Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Insider Info

Insider information, the kind that helps you survive in a new place, not the kind that brings the SEC to your door, is one of the basics of preparedness. Imagine moving to Florida and not knowing anything about prepping for a hurricane! A good way to get insider info is either from the school of hard knocks which means you fumble around and hope you live to learn the lesson (not recommended) or you learn from the locals before you find yourself on the losing end of a hard lesson learned. Living in the northwest part of the country, we see a lot of tourists and newbies, some of them doing things that require a Coast Guard rescue or a Godly intervention. Here's some insider info about the Pacific Northwest:
  • Tide tables are important. Numerous people get stuck on the jetty or remote beach trails because they didn't know that high tide was coming. If you don't live near an ocean you may not know that but here, it's required info.
  • Watch out for bears and mountain lions. Bears are pretty common around here and every once in a while, one will find its way to the suburbs and even small cities looking for food. Keep your food and garbage locked up tight.
  • The water in the rivers, lakes, and ocean around here is COLD. It stays cold year round. It is also usually swift moving and there are generally currents, underwater snags, and hypothermia to contend with. Drownings are quite common so be careful.
  • If you see a fighter jet scrambling above you, a multi-vehicle camouflaged vehicle convoy rolling by you, or a carrier floating past you, don't panic. There are about a dozen military bases nearby so that type of activity is normal.
  • Racism is not so much of a problem here. Due to a wide range of workers, refugees, immigrants, military personnel, and everyone else who has come here, you don't see the degree of racism that you see in other parts of the country.
  • There are very few poisonous snakes, spiders, or plants in the area. Unlike tropical locales where all kinds of things can kill you, that sort of thing is much less likely to happen here.
  • It rains often but it isn't a wet rain. Like the Eskimos and their many words for snow, we have many words for rain, however the rain here seems to drizzle (that's one of the rain words) all day but it is very rare that we see a deluge like they get in the east and southeast. Bring a rain coat, even in summer.
  • Which brings us to dressing in layers. The temperature can go from 40 degrees to 80 degrees and from sunny to windy to rainy all within a few hours. Dressing in layers that you can adjust according to the whim of the weather is a good way to dress.
  • People tend to be name-brandish here. All of those layers seem to have a name on them: Columbia, North Face, REI, Carhartt, etc. They also like their Sigs, H & Ks, and Mossbergs. On the other hand, you won't find too many Dolce and Gabbanas or Hermes (probably due to the rain). You also can't go far in many directions without seeing Starbucks; even the panhandlers use their empty Starbucks cups to gather up handouts.
  • Winter days are short and summer days are long due to our distance from the equator. Simple science, however many visitors who have never come this far north before are amazed that the sun is still shining at 9pm in the summer.
  • The earth is mostly dirt and sand here. Bad during the winter (landslides), bad for free climbing (your perch can crumble right out from under your clinging fingers and toes), good for construction (it doesn't require blasting to lay a foundation or dig up a spot for the pool like it does in the north east).
  • In the rural areas, the next town over may be an hour away. And if you are driving there at night, watch out for deer which are prettier hanging on a wall than they are as a hood ornament.
  • If the ground starts to shake, get under a desk, if you hear a tsunami warning, run to higher ground, if the wind is howling, stay inside (to avoid having a tree land on you), if you live in a valley, be ready to move your stuff to higher ground during flood season, if you see a tornado coming (rare), get in the basement or an interior room.
  • Always take the ten essentials with you when you head out in the woods, even if it is just for a day hike. People are continually getting lost in the woods around here.

That's all I can think of off the top of my head. Do you have any insider info from your neck of the woods?


  1. I'm not familiar with the 10 essentials. If you don't mind I'd like to see the list. Thanks, GrumpyUnk.

  2. The Ten Essentials are the basic supplies that people should carry with them when they go outdoors (mountains, beach, etc) so that if you get lost, you can have the basics on hand to save your life. They can be found here... http://www.isu.edu/outdoor/ten.htm

  3. If you don't like the weather here today, wait ten minutes.

  4. Although 10 is a nice neat number, I do a 15 list. This includes a whistle, which I feel is very important for signaling.

  5. Thanks for the timely response. I'm new at a lot of this so I appreciate you taking the time.

    Good site, Unk