesne in the Uintah Basin.
To view the whole story of this Trip #1 - 2009 click on: http://bit.ly/9KO5dk #1 S7-02
Back on the main road you come to Center Park, and the Trailhead at 10,400 ft. elevation. There is no water there. #12 S7-03
Sending my SPOT message & link to Google Earth. #13 S7-04
Here you see a Google Earth view of the area. The Hell's Canyon Rd. is quite visible, ending at the Trailhead. #14 - S7-05
The main trail from here is this one leading the hiker to the Garfield Basin--a sub-basin of the Yellowstone Creek Drainage. #15 - S7-06
Google Earth shows the high country accessible from the Center Park Trailhead. There are many lakes in the Garfield Basin--much of it above timberline--where
it is pure delight to wander the arctic tundra exploring. The Red Castle area is over on the North Slope. Kings Peak in the upper right corner. #16 - S7-07
I headed for Toquer Lake taking photos of some beautiful flowers along the way. #17 - S7-08
And I jumped a porcupine, and with pack on my back persued him--and wore myself out. Something was wrong!
From the 10,400 ft. Trailhead, I immediately tired easily and experienced shortness of breath along with a headache.
My first mistake was the route I had chosen. It took me up to 10,800 ft. where the problems really began. This elevation and much higher
had never been a problem for me until recent years, perhaps caused by increasing age (now going on 74), the fight to become
a cancer survivor, a heart event or two, and the ankle and knee reconstructions. #18 - S7-09
As I had feared, the altitude was affecting me, so I set up my camp to rest and take supplements--
Other symptoms were an acute nauseous feeling and total loss of apetite, along with a rotten feeling, as though I was coming down
with something like the flu. I immediately mixed my recovery supplement--ENDUROX with extra glutamine and Calcium/magnesium.
I knew I had to get some nutrition and so cooked up my dinner of Four Cheese Potatoes and an Instant Pudding, but couldn't eat any of it,
until about 2 hours later just before turning in for the night. I only ate a little. #19 - S7-10
When you've got it, the only real solution is to go down--but I first had to get through the night.
I went on for hours unable to sleep. Each time I would dose off I would immediately awaken short of breath, as though suffocating.
Sleep was impossible. I had experienced this previously, mentioned in several Survival segments, after having been sick.
My cardiologist had told me it perhaps was heart related, so I chewed on an aspirin, then tried a nitroglycerin tablet, neither helping.
Then I remembered and took a Diamox tablet. It hadn't seemed to help during the day, but solved the sleep problem.
High Altitude Sickness is caused by a lack of oxygen. Diamox allows faster breathing to metabolize more oxygen and worked for me at night,
but didn't seem to have any effect during the day. The only effective solution is to DESCEND to a lower elevation which I did the next day. #20 - S7-11
Along the way couldn't pass up photographing these impressive Heartleaf arnicas. #21 - S7-12
Once at lower elevations I felt better and got back to my Springville home--
and intensified my research to solve my problem.
A very good link is: http://www.princeton.edu/~oa/safety/altitude.html #24 - S7-13
Investigations took me to this article.
Click on: http://bit.ly/aELEU5
I should add that, in my opinion, they made two crucial mistakes:
1. Not having a satellite phone, and 2. Choosing to go higher to get out.
The only real solution is to GO DOWN.
I finally concluded I would try a combination of 2 supplements and the normal medication for high altitude sickness--
Diamox--which alone hadn't worked, except to help me sleep. #26 - S7-15
This is the one I had the most confidence in--as I obviously had to boost my oxygen level. Get it at: http://bit.ly/93HCfZ
UPDATE 2010: See the GALLERIES section for the 2009 trips. After a low altitude "car trip"
I finished the season with a trip to Allsop Lake, making it up to 10,800 ft. and did well.
Since May of 2009 until the present I have an incredible job as a "bagger & shopping cart technician"
in which I hustle around doing 8-9 miles 4-5 days a week--half of it jogging. This, and all the marathoners supplements I take
to make it possible (go to:http://bit.ly/coLlfv ), have changed my life--now being free of an irregular heart beat for the first time
in 18 years, and with lower than normal pulse rates and blood pressure. I suspect this will also remedy my "high altitude sickness" problem.
I'm excited about the upcoming 200-250 mile backpacking summer, and get closer to finishing
what I started 58 years ago--to explore and photograph all of the High Uintas Wilderness. S7-16