Whether you’ve been following the last few posts on Ice fishing and want to give it a try, or you’re thinking about trying to land a few in the upcoming spring/summer fishing season its time to think about one of the more, err how shall we say “gross” aspects of catching fish to cook while camping.
Okay, you’ve caught your fish, you want to cook your fish and you want to eat your fish. The first step is, you have to kill (gasp) your fish! Oh, come on. Did you think fishsticks came from the fish fairy?
The easiest way to go about this necessary task, unless you are into sushi, is to give the fish a sharp rap on the top of the head with a blunt object such as a the handle of a hunting knife, the back of a hatchet, or even a rock. Of course if you have a hatchet or sharp knife anyway, you could just cut the head off, but some people think this is cruel. Personally I say 6 of one, half-a-dozen of the other. The fish has to die, the quicker the better.
Part of the camping experience involves other outdoor activities. Though we are nearing the end of the winter season, Ice Fishing is still an activity that campers may enjoy in many backcountry areas. Many state parks have lakes that are great for this also. There are of course rules and regulations that must be followed. Check with your state for the correct rules and necessary licensing. Other than that there are some basic safety rules that should be followed.
Most people think of camping as a summer event, early fall at the latest. Well believe it, or not there are many people who actually prefer winter camping. (Personally, the juries still out for this camper). Winter camping is available in several State and National parks, such as Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, Montana and Idaho, and in the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia.
Lightning StormPhoto by: Julia Starr (Stock Exchange)
Lightening is beautiful and fascinating, but it can also be deadly. The National Weather Service estimates that there are 100,000 thunderstorms in the United States each year, and lightening is present at each and every storm. In fact even though we were all told as children that the sound of thunder was God bowling or some such story, it is actually the sound produced when a lightening bolt causes the air around it to expand and contract with an immense force.
Chipmunk, Lake Tahoe, CAPhoto by: Alpeviolen (Stock Exchange)
A few years ago, right before we went on our annual camping trip, the news was full of stories about children getting attacked by bears while they were camping. In fact there seems to be an up rise in the occurrence of bears attacking people over the last decade. The really scary part is that several of these attacks did not take place in the backcountry wilds, but in established camping areas, parks and other recreational facilities. I will admit that I was particularly diligent the first night and slept with one eye open. Fortunately nothing larger than a chipmunk hopped up on the sugar from a stolen Oreo visited our camp.
Camping is a time to experience nature. One great way to do this is hiking. That’s not to say that the two have to go hand in hand, but most campgrounds either have day trails, or are located near areas where trails are available. These trails are usually clearly marked, come in various distances and are already mapped. If you are thinking to yourself, what fun is hiking on a trail that everyone uses you obviously haven’t spent much time in the woods. There comes a time (especially for first time hikers) when all those trees look alike. It is easy to become disoriented. Unless you are already a pro at using a compass and a topographical map you should start small and work your way up to a full wilderness hike.