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"At the gates of the forest,
the surprised man of the world
is forced to leave his city estimates
of great and small,
wise and foolish.
The knapsack of custom
falls off his back."
--Ralph Waldo Emerson--

Biting spiders

Ever run into biting spiders on the trail? We did in the Smokies. These clever critters run a single strand across the trail, which when broken allows them to swing around and grab onto the person or horse or whatever broke the strand. It then climbs to a skin area and takes a chunk out of you. We solved the problem by having the lead hiker carry a 4 foot long branch vertically at arms length in front, breaking the strand and preventing the critters from getting onto us. If a hiker comes from the other direction, you can discard the stick since the strands ahead have been broken by the other hiker.

Repairing a hip-belt on the trail

My hip belt on an external frame pack broke at its attachment to the frame while I was in a particularly rugged section of the AT in the White Mountains. My first try using duct tape failed miserably. Then I remembered that I always carry about 5 feet of picture-
hanging wire (which I had never had to use, but kept in the pack repair kit) and with the pliers I carry, I made a quick fix which made the pack as strong as ever.

Hollow tipped tent poles clogged?

Ever find the hollow tip of the tent pole clogged with dirt, preventing insertion of the tent pin? You do carry a Swiss Army knife, right? That corkscrew you were certain you'd never have a need for works perfectly for cleaning out the opening.

Boot laces loosening or untying?


It's always a good idea to hang your food bag. Only twice has doing so kept my food from a bear's stomach, but every night it keeps my food from the raccoons and other night varmints. One young man I ran into at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore had decided not to use the provided bear pole. Instead, he hung his food bag from a nearby tree which was closer to his tent. Unfortunately, he did not allow the food bag to dangle from the limb, but rather the bag nuzzled up against the limb. Of course, the acrobatic raccoon had an easy time reaching and raiding the food bag, creating a mess and cutting the backpacker's food supply perilously low. This novice hiker had also failed to pack a flashlight, so he heard this raid just 10 feet above his head, but was unable to watch or forestall it in the 2 A.M. darkness.

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are the opinions of the individuals who posted them
and are not the views of Scouts Canada.