Protecting Yourself Against Tick Bites

by Donna 31. March 2012 18:22

Taking Preventative Measures Against Tick Bites
If you enjoy outdoor activities, such as hiking, fishing, camping, or hunting, then you also increase your risk for getting Lyme’s disease, a bacterial infection that is transmitted when the recipient is bitten by an infected tick. Therefore, it’s important to protect yourself from the insect if you are an outdoor enthusiast. To lessen the risk and prevent bites:

  • Stay away from bushy areas and remain in the center of hiking trails;
  • Wear long sleeves;
  • Wear pants instead of shorts, and place pants inside of socks;
  • Don light-colored garments so you can easily spot any ticks;
  • Regularly perform a tick check throughout the day as well as at day’s end and the following morning; and
  • Place the clothes you’ve worn in the dryer to kill undetected ticks.

Wear Insect-repellant Clothing
With respect to repellants, use those whose primary ingredients are natural, or products that contain soybean oil or citronella oil. You can also buy clothing that will shield you from biting insects such as the tick, fly, or mosquito. Clothing containing permethrin is suggested for this purpose, with primary brands represented by Insect Shield and Bugsaway, just to name a few.

Tick Bites Occur Most often in June and July
Most cases of Lyme disease result from an undetected tick, so it’s important to make regular checks while outdoors to reduce the possibility of getting bitten. Obviously, it’s understandable, given the small size of the insects, why they’d be hard to see – all the more reason that the aforementioned measures should be followed. People are especially vulnerable to tick bites during the peak months of June and July.
Symptoms Associated with Lyme’s Disease

In its early stages, Lyme’s disease can mimic symptoms of the flu, with the sufferer experiencing a headache, fever, and tiredness. In the majority of cases (approximately 70%), patients will develop a rash that takes the shape of a bull’s-eye – a telltale mark that confirms you have the disease. The disease, in the early stages, can be treated with antibiotics. However, if treatment is curtailed, then arthritis, severe muscle and joint pain, and even neurological damage can occur.

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Insects

How to Repair a Bike Chain on the Trail

by Diane 30. March 2012 01:01

The scenario: You're riding along, happily enjoying the views of your family's favorite mountain biking trail. You see some huckleberries over to your right. They really look good. You take a moment to think about those delicious huckleberries. Uh oh. You bump into a rock, take a tumble, and your mountain bike is in the brush. How embarrassing. Thankfully you are okay, but your bike chain appears to have sticks jammed in it, a couple of new bends in it, AND a link has actually broken in half.

 

What you will need:
• Chain tool
• Needle nose pliers
• Extra chain pin and link
• Humor
•  A book like Pocket Guide to Emergency Bicycle Repair by Ron Cordes (optional)

 

What to do:
1. Take a deep breath. It happens to the best of us.
2. Use your needle nose pliers to pull out any of the sticks that can't be removed with your bare hands.
3. Slowly turn the pedal and run your hands along the chain to find the places where it is bent.
4. Place your hands on both sides of each bend and twist the chain gently to get it back into its original shape.
NOTE: This will be useful for getting you back on the trail, but you may want to replace the chain soon. It'll be weaker than it was before your tumble into the trees.
5. Remove the broken chain from your bike, while being careful not to create any more bends.
6. Use the loosening feature of your trusty chain tool to remove the defective link and pin.
NOTE: There are many chain tools on the market. Make sure you talk with the folks who sell you yours and have them show you how to use it before you leave the store.
7. Carefully weave your chain back into place.
8. Use the tightening feature of your chain tool to attach a new link and pin.
9. Give your pedal a gentle push to make sure the chain is good to go, and you’re off!

 

You never know what other issues might arise while you are out on your mountain bike, so I suggest keeping a pocket bike repair manual and small tool set with you. If that doesn’t work out and you have to walk back to the trailhead, just remember that the easiest way to carry your bike is with the top tube of the frame resting on your shoulder.

 

Happy riding!

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Mountain Biking

12 Tips for Mountain Biking with the Family

by Diane 22. March 2012 19:01

Spring is officially here! If you're like me, this is the time of year you start daydreaming about mountain biking through a tree-lined trail on a cool, sunny day.

Biking is a wonderful outdoor activity for the whole family. It's super fun and it gets everyone's heart rate up. Here are 12 tips for keeping your family happy and safe on your next mountain bike adventure.

When selecting your trail:

  1. Pick one that is comfortable for your least experienced adventurer. In many areas you can find flat trails that allow you to enjoy the views without too much sweat or tears.
  2. Make sure it's not hunting season where you are going. Check out your local Department of Fish & Wildlife website for hunting information.
  3. Check the weather forecast before picking your mountain biking trail

When preparing for your trip:

  1. Bring a bike repair kit and first aid supplies
  2. As always, pack plenty of water. If you have camelbacks, all the better!
  3. Make sure everyone has a helmet that fits and a bicycle that is right for their height and ability level.
  4. If you have little ones who are too small to ride their own bikes, you can attach a child bike seat or trailer to the back of an adult bike. Make sure to follow manufacturer instructions and warnings carefully.

During your trip:

  1. Dress in clothes that breathe well. Cotton is key.
  2. Wear shoes that won't fall off or get caught in your gears. Flip flops can be very dangerous!
  3. Let your slowest rider lead the way. If this is frustrating, it can help to break into two groups. Make sure everyone knows who is in their group, so no one gets left behind with a broken chain or flat tire.
  4. Take breaks to drink the water you brought.
  5. Enjoy the view and have fun!

Where are your favorite spots to mountain bike with your family?

Keep an eye out! Next week I'll help you repair a broken bike chain.

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Spring is Coming: 4 Tips for Enjoying the Last of the Winter Weather

by Diane 15. March 2012 23:05

Over the past few weeks, I've noticed planters and yards filling up with glowing daffodils and sweet cherry blossoms. Snow is turning into rain in the city. Daylight is sneaking into my windows earlier and staying longer. There's no question about it: Spring is in the air.

If you've been meaning to get out and enjoy some winter sports, you may not have much time left to do it! I'm lucky to live near some backcountry areas that are snowy all year, but some of my favorite spots to go snowshoeing will turn into slush and mud soon. If you're planning on getting out this weekend, here are a few pointers to think about before you head out to enjoy your favorite snow activities.

1. Check the avalanche reports and forecasts.

If you live anywhere that is prone to avalanches, make sure you check the forecast the night before your trip and the day you are actually heading into the mountains. It's easy to do, and can help keep you out of trouble. I recommend finding the avalanche center closest to your home. There's a nice drop-down list on this site: http://www.avalanche.org

2. Bring your usually safety essentials, plus plenty of water.

As a general rule, I like to bring twice as much water as I think I will drink. This year, I've also started keeping powdered sports drinks in my pack. It's nice to refresh my electrolytes and have something a little sweet when I've been trudging, skiing, or sliding around for a while.

3. Wear layers and make sure you have a waterproof shell.

It's also great to bring a spare set of clothes and shoes to leave in your car. If you end up trudging through slush and get soaked, it will be make the drive home a lot better if you aren't sitting in damp clothes the whole way.

4. If you're traveling with toddlers or smaller kids, bring a sled.

Little legs can tire out long before adults and older kids are ready to stop playing. Sleds provide a nice relaxing view, and they're a great spot for napping if sleep calls. Bonus: You can carry packs or other goodies in the sled, too. Bring a small ice chest along and you can enjoy un-smooshed sandwiches.

Get out there soon. Winter fun can still be had if you look for it. Enjoy and be safe!

What are your favorite outdoor sports in the spring? Is it snowy where you live or are you already out in the water having a blast by the time March rolls around? What are your tips and tricks for enjoying the slushy months?

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Winter

Hazardous Wet Weather Camping

by Kade 4. February 2012 07:23

About 4 years ago I wrote a post containing wet weather camping tips.  One thing I failed to mention is that wet weather can become hazardous.  Here are some tips to consider when you are considering wet weather camping.

1.  Determine how wet it is actually going to be.
The first and most important thing to do when anticipating wet weather for camping is to determine how wet it is actually going to be.  You need to ask yourself, is it going to be a light rain, or are there possible flash floods?  This will help you determine where you should set up camp. 
www.nws.noaa.gov or www.weather.gov are great sites to plan for what weather will be in the area.

2.  Have an alternate plan.  Don't be afraid to cancel.
Having an alternate plan or location to go camping can make all the difference between disappointing your children and creating a lasting family memory.  However, don't be afraid to cancel an activity if the weather is going to be so wet that it could threaten your survival.

3.  Determine if lightning is going to be a factor
Lighting is deadly. Dozens of people die in the US every year from lightning strikes.  Make sure you are not the highest object, standing near, or under the highest object.  Lightning can strike within 10 miles of a thunderstorm.  If you can see it, flee it.  Hear it, clear it.  If you can't get away put your feet together, duck your head, and crouch down low like a baseball catch with your hands on your knees.  Spread out everyone in your group at least 100 ft.  If someone gets hit in your group, it is safe to give CPR because they will not hold a charge.

4.  Thunderstorms can turn in to hail storms, and it hurts like hail
If you are trapped outdoors, get under cover, but remember to avoid lightning danger.  Hail can range in size from pea-sized to larger than a softball and can quickly change in size during a storm.  I once got hit in the head with a golf ball size piece of hail while trying to get out of a hail storm.  Those things knock you loopy and can cut you open.

5.  Beware of flash floods
Flash floods can turn a dry area in to a raging river in minutes.  If flash floods are expected, never set up camp in low areas or near water.  If you are hiking, especially a canyon, watch for rain upstream from you.  Last but not least, don't drive in to water as it only takes a few inches of moving water to sweep a car off of a road.

Lastly, just a quick reminder about the difference between a weather warning and a weather watch.
Warnings - The hazardous weather is actually occurring.  "Warning. A tornado has been spotted."
Watch - The hazardous weather might occur.  "Watch for tornadoes."

Tags:

Camping | Weather

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