OK, so we’ve talked about Bear Grylls vs. Les Stroud, and who would you rather have with you. But what if you’re out in the wild and you don’t have some super-survivalist with you? Do you have the skills to care for an injured friend? Or take care of yourself in an emergency?
The Oklahoma City Outdoor Network is offering a good learning opportunity in terms of wilderness first-aid. The following text is from Out There reader Bill Becquart. Read below, check it out, and learn some skills that may just save your or your buddies in a pinch.
Wilderness First Aid
$70.00 per person
This class is open to the public.
once the class is full…a waiting list will be maintained in case there are cancellations
Click this link for more information
I have personally taken this WFA course and it is awesome !!!!
Good stuff, folks. Take advantage of it.
Spring Break is almost here, so I know a bunch of you all will be hitting the slopes soon. Be warned, this hasn’t been the best year for snow in the Rockies. Expect good snow in the San Juans of SW Colorado (per usual), but everywhere else might be a little slim. Take heart, though. March and April are usually bigger snow months than the rest of the winter. Have a look:
Have a great time out there and know that I’m pretty jealous.
Just curious — with the outdoor crowd, what do you all think of the legislative proposal to allow black bear hunting in Oklahoma? I’m sure the hunting crowd is ready for a new challenge. But what about the rest of you? Respond here or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Let the debate begin!
Seems that that debate over Les Miles v. Bear Grylls lives on. Couple more votes for Bear, one more for Les. I think Les still has the advantage, but Bear is gaining ground. At some point, I’m going to have to go back and take a tally.
Another week closer to Spring Break. Which means it’s your last chance to avoid the big crowds on the slopes. Here’s some links to different states’ ski reports:
Next time: A trip down memory lane to the great Robbers Cave State Park.
Responses I received here and on Facebook had some lively debate. Some folks were quite serious. Others more tongue-in-cheek. Here’s a sampling of responses I received from the question: Who would you rather have with you if you were lost in the wilderness — Les Stroud (Survivorman) or Bear Grylls (Man vs. Wild)?
Bill of OKC: “What he presents…in Man vs Wild as ‘Survival Skills??’ will get people killed and is ‘Totally’ Irresponsible and he should be removed from the airways…before someone dies !!!!!”
Backcountry: “Les Stroud is clearly the correct choice in this situation. He is the actual survival expert and your odds of survival would be considerably improved if you were in his company.”
Augie from Denver: “If I were stuck out in the middle of nowhere, I’d rather have Les with me for many reasons. Bear also stays in hotels. What a fraud.”
Tim from St. Louis: “I like Les because he shoots everything himself… all alone with cameras. He will set a shot and then have to hike back and pick up the camera. I love that… even if the show is lesser quality… it still impresses me.”
Lisa from Los Angeles: “No contest. Bear is superior man candy. If your in the middle of nowhere a handsome man who knows where the hotels are is indispensable.” (Now that’s funny!)
So there’s a sampling. A friend from Alaska had her son chime in as well. His take: “Bear because he is a minimalist, unlike Les, most of us will not be stranded with a fully intact fuselage, rifle and or a helicopter we can call in it we get tired of surviving. Bear probably has some bad a** stories, and some awesome moves he can teach you around a campfire.”
So there you go. I figure if I’m in the middle of a brewing pit fight at some bazaar in Beirut, I’d like to have Bear Grylls there. But if it’s a question of outdoor survival — Les Stroud is the man.
Thanks for your input, folks!
I promise to post photos soon. Just haven’t downloaded them yet. But I figured I’d throw down a little info about an interesting jaunt out in the Wichita Mountains near Lawton.
First off, this has been a long time coming. But me and my hiking buddy, Johnny Hunter, have been battling assorted illnesses that kept us from getting out there. We’re both still a little marginal, and his sister, Ouida (a frequent companion on these trips) was battling through a bad tooth. But we’d had enough. It was time to go out.
First off, the Wichitas are pretty special. We don’t have much in the way of mountains in Oklahoma, but these qualify. They’re rugged and filled with routes to their summits that range from easy hikes to severely advanced technical climbs.
What’s better is that they’re smack in the middle of a wildlife refuge. There are places where the public can’t go, but plenty of room for hikers, climbers and campers. On any given outing, you can see all matter of game fowl plus buffalo, longhorns, elk and other species. They’re all wild (something to remember before venturing too close).
We drove to Elk Mountain — essentially a plateau massif that dominates the center of the refuge — and started out on the trail to Charon’s Garden. If you stick to the trails, you’ll be rewarded with easy hiking and plenty of opportunities for photos and wildlife spotting. You can camp here with a permit.
If you circle Elk Mountain and head back east, you head to a boulder field in a ravine between Elk Mountain and a nearby ridge to the south. There’s a lot of fun to be had there, but that’s for another day. We intended to go deeper into Charon’s Garden and climb to the top of a peak called Crab Eyes.
Crab Eyes is a minor peak distinguished by two precariously perched boulders sitting atop its relatively small summit. They look a lot like the eyes of a fiddler crab you’d see scurrying along the beach and can be distinguished from a couple miles away.
Our plan was to go to the top of this peak via the non-technical north ridge route. After hiking up to the peak, you traverse its east face, then follow that to a 100-foot rock wall that serves as the base for the boulders that are the “eyes” of Crab Eyes.
I should mention that from here, you can reach the top via an extremely challenging technical climbing route on the west face. I could be wrong, but the slabby, overhanged east face looks unclimbable. In any case, all of that is way beyond any capability I have. We decided to get to the top by scrambling up the north ridge.
This is considered a non-technical route. Non-technical routes range from Class 1 (easy trail hike); Class 2 (steep, difficult hiking); Class 3 (climbing, having to use hands and feet to ascend and descend); and Class 4 (harder climbing; use of ropes should be considered). Class 5 is technical climbing, where use of ropes and climbing equipment are required.
The crux of this climb includes wedging yourself between two granite slabs, reaching for handholds and footholds inside and shimmying your way up for about 10 feet. From here, you keep going by balancing on a 2-foot-wide exposed slab (a 50-foot drop to your left) or crabwalk between two large rock slabs to the right. The first one has more exposure. Either way, be careful. The winds at the top can be pretty strong, and falling from either side could be injurious or deadly. I consider this portion of the route Class 3. Once below the eyes, you continue scrambling up another slab until you get to the eyes themselves.
The eyes are perched on a really small base. How they stay up there and balanced, I don’t know. It was worth seeing. Don’t climb them.
From there, we headed back down the north ridge and went west into Styx Canyon. This is all off-trail and is pretty rough going with route-finding, boulder hopping and bush-whacking all the way till you eventually hit Prospector Trail. Finding a high overlook helps with route-finding. It’s really easy to go along and suddenly cliff out. If you do, retreat back and try to find another way. No sense trying to descend something blind. Either way, you’ll likely run into some places where a few Class 3 moves are needed to continue down.
Along the way, we saw wild bison, quail and some incredible rock formations. Trees were in various states of autumn color. So the green, red, yellow and brown mixes, contrasted with a clear, blue sky and a granite backdrop, were amazing. We finished off the day with a Meers burger, definitely a choice way to cap it off.
I will post photos here soon. I highly recommend this trek.
Comment here or e-mail me if you have more info, tips or anything else to contribute to the discussion. E-mail is email@example.com.
Until then, get out there.
Rain bothers me. Why? Because riding a mountain bike on a muddy trail is ill-advised.
Yesterday I was dying to get on my bike and the rain had finally moved on out of the metro area, but all area trails were undoubtedly too wet too ride. So I decided to take a spin around Lake Hefner on the paved trails.
I had never ridden the lake trail that circles the lake, so I figured, ‘What the heck …’
I’ve got to say, it was a good workout and I’m a bit sore today. The nearly 10-mile trail wraps around the lake and is a surprisingly smooth and mostly uninterrupted trail.
It took me about 35 minutes to ride the whole thing.
Riding the dam section was almost the best part because of the scenery. Finishing my ride on the east side of the lake and looking back west across into the sunset was the best.
I’ve found a new outdoor pleasure.
I have debated sharing a favorite fishing hole with you, but I figure, what’s it going to hurt?
Lake Bixhoma in Bixby.
This gem is a tiny municipal lake that provides water for Bixby. I’m not going to help you with directions. You’re going to have to find it on your own.
Anyway, this is one of my favorite Bass fishing spots because of its proximity to my friends’ homes in Tulsa and its great fishing. What’s best is it gets very little traffic, so you feel many miles further from home than you really are.
In fact, yesterday (Sunday, Aug. 17) was the most crowded I have seen the lake in awhile. And the traffic? A couple of kayakers and maybe three or four fishing boats.
There are a few things to consider when going to this lake. There is no alcohol allowed. You must have a municipal license and you must have a municipal license for your boat. It is also a no wake lake. Perhaps these are the reasons the lake sees such little traffic.
Yesterday’s weather was great and following a full moon, we anticipated catching a lot of fish. I caught one; my buddy? Zero.
That was probably our worst day on that lake in memory.
After I got over the shock of my electric bill last month, I’ve decided to beat the heat in a different way. I’m setting that air conditioner on 83 and heading for the lake.
Last weekend we went to Arcadia Lake in Edmond. There was a cloudless sky and the temperatures were already in the 90s, it wasn’t even noon yet. Our cooler was packed with hotdogs, water and the making for smores. Getting there that early you don’t have to fight for a shady picnic spot, and we got one within walking distance to the beach.
It was a great day to be at the beach. Hot as blazes. Boats whizzed around the lake. With the aid of SPF 45 (that’s right! I’m fair.) I was able to lay on the beach and read a little bit. Relaxing, and knowing that my electric meter wasn’t running like crazy. It was great.
But if you’re heading out to Arcadia Lake with children under 12, don’t forget the life jacket. It’s required and Edmond Police won’t hesitate to give you a ticket if your child isn’t wearing a life jacket on the beach. In the time I was there on Sunday, I saw two families get tickets both complete with fines.
For more information go to the city’s Web site.
If you’re wanting to leave the metro area, there are always state parks with lakes. Lake Thunderbird is a favorite, and usually crowded on the weekends. Lakes Texoma and Murray are also top picks.
But what about Keystone Lake or Fort Cobb? There’s plenty see and still lots of water. For more information on state parks and lakes go to http://www.oklahomaparks.com/
You might think Oklahoma is a bad place to mountain bike. Not so.
There are many trails in Oklahoma that will challenge, many of which are closer to home than you might think. I bought my Gary Fisher Sugar 4+ nearly 3 years ago and have logged many hundreds of hours on Oklahoma Trails.
I have bruised, scarred and bled from falls. In other words, some are quite challenging. But as I have always said, “If you’re not falling, you’re not trying hard enough.”
I routinely ride Bluff Creek, which is just about a 5 minute drive from my house or a 10 minute ride. The trail is difficult in spots, but I have ridden it so many times I can usually get around the 3 1/2 mile trail in about 25 minutes or less, depending on how I’m feeling that day. These days I usually ride two laps and that amounts to a healthy workout.
My auxiliary trail is out on the east side of Lake Stanly Draper. This trail definitely has some trickier spots and is much longer, but the green (easy section) can be ridden with a confident ease, even by novices.
Clear Bay down at Lake Thunderbird is one of the best in the state. The only trouble is, it’s quite expensive as far as gas goes and quite time consuming for me to make the trip down to Norman.
I’ve never been much for running or jogging, so mountain biking gives me the best of both worlds. I get a good workout and I am outdoors where I am most at ease. The competition against self is great.
If you want to get into mountain biking, know that there are many great trails in not only Oklahoma, but neighboring Arkansas and even Texas. But a good piece of advice? Don’t skimp on buying a bike. Spend the money. You will pay for it.
Going out to the local Wal Mart or Target for a mountain bike is ill-advised. They may seem up to the challenge, but those bikes will crumble on some of the tougher sections of trail.
You must always, ALWAYS wear a helmet.
Here’s a link to a great site with information about some regional trails and just Okie biking in general.