Saturday, August 7, 2010

Found Objects

While hiking back to the Court of the Patriarchs in Zion National Park, I found this camera lens cap. My whole intention was to turn it into the front desk for the lost and found box.
You can always tell when you're near a road or civilization by the trash you find. This lens cap was on the trail used by guests who've booked a horse ride, and a few adventurous hikers.

On the Pacific Crest Trail I would always know when I was nearing a road because bottles, cans, wrappers and other trash would appear. In the back country there is very little garbage because if anyone is back there they haven't hauled in bottles and cans. They seem to respect the land and pack out the wrappers they may have carried in.

An unusual exception to this is the fire rings on the Appalachian Trail. You will find the packaging for instant/dehydrated preportioned meals like Mountain House in fire rings. These expensive meal options are used by inexperienced backpackers. Used by novices, they seem to be the only ones that actually expect this packaging to burn.
I used to maintain a portion of the Appalachian Trail, the last section in Georgia, just before you get to Bly Gap. I'd hike the sections before it as a walk through, and report back to the district manager. Many times I'd pack out garbage from fire rings, and things abandoned in the Plum Orchard Trail shelter. These were items hikers decided (or simply forgot ) were not worth carrying any further. One of the biggest items was a full size fluffy bath towel. I found a black leather jacket laying beside a rock and a 9 x 12 piece of Tyvek neatly folded and laying on the famous tree at the Junction past Bly Gap.

As a survivalist, I pick up some items knowing it could come in handy later. A good piece of cordage or line, a tent stake or ditty bag, perhaps some plastic sheeting. This lens cap, if needed could be put into use as a survival tool if necessary.
Being able to improvise with found objects is a skill one can develop. It takes imagination and experience that can be drawn upon in times of need.

Regardless of what is on your body or in your pack, the most important tool you have is your brain. By getting outdoors often and playing a person can build skills and add to the knowledge.

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