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Monday, July 23, 2012

How about that heat?

It should go without saying that when the mercury rises we should always remember to hydrate before, during, and after any outdoor activity.  Aside from the cliche phrase that Camelbak has coined (Hydrate or die), you need to keep in mind how to dress.  I prefer to wear pants and long sleeves all year, even when you can cook an egg on the pavement.  Sounds crazy, right?  Well for one it's what I'm used to and I don't always wear long sleeves, but it does offer protection from the sun.  If you choose to wear long sleeves and pants in extreme heat be sure that what you wear is designed for the climate and season that you're in.  Light colored clothes will reflect more heat than it will absorb so it is a good idea to wear light moisture wicking clothing during the warmer seasons.  Additionally there are a few companies that have made gear specifically with this in mind and added in fibers to offer up to SPF 30 protection.

For me, the number one rule of thumb concerning dehydration is that if you feel thirsty you're already dehyrdated and need to stop, drink water, and rest in the shade while drinking more water.  Also, the darker that your urine the more dehydrated you are.  You want to keep your urine as clear as possible, but that is not everything you need to do to prevent dehyrdation.  Typically people loose equal parts water and electrolytes (such as salt).  Our bodies need both of these to be able to function properly.  If you choose to drink sugary sports drinks keep it at a ratio of 4:1.  4 bottles of water to every 1 bottle of equivelant volume of sports drink.

Even if you are properly hyrdated and continue to hyrdate while you exercise or outside in the heat if at any time you stop sweating get to a cool area and drink water immediately.  This is a sure sign that you are dangerously dehydrated, and I know from personal experience having misjudged the amount of water I would need for one of my first hikes.  It is not a fun feeling having your body shut down on you and knowing that the nearest first responder is at least 2hrs away.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Man's Best Friend

I hate to say that it's a burden to carry my best friend's load, but when you have to ensure that your pack is as light as possible it would be nice if your pup could haul his own gear.  Over the past couple of month I've been researching various dog backpacks/saddlebags or whatever you want to call them and luckily ran across a helpful blog: http://www.agilepooch.com/dogstuff/dogpacks/dogpacks.html.  She definitely did her homework when it came to the plethora of packs on the market now.  Now, just because someone else did the book report for you doesn't mean that you're going to get that A+.  I spent my fare share of time researching, holding the packs, really digging down into how they're made and reading tons of reviews.  From all this I settled on the Mountainsmith Dog Pack - Medium through Sierra Trading Post.

I received the packs about a week ago now and I've had a couple of opportunities to take the dogs for some walks with their new packs.  So far with a little bit of weight in both sides they love them!  Also, I've found out that they don't pull or try and sniff everythign in sight when they have their packs on, but that's what you get when you make a GSD think he has a job to do. ;-)  So far their "hikes" have been in the city and between 1-2 miles in duration just building them up to getting used to the packs and the weight.  I'm sure you will be hearing more about this on down the road.

Till next time, Happy Trails and happy tails!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Misadventures of Wolf Island

Another day and another adventure to share.  I recently received my first inflatable kayak and took it for an outing on one of the local lakes north of the Dallas area.  I've used the traditional hardshell kayaks and canoes but never an inflatable.  The one I ended up going with is the Sevylor Tahiti hunt/fish.  For what it is and the price point for it (roughly $120) I was pleasantly surprised.  Very stable and tracks relatively well through the water.  However, if there is a slight breeze you'll end up working your arms off to try and keep her straight.  Sevylor does offer a plastic skeg that others have said help with this.  They say that this particular kayak is rated up to ~400lbs and is a two person.  I took it out by myself with an additional 20lbs of gear and had no problems maneuvering though the water and around the shallow areas.

When I set out I had planned on paddling out to an island on the lake commonly referred to as Wolf Island.  My intent was to actually go there Saturday morning, explore the area, and then camp out on the island for the night.  Unfortunately I had other social obligations to attend to earlier in the weekend and didn't get out to the lake until Sunday.

The dashed line is the route I had planned to take to get out to the island.  The green being where I made it to and the red representing the remainder of the route that I didn't get to.  The reason that I had decided to stay relatively close to the shore isn't because I'm a bad swimmer, but because I don't care to swim that far.  The round trip distance would have ended up being almost 5 miles from where I launched from, and seeing as how I decided to sleep in I didn't launch until about 2:30pm.  The wind was blowing pretty regularly and enough to where the lake was white-capping.  At first when the wind kicked up I was slightly concerned with the possibility of capsizing.  However, the inflatable had one benefit over the hardshells by simply riding over the waves instead of cutting through them.

Till next time!