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  #1  
Old 05-25-2011, 11:27 AM
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Join Date: May 2011
Location: High Desert, Mojave Desert
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Default Camping Precautions.

What camping precautions do you take when you go camping? Weather, radio, cell-phone, flares, etc. And I'm sure my camping precautions in the desert would most likely differ from yours.

I usually double check the weather channel before I depart and if I have serious concerns I'll call the rangers in the particular area I'm going to. My long time hunting and camping partner is deceased so I'm camping as a loner. I'm far off road and usually on BLM land or Mojave National Preserve (National Forest Dept) property. Once I get to my destination, I will locate a site that will give me a little elevation in the event of flash flooding. Also, I usually get my dome tent up early in the afternoon as we always get desert winds in the late afternoon. I anchor my tent down with 24" long steel rods. The desert is a graveyard for blown away tents that were not properly anchored.

Over 30 years ago when I first started camping in the desert I used an old Poncho as a tent (open tent). When I woke up in the morning and the sunlight was coming up, I had a rosy boa curled up next to me and about a 12" desert lizard next to my head. The rosy boa can get up to 40" long but are not poisoness, but they can bite and draw blood.

I prefer good visibility in all directions from my camp site as I camp alone and more concerned about the two-legged critters than the animal life found in the desert. I always pack iron as I shoulder a 38 S&W and have available my 12 gauge shotgun with buckshot, slugs, bird-shot and most importantly, signal flares.

You must be aware of the snake population in the desert. In the dunes area you will find the sidewinder (viper) that can cruise close to 5 MPH in sand. A couple of hikers told me they were chased by a sidewinder while hiking in the dunes area.

In about 30 years of camping in the desert I've had to kill about a dozen Mojave rattler's in self defense. I would be on a high rock formation with about a 100 foot drop on both sides of me and no place to go and here comes this rattler towards me. This is one snake that does not back down and slither away into that good night! He is aggressive and ill-tempered, and the baby rattlers are more venomous than the adults. Whenever possible you must give them the right-away and walk far around them. The Mojave (green) rattler is the most venomous. They are not large snakes, ranging in length from 20 to 30 inche's and have a small head compared to a diamond back, but their venom is deadly and the most venomous snake found in North America.

Here's a video that was taken about 60 miles north from where I live, just north of Barstow.
This cat has this rattler pretty well measured. It appears the cat is only pawing at the snake, but his claws are extended and is (raking) inflicting serious damage to the snake.

Duel in the Desert:

Last edited by woodster; 05-25-2011 at 11:32 AM..
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  #2  
Old 05-25-2011, 06:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodster View Post
<snip> just north of Barstow.
Here' a precaution - I went through Barstow in a Greyhound bus in August 1977 - a bank thermometer said 128 degrees. It must've been accurate - Elvis died a week later.
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  #3  
Old 05-25-2011, 10:22 PM
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Location: High Desert, Mojave Desert
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The average temps for August in Barstow are 103 degrees. However it can peek to 111 degrees, but it will still average out to 103. If I remember correctly, Death Valley was 117 degrees when Elvis passed in August 1977 if that's of any significance.
Never believe what you see in a bank thermometer. When you see bank employee's coming to work wearing both a belt and suspenders, you know something ain't kosher!

Just a few miles North of Barstow on Route 66 in Yermo is Peggy's Sue's 1960's Diner. They have a Route 66 gift shop and specialize in a lot of Elvis memorabilia.

'Has there ever been a day, week, or month when there wasn't a mattress sale? Inquiring minds need to know this stuff.'

Last edited by woodster; 05-25-2011 at 10:35 PM..
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  #4  
Old 05-26-2011, 03:33 AM
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My range of campsites is currently limited to state and national parks on the East Coast, so I don't face anything like you do. But I do camp solo. My precautions include:
-- weather radio, with SAME technology (purchased immediately after camping through a tornado warning)
-- like you, I monitor the weather in the days before my trip and talk to the ranger when I arrive onsite
-- Walk around the campground and assess the other campers
-- Introduce myself to camp hosts who may be onsite and let them know I'm by myself
-- Ask the ranger/hosts for emergency numbers and keep them on me
-- I carry a pocket knife and sleep with it, a whistle, and my cell phone right next to me
-- Bear spray
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  #5  
Old 05-26-2011, 09:02 AM
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If I should camp at a State or National Park campsite, I do the same thing you do by checking out the other campers. I have a book on California tent camping sites and the book warns you of the security you need to take for your own protection against others. I will never stay in a BLM campsite which are usually closer to the freeway.

When you get closer to the Mexican border as in California and Arizona, you'd better be armed when your in any park. Illegals are entering our country through the park system and these are not nice people looking for work! These are some bad dudes with long prison records and would think nothing of killing you and taking your ID and vehicle. Also, were spending millions of dollars a year for clean-up from the mess devasation they leave behind. And then people say that's California for you! That's correct, but remember California is only the tip of the iceberg to what is going to happen eleswhere in our country.

Last edited by woodster; 05-26-2011 at 09:05 AM..
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  #6  
Old 06-23-2011, 04:33 PM
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When I'm just camping with friends, we rely on more of a 'saftey in numbers' method. We're usally up real late airsofting throughout the night and we're not too worried about wildlife in Ohio; of course, there are alot of crazys around our town. Airsoft guns sting and can sometimes draw blood to those not wearing enough gear, and in the night (when all you can see is a dark shape), an airsoft gun can look pretty real. However, when I go camping with my family, we pack heat. We usally bring all my little cousins with us, so we have to worry more about creepers. As for wildlife, copperheads and black bears are pretty much the only thing we worry about. It is said that if you get bit by a copperhead, you've got 3 hours to get to a hospital....or you die. Blackbears are a rare sight around North East Ohio, and they're scared of large numbers; so we don't worry too much about them. As for packing flares, we're not going DEEP into the wilderness. Radios? Eh, well we pack a small portable radio that runs on a 9v. We check the weather before we get there, and if there is a sign of severe weather, we pack up and head home. That one night we were cought in a thunderstorm...Not the best night I had....
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  #7  
Old 06-25-2011, 10:53 PM
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allways my hand gun,fifty rounds of ammo,hand held motorola,beer,clothes,food,knife,and fishing pole and tackle box.
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