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Ötzi the Iceman and the Ten Outdoor Essentials

posted Jan 23, 2011, 5:05 PM by Eric Diamond   [ updated Jan 24, 2011, 2:34 PM by Troop One ]

On September 19, 1991, in the remote mountains on the border of Austria and Italy, hikers stumbled upon the corpse of a 5,300 year-old man. Dubbed "Ötzi," this perfectly preserved iceman is the oldest human ever found. We wanted to compare what he was carrying with our list of Scout Outdoor Essentials.

He carried a little flint-tipped dagger with a handle made of ash Pocket Knife, a wood that is still used today by artisans to make strong handles for implements. The dagger had twin cutting edges, and Ötzi would have carried it attached to his waist. It was found inside a finely braided scabbard. The dagger would have been used as a multipurpose tool, but often to skin animals, clean hides and cut meat into strips.

In addition, among Ötzi's possessions were berries Trail Food, two birch bark baskets that could have carried Water, and two species of polypore mushrooms with leather strings through them. One of these, the birch fungus, is known to have antibacterial properties, and was likely used for medicinal purposes 1st Aid Kit. The other was a type of tinder fungus, included with part of what appeared to be a complex firestarting kit. The kit featured pieces of over a dozen different plants, in addition to flint and pyrite for creating sparks Matches and Flashlight.

He wore a cloak made of woven grass Sun Protection and a coat Rain Gear, a belt, a pair of leggings, a loincloth and shoes Extra clothes , all made of leather of different skins.

The only thing I don’t see Ötzi carrying that was on the list is the Map and Compass, which probably explains why he was lost for 5,300 years.

Happy Holidays,

Daniel

Easy Fire Starter : Starting a fire in all seasons

posted Jan 23, 2011, 5:04 PM by Eric Diamond

Guest Author - Colleen O´Brien

Some may argue that it is easier to start a fire in the fall when the ground is dry and the leaves lay vulnerable to become kindling. Some may argue that it is a hot day in the summer that could start a fire without any effort. I argue, that given the right tools and a little patience, a fire is easily started by anyone in any season. Ideally, we would all like a heavy Firelog and a pile of newspapers to start a fire, however, as I have learned there is another way, a lighter, and equally as easy way for us backpackers and hikers to have an enjoyable fire to complete the camping experience.

What do you need? Waterproof matches, one candle from your birthday cake supplies, two empty film canisters, a few cotton balls, a tub of Vaseline/Petroleum Jelly, and some lint from your dryer. Fill the first empty film canister with the lent from your dryer, it can hold more than you think, so when it seems full, keep trying to stuff more in, I assure you it can hold a few laundry loads worth of lint. Next, things will get a little messy, take the cotton balls, dip them into the Vaseline/Petroleum Jelly and make sure that they are good and coated before you stuff them into the second film canister. The canister should be able to hold four or five well coated cotton balls. Now that you have prepared your fire starting tools, you can get your candle and waterproof matches out.

If it is cold outside you will need to take the cotton ball out, lay in the center of your fire pit, and place a bit of lint on top. Because of the cold weather it will take a few moments for the Vaseline to warm up and be able to burn and the burning lint will provide it with that heat. As soon as the cotton ball ignites you will have three to four minutes of a large flame that you will slowly feed with small sticks and leaves.

Next, in warmer weather you can leave the lint at home and bring only the cotton balls (just in case of a rain storm that would wet your fire wood and kindling, it provides the extra burning time to dry out the moisture), candle, and matches. In pleasant weather you should place the candle in the center of your fire pit, lite it and slowly feed the small fire with sticks. Make sure to form a teepee shape around the candle as to avoid extinguishing the small flame.

The cotton balls and lint should bring you through trying weather and the candle should suffice for the remainder of the time. But remember when starting a fire we add a level of toxins into the atmosphere so it is always more environmentally friendly to cook on a small camping stove and forgo the camp fire.

Staying on track

posted Jan 23, 2011, 5:03 PM by Eric Diamond

Last night the troop elected new Patrol Leaders. I think they made some pretty good choices, that will enable them to go far towards the goal of a boy-led troop.When I started updating my my Program Planner, the same one I gave to the PLC members at our leader retreat in December, I saw that the Orienteering Season is about to start, Three Rivers Park District has an event at the end of the month and the Minnesota Orienteering Club has their Spring schedule, finally posted online. http://mnoc.org/schedule.shtml It looks like everyone is ready for Winter to be over, to take fresh bearings.
 

The Minnesota Orienteering Club (MNOC) is a group of local orienteering enthusiasts that organizes "O-meets" in this area. There are usually several courses offered at each meet and the length and difficulty of the course is designated by a color.

If you are a beginner, try the shortest course first, the White course. As you get more familiar with map reading and orienteering, you can then proceed to more challenging courses.

What to Wear: In general we tell people to dress for the weather when orienteering. The course for beginners is on the trails, and it is usually adequate to wear whatever is comfortable for hiking. The course for advanced beginners usually goes off the trail no more than 20 yards, and scratches might occur on the legs.

For intermediate and advanced levels, the terrain often is covered by a variety of vegetation and hazards that are unkind to skin: nettles, thorns, poison ivy, and barbed wire. Protection is also needed from various wildlife, including mosquitoes, wood ticks and deer ticks. Therefore, participants on intermediate and advanced courses must wear long pants. We also recommend gaiters and long-sleeve shirts. Since you are certain to be off trail and likely to encounter water your shoes will get muddy and wet. Shoes that dry out quickly are a big plus.

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