back country backpackers

4 Dangers To Watch Out For When Exploring The Backcountry

Trail blazing in the back country can be one of the most exhilarating experiences of a lifetime. Breaking away from day to day life and exploring new territories untouched by man can be both fun and a little scary. There is much preparation to be done before setting out into the wilderness such as obtaining maps, and the proper gear for your hike or stay.

One of the first things to check off the preparation list is a wilderness survival course. While it is not mandatory (there are no rules to this game), knowing how to survive in the wilderness is essential. Learning how to remain calm during an emergency, how to make a help signal, how to find or create a shelter if necessary and learning how to navigate with a compass are all things an individual should know before setting out on a trip through the wilderness.

The gear you bring with you is also essential to your trip. A backpack that is able to hold everything you need and is comfortable to hike with is a must have item. A first aid kit with items for bites, burns, headaches and even items to help with more serious problems such as a sprain or break is another item you shouldn’t leave home without.

When you are out there in the great outdoors being aware of your surroundings is important. Danger comes in the form of animal attacks, snake or spider bites, or running into a bee or hornets’ nest. Spiders are the most common and hidden danger, as they tend to like dark spaces to hide which can include shoes and sleeping bags. There is one spider in South America that reaches up to a foot long when full grown! While big spiders, like tarantulas are scary the small spiders can hide easier and can be venomous. Before sticking your hands or feet into anything dark, shake out your shoes or sleeping bag to ensure there are no biting visitors in there.

Snakes are another common issue while hiking or backpacking during the spring and summer months. Most snakes won’t attach unless provoked or stepped on, but it’s best to bring along some snake bite antivenom just in case. Pay close attention to the ground being walked on, avoid tall grass areas if possible, and wear long pants and sturdy hiking boots.

Being prepared and aware of your surroundings will make your backcountry exploration an enjoyable and safe experience.

Big Game Hunting

The Complex Morality Of Big Game Hunting For Conservation

Big game hunting has been a sport that has been around for thousands of years.  There are ancient cave drawings of men in groups hunting the mammoth with rocks and spears.

 When the term “big game” is used it is referring to animals such as bears, elephants, rhinos, big cats, buffalo and the like. U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt was a big game hunter who, after his presidency travelled to Africa where he hunted big game. Today big game hunting takes place in the United States, Africa, Canada, New Zealand, and Argentina.

The debate about big game hunting is an intense one. Proponents of big game hunting will argue that they are bringing money into the communities while helping to keep the animal populations down. But as animal rights activists point out, much of the money paid for big game hunting never makes it to the local communities. Rather it ends up in the pockets of government officials and the parties which facilitate the hunting trips. Many of these poor communities are never seeing the monetary benefit but are watching their local wildlife slowly disappear.

In the United States hunting endangered animals is normally illegal, but ranches in the U.S. have brought in and bred some of these animals specifically to be hunted and killed. The argument is that even though the animal is endangered in its natural habitat, the animals on the ranch were specifically bred to be hunted and so don’t fall under the same rules. Needless to say this has those concerned with animal rights furious.

In Africa there are many species on the endangered species lists due to over hunting. Take for example an animal that is synonymous with the African plains, the Cheetah. The population of Cheetah in Africa has decreased in size drastically due to the demand for their beautiful coats and the loss of their natural habitats. The same can be said for the African Rhino whose population is also on the decline due to the value of its horn which is used as medicine.

The bottom line seems to be, if there’s money to be made its going to happen no matter if it drives a species to extinction or not. Hunting for “conservation” seems to be just another way to ease the conscious about the harm and damage they are doing because so far, the only ones who seem to come out ahead are the ones making the money.

Minimising Dog Allergies

PWDMany of us enjoy being around pets, they bring innocence, joy and friendship wherever they go, providing they are tamed right of course! However, allergies are common in humans especially against dogs. If you ever intend on owning a dog, or being around a dog regularly, then you need to know how to deal with the problems that dog allergies can cause.

In fact, a survey recently conducted showed that 15% of the population suffers from dog or cat allergies. Although many people have pets regardless, they can really suffer through the allergies and it can cause them to lead debilitating lives at the expense of having a pet.

This does not need to be the case, however. You can perfectly comfortably with a dog, providing you know how to live with the allergies and get around the problems it can cause. The problem is that if you have an allergy to a dog, it will be the same for any dog.

There is a difference between dogs which seek regular bathing, but this is more because of a lack of breed – some dogs can be slightly worse or slightly better with people, but there is no getting away from the fact you will be at least slightly allergic to all types.

If you need some help, then try out the following ideas:

  • Create an allergy-free zone – Have a part of your house which the pet is not allowed in, under any circumstances. You can fill this with HEPA cleaners, which help take out any fragments of your animal out of the room, and keep it fresh. Use mattresses and pillows which are impermeable, because it stops the allergen sticking to other things.
  • Bath your pet regularly – Bathe your pet at least once a week, this keeps allergens down, some statistics even show it could be as much as 84%. A weekly bath is actually more effective than any of the expensive allergen sprays. Ask your vet for recommendations.
  • Make sure that if you are allergic to pets – you can checked by a doctor – then you take as many precautions as possible when bringing a pet into the family home. It’s important to also be aware of large dogs, as they provide more allergens due to the increased size.
  • If you are looking a dogs, also try and go for dog’s that don’t shed. They produce less allergens than a normal dog, ask in the pet store as they usually have good recommendations for dogs which are better suited for those of us who are allergic.

5 Things You Need to Know Before Adopting Your Cat

Adopting a cat (or two) can be a rewarding experience and they will provide years of love and enjoyment if you’re prepared for, and committed to caring for it for the next 15 to 20 years. You need to ensure that the pet you’re considering is going to be in a safe environment, that you’ll be fully committed to getting it the proper medical care and setting aside time to play with it as well. It’s important that you read up on what it takes to raise a cat as well as considerations to make before you adopt. Following are 5 things you need to know before adopting your cat.

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1. First and foremost, before you adopt make sure the cat has been spayed or neutered, or have it done yourself; it will make them much more manageable and keep them from going into heat and breeding. There are far too many homeless cats in the world that end up feral and unadoptable, and this wouldn’t be a problem if more people took spaying or neutering seriously.

2. If you’re adopting out of the goodness of your heart, then you’ll want to consider adopting the cats that are less likely to get chosen. This means older cats, black cats, shy cats, and those with manageable health issues. These cats might be just as sweet as the others, and in most cases already trained, but they are often overlooked because of these traits.

3. Remember that cat’s don’t understand what you’re trying to convey in most cases so it’s hard for them to wrap their mind around what punishment is. This is why rewarding cats with treats is a great way to train them around your home.

4. Leave the whiskers out of this! Cats’ whiskers help them navigate and even a trim can end up throwing off their balance.

5. While no animal likes to be left alone, cat’s are often less destructive than dogs if left alone for the day making them a great option for people that work out of the home.

Cats are sweet, smart and lovable. While they are a lot of work at times (but they’re easier to potty train than dogs), they are still one of the most independent pets out there. Make sure you’re ready for the responsibility but don’t forget that owning a cat is an extremely rewarding experience. Adopting a cat, helping it adjust to your home, and raising it, while a bit time consuming at first will be well worth the effort, and you’ll have your new loyal and intelligent cat purring in no time.

The Importance Of The Dead Sea Scrolls

The are very few discoveries in history as incredible as the dead sea scrolls, collections of nearly 1000 different ancient scrolls found between 1946 and 1957 in small caves only a mile away from the Dead Sea, which is why they are titled so.

Qumran cave 4, where 90% of the scrolls were found

Qumran cave 4, where 90% of the scrolls were found

The Dead Sea scrolls are the earliest known sustained writings that are a part of the Hebrew bible, making them one of the most important historic findings in the world. The scrolls are some of the most influential documents in history, and addressing religious beliefs, and provide a window of sorts into a long ago past, and the language spoken at the time. They also have been instrumental in helping us figure out roughly how old is the bible. The scrolls discovery is fairly recent when you consider time as a whole, and they are one of the most revolutionary discoveries of all time.

The Dead Sea Scrolls are estimated to be as old as 400 BC. The scrolls aren’t just ancient stories written by people who lived near the Dead Sea either, these scrolls contain a range of writing composed in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. They pay homage to each of these cultures and shed light on the dialects each culture wrote in back then, and they also cover a wide range of subjects. There are some parts that are obviously found in the bible, various additional manuscripts relating to the political climate of the time, and a variety of other commentaries. The most notable one is the book of Habakkuk, which is an extensive biblical commentary that speaks of the various Jewish sects that were around before Christ.

Another reason for the cultural significance of the Dead Sea Scrolls is simply legendary. Word of mouth and thousands of years of speculation had built up a variety of theories around the scrolls. Some people believed they were the lost books of the bible, others believe they would hold some answer and clarification to the bible itself, and some believed they were something completely unrelated to the bible. The Dead Sea Scrolls were only that though, speculation, until the mid 1940’s. Imagine finding something so ancient and so infamous, and it wasn’t even that long ago. The Dead Sea Scrolls might not have added much to the bible but its new found writings open our eyes to a world of the past, and also show us snippets of their language back then. It also grants more merit to the Old Testament since it mentioned nearly the exact same details as the Old Testament. In addition, the scrolls boosted the confidence of many believers in the Old Testament.

The Dead Sea Scrolls were not what all people had envisioned them to be, but did secure people’s belief in the Old Testament, and they serve as a great example of how people lived, what many believed in, and the languages they spoke. They also provide a commentary on the religious and political climate thousands of years ago. Without a doubt the Dead Sea Scrolls are one of the most impactful discoveries ever, and some of history’s most important writings of all time.

Life Lessons From The Sports Greats

In many ways, sports are a metaphor for life. In order to win at the highest levels, in order to experience the highest of highs, you need to give it 110% – as the cliche goes.

Gretzky_aug2001Sports, whether we’re talking about team sports or individual sports, are won at the highest levels with people who have great determination, ice in their veins under pressure, an incredible work ethic, and a will to persevere through adversity. In the same way, these are the ingredients required to “win” at life.

The other day I was reading a really great list of 100 inspirational sports quotes. Continue reading

How To Get Rid Of Mosquito Bite Itching

Did you ever wonder why do mosquito bites itch? The reason why they itch is because of the toxin that mosquitoes leave inside animals when they bite. It’s the way that mosquitoes keep themselves from being swatted to death while they feed on their prey. Well, either way it doesn’t really matter why their bites itch as much as how to stop the itching from those pesky bites matters. Here are some of the more popular remedies that get rid of mosquito bite itching fast. Continue reading

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A Few Incredible Places You Have To See

Have you been looking for a new vacation location that will wow you for years to come, you should check out some of these great ideas. Some are adventurous, others are a bit more tourist-friendly, while some are just fascinating places that are found off the beaten path.

1. Stonehenge

Stonehenge is not just a pile of rocks. This ancient altar to the celestial bodies above is perfectly aligned with many stars that were visible in the years before telescopes.

Each rock that was used in the construction of this monument weighs several tons, making it a mystery as to how these stones were dragged into place.

2. Machu Pichu

80_-_Machu_Picchu_-_Juin_2009_-_edit.2Known for being the ruins of a lost Incan city, you can always learn new, exciting, and interesting facts about Machu Pichu. There is still an ongoing artifact retrieval effort, so it’s quite possible you might end up discovering a long lost piece of the historical puzzle.

3. Guoliang Tunnel

Located in China, this road is carved out of the side of a mountain, complete with openings for ventilation and views out of the mountain’s side. Guoliang is considered to be one of the most dangerous roads in the world, but being able to say that you literally drove in a tunnel like Guoliang is an awesome bragging right.

4. Mount Everest

Known as the world’s highest mountain, Mount Everest is a breathtaking tourist attraction for a multitude of reasons. Its spectacular view, the crisp mountain air, and the terrifying challenge of climbing up to the top make it irresistible to nature lovers, adventure junkies and sports enthusiasts alike!

5. Notre Dame

The famed French cathedral is considered to be one of the most amazing architectural wonders in Europe, as well as a major history magnet. It’s also a favorite for those who love the classic story of the Hunchback of Notre Dame.

6. The White Desert

Found in Egypt, this unique desert was once underwater. As a result, chalk from what was once the ocean floor has created amazing unique rock formations that jut out of the ground. They are located near the Black Desert and the Crystal Mountain.

7. Hell’s Door

800px-Darvasa_gas_crater_panoramaThis Turkmenistan fire pit is amazing. As one of the largest openings to one of the largest underground fires in the world, Hell’s Door is known for being a sight that is both terrifying and awe-striking. This worldly wonder is still very new compared to most of the others on this list. It was created in 1971 after a manmade fire became fueled with underground gasses.

8. Sanquingshan

This Chinese national park is known for granite outcroppings that are constantly surrounded by mists. You can check out the nearby waterfalls and springs, or you can climb the massive granite rocks. The surreal appearance of this park has made it a national – and global – treasure that inspired artwork for centuries.

3 Reasons I Decided To Become A Veterinary Technician

Attending school to become a veterinary technician isn’t an easy choice for anyone to make. Did you ever wonder why anyone would want to become a vet tech? Here are three reasons why I made the choice!

1. It’s actually a pretty good way to earn a living. Being a veterinary technician is actually a lucrative job, and it also has a higher level of job security than most other jobs these days. Vet techs will always be in demand, since there will always be sick pets, sick farm animals, and sick zoo animals in need of medical attention. To me, it seemed like a safe choice in a tough economy, and you really can’t beat that.

2. It allows you to help out your community and stand up for a good cause on the regular. If you want to make a positive impact on the world that you live in, then going to vet tech school is a great choice. You can help out animals that have been taken in by your local ASPCA or Humane Societies as a vet tech. You also will be saving animals’ lives day after day as a vet tech. It’s also worth mentioning that you will always be able to feel proud when you say that you are a vet tech.

3. Every day is a little bit different. With many careers out there, every day seems to be exactly the same. Frankly, I could never stay in a job that was so boring that it would make my life feel like it was on repeat. Being a vet tech gives you the opportunity to do a lot of different things throughout the course of a day. It’s an exciting, challenging and always unique time when you are on the job.

I can really say that I am happy about my decision to go to veterinary technician school, and that I feel that it is a great career for anyone who is really passionate about animals. Check out your local vet tech school today.

5 Facts About Marijuana Usage In The United States

No other country is as divided on marijuana use as the US of A. Depending on where you get your facts from, you can have a completely different view on how much pot is being smoked in this country.

Have you ever wondered what are the real facts behind pot smoking in the United States? Here are some facts that may surprise – and even shock – the average reader.

1. Each day, approximately 6,000 Americans try marijuana for the first time. Marijuana is the most popular illegal drug in the United States, and is also one of the most common. Every day, 6,000 people take their first puff of green. 100,000 Americans have tried smoking marijuana at least once in their lifetimes – that means that approximately 42% of all adults in the United States have tried marijuana at least once in their lives. About 20% of those people have smoked within the past year.

2. During the American Temperance Movement, marijuana was sold as a substitute for alcohol. America has always had a strange relationship with mind-altering substances, and during the 1890’s people who were working for the illegalization of alcohol suggested smoking marijuana as a substitute. Many states currently allow people who are sick with glaucoma, certain forms of cancer, and HIV to use marijuana to ease pain, improve appetite, and also help quiet anxieties that come with their illnesses. Continue reading