Local Environment Refresher Course

Share a survival experience with us and explain what you learned from it. You might help someone.

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Local Environment Refresher Course

Post by Chef » Fri Aug 27, 2010 3:05 pm

It's been a long time (as in way too long) since I packed up my kit bag and headed out into the local environment for more than an hour or two. I took advantage of a recent day off to go visit a city-owned, undeveloped preservation area representative of the typical northeast Florida ecosystem. I used to do environmental work in this sort of place before I got back in the kitchen a few years ago, so I knew what to expect. Unfortunately, my skillz have become a bit rusty, so this refresher course was also a re-learning experience.

My hike began at approximately 1630 on 25 August. It was hot (95* plus) and humid (95% plus). I fully expected a buggy experience, so I slathered a light, even coat of Ben's 100% DEET on all exposed skin. I wore a boonie hat to keep the rays of the evil day moon off my head and long pants to ward off burrs, briars, and ticks. To simulate a backpack full of basic camping/survival gear, I carried a backpack full of basic camping/survival gear. I didn't have any big plans for the trip. The idea was a simple hike from the trail head down to the water (~2.3 miles), where I would set up a tarp, cook up a snack, drink some water, maybe practice a a little bit of bushcraft, and take some pictures, then hike back.

The first bit of fauna I encountered was this burly millipede:

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A bit further down the trail I saw some flagging tape from the environmental consulting firm I used to work for. They had just gotten this project from the city right about the time I was leaving. I designed that logo with the stylized heron-and-duck potato, BTW: 8)

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I didn't get any photos on the way down to the water. After I entered the deeper part of the woods, I was assaulted by a plague of flies. A serious, no-joke, biblical plague of flies. The 100% DEET didn't seem to bother them an awful lot. I'm very thankful I had a good hat to keep them off my dome and wraparound sunglasses to keep them out of my eyes, but for the next couple of miles all I could do was press on and try to wave them off to prevent fly induced insanity.

All the while, I was thinking about the two (TWO!!) headnets I left at home that would have greatly improved my lot, had I only brought one with me. (Prep fail #1.)

At long last, I made it out to the edge of the marsh where there was a breeze.

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The wind helped to mitigate the fly problem, but the reason for the strong breeze was the thunderstorm headed right for me. It was just starting to rain when I took that picture, so I dropped my ruck and fished out my poncho. No bushcraft today. I was somewhat surprised the incipient downpour didn't deter the flies very much, but the poncho helped keep Beelzebub's minions from getting me frazzled. As I was headed back up the trail, it really started coming down:

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The trail, being a low point, quickly became a stream headed down to the water. Merrell Moab Ventilators provide little resistance to water intrusion, I discovered. I also discovered that my trusty poncho didn't either (Prep fail #2), but it was certainly better than nothing. I need to figure out some way to revive its waterproofing a bit.

On the way out, saw a couple of typical sights of the Florida woods:

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Big-ass banana spider (or "golden orb weaver," sorry for the poor focus; in between the rain and the flies I was a bit distracted).

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There were also little sherds of Herty cups just about everywhere. These were clay pots used to collect gum resin from the area's formerly abundant longleaf pine forest. The raw gum would later be distilled into turpentine and rosin. The naval stores industry was once a major business in the Southeast, until most of the virgin forest was cut down.

That about sums it up. By the time I got back to my truck, the rain had stopped so I brewed up a cup of tea and some ramen (I was actually slightly chilled between being wet and the temperature/humidity drop that follows a good rainstorm). I went home with a short list of corrections and improvements for next time.
Orville Wright did not have a pilot's license.

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Re: Local Environment Refresher Course

Post by sql_yoda » Sat Aug 28, 2010 2:54 am

Nice pics! Three (or two? do the shoes and poncho count as one?) prep fails on a 2+ mile hike sounds pretty bad but hell, at least you had some ramen and tea.

(Says the guy who hasn't been camping once this summer... and doesn't even own a poncho)

Enjoyed reading :)

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Re: Local Environment Refresher Course

Post by KnightoftheRoc » Sat Aug 28, 2010 3:26 am

Prep fails aside, you at least kept it to a short, close-to-home trip, mitigating any possible MAJOR problems that might have arisen. Most importantly, you went out and DID SOMETHING. So, you now know that keeping one head net with you when you go out would be a good idea, and that you need to do something about that poncho (re-coat or replace) and shoes. Beats finding out later on, when the PAW closes the stores you can now go to to remedy these problems.

btw- the first impression of the "big ass spider" pic, is that it's in the trees of the background, which would make it a REALLY big ass spider! :lol:
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Re: Local Environment Refresher Course

Post by Chef » Sat Aug 28, 2010 2:02 pm

Oh wow, responses! I thought this thread sank on launch, like the Mary Rose or something. :lol: Maybe I should've included some pictures of guns.

I forgot to post a couple of pictures of this little guy:

Image

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Armadillos are not smart, nor are they keen of hearing. And they can't see very well, either. You can hear them coming a mile away and you can walk right up on 'em. The only thing they have going for them, evolutionarily speaking, is armor and reproductive capacity.
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Re: Local Environment Refresher Course

Post by shrapnel » Sat Aug 28, 2010 2:55 pm

Chef wrote:Armadillos are not smart, nor are they keen of hearing. And they can't see very well, either. You can hear them coming a mile away and you can walk right up on 'em. The only thing they have going for them, evolutionarily speaking, is armor and reproductive capacity.
And also, if the male nine-banded armadillo was the size of a human, his penis would be 4 feet long.
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Re: Local Environment Refresher Course

Post by The Highwayman » Thu Sep 02, 2010 6:41 pm

shrapnel wrote:
Chef wrote:Armadillos are not smart, nor are they keen of hearing. And they can't see very well, either. You can hear them coming a mile away and you can walk right up on 'em. The only thing they have going for them, evolutionarily speaking, is armor and reproductive capacity.
And also, if the male nine-banded armadillo was the size of a human, his penis would be 4 feet long.


How in the holey duck nuts you know that, I don't wanna know....... :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :twisted:
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Re: Local Environment Refresher Course

Post by shrapnel » Thu Sep 02, 2010 9:14 pm

I read it in a book of interesting animal trivia.
OTTB wrote:"What's that you're wearing?"
"This? Oh, just my rabies hat."
shrapnel wrote:Darling, I would never fondle your sphenoid.
Dr. Cox wrote: People aren't chocolates. Do you know what they are mostly? Bastards. Bastard-coated bastards with bastard fillings.
JamesCannon wrote:Shrapnel, if you were a superhero, you'd be Captain Buzzkill Peener Pain.

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Re: Local Environment Refresher Course

Post by The Highwayman » Thu Sep 02, 2010 10:29 pm

shrapnel wrote:I read it in a book of interesting animal trivia.



Riiiiiight...... :wink: :lol: :lol:
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