Rucking” is the military term for hiking under load. As you can imagine, this is a huge issue for the military, as soldiers must wear body armor and carry weapons, ammo, water, communications equipment, and other gear as they conduct patrols and missions. Rucking performance and injury prevention are hugely important for military operations and personnel.
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Bootmaker founder’s wife, teen, missing in Grand Canyon
Apr 19, 2017 12:29 AM
By ASTRID GALVAN
Relatively few visitors even try to hike a rugged, remote area at the bottom of the Grand Canyon where the wife of the founder of Merrell Boot Co. and a teenager went missing last weekend, according to the National Park Service.
Tapeats Creek, where Lou-Ann Merrell and Jackson Standefer, 14, lost their footing during a family trip, is not particularly difficult to hike for experienced backpackers, said Chris Forsyth, president of the Grand Canyon Hikers & Backpackers Association board. But heavy water rushing through the creek can make it challenging, he said.
Merrell is the wife of Randy Merrell, who helped found the Merrell Boot Co.
The Merrells, Standefer and the boy’s mother were on a path known as Tapeats Trail when the pair fell, authorities said. The Merrell family accessed the area by hiking down from the North Rim.
The area has a more distinct geology than most of the park and attracts a fair number of visitors but is not as popular with tourists are other spots, like Havasupai Falls. Forsyth, who says he has hiked that area five times, said a visit there calls for a multiple-day backpacking trip and at least some experience in hiking. He said his first trip through the canyon was at Tapeats Creek.
About 3,500 people got permits in 2015 to camp in the general area where the two hikers went missing, the latest readily available data, said National Park Service spokeswoman Robin Martin. About 41,000 total people that year got permits to backpack in the Grand Canyon in total.
Matthew Nelson, the executive director of the Arizona Trail Association and a former Grand Canyon backpacking guide, said accessing that area on foot takes days and requires an arduous hike. Nelson said the area offers stunning views but is also unforgivingly hot. He said the water in the creek comes from a cave and is always extremely cold.
“The rock that forms the canyon at Tapeats Creek is a particular layer that isn’t found everywhere in the Grand Canyon. It gives it a more unique sense of beauty,” Forsyth said.
An intense search for Merrell and 14-year-old Standefer resumed Tuesday, Martin said.
The search includes three ground teams consisting of about 20 people total, a National Park Service helicopter, a drone and an inflatable motor raft that was flown into the canyon. Search crews are looking within a mile and a mile and half of where the hikers were last seen, as well as where the creek meets the Colorado River.
“We’re really just looking in the water and areas where someone maybe would have been able to get out,” Martin said.
Mark McOmie, the boy’s uncle, said the Merrells are avid hikers and know the area well. He said Lou-Ann and Randy Merrell, who was also on the trip, live in Vernal, a city in eastern Utah. McOmie was not on the trip.
Lou-Ann Merrell is “a very experienced backpacker,” McOmie said. “If they can get to a spot where they cannot be in the water and stay warm, she’s got the skills needed to get them through it.”
The parent organization of the Merrell Boot Co., Wolverine Worldwide, issued a statement Tuesday.
“Our thoughts, prayers, and hearts are with the Merrell family. We are grateful to the people working around the clock and continue to be hopeful,” said Jim Zwiers, executive vice president.
The park service said it hasn’t determined what went wrong and that there was no rain or flash flooding reported in the area.
Creeks in the canyon often see higher water levels in the spring as snow melts. Forsyth said that he hasn’t visited Tapeats Creek this year but has been to other parts of the park, where he’s noticed more water than usual, he said.
The McCallie School in Chattanooga, Tennessee, said Jackson is an eighth-grade student at the all-boys school.
A call to Merrell Footlab for comment wasn’t immediately returned.
When winter is coming to a close and we are getting ready for the warmer weather, many of us look forward to heading outdoors and enjoying some sunshine. There are many reasons to go outside and it certainly can be a wonderful time of year. Unfortunately, it is also the time of year when we need to be cautious about getting ticks. It can really ruin the day.
If you are somebody that tends to spend a lot of time outdoors, you need to be able to effectively protect yourself from ticks. They are more than just a nuisance or a pest that makes us uncomfortable, they carry diseases, some of which are very dangerous and even deadly. The next time you’re out enjoying what the great outdoors has to offer, consider this simple trick and you can keep ticks from latching on and causing problems.
Lint roller and essential oil
In order to use this tip, you will need a roller and some essential oils. The lint roller should use adhesive layers. Take it with you when you’re going outside and roll it on your clothing every once in a while. You might be surprised with what you pick up in a very short amount of time.
Adding some essential oil may help to keep the ticks from climbing on you while you are outside. Spray the essential oil on your clothing and rub it into your skin and the ticks may just stay away. It also works for mosquitoes and black flies. It’s a good alternative to insect repellent and reduces your chemical exposure.
Here are 5 essential oils that repel bugs.
1. Lavender – This smells sweet to us but bugs absolutely hate it. It works on mosquitoes, flies and other insects.
2. PennyRoyal – this is a member of the mint family and it is toxic to insects.
3. Lemongrass – This essential oil comes from tropical lemongrass and has a citrusy sent. It is a natural flea and tick repellent and can be sprayed directly on the skin.
4. Eucalyptus – use this alone or along with citronella oil to keep bugs away. According to the Journal of medical entomology, Eucalyptus extract can reduce tick bites and infections.
5. Lemon – some lemon essential oil can work against fleas and other bugs. Slightly dilute it and spray it on your clothing and skin.
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Adding a red-dot sight to your pistol is a big decision. Know the benefits and drawbacks before committing to one.
Benjamin Spillman | Reno (Nev.) Gazette-Journal
Updated 5 hours ago
VERDI, Nev. — While a couple of landslides that popped up on Interstate 80 over the Sierra Nevada have been cleared away, the most plowed route over the mountains was still closed Wednesday at the California-Nevada border, shutting northern Nevadans off from the coast — and most Californians from traveling east.
But some intrepid travelers always think they can get there from here and head west up a remote and rugged dirt stretch named Henness Pass Road. They are wrong, especially in this Pineapple Express mess — relatively warm, moist air coming from Hawaii — that has brought periods of both snow and rain to some elevations, blizzard conditions higher up and is forecast to continue through Wednesday night.
On Jan. 9, 2017 Washoe County Search and Rescue in Nevada shared this photo of vehicles stuck on …more
Washoe County (Nev.) Search and Rescue
Another storm with more of the same is supposed to arrive Thursday morning.
No relief: Storms continue to slam West with snow, rain, wind
Search and rescue volunteers Sunday and Monday found themselves heading into the mountains again to help people who thought they could bypass the I-80 closure via the dirt road north of the highway between Reno and Truckee. Rescuers estimated at least six cars and SUVs were stuck on the road after driving through warning signs stating the route was impassable for most vehicles, said Bob Harmon, spokesman for the Washoe County Sheriff’s Department.
It was the second time in about a week that the sheriff’s department sought to warn people to think twice about driving up isolated, unpaved roads in winter storm conditions.
“I’m kind of at a loss as to why people would drive around a sign that says unsafe road conditions.”
– Bob Harmon, Washoe County (Nev.) Sheriff’s Department
Although Henness Pass Road will show up on most GPS systems, the road is not maintained, lacks shoulders and is steep. In winter, it often buried in snow, covered in ice or is a muddy mess — sometimes a combination of those conditions.
“To go up there in a regular passenger vehicle or even an SUV, that is not a good idea,” Harmon said.
Stranded vehicles seem to be a problem along the route more frequently when I-80 is closed because of bad weather, he said. The only way to really avoid an I-80 closure and the blizzard conditions that created the problem is to take a detour south through Death Valley and Bakersfield via U.S. 95, which adds about 500 miles to a trip to San Francisco.
He suspects some drivers are putting unwarranted faith in the ability of their GPS to guide them and their vehicles despite clear signs warning them to turn back.
“I’m kind of at a loss as to why people would drive around a sign that says unsafe road conditions,” Harmon said. When the interstate is closed, the best thing for drivers to do is get a room or stay home until the road reopens, then stick to I-80.
This isn’t a new phenomenon. In the days before good cellphone service and Google maps, young couple James and Jennifer Stolpa and their 5-month-old son, Clayton, got stuck in January 1993 in the Sierra as they tried to find an alternative route over the Sierra from near Pasa Robles, Calif., to Pocatello, Idaho.
Sheriff’s official: Family’s rescue near Grand Canyon’s North Rim ‘a Christmas miracle’
They were using paper maps and got lost in the snow in a remote area of Washoe County for a week, surviving only after James Stolpa put his wife and child in a cave and hiked more than 40 miles into the small community of Vya, about 150 miles north of Reno as the crow flies. Their story became a 1994 CBS-TV movie titled Snowbound.
These days, drivers often call when they get stuck. And rescuers will extract them from the forest, but they won’t rescue vehicles, which means owners must arrange to get their vehicles removed.