Sharing Mary Jordan's Thoughts

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                Backpacking Outdoors


      Petite Jean State Park, Arkansas





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Backpacking is fun for the whole family, even for "Grand-Ma" and "Grand-Pa". 

Backpacking is fun for the whole family. When your walking down a trail, you can see God's wonderful creations like.....deer, ring tail cat, birds, rabbits, coyotes,  javelina pigs, snakes, spiders, ants, so many other animals and definitely all the wildflowers.

Looking at the sunrises or sunsets is just amazing. 

Remember to tell the Forest "Ranger" where "You and your Family" are going and what trails you'll be on.



 Leave No Trace is a set of principles for minimizing our impact on the land. Leave No Trace is a joint partnership between the National Outdoor Leadership School and U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Leave No Trace involves "seven" principles....

 1. Plan ahead and Prepare                                                   2. Travel and camp on durable surfaces                3. Dispose of waste properly                                4. Leave what you find                                           5. Minimize campfire impacts                               6. Respect wildlife                                               7. Be considerate of other visitors


Before going camping, biking, backpacking plan your visit to a State Park; Federal Parks; National Parks, Monuments, Preserves; National Forests; National Wildlife Refuges.

Some areas will require a fee to visit area. Some parks require reservations. Some require several months in advanced reservations. Other desert regions, especially those by the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Services, can be visited freely at any time, except during emergencies, such as fire closures.

There are several ways to enjoy the desert:         Biking, Boating, Backpacking, Driving, or by Horse.

When planning your desert visit (Remember)......

Vehicle needs to have current insurance, registration, inspection sticker, new tires, full tank of fuel, the whole vehicle needs to be in "EXCELLENT) shape. Make sure all the fluids are full, two extra tires, jack, jumper cables, 4  2 by 4 (wood), 4 small pieces of carpet.


                      Supplies for "DESERT"

This is a list to consider packing for car, biking, hiking and backpacking and camping.


Water: a "good" source of "WATER". This can be a lake, river, stream, ect... If "you" have a choice of water sources, clear water is better than cloudy water. Flowing water is better than still water. Remember...though, that even if water looks extremely pure and clean, it should still be purified before drinking. Looks can be "DECEIVING".  


Extra Water,Food, First Aid Kit, Map, Gloves, Gun/Knife, Flashlight/Extra Batteries/Bulb, Maps, Compass,   Lighter/Matches, Car keys, Sun hat, Sun glasses, Lip balm, Toilet tissue, Insect repellent, Personal essentials, Toothbrush/toothpaste, Floss car keys, map, insect repellant, watch, suntan lotion, lip balm, rain gear/boots, sleeping bag/repair kit,tarp/repair kit, whistle, pencil/paper, ice chest, Jumper Cables, Extra Maps, Cord/Rope, Tools, Extra Clothing, iodine tablets


GPS receiver, binoculars, thermometer, star chart, field guides, matches, flashlight/batteries, money/credit cards, water, camera/video


 Gloves, Wicking thermal underwear, Wicking socks, Poly shirt or tee shirt, Down jacket, Sun hat, Balaclava, Shell jacket/water proof/breathable, Pants, Shirts, Shorts, Belt, Shell pants/waterproof/breathable


 While you and your family are backpacking, you may see abandoned mine shafts, it may "NOT" be marked. Mine shafts and tunnels are unstable and dangerous. They may collect poisonous or radioactive gases. Abandoned mine shafts are supposed to be sealed or barricaded, some are "NOT". Vertical shafts to old mines and prospect holes are especially dangerous in the wilderness country and while backpacking at night.

While you are backpacking, make sure you drink plenty of water. You will get dehydrated if you do "NOT" drink at least one pint every hour.

Other hazards of backpacking are heat exhaustion, sunstroke, hypothermia, wind hazards, dust storms & sand storms. 



Planning your destination, using maps, guidebooks, you'll know what to expect in the deserts, canyons, mountains, road conditions, closures. Another good resource is the park's website or call and talk to the forest rangers personally. Talking to family or friends who have been in the area recently, they will tell you what to expect about the area you're going to visit.

The weather channel has knowledgeable information. The weather may change very rapidly, so only use the weather resources for three days to five days.

You and your family need to prepared about the temperatures of the desert.

Check both the high and low temperatures of the area. Desert temperatures vary by 40 or 50 F. each day. If the highs are in the 70's you'll have a delightful temperatures for bike rides, driving, backpacking. Nighttime temperatures will be very chilly, possibly freezing.

When the weather is in the 90's or above, plan to go backpacking in the early mornings or after 5 in the evening.


                     Being "LOST" ! 

Tell or give a family member or friend or ranger written itinerary, or a map with your route and possible alternate routes clearly marked.

If I have "NOT" contacted them in the time destinated, usually in 24 hours, call the authorities. I'm needing to be rescued. 

When things go wrong, it's great to have other options.

Do not use all your water while desert camping, hiking or biking.

Being confused about your location is frightening, you look around and the trail is gone, or the expected landmark had disappeared. The best thing to do is. Find a log or rock and sit down. Close your eyes and vision the steps you took. Think about what you saw on the trail. Many desert trails are marked with cairns and sometimes little used trails are so faint that the cairns are the only landmark keeping "YOU" on track.




Packing your backpack light, packing enough water at least one pint for every hour you are out in the hot sun.

Getting into shape prior to backpacking, losing weight can help "YOU" with climbing, going through streams, climbing up/down mountains, climbing up/down canyons or uneven terrain. Most injuries happens when you over exert yourself.

Trekking poles or walking sticks used correctly will help you walk on uneven terrain trails safely.

Keep all of the backpackers together while hiking.

When you are boating or in water, drownings can occur. If you fall into the cold water or into white water. You can get a head injury, hitting the edge of the boat, hitting logs or rocks. In extremely frigid water, head injuries may get you unconscious. Cold water or capped water can get all of your energy from your body. 


 Slips may occur on wet rocks or rocks that have moss or algae on them. Crossing streams, creeks, rivers, lakes, and other water can be extremely dangerous due to low visibility.

Waterfalls are extremely dangerous due to very fast moving water. There may be sharp rocks, debris in line of path, while you are trying to get to safety. "ALWAYS" wear a "Life Jacket" while you boating or in any kind of water.

You need to know how to swim, every person or child needs to know how to swim and wear a life jacket !

When you are hiking, you may get blisters on your feet. Blisters are caused by your feet getting very hot and sweaty. Your skin on your feet run against your shoes, may be due improper fitting shoes. Wearing a good pair of hiking boots with good pair of socks.

If your feet slip in your shoes, you need a thicker pair of socks. Your feet may sweat up to one shot glass of sweat a day.

Wearing hiking boots are better than tennis shoes. Tennis shoes do not grip rocks or climbing or loose sand very good. You need hiking boots that grip rocks like, "Vasque" hiking boots.

Back Pain: May result from a backpack that is too large for your body. As a rule of thumb, a man, women or child that is not overweight can carry comfortably carry up to one third of his or her weight. Your  backpack shouldn't "strain" your back while wearing backpack. 

If you have a backpack that is too "HEAVY" your feet can trip on rough terrain like uneven trails, rocks or bushes.


                Digestive Infections

When drinking water in the wilderness it may contain viruses, bacteria or parasites. Parasites can cause dysentery or diarrhea. When water is left "untreated" water, the infection can spread person to person. Always wash your hands before and after eating a meal, going to the restroom. Wash utensils, plates, drinking glasses or use disposable dishes.

Iodine tablets are designed to make contaminated water suitable for drinking. Tablets prove effective against "Giardia Lambia" when used as directed. Intended for short term limit emergency use only. Water is ready within 30 minutes, neutralizes iodine aftertaste and color. Ideal for campers, travelers, hikers, militants, and emergency organizations. 

The most common cause of wilderness diarrhea is the parasite "Giardia". Giardia, symptoms of this virus, appear 2 day after you have been exposed to infection. The virus my cause excess gas, stomach or abdominal cramps, upset stomach and nausea.

Giardia lives inside the intestines of the infected humans or other animals. Individuals become infected through ingesting or coming into contact with contaminated food, soil, or water. The Giardia parasite originates from contaminated items, surfaces that have been tainted by the feces of an infected carrier. 

Bear Bagging is a term used to hanging your trash. Hang your "trash bag" at least 10 feet into the tree, 200 feet from campsite.

At your campsite, when cooking food, cook foot 200 feet from campsite.

When washing dishes, glasses, utensils, wash dishes 200 feet from campsite.

Make sure your campsite is extremely "CLEAN", leave no candy wrappers, ice cream wrappers, sandwich bags, potato chip bags, cookies or any food in camp area.


Hiking Trails in the United States of "America"

Breaking Trail: In Hudson Highlands State Park. Special Attractions: Hudson River, Beacon, NY Hiking 9.6 miles.

Glacier Gorge: Rocky Mountain National Park, Spectacular scenery, beautiful flowers, cascading waterfalls, and beautiful alphine lakes. Longs Peaks, CO Hiking 9.6 miles.

Appalachian Trails: The Pinnacle, views of Hawk Mountain, the Lehigh Valley and Blue Rocks. Hamburg, PA. Hiking 8.7 miles

Mount Whitney: This expedition takes you to the top of the highest peak in the Unites States, Lone Pine, CA. Hiking 22 miles.

Conundrum Hot Springs: A secluded collection of pools in a beautiful wilderness. Aspen, CO. Hot Springs, Hiking 18 miles.                                                                                                                  Bear Mountain Loop: All day or overnight hiking, loops rolls through steep wooden terrain, topping Bear & West Mountains, offering views of the lower Hudson River area. Special Attractions: Vistas, Perkins Tower. Highlands, NY. Hiking 9.7 miles.

Deep Creek: A cluster of natural hot springs in an isolated canyon in the high desert Deep Creek has become a favorite spot for those who like to go without clothing. Hesperia, Ca. Hot Springs - 12 miles.

Appalachian Trail: Sunfish Pond & Mount Mohician. The rocky shores of this crystal clean glaciers lake. Columbia, NJ. Hiking 8.8 miles.

Appalachian Trail: Springer Mountain to Higher Gap. The Summit of Springer Mountain, a broad dome with thin woods and a rock outcrop, has excellent northwest views of the Cohutta Mountains. Suches, GA. Hiking 9 miles.

Chevin Lakes, trail lead to Mexico . The Pacific Crest Trails (PCT) runs 2600 miles from Canada to... Scenic, WA. Hiking 22 miles.

Appalachian Trail: Crampton Gap to Harpers Ferry, WV. The 9.8 mile stretch of Appalachian Trail leading from Crampton to Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, is one of the most rewarding day hikes in the region. Burkittsvile. Hiking 10.2 miles.

Half Dome, Half Dome is the symbol of Yosemite. It is a grueling workout, especially if you do it in "one" day. Vernal Fall, CA. Hiking 16 miles.

Dolly Sods Wilderness: This slice of the Monogahela has nearly everything rocky vistas, open glades resembling the western United States, thick spruce, Laneville, WV. Hiking 2.4 miles.

Hut to Hut Presidential Traverse, Gorham, HH. Hiking 25.5 miles.

American River Confluence to Lake Clementine, encounter raging rapids, soothing pods, a loud waterfall at a dam, and a tranquil lake. Auburn, CA. Hiking 6 miles.

Canyon Creek Lakes and L Lake. Weaverville, Ca. Hiking 16.5 miles.

Mount Marcy: New York Highpoint. Highpoint rank by height 21st. Lake Placid, NY. Hiking 14.8 miles.

Bear Mountain, Mount Frissel, CT. Hiking 6 miles.

Appalachian National Scenic Trail: Pennsylvania Section. This 2155 mile national trail from Maine to Georgia cuts across Southern Pennsylvania between New Jersey and Mason-Dixon at Maryland. Rouzerville, PA. Hiking 232 miles.

Carson Mineral Hot Springs Resort: A sleepy victorian era hotel and bathhouse that features a regionen of therapeutic hot mineral baths reminiscent of old European spas. If you're looking for a luxurious spa treatment with elegantly ..... carson, VA. Hotsprings.

Mount Mitchell: the highest peak east of the Mississippi... is a crowning part of the Blue Ridge Parkway experience. The only motorized access to the mountain is from the Parkway at Mile Post 355.3. Asheville, NC. Hiking 12 miles.


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