To be prepared for a crisis, every Prepper must establish goals and make long-term and short-term plans. Steadily, we work on meeting our prepping goals. In this column, the SurvivalBlog editors review their week’s prep activities. They also often share their planned prep activities for the coming week. These range from healthcare and gear purchases to gardening, property improvements, and food storage. This is something akin to our Retreat Owner Profiles , but written incrementally and in detail, throughout the year. We always welcome you to share your own successes and wisdom in the Comments. Let’s keep busy and be ready!
Dear SurvivalBlog Readers:
All is well at the Rawles Ranch. We now feel ready for winter. This week I didn’t accomplish much outdoors other than tarping the open end of our hay barn, to protect our stacked hay from any upcoming rain that gets blown sideways. So I’ll leave most of the commentary for this past week up to my lovely wife…
Avalanche Lily Reports:
Dear SurvivalBlog readers,
This week was a very quiet beautiful late Fall week. We had guests over the weekend, whom we toured around to all of the local sites. On Monday, I took them for a paddle down our river. It was a gloriously sunny fall day with just spectacular fall foliage colors.
Monday afternoon was spent in the school books with the kids. Tuesday morning and afternoon, were all about school, house cleaning and preparing to can Salsa with some friends on Wednesday.
However, on Tuesday afternoon, I had a mild adventure. It was also a beautiful day and according to the weather forecast, it might be the last really sunny warmish day of the season. For the past few years, I had been really wanting to explore a section of our river that I had not yet ever paddled before because of rumors of terrible snag trees and lots of rapids. But, I wanted to see for myself what it was really like. So in the afternoon, since this time of year the water is very low, I asked Jim If I could canoe it and scope it out, alone. He said yes, and off I went embarking from our property. The plan was that Jim would wait for a half hour and then would drive down to the agreed upon rendezvous point and work on his computer while awaiting for me. I thought that it should only take an hour to an hour and a half to paddle that section.
The air temperature was about 56 degrees. In the sunshine it felt lovely warm. In the shade it was quite cool. The water temperature is probably about 33 degrees. There was ice along the shoreline the day before on Monday morning. I wore shorts, a Long John shirt and T-shirt, lifejacket and water sandals. I brought my camera, an extra wool sweater, barn shoes and socks, a large towel, and an apple. I suspected that I would be portaging my 13 foot, 33 pound canoe over gravel bars a few times and thus didn’t want a lot of extra stuff with me. Also, since this section of the river was always within a half mile of the road, I wasn’t too concerned about getting out quick and going for help if I had a mild problem.
I started off down the river and within ten minutes hit the first shallow rapids, not bad, not too fast. A little further down, I was in the “wilderness” and realized, I had forgotten my Glock. Oops! I prayed immediately for protection from the water, snags and from wildlife. I’m not really worried about humans here. We have very few up in here, and this time of the year only locals would show up if they were out and about. My biggest concerns would be grizzly bears or mountain lions. These animals are here, but we haven’t had, and we haven’t ever heard of any of our neighbors, having a negative encounter with them up to this point.
I hit a shallow area and had to get out and drag the canoe through the riffles. Up ahead, I saw what had been the biggest snag that some local friends had encountered in the early summer high water flow a few years back and had very nearly had a couple of tragedies. The tree had been moved to the side of the river by the high spring flows since then, thankfully. I had to again get out and drag my canoe through the shallows by that tree.
The section I paddled turned out to have at least a 20 foot elevation drop over a mile and a half. I was very cautious always looking way ahead to ascertain what was coming.
Further on another tree was parallel with the bank and because of a huge gravel pile the river narrowed and flowed fast beside it. The width of the water from the gravel bank to the tree was about four feet and from the tree to the bank on the other side, another two to three feet. The depth of the water flowing around and under the tree and gravel bank was about four to six feet deep. I decided to try to paddle next to the tree since the gravel bank was so steep for portaging or dragging the canoe in the water. The river curved a little into the tree and then straightened out. I flowed into the tree so fast, it scared me, I prayed aloud “Lord Jesus” as I pushed the paddle against the tree and worried that the flow could tip me over, but it didn’t. Once the canoe was parallel with the tree we (the canoe and I) kinda sat there in the flow for a moment. It held us. Then I paddled past the tree and the river widened out. In all, I encountered about six trees crossing most of the river if not all of it, that I had to portage around. These trees may or may not be down deep during high flow, or they probably would float to the surface. The water depth was down at least six to eight feet from its high level spring flow. Therefore they are a great danger to canoeists/kayakers during spring runoff and higher water.
There were numerous areas too shallow to canoe where I also had to carry the canoe or pull it through the water to keep the bottom from becoming too scratched. The water was very cold. Within seconds of entering the water, my feet would ache, so I moved along in it at a rapid pace. The longest sections I had to portage was about 30 yards over a dry gravel bed, and about 40 feet in the water dragging the canoe through a very shallow section. I did often get stuck between larger rocks and had to get out and lift the canoe over them. I was in the water much more than I wanted to be. My feet actually began to itch at one point.
The end of this section of river was mostly a straightaway averaging about two feet deep. However along the whole length of the section the depth was constantly changing being anywhere from two inches to 18 feet deep. The section had only one deep clear hole of about 15-18 feet deep with two very large trout in residence which were about 18-22 inches long. I went over the hole quite fast, so wasn’t able to observe if there were other smaller trout. For bird life during my paddle, I saw a large number of Water Oozles, one Common Snipe, and a few ducks. Thankfully, I didn’t see any large predatory mammals.
It was a very active canoe trip, with not much time for photography or lollygagging on the water. My towel, and extra wool sweater became quite wet from my frequent in and outs of the canoe and my apple became very banged up from all of the portaging. I should have brought one of our dry bags.
I arrived safely to my rendezvous point with Jim. The verdict is, that this section of our river is not safe to paddle during spring run off and it needs to be done with great caution with experienced paddlers in mid summer. Fall paddling this section is not enjoyable unless you don’t mind portaging across gravel bars and dragging the canoe through the shallows. This is not a section for children or inexperienced paddlers. But it was beautiful, and you could tell the wildlife wasn’t expecting human company in this stretch of the river.
In the future, I will carry my Glock .45, wool sweater, camera, First Aid Kit/Emergency kit and warmer clothes in a small dry bag  that is easy to swing onto ones back and get off. Afterwards, I had that great feeling of adventure/accomplishment, that one gets after some strenuous exercise/mildly exciting adventures. It was very good for my soul! I very much enjoy safe adventures that challenge a body and end well. I now want to do the next section below this one. If we get another warm sunny day, before the snow flies and I’m not otherwise occupied, I may have a go of it. Many people do this next section during the summer. I haven’t ever heard reports of problems with it. So I’d like to give it a go, sometime.
On Wednesday, two very good friends of ours came to visit to help me to put up 22 pints of cold-packed Salsa with most of the last of the tomatoes. They also spent time teaching the girls how to crochet, knit,, and sew. Plus a bit of lecture on health care and First Aid. These are all things that I have a basic knowledge of, but am not so motivated with to teach the kids. Besides, it’s far more fun and motivating to have friends come over and do them with us and to share their expertise with us.
I’m not as craft motivated as some. I far more prefer, either being very active out in the garden or with the animals, doing outside work, or having outside adventures: canoeing, hiking, biking, skiing, etc., or when inside, researching, cooking, organizing, cleaning, and academics. Now that the weather is beginning to close in on us and we’ll be inside more often, our friends want to come regularly to help us in these other areas. For that, we’re thankful and happy to have their help, skills and added motivation.
Not much else happened the rest of the week except for school, regular chores and cooking.
I hope you all had a blessed and productive week and that this coming week will also be blessed and productive.
Winter preparations are finally coming to a close. The wood is cut and stacked, the animal facilities are winterized. Every last vestige of Summer has been wound down and prepared for season. Yesterday, I started the first of the winter projects. Maneuverability in the garage is down to paths, so a deep cleaning is due there. This week will be spent shuffling, repackaging, and generally inspecting every box. It’s a fairly large project and the progress will be determined by how much space there is in the trash dumpster. During the spring and summer, broken things tend to get pushed aside and stored until now. As I go through the items, making a determination on whether it can be saved (making another project for later) or just tossing it keeps me busy for a couple of weeks. I’ve noticed that I tend more towards tossing it lately.
There is one more outside project that awaits this week as well. We need to till up the garden before the ground freezes hard and the last remaining root vegetables must come out before that. It so disappointing to till the garden plot and find the remnants of a few carrots we missed.
Mrs Latimer’s attention now turns towards house cleaning as well. There are a number of small jobs left to finish in the kitchen remodel as well as a general deep cleaning of the house.
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As always, please share your own successes and hard-earned wisdom in the Comments.