Mather Gorge, Great Falls, Virginia
A long way to fall...
Copyright © 2014 by Ralph F. Couey
Words and pictures
I decided to spend a little time talking about preparedness. As I said, I'm new to this hiking thing and each time I go, a little more education is acquired. On this last trek through Riverbend Park, I took a tumble backwards down a steep slope after banging my noggin into a low-hanging limb. I ended up with only a couple of gashes on my hands. It could have been much worse.
I thought about that a lot today, and how important it was to remember my old Boy Scout motto, "Be Prepared." So I put together a small first aid kit which will accompany me on future trips. The contents consist of two types of bandages, a roll of gauze, a roll of medical tape, a bottle of anti-bacterial spray, a small bottle of iodine-based wound cleaner, a pair of scissors, and a small roll of duct tape. The last might seem to be a bit odd, but I think with duct tape and a couple of sturdy sticks, I could make a serviceable splint, should the need arise.
Right now, I travel light, carrying only a Camelbak 2 liter reservoir, which is fine for safe trails in relatively populated areas. But if my plans...or goals, if you will...come to fruition, then I will be tackling trails this summer in the Shenandoah and parts of the Appalachian Trail where it winds through Virginia. A big part of the preparation involves gathering information on the character of those trails before I go, and selecting the appropriate equipment to take along. Obviously, Virginia being a "buggy" locale, insect repellent, salve for bites and stings, and since I was at least at one time allergic to bee stings, probably an Epi pen as well. This may be overkill, since I survived my last encounter with a bee when the little bugger flew inside my motorcycle helmet during a ride, and proceeded to take his errant navigation out on my head. Other than the stinging pain, I suffered no anaphylactic emergency.