Category Archives: Survival Guide

Chokecherry – Prunus Virginiana

General: The common nthere are parts of the chokecherry plant that are poisoname, chokecherry, came from the bitter and astringent taste of the fruit. The fruit was a staple for numerous Native American tribes across the North American continent, especially those who lived on the plains and prairies. The Cheyenne used the limbs to make arrow shafts and bows. The Crows used it for tipi stakes and pins. Early trappers washed their steel traps in water boiled with the bark to remove the scent.

In their journals, Lewis and Clark recorded that while camped on the upper Missouri River Captain Lewis became will with abdominal cramps and fever. He made a tea from chokecherry twigs and wachokecherry drawings well the next day.

The leaves, bark, stem, and seed pit of chokecherry are all toxic due to production of hydrocyanic acid.
The leaves of the chokecherry serve as food for caterpillars and the tree can be a host for the tent caterpillar.

Description: The chokecherry may reach a height of over 30 feet. Its crown is irregular and may spread between 10 to 20 feet. The stems are numerous and slender. The chokecherry’s leaves are dark green and glossy above and paler below. They are alternate on the stem shaped oval to broadly elliptic in shape and are 1” – 4” long and ¾” – 2” wide. The leaf edges are toothed with closely-spaced sharp teeth pointing outward forming a serrated edge. They turn yellow in autumn.

The bark of young trees may vary from gray to a reddish brown. As it ages the bark turns darker, into brownish-black and becomes noticeably furrowed. The bark is distinctly marked by horizontal rows of raised air pores. With maturation the lenticels develop into shallow grooves.
It has perfect flowers which are aromatic and arranged in cylindrical racemes 3 to 6 inches long. The racemes always grow on the current year’s leafy twig growth. Individual flowers are perfect, 1/4 to 3/8 inch in diameter with 5 white petals. The flowers start appearing before the leaves are fully developed. Flowers may appear from April to July and fruits form a couple of months later.

Location: As can be seen on the map, the chokecherry is widespread across North America. Chokecherry is found in a large geographic area and it grows abundantly in many habitat types

Edible: The flesh of the fruit is edible. Also, jelly and jam can be made from the fruit. Native Americans would mash the fruits and seeds and use it to mix with meat and make pemmican.

Pictures:

Sheri Hagwood @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database
USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / USDA NRCS. Wetland flora: Field office illustrated guide to plant species. USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.
W.D. Brush @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database

Broadleaf arrowhead – Information & Identification

Broadleaf Arrowhead

General:

Broadleaf arrowhead is an aquatic and very cold hardy plant. Grown in ponds and other water features in the home broadleaf arrowheadgarden as well as in the wild. A common wetland plant, the wapato is also known as: broadleaf arrowhead, arrowhead, duck potato and Indian potato. The tubers of broadleaf arrowhead have long been an important food source to indigenous peoples of the Americas. The Lewis and Clark expedition depended on the plant when they were in the Columbia River basin.   The seeds and tubers of are readily consumed by waterfowl, songbirds, wading birds, muskrats, and beaver.

Description:

wapatoThe wapato is a perennial aquatic or marsh plant. The leaves are extremely variable very thin and are from 4” – 10” long. As can be seen by the pictures, the leaves are in the shape of arrowheads. The plants can reach heights of 3 to 4 feet.

Between mid to late summer one or two tapering cylindrical flowering stalks emerge holding 2 to 15 whorls of white, three petaled flowers with yellow reproductive parts. Each stalk is taller than the leaves. From August to October round clusters of seed casings develop. Growth peaks in July and by mid fall the emergent plant parts annually die back to the root crown.

Location:

The broadleaf arrowhead is widespread across North America, but also found natively in Hawaii, the Caribbean and the northern part of South America, broadleaf arrowhead has been introduced in Europe and Australia. As with most man made introductions, it is considered an invasive weed.

The broad-leaf arrowhead can be found along the curves of rivers, ponds and lakes, well marked by the dark green color of the leaves. The plant has strong roots and can survive through wide variations of the water level, slow currents and waves.

Edible:

The roots produce white tubers covered with a purplish skin that are edible. The tubers can be dug from the ground by using your feet, a pitchfork, or a stick. Once loosened from the soil, they usually will float to the surface. Ripe tubers can be collected in the fall.broadleaf arrowhead distribution

These tubers can be eaten raw or cooked for 15 to 20 minutes. The taste is similar to potatoes and chestnuts, and they can be prepared in the same fashions: roasting, frying, boiling, and so on. They can also be sliced and dried.

Picture of plant: Robert H. Mohlenbrock @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / USDA NRCS. 1992. Western wetland flora: Field office guide to plant species. West Region, Sacramento.

Picture of leaf: USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / Britton, N.L., and A. Brown. 1913. An illustrated flora of the northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 vols. Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York. Vol. 1: 100

Four-wing Saltbush – Atriplex Canescens

Common Names: Chamise, chamize, chamiso, white greasewood, saltsage, fourwing shadscale, bushy atriplex Four-wing saltbush are shrubs that grow an average of two to three feet tall although they may reach eight to fifteen feet in height,four-wing saltbush, four wing saltbush

Description: Fourwing saltbush is deciduous to evergreen, depending on climate. Its much-branched stems are stout with whitish bark. Mature plants range from 1 to over 8 feet in height, depending on the soil and climate. Its leaves are simple, alternate, linear to narrowly oblong covered with fine whitish hairs and ½ to 2 inches long. Its root system is branched and commonly very deep (to 20 feet) when soil depth allows.

Male and female flowers are commonly on separate plants. Male flowers are red to yellow and form dense spNative Americans of the Southwest harvested the leaves and seeds of the plant for food.ikes at the ends of the branches. The female flowers are axillary and nondescript. Fourwing saltbush plants can exhibit male and female parts in one flower. The seed is contained in cases that turn a dull yellow when ripe and may remain attached to the plant throughout winter.

Location: Four-wing saltbush is a widely distributed shrub on rangelands in the western United States including the Intermountain, Great Basin, and Great Plains regions (see map). Its natural range extends from below sea level to above 8,000 feet elevation. Land owners and agencies use fourwing saltbush for reclamation of disturbed sites

Edible: Fresh roots can be boiled with a little salt and drunk for stomach pain and as a laxative. Leaves and young shoots can be added to soups and stews. Soapy lather from leaves can be used for itching and rashes from chickenpox or measles. Fresh leaf or a poultice of fresh or dried flowers or roots can be applied to ant bites and bee stings.Four-wings grow from California, northwest to Washington, east to North Dakota and Kansas, and south to Mexico
Native Americans used ashes from the leaves as a substitute for baking powder.

Seed generally ripens in late August and September and can be harvested from mid September through December. The seeds can be ground into meal. Seed yields may range from 200 to 400 pounds per acre.

Notes of interest: Saltbush is high in carotene and averages about four percent digestible protein. The leaves may be as high as 18 percent total protein. It is important for both wildlife and domestic animals.
The blossoms and twigs can make a yellow dye.

Expanded Hiking Check List

Expanded Hiking & Camping Check List

Clothing

  • Boots
  • Socks
  • Gaiters
  • Lightweight long underwear
  • Wool or synthetic sweater
  • Trousers
  • Underwear
  • Shorts, T-shirt, and light, long sleeve shirt
  • Effective insulation layers
  • Rain/wind gear
  • Watch cap, appropriate headwear
  • Mittens or gloves
  • Camp shoes or sneakers
  • Bathing suit
Personal

  • Toothbrush
  • Comb
  • Bandana
  • Small Towel
  • Toilet paper
  • Plastic towel
  • Money
  • Sewing kit
  • Soap
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Personal hygiene supplies
  • Razor

 

 

Miscellaneous

  • Notebook and pencil
  • Camera and film
  • Licenses and permits
  • Field books
  • Binoculars
  • Candles
  • Lantern – spare fuel & mantles
  • Reading material
  • Playing cards
  • Hunting/Fishing equip.
  • Walking Staff
  • Flashlight & batteries & spare bulbs
  • Headlamp
  • Water treatment/purifier
  • Extra prescription glasses
  • Sunglasses
  • String & Rope

 

First Aid

  • Allergy medication
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug Repellent
  • Citronella Candle, etc.
  • Tylenol, Advil, Aspirin
  • Tums
  • Antibiotics creams
  • Tweezers for splinters & ticks
  • Antiseptic, bandaids and bandages
  • First Aid Kit (may include all the above items)
  • Benadryl Sinus Tablets
  • Allergy Eye drops
  • Pocket Tissues
  • Moist Towelettes
  • Extra weeks supply of any Prescriptions
  • Lip balm
  • Snake bite kit 
Safety and Emergency

  • Maps of the area
  • Radio
  • Compass
  • GPS
  • Pocket knife
  • Signal mirror
  • Small shovel
  • Whistle
  • Water treatment/purification
Pack

  • External frame pack
  • Internal frame pack
  • Day pack
  • Hip pack
  • Belt pouch
  • Stuff sacks

 

 

Kitchen

  • Matches or lighter
  • Stove and fuel
  • Cooking grate
  • Cook pots and utensils
  • Cup
  • Food
  • Camp axe & hammer
Eating Utensils

  • Food tubes
  • Sealed containers
  • Aluminum foil
  • Biodegradable soap
  • Water mixes
  • Large stuff sack

 

Shelter

  • Tent
  • Bivouac Sack
  • Tarp
  • Small sponge
  • Extra tie-down cord
  • Seam Sealer
Sleeping

  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping pad
  • Ground sheet
  • Sleeping bag liner
  • Pillow
  • Space blanket
Camping with Children

  • Diapers
  • Wipes
  • Bottles/sippycups
  • Playyards
  • Jogging strollers
  • Backpack carriers
  • MANY sets of clothing
  • Formula
  • Jar foods
  • Gerber toddler foods
  • Hats
  • Toys,
  • Favorite blanket or stuffed toy (very important!)
  • Powdered milk (for children that have outgrown formula)
  • Snacks
  • Storybooks
  • Baby Hammock
  • Baby Swing
  • kid-safe bugspray
Did You Check?

  • Leave a note on your location
  • Permits needed
  • Weather Forecast

Please note that this checklist is for your reference. You may need to alter it for your application. Food suggestions are based on our personal tastes and what we have found to be convenient.

First Aid Kit

Whenever away from home (in your car) or in the woods, first aid kits are important and should be near-by. Obviously, a car kit can be more extensive with items such as road flares, etc. while a backpacking first aid kit may be made to be light to carry. I have carried as light a kit as a few band aids and clean wipes when fishing near the road to carrying extensive when way back in the woods. My first aid kit is on the top of my hiking check list. You can make your own kit or buy a ready made kit – which I think is definitely worth the money. Below is a list of what can (and maybe should always) be carried:

General pain relief


· Extra-strength non-aspirin (ibuprofen or acetaminophen)

· Aspirin tablets

· Antacid

· Antihistamine – allergies and bug bites/stings

· Sunscreen pack

· Lip ointment packs

· Diarrhea medicine

· Burn relief gel-pack (aloe vera, solarcaine, etc.)

· Hydrocortisone cream (soothes allergic skin)

· Instant cold compress

Injury management


· Sterile eye pad

· 2″x2″ Moleskin squares – Moleskin is designed to protect exposed, blistered skin, preventing further inflammation and soreness.

· Butterfly wound closures

· Cotton swab, sterile, packaged in pairs

· Adhesive tape

· Adhesive bandages, assorted sizes

· Gauze pads, assorted sizes

· 1 elastic-roll bandage

· Band aids of various sizes and lengths. Remember a wound can occur anywhere on your body and a slip and fall can result in the need for more than just 1 or 2 band aids. I keep at least 10 – 15 band aids in my kit

Cleaning supplies


· Alcohol cleansing pads

· Antiseptic cleansing wipes

· Exam quality vinyl gloves

Other supplies


· Insect repellent

· Tweezers – use metal the plastic are crap

· Scissors

· Safety pins

· Bulb irrigating syringe

· First Aid Guide

· Snake bite kit

· Your prescription drugs

Please always remember that you need to periodically go through your kit and change out supplies. Wipes can dry out. Pills, tablets and other drugs have definite shelve lives and need to be cycled.

Hiking Check List

Ten Essential Hiking Supplies


These are the “items” you should have with you when hiking

1. Map
2. Compass (GPS is great – until it runs out of power. Learn to use a compass)
3. Flashlight (or headlamp)
4. Water (also you can bring water purification tablets or a filter – BUT BRING WATER!!)
5. Food
6. Extra clothing (think about raingear too!!)
7. Sunglasses & sun block
8. FIRST AID SUPPLIES!!
9. Matches (also a firestarter)
10. Pocket knife

Need a larger list clickExpanded hiking check list