Archive for April 23, 2009

Good Idea, Bad Idea.

Posted in Uncategorized on April 23, 2009 by huckleberryfinn09

This is something that has been on my mind for the past couple of days and as of today I have decided against it. Those who know me, know that I am all about preparing for the worse case scenarios possible. Often times preparing for worse case scenarios often involves experiencing these scenarios first hand in a “controlled setting” so I will know what they are like should they ever happen in the field. Of course a “controlled setting”  in no way makes scenarios safe it just helps minimize the risks involved. An example of this was I once went 4 days with out food or water with close supervision. In doing so I learned that dehydration is not fun and will lead to the worse headache you can imagine. The upside of this was I learned that it is possible for me to survive for extended time periods with out  water which has caused me to maintain a positive mental attitude on trips where the canteen went dry. 

I recently discovered the school is currently hosting Wilderness First Responder(WFR)  training and part of their training involves three very intense hands on simulations with the worse case scenarios imaginable. I was talking to the instructor who has been working as a paramedic and instructor for 0ver twenty years and I was curious to know if I could take advantage of the “controlled” conditions and test my limits while at the same time giving the students some hands on experience with a real situation during their final simulation. I volunteered myself to be used as a victim in either a belligerent drunk situation, or a hypothermic camper scenario. 

For the drunk option I would invoke my mad skills as a method actor and have a few beverages before the simulation. The only reason I would do this is because it would give me the opportunity to be a complete jerk to some of my fellow class mates. I would only have enough to drink to where I could feel a heavy buzz yet still answer coherently, it would have been no different than being at a college party and in reality would not teach me anything that I do not already know. 

The other option would be to get into the frigid  ravine and induce a mild-moderate state of hypothermia during the final simulation. This is something I have always wanted to do, mainly because hypothermia is my biggest fear next to boater traffic on this canoe trip. The rule I have always been taught during my search and rescue course and WFR  is that it is not a major concern so long as the combined Water + air temperature is more than 100 degrees and the person has means of getting out of the water. With this in mind, I would like to do it this under perfect conditions where I could pull the plug at any time and still see how my body reacts. This would certainly help me know more about its dangers and help me make sound decisions as to traveling conditions which could potentially save our lives by preventing certain situations.  On top of personal insight, the trainees will get to see what it looks like and learn how to make proper diagnosis. 

With this perspective, it seems perfectly logical to want to do this and seems like a Win-Win situation…but when I take myself outside of this perspective a whole bunch of personal risks become involved. At this point, I must weigh the risk vs gains. To me, the gains immediately outweigh the risks but that is because it is my idea, of course I will see it that way  Deep down I know that this is incredibly stupid and all I need is someone to tell me it’s incredibly stupid to talk me out of it. I already know that by lowering my core temperature can potentially cause serious circulatory system damage as well as respiratory distress but these risks are low. The more serious risk of the whole thing is that it is not uncommon for men to become sterile after extreme cold exposure and being a man who wants to have kids someday this raises alarm. The second major concern about this is that it puts the instructor at risk, if something did happen, all of a sudden it would be on her shoulders and any court in the U.S would view it has neglect. 

Most people my age have dumb ideas all the time. In fact I have a feeling most people never grow out of this.  What makes me different is I let people whom I respect and trust about my intentions before I go about them,  Although I have a tendency to pose them like they are no big deal and that it is the best idea ever I still like to bounce the ideas off of different people. I can only imagine how much stress I have put on my parents over the years by telling them about my bad ideas before they happen. In this case I went to a good portions of my friends telling them of my grand intentions to do this idiotic feat. All of them encouraged it and thought it would be a wonderful experience. I was kind of dismayed by this because I secretly wanted to be told it was a bad idea and have someone discourage it, so I told someone whom Rich would have physically prevented me from telling. (It is a good thing he is not here) his dad. ( I was gonna go to my dad next). 

In a few short sentences via facebook I told him of my grand intention and he proceeded to tell me exactly what I needed to hear. He tactfully implied that doing this would mean that I was a moron. So with the old geezers words of wisdom I have decided to heed his advice and not put myself into induced hypothermia or become intoxicated for the WFR training. Instead I will be role playing and be in the cold water for no more than five minutes so the scene will still seem as real as possible with out the major risks involved. I am sure just that short exposure will still drive home the point that getting into a situation where we would spend time in the cold water would not be fun. That should be enough. 

I guess my parents as well as Rich’s parents should be glad that I am open about my bad ideas and am more than willing to share them which can often times make me look like an idiot which is better than being one.



I’m gone for 6 days and this is the first thing I see upon returning. God dammit Phil.



Exciting times.

Posted in Uncategorized on April 23, 2009 by huckleberryfinn09

Last weekend myself and Rich went off to pick up our vessel that shall be taking us to New Orleans and I must say she is better than I was expecting. We have named her “Huckster” which is what Tom called us in a post at one point or another; myself and Rich liked this name so much that we decided to use it. Anyways as I am sure all of you loyal readers are curious to see her,  I give you “Huckster”.



You will see in the last picture the most recent changes that I have made to the canoe. The first and probably most important is the yoke.  I made a center yoke to replace the center thwart to make it easyer to portage. Rich’s dad Mike was kind enough to make us a blank out of a scrap piece of oak. The most difficult task of this was removing the old thwart. It took quite a bit of WD-40 and pounding via hammer to get the nuts loose. I remedied this problem in the future by using wing-nuts to hold on the new yoke.

I also made pads for both seats out of foam, duct tape and gorilla glue. Red Green would be proud.  Finally I drilled eight holes into the gunwale to attach bungee cords to hold our gear in instead of tying it in on a daily bases. 

Aside from the canoe, it has been a very exciting week. I received a very generous donation from a professor who requested to remain anonymous.  I will honor their request but I feel obligated to say an additional thanks and show off what their contribution has been used for. All this person asked is that I pay it forward in the future and make a similar contribution to someone who is doing something that I would like to be apart of. This will not be a problem, I promise!  Anyways I give you our new home…

100_3874 100_3875This Eureka Mountain Pass 3XTE Tent is quite the upgrade from my old “Hippie Tent” which has seen many many years of abuse and field testing. I was not sure if it would be able to hold up to the rigors of this trip however, so it is much relief to have this new Cadillac of a home. I guess you could say we are taking Dave Millers advice to go with the best we can afford and this is the only tent we could find and afford that met all of the requirements  met in his book The Complete Paddler. I know some people frown on Eureka tents and insist on using Marmot or MSR, but I say that if their good enough for the Boy Scouts they are good enough for me.  I will be donating my old tent to our good friend Rob whom I know will give it a good home. So here ya go Rob, I give you the “Hippie Tent”. Enjoy!

100_3755These certainly are exciting times. I will be field testing the tent for the first time tonight can’t wait to see how it compares.