Outdoor safety book brimming with great info
Aug 30, 2012 06:00 am |
"Don't do what I did once and melt the soles of your boots after falling asleep with your feet close to the survival campfire!"
These simple and humorous words of wisdom comprise the opening sentence of one of numerous "Reality Checks" in B.C. author Mike Nash's new book, Outdoor Safety & Survival.
Beginning this book with a "Cautionary Note" reminding readers that "knowledge, combined with planning, preparation, practice and common sense, are keys to having a safe and enjoyable outdoor experience," Nash sets the tone of this enormously helpful and generously packed volume by deliberately adding, "in the end, you use the outdoors and the information contained in this book entirely at your own risk."
That said, readers who pay serious attention to this formidable collection of professional level, hard-won knowledge interspersed with numerous entertaining anecdotes will be far ahead of the game when it comes to embarking on safe, enjoyable backcountry trips.
A Prince George, B.C. resident, Nash draws on his own prolific experience gained largely in spectacularly remote northern B.C., including as a volunteer member of the Prince George Search and Rescue team and as a leader of organized outdoor trips.
With more than four decades of wilderness travel and related work experience under his boots, he is well qualified to share valuable facts and thoughtful advice on an extensive range of topics, from basic first aid items to safety procedures to navigation, electrical storms, frostbite, hypothermia, ticks and lyme disease, equipment for an unexpected overnighter, safety around bears, becoming lost, the psychology of survival and much, much more.
With 34 chapters, Nash's research is thorough and deep; the chapter on emergency shelters covers such focussed topics as bush shelter – including hours of available daylight and a checklist for locating a good spot – ventilation and carbon monoxide, snow caves, snow block shelters, snow holes, snow trenches, powder snow shelters (also known as quinzhees) and fire and snow.
With a crisp, easy-to-navigate design, and sprinkled with colour snapshots that helpfully illustrate the message, without doubt it's the enticingly boxed Reality Checks that capture the reader's eye and imagination with their variety of subject matter, storytelling value and occasionally, their sobering bluntness.
No matter the outdoor pursuit, from backpacking to snowshoeing to canoeing to forest jobsites, Nash drives home the undeniable reality – risk is an inescapable and invaluable component of outdoor activities, particularly in remote wilderness such as the Canadian Rockies, and efforts to thoughtfully mitigate that risk facilitate safe, enjoyable and rewarding experiences amidst nature's beauty and wonders.
With a lifetime of experience gained through outdoor exploration, arguably Nash's penchant for straightforward and practical solutions is his best talent, as exhibited in this keeper of a Reality Check:
"Duct tape and a brilliant case of improvisation got the crew of Apollo 13 safely back to earth from the moon after an explosion in their outbound spacecraft. A similar combination of ingenuity and improvised equipment might get you safely out of the backcountry."
Outdoor Safety & Survival, by Mike Nash, 277 pages, is published by Rocky Mountain Books, www.rmbooks.com