Hiking - Camping - Gear - First Aid

Posts by dthomas

Hiking Bandelier National Monument

Had family in from out of State and took them hiking at Bandelier National Monument. I take it for granted I have so many amazing things to see so close to my home Bandelier National Monument  is just an hours drive from my house and  it’s a very amazing place. It was in the low 90’s during the hike and everyone in the group ran out of water pretty fast on the trail. I knew better lucky I had brought several liters and was able to fill water bottles during the hike for everyone. We did about 2 miles, but with 90 degree heat, zero humidity, and constant canyon winds you can go through a lot of water in a short period of time. Always prepared I say. Below are just some of the things you can see at Bandelier National Monument, old ruins, petroglyphs and can even climb into some of the restored cliff dwellings. If you’re ever in New Mexico it’s something to see.

Fishing at El Vado Lake

I can’t believe I actually got to go fishing, after trying all summer the cards fell in place and my son and I loaded up the truck and headed out to El Vado State park. A pretty good day of fishing too, 1 large mouth bass and 14 brown trout, got them all with spinner lures right under the dam. Here’s a picture of our spot.photo (8)

Hiking the Rio Grande Bosque

b1Took a nice hike along the Rio Grande Bosque near Bernallilo, NM this morning. The hike takes you in and out of Cotton wood trees and into bright open meadows. Lots of wild life around for it to be mid-morning, saw many different species of whip-tail lizards, and even a peregrine falcon that didn’t care to much that we walked under his perch. If you get the chance early morning would be the best time to catch raccoon, skunks, or even a bob cat. With the heat building mid-morning I was surprised to see so many humming birds all over the place, but plenty of them flying about. I keep thinking I need to do more hiking as it’s an excellent form of exercise and I sure like the views better than some crappy gym.

Volunteer work for Independence Day

Did a bit of volunteer work for Independence Day, I’m a member of our local Amateur Radio Emergency Service® (ARES) group and we were asked by our fire department to help with communications at a 4th of July event and walk the bosque (woodlands) that runs along the Rio Grade. I took 2 shifts one in the communication van helping with running the net at the all day 4th of July event and another shift walking a 2 mile stretch of the bosque looking for any activity…happy to report no smoke.

White Water Rafting on the Rio Grande

Spent the bigrock_davidday on the river with with some friends that came down to visit us from the wilds of Minnesota  The family was all in too and had a blast catching some white water on the Rio Grande. Big shout out to New Mexico River Adventures http://www.newmexicoriveradventures.com/   They took real good care of us and the guide really knew what she was doing, we sure had a reminder of how dangerous it can be, a person did get killed on the river Friday, so if you do plan to go pay attention to the safety briefing, but do go it was a lot of fun and we will go again. They offer all day and overnight tours and now that I’ve got some level 3 rapids under my belt I’m thinking level 4 might be some real fun. Next time we go it might be one of those over night trips. Camping by the river sounds like some real good times.

IFAK for Non Emergency Personnel

In may last couple of post I’ve been talking about First-Aid and some fairly advanced topics.  I’ve decided to scale back the IFAK (improvised first aid kit) and list one that you can carry with just a First-aid certification. It has many of the advanced items removed and that is a good thing as you should only perform task up to the training you have received. A big change is the head lamp, the cost is around $6.00 but hands free can’t be beat, just be sure and check the batteries now and then. Here is the revised list, and again if you hunt, have a concealed carry licence, or just want to be prepared an IFAK is a must.

Small MOLLIE Pouch (1): Best one I’ve found yet for the cost
4X4 Gauze Pads (2):
Head Lamp (1): This is a big change from the light stick but requires batteries 
Rolled Gauze 3” (1):
Flex Wrap Roll (1):
Cloth Tape (1):
5X9 Surgical Pads (2):
Sharpie Pen (1): Marking time placed on CAT ( Combat Action Tourniquet)
Latex Gloves (2):
Face Mask (1):
Anti-Bacterial Wipes (2): In a bind irrigate wound with bottled water
Medical Shears (1): Get a good pair spend a little extra
6” Israeli Combat Bandage (1):
Combat Action Tourniquet (1): Requires First-Aid Training (learn the right way)
Laminated Instruction sheets for:
Israeli Combat Bandage: More instructions
Combat Action Tourniquet:

Home First Aid Kits for the Non-Medic


This should be the first thing on your First-Aid Kit to do list. And remember my disclaimer, anything I say here is just my opinion I am not a medical professional. I do however have an American Red Cross Certification in First Aid and adult CPR/AED, a American Heart Association certification in First Aid, and Adult, Child and Infant CPR/AED. I’m also a certified CERT (community emergency response team) member which includes fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations. I also have over 200 hours of National Incident management system training. I’m also a member of my local ARES Amateur Radio Emergency Service which is a corps of trained amateur radio operator volunteers organized to assist in public service and emergency communications. So as you can see training is a big part of this so get some training. Now on to the list (which is my no means comprehensive as every persons family may require more customization).

Besides the simple stuff like assorted band-aids and of course a 30 day supply of all your families prescription medications (you have that right), the below list is a pretty good idea of what your home First-Aid kit should look like, if it doesn’t you got some shopping to do.

(2) Trauma Shears
(1) Mini-Mag Light or other light of choosing
(1) LED Head-lamp (makes things hands free)
(1) rite in rain  notepad (1) Sharpie marker
(10) Pair Gloves
(2) Safety Goggles

(10) 5×9’s
(20) 4×4’s
(2) 12×30 Trauma Dressing
(4) Vasoline Gauze
(2) Rolls 3″ Tape
(2) Rolls 1″ Tape
(10) Rolls 3″ Kerlix
(5) Rolls Coban
(2) Ice Packs
(2) Hot Packs
(5) Cravats (all kinds of uses)
(2) SAM Splints
(2) 4″ Elastic Bandages
(2) 3″ Elastic Bandages
(2) 5×9 H2O Gel Burn Pads
(2) Tubes Antibiotic Ointment
(20) Betadine Swabs
(1) Bottle Sterile Water
(1) Sawyer Snake Bite Extractor Kit.

(2) Tubes Insta-Glucose (if diabetic in residence, that would be me)
(1) Tube Activated Charcoal
(1) Bottle Low Dose Aspirin
(1) Bottle Motrin
(1) Bottle Benadryl
(1) Tube Topical Benadryl
(1) Bottle Anti-emetic
(1) Bottle Anti-diarrheal
(2) Epi Pens-Adult (if applicable)

(1) CPR Mask (adult and child)

If you have any question drop me a line, I’ll be happy to answer.


What’s in your IFAK (Improved First Aid Kit)?

IFAKThe IFAK stands for improved first aid kit also called individual first aid kit or even blow out kit to some military folks. The IFAK is a kit developed to provide Self-Aid/Buddy-Aid and provides interventions for two leading causes of death on the battlefield (not that we are on a battlefield but you get the idea), severe hemorrhage and inadequate airway. The Kit I will be describing here has been greatly modified from the ones issued to the military and contains much more inventory and as a consequence weighs about 1 pound more than a standard issue military IFAK, but will treat a greater variety of injuries. It goes without saying that I am not a doctor, this is just my opinion. Please take a certified first-aid course before assembling your own IFAK and some medical devices included in the IFAK described here requires more advanced training (more on that later). So what’s in my Kits (I say kits as these are no good if you can’t get to them). I have one for each car, the families Bug out bags, one for my get home bag, and one at work, plus a few  spares here and there). I’ve included Links for the hard to find items, and remember you can only do what you have been trained and certified to do, and good rule of thumb is if you’re not an EMT do not break the skin.

If your out at the range, hunting, or carry a gun/knife this needs to be close by, a good IFAK is a life saver.

Small MOLLIE Pouch (1): Best one I’ve found yet for the cost
4X4 Gauze Pads (2):
2X2 Gauze Pads (2):
Large Band Aids (5):
Light Stick (1): You never know how good the light will be
Rolled Gauze 3” (1):
Flex Wrap Roll (1):
Cloth Tape (1):
5X9 Surgical Pads (2):
Sharpie Pen (1): Marking time place on CAT ( Combat Action Tourniquet)
Latex Gloves (4):
Face Mask (2):
Anti-Bacterial Wipes (4): In a bind irrigate wound with bottled water
Medical Shears (1): Get a good pair spend a little extra
6” Israeli Combat Bandage (1):
4” Israeli Combat Bandage (1):
Combat Action Tourniquet (1): Requires First-Aid Training (learn the right way)
Nasopharyngeal Airway 28fr (1): Requires Advanced Training
Nasopharyngeal Airway 24fr (1): Requires Advanced Training
Surgical Lubricant 5 grams (2): Used for inserting Nasopharyngeal Airway
HALO Chest seals unvented (2): Requires Advanced Training
Hyfin Chest seals vented (2): Requires Advanced Training
Needle Decompression 14 gauge (1): Requires Advanced Training
QuikClot’s 4×4 Dressing (2):
Low Dose Aspirin non-coated (10): For heart attach victims (do not use if bleeding) 
Benadryl (5):
Laminated Instruction sheets for:
Nasopharyngeal Airway: Includes info for oral airway but beware the gag reflex.
Chest Seals: see Pneumothorax and Tension Pneumothorax
Decompression Needle: See tension Pneumothorax again this is to hand to a EMT
Israeli Combat Bandage: More instructions
Combat Action Tourniquet:

While not part of my IFAK I always carry a couple of these rolled up in my back back when hiking or camping and have one in my car as well the SAM Splint makes a great addition to any First-Aid kit and is perfect for those twisted ankles on the trail.


Hiking on the Rio Grande

photo 1

Took a simple hike in the bosque last weekend, you can see a little snow on the Sandia Mountains. Great trails along the Rio Grade near Albuquerque, New Mexico. Lots of wildlife around and plenty to see and do.

It’s warming up!

The weather is turning warm again so expect updates soon. Going on some Hikes this weekend, got some new gear for review and much more stay tuned.