Oh, the Call of the Wilderness…But Before You Go
Now that our weather is cooling off, it’s even more important to think about being prepared before you go on a wilderness hike or a hunting trip, even if it’s a few kilometers from home. A sudden change in the weather or an injury can catch you off guard and may cause you spend unplanned hours or nights in the outdoors. You should be thinking about making good memories, not memories you wish you could forget.
STOP – BEFORE YOU HEAD OUT THE DOOR!!
It only takes a minute to text a friend where you are going and when to expect you back! Don’t skip this step!
Bring a companion or two with you for added safety.
The Search & Rescue Volunteer Association of Canada https://sarvac.ca/survival/ recommends the following 10 essential items that you should always have with you on your outdoor excursions:
- Flashlight, spare batteries and bulb
- Fire starting kit – waterproof matches/lighter, fire starter/candle
- Signaling device – whistle or mirror to signal searchers if you become lost
- Extra food and water – 1 litre/person
- Extra clothing (protection from the elements, rain, wind, cold)
- Navigational/Communication Aids (maps, compass, GPS, PLB, charts, cellular phone, hand held radio) and know how to use them
- First Aid Kit and know how to use it
- Emergency shelter – (Tarp, parachute cord)
- Sun protection (glasses, sunscreen, hat)
If you are traveling into an area where there are bears and cougars, it’s also a good idea to carry bear spray and know how to use it. Check out the youtube video “How to Properly Use Bear Spray”
An enjoyable item you should also consider including in your day pack or overnight pack is homemade bannock mix!
Bannock is a tried and tested wilderness food that the voyageurs packed on their canoe trips across Canada and its still enjoyed by Indigenous and Metis peoples today!
Mix up a bag of bannock at home and add water when you arrive at your rest stop. Find a good sized roasting stick (willow or alder are best), peel off the bark to expose about 8-10” of bare tree and heat the bare part over the camp fire to cure it before you wrap your bannock around it. A stick that’s about 1” diameter works best for wrapping the raw dough.
The recipe I like to use is (tested over campfire and in the oven!):
3 cups flour
2 Tbsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
¼ cup lard or shortening
Optional: add a bit of cinnamon, 2 tbsp sugar, or dried berries (currants, cranberries, etc.)
At home: Mix the dry ingredients thoroughly, then cut in the lard until the mixture is crumbly. Double bag in ziplock and toss in your backpack.
At the campfire: Find a flat surface and use a bowl or fashion a tin foil surface where you can dump the flour mix, then add up to ¾ cup water, a little at a time while mixing. Once it has a firm fairly smooth consistency, you can knead it a few times before dividing into 8 to 10 balls. Flatten each ball until its about ¼ to 1/3” thick. Wrap this carefully around the bare part of your bannock stick and roast it over hot embers while turning constantly. Its done when you push on it and it springs back at you. Serve plain or add butter and homemade jam. Yummy!
In the Oven: If you want to try it a home, put it in a greased 8×8 pan, and bake in a 350 F oven for about 30 minutes or until done.
At Eagle Point-Blue Rapids Parks Council, we encourage you to get outdoors and stay active, here in the Drayton Valley area and abroad! Just remember to dress appropriately and be prepared! Enjoy your fresh air experience!
Visit www.epbrparkscouncil.org for more info on our trails, environmental education and local flora and fauna.