Backpacking in Remote Areas

Backpacking into remote areas of the west is both fun and rewarding. There are many challenges the hiker can face on a pack trip, and he should always be prepared to encounter anything from unpredictable weather, injury, or even an encounter with a bear. One way that a hiker can be more prepared is to properly load his pack, and also to have his pack fastened correctly about his upper body so that the pack is merely an extension of him. Remember, in the backcountry, your backpack is your lifeline; it is responsible for protecting your food, shelter, and clothing.

backpacking-UDAP Bear Spray

A hiking backpack should not be worn like a school child’s pack. The hiking backpack is meant to carry much of the load of the pack on the hips and not on the shoulders. When you put on your pack, adjust the shoulder straps first, as this will lift the pack into position over your hips. Then tighten down the waistbelt. The waistbelt needs to be tight, but not so tight that it cuts off the circulation to your legs. The load straps should be tightened to a forty-five degree angle. If these straps are cinched in tight it will pull the shoulder straps of the pack into your skin.

While there is no one absolute correct way to load a backpack, there are some basic guidelines that will ensure that the load in the pack will travel comfortably throughout the hike. First of all, place the items that you wont need until you camp like light clothing, and a sleeping bag and pad in the bottom of the pack. If you are hiking in bear country make sure to keep items like toothpaste, food, or even sunscreen away from these items that you will be using at night. Bears have a very keen sense of smell, and you do not want the smell of these items in the tent with you at night. Above the lighter items, you will want your heaviest items. These items ideally should be loaded close to your spine in the middle of your back. The Food, water supply, and stove can all be placed in this area of the pack. You can place your tent, rain jacket, and other soft necessities that you may need in an emergency around the heavy items to prevent any possible shifting.

backpacking-UDAP Bear proof container

Another option is a UDAP Bear Proof Food Container for storing food from bears.

 

Fishing for Steelhead

The Steelhead is an interesting species of fish. Steelhead are anadromous, which means that the fry are hatched in eggs in fresh water, and then grow in size in that fresh water before swimming downstream to the ocean, and the fish will spend anywhere from one to three years in the ocean eating squid, until it is time for the fish to return to its native river to spawn. Unlike the Salmon, however, the Steelhead will survive the spawn and can make the journey back into the ocean. Scientists who work to improve the numbers of wild Steelhead have even developed tactics to catch spawning bucks and transport the caught fish back downstream, where it ascends the river for a second or even third time, to fertilize eggs.

udap bear spray-Fishing for Steelhead

Steelhead swim up watersheds on the west coast and even as far inland as Idaho. Steelhead are separated into two distinct species: summer run Steelhead and winter run Steelhead. A summer run Steelhead will swim into its native water in the late months of summer and spawn into the late fall. The summer run Steelhead also makes the longest journey to spawn, while the winter run fish only spawns in coastal streams and may only travel short distances that can range from one hundred feet to thirty miles.

The rivers systems that these fish call home, from the Salmon River and the Frank Church Wilderness of Idaho to the remote coastal rivers of British Columbia and western Washington, can be remote and anglers should be prepared for the possible challenges that can come from fishing in a remote area.
A popular river for fishing summer run steelhead is the Clearwater River in Idaho. The Steelhead will begin to arrive in the river in the summer months, and when the fall temperatures drop, the fish can be found up the entire river system. Anglers adorned in both spin and fly tackle will run their lures through the deep holes and riffles. Anglers driving jet boats and anglers rowing drift boats will share the same waterway. And while the Clearwater is not a place for complete solitude, the immense forest surrounding the river is, and black bears, elk, and deer can be seen walking the tree line above the river.

As always, when visiting one of our fantastic National Parks or enjoying the great outdoors, please be sure to bring along your UDAP Bear Spray.

Yellowstone Park after Labor Day

After the Labor Day holiday, the incessant tourist crowds in Yellowstone National Park will dwindle, and solitude can again be found on the roads, rivers, and hiking trails. Yellowstone National Park is a wonderful place to be in the fall. The leaves of the trees begin to turn yellow and add a new layer of depth to the endless greens of spring and summer. The roads are more open and comfortable to navigate, and if you enjoy spotting animals from the roads while you drive through the park, the cooler weather allows most of the animals to be more active for longer periods of the day.

Yellowstone Park after Labor Day, UDAP Bear Spray-Yellowstone National Park

The elk of Yellowstone get active in the early fall and when the rut is peaked, you can spend a full day watching a big bull elk chase and herd cows in grass meadows. Bugling bulls are commonplace in the rut, and if you spend any time camping in the park, and elk are nearby, it may be difficult to sleep with the nighttime and early morning bugles. Although, listening to bull elk bugle back and forth is an inspiring experience.

The rivers of Yellowstone feel more open and the cooler weather will trigger Blue Wing Olive and Midge hatches throughout the fall fishing season. The cutthroat trout that inhabit rivers like the Lamar, Yellowstone, and Gardiner Rivers on the northeast end of the park, and the Madison, Gibbon and Firehole Rivers of the west, will come up to the surface to feed on the insects in the late mornings and afternoons. A handy tip for fishing Yellowstone National Park, and it applies at any time of the year is: if you hike out of sight of the road, and you start fishing at that point, continuing to work your way from the road, most of the fish will be fresh and rested, because most everyone who visits the park for vacation rarely adventures more than one hundred yards from the nearest road.

Regardless of what your reasons are for being in the park this fall – the dramatic colors, the active animals, or the solitude – Yellowstone is an incredible place to spend any amount of time. And remember, Yellowstone is a wild place, and you should always be prepared for anything.

As always, when visiting one of our fantastic National Parks or enjoying the great outdoors, please be sure to bring along your UDAP Bear Spray. 

Archery Elk Season

The archery elk season in Montana is underway. And, for the archery elk hunter who has spent his summer exploring remote stands of timber most hunters only glance at on Google Earth, while hiking countless backcountry miles and prematurely wearing the sole from a pair of hunting boots, congratulations on your effort and good luck on this seasons hunt. For those hunters, however, that haven’t spent as much time in the backcountry this season, or for those hunters that aren’t sure how to effectively scout for the season, here are a few tips to help.

Archery Elk Season, bow hunting season montana

When you are out scouting, the most obvious signs of elk activity are droppings, tracks, and rubs. Elk are transient by nature, so being really excited about evidence of elk may be jumping the gun, so to speak. Pay attention to the freshness of the rubs on the trees, or the prevalence of the tracks, and know that it only means that elk may frequent that area, and there are a few other ways of figuring out more precise locations and patterns for the elk when the rut begins.

If you are scouting and you find a bull before the rut has begun, don’t be too excited. That bull most likely will be somewhere else when the rut actually begins. So, when you are doing your preseason scouting, make sure to pay attention to the cow elk. When those cows go into heat, those bulls wont let them out of sight.

Also, while scouting, look for elk wallows (areas where bull elk may tear up the ground to reach the mud and moisture). When the rut is on, elk will use a wallow every day, most likely in the heat of the afternoon, so knowing where fresh or old wallows are is a big advantage. Those bulls run really hot during the rut, and rely on the mud and moisture from those wallows to cool down. Areas to look for that could be potential wallows are in meadows – pay close attention to the edges of the meadows where moisture may run off and collect. Also, look for bright green patches of grasses on densely timbered slopes. Near creeks and lake are obvious choices, and also near beaver dams.

And don’t forget your UDAP Bear Spray and have it accessible in a UDAP holster while you are bow hunting this season! Archery Elk Season, UDAP hip holster for bear spray