Good Expeditions – [Planning]

Everyone who undertakes the task of field information gathering about cryptids should consider many different factors when planning expeditions. Going into the wilds looking for cryptids is not something for the faint of heart, and you should have a good plan of action before you ever set foot on the ground. Granted; you can’t plan for every scenario, but you can try to have contingencies in place to help you along the way. A major factor that is going to determine how you are going to plan for your expedition is going to be formed by considering the area you are going in to, and the duration of the trip. The worst thing you can do is not plan at all. There are very few people who can be dropped into the middle of nowhere, with nothing, and thrive. That being said; the most valuable tool you can take with you is knowledge. There is a lot to be said for learning and practicing basic survival skills. There are basic things that every human needs in order to survive whether they are in a forest, or a city. Those are food, water, shelter, and some kind of self defense. If you are able to increase your knowledge about those things, you will increase your odds of surviving where ever you may be. There is a wealth of information to be found on the internet relating to these topics. The problem arises when there is no internet and you need this knowledge in order to survive. That’s where taking the knowledge you gain and practicing it before you need it in a real survival situation comes into play. This will greatly assist you when you need these skills in the wild.

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Any time you enter the woods, your focus should not be looking for cryptids. What? Then what am I doing here? I understand that not everyone is trained in survival skills, and they may be put off by that statement. The reality is that when you leave your every day environment and enter into an unknown domain ( the woods ) it is beneficial to treat it like a survival situation. The truth is that it is a survival situation. The real sauce is that whether you are ten feet, twenty miles deep, five minutes, or five hours you are in an environment that is ruled by a set of circumstances that you are not familiar with on an ongoing basis. Things can change in the environment unexpectedly, you can run into a wild animal that decides to try to eat you for supper, you can get lost, and to think that it won’t, or can’t happen to you is a very foolish mindset to carry. Being prepared only increases your chance of making it out alive. Learning how to procure water, food, and shelter will greatly increase your chances of making it home, but there are some other things to consider as well.

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Making a Survival Shelter

Planning an expedition can be a logistical nightmare because sometimes there can be a lot of moving parts to it. Some things that would need to be considered are:

Transport to and from expedition area
Health, Sanitation, and Safety
On-The-Ground Protocols
Emergencies
Expedition Security

Transport

Some people may be fine with everyone going into a research area via a single vehicle. Personally; I’m not going anywhere where I don’t have control over a vehicle at some point. I have been left out in the middle of nowhere in cryptid country with no vehicle at all and I believe not having a vehicle is not a good idea. That doesn’t mean that you have to have a vehicle right there on top of you, but having access to a vehicle is kind of important to get you out unless you plan on hiking out. There is no worse feeling than being left somewhere without a mode of transport because someone freaked out during a cryptid encounter. Further; there is always the consideration that something bad could happen, or someone could get injured and need medical attention. Life is always a lot easier when you have a mode of transport. That can be any motorized means of transportation. Going into the middle of nowhere hiking and looking for cryptids is not something I would recommend to anyone who is relatively new to the topic.

Taking a single vehicle would not be wise because something could happen to the vehicle that would render it inoperable. Someone could get stuck in mud, or sand and need another vehicle to extract with. The ideal option would be to take no less than two vehicles, but try to keep the number of vehicles as small as possible. This reduces the disturbance footprint created when the vehicles enter an area. Another thing to consider would be the route taken to the research area. Even if you are on a well traveled road, it is still possible to be followed to a spot. Not taking the most direct route to the area could act as a deterrent to anyone who would follow you. Yeah, I hear you thinking that who cares if someone follows you. The fact is that I have seen this actually happen, and it throws the whole investigation off. There is nothing worse than dealing with people in an area where they aren’t supposed to be, or that you would not normally encounter in an area because they followed you. People are nosy, and try to worry with things that are none of their business. The flip side of that are the ones that are sent to follow you, to monitor your activities, or interfere with your investigations. These types seem to be more prevalent than just the nosy, casual observer. In either case it is your responsibility as a researcher to try to ensure that your area is not contaminated and that you are gathering valid information during your expedition.

Health, Sanitation, and Safety

You are on your expedition and after three days into it you suddenly get sick. You are at a loss for what is happening and with every passing minute you become more and more miserable. You initially think that you ate something that isn’t agreeing with you, but the reality is that it could have been numerous other factors that are causing your malady. Maybe it was that water you drank from the creek, or that you didn’t wash your hands before your last meal. Could it be related to the fact that you woke up in the middle of the night and decided to urinate right beside your sleeping bag? Did you get too hot while hiking today, or was it that weird looking bug that bit you when you were walking through the woods? These are all things that you should consider when planning for your expedition. You should have some sort of plan to deal with these types of scenarios.

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Tricks for Staying Clean While Camping!

Keeping your camp clean and free from garbage will reduce the attraction factor for wild animals and insects. This is something that you should consider especially when you are camping in bear country. Nothing attracts bears like the opportunity for a free meal. There are bear proof canisters that you can purchase, or you can utilize the old time method of hanging your food inside of an elevated net and high enough off the ground that a bear can’t reach it. I am not a bear expert, and it would be a good idea to consult with someone who has greater knowledge about them. It is probably a good idea to consult the local laws and regulations for the approved method of deterring bears in your campsite. Whether we like it, or not we have a responsibility to do the right thing in protecting our natural resources and wild animals.

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Don’t be a dirty bird. The fact is that you are going to get dirty while you are in the woods camping. There is no way around it. Simple things like washing your hands will make your trip go better and reduce the chances of you picking up some unnamed crud while you are out there. If you are packing light a good solution could be to bring along some hand sanitizer. There are also numerous types of disposable wipes that you can use to keep your hands, and yourself clean. I would recommend something unscented, because floral scents could attract insects.

There are some common sense things that you can do to make your trip safer. Any time you opt to utilize tools in the wild it is always a good idea to know the proper method to use them. Using tools in ways, or for purposes they aren’t intended could get you by in a pinch, but they could also increase the odds that you could injure yourself. It is no fun nursing a cut, or deep wound while you are trying to participate in your expedition. Granted; sometimes stuff happens and there is no way around getting injured, but being smart about tool use is a great asset. Practicing before you go into the field is going to be the easiest way to become familiar with the proper use and care of tools. Another good thing about practicing before going on the expedition is that if something happens, you can hopefully learn a lesson from that experience and know better than to attempt that particular task in the field.

Don’t run unless something is chasing you! The only other reason you should run during an expedition would be to help someone close by in distress. Aside from that there really should be no need for it. Running increases the odds that you are going to trip, fall, and break your neck. We are not attuned, nor accustomed to running in forested areas in the course of our daily lives. Not only that, but we often forget how running is interpreted within the woodland environment. There are two basic reactions that fall upon all creatures of the wild, and that is the natural response of fight, or flight. Running means something very different in the woods, than it would mean in a metro area. Running in the woods is interpreted as a response to danger and fear, and can activate the prey instinct of any predator that may observe the running. Big cats hunt their prey by looking for movement, or the animal running in fear. They are sight hunters and primarily hunt in this manner. This is another good reason why running might be a bad idea. I’m also not an expert in big cats, but there is a wealth of knowledge about them on the internet.

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On-The-Ground Protocols

There are many things to be concerned about during an expedition. The things that your team members do, or don’t do can have a drastic effect on the outcome of the trip. It’s always a good idea to lay out some rules that everyone should abide by once they are at the destination. Some things that might be helpful are:

No one travels in the woods alone. Moving in pairs not only gives each person a helper if need be, but if one gets injured the second person can go for help. Moving in pairs also helps reduce the odds of getting lost in the woods. It’s never foolproof, but if two people get lost they may be able to make it through their time lost better. Not to mention that one of them might be better skilled at land navigation and be able to lead them back to camp.

It might be a good idea to also have some sort of rule regarding the use of white light. There is nothing more aggravating then someone who wants to shine a light around everywhere they go. This not only gives your position away to other people, but it can cause a number of other issues. After white light is shone, it takes a person several minutes for their eyes to adjust to the darkness enough that they can move around without breaking everything in their path. That time could be critical under the wrong set of circumstances when you need to be able to see with your night vision. Some people claim that red and blue light seem to be less intrusive to wildlife and cryptids. The fact is that no one knows what these light variances do with regard to things a person might encounter in the woods.

Emergencies

There are a vast number of things that can, and will happen during your trip. Some of them you have planned for, but others you didn’t. The best way to deal with these events is to have some sort of plan in place should something go wrong. It might be beneficial to maintain a list of emergency contact numbers not only to reach first responders, but to reach family members for each participant in the expedition. Keeping a list of known ailments and medications for each member would be another consideration as well. In the event someone becomes unresponsive that information would be something that a first responder would want to know. Not to mention that these clues might help you determine what might be wrong with a team member until help can arrive. The reality is that it could take a while for first responders to get to the scene, and you want to be able to assist your team mate as much as possible during that time.

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Basic First Aid

If you happen to have and EMT, or medical doctor on your team that would be great. If you don’t; it might be a consideration to get some training in first aid, CPR, and how to deal with other emergency scenarios that may arise. We all know that stuff happens, and it will usually happen at the most inopportune time. Being as prepared as possible will not only build confidence, but give you the tools that you might need to help someone in a time of emergency. Make sure that you have some sort of First Aid gear with you. Any gear is better than no gear when you need it. Have the mindset that it is better to have the tools and not need them, than to need them and not have them.

PLB’s (Personal Locator Beacons) would be another great consideration that each team member should consider. PLB’s are intended only to be used during times of extreme duress. Setting one off just because you want to see what will happen is not a wise thing to do. I am sure that you will be met with a very angry response once it is learned that you enabled the device for that reason. They are designed to be set off in the event you become lost, or lost an injured in extremely remote areas. They are also very effective, and will bring search and rescue very close to your location. They should be close enough that you would be able to hear them. At that point you could yell, or otherwise signal to them your location if you are able to do so.

Expedition Security

There are many things to consider when looking at the aspect of security for your expedition. The first and most important thing is to restrict the flow of information about what you are doing. I know that going on a research trip can be and exciting undertaking and it’s human nature to want to talk about it. There is nothing wrong with carrying that kind of positive enthusiasm. It could be beneficial to you to not share a whole lot of information outside of the people who will be attending the event. A number of things can happen when you do that. You could have people who try to find out where the expedition is taking place for the purpose of try to hoax your group. There is also the factor that there could be any number of groups and entities who would find enjoyment from showing up in your research area to disrupt what you are trying to do. This could not only disrupt the current trip, but it could have a negative effect on future trips into the area.

Guns are a valuable tool to consider when planning for the security of your expedition. The concept is not to utilize guns to actively hunt cryptids, or take shots at them. As a matter of fact; I would recommend that you not shoot at cryptids at all, and only consider it as a last resort to prevent death, or serious injury. There are many other reasons why guns can be valuable tools for the expedition. Wild animal attacks are on the increase. Coyotes, big cats, wild hogs, bears, and snakes can cause you serious injury and guns could be something that could help you survive an attack. The other reasoning behind taking firearms would be the increase in people being in and around wooded areas that are doing violent and criminal things. You can never tell what might happen, and it is better to be prepared than to not be.

Unexpected visitors can be a good thing. There are times when people coming into your research area can be a bad thing. I have seen instances where expeditions have been infiltrated by people who just magically show up and try to portray themselves as something that they are not. You can never tell what the motivations are of people who just show up at your expedition location. If a person tries to come into your location it’s OK to be friendly, but it’s probably not a good idea to let them hang around. This isn’t even considering that if there are cryptids in the area, and it might not be a good idea for them to stick around for too long. If they do hang out with you they instantly become a massive liability to your mission. You have no way to gauge their experience, or whether they will be accepting of your purpose in being there. In scenarios like this it is often best for everyone involved if you don’t let people hang around your camp area.

In conclusion; there are many different facets to putting on an expedition, and there are many different things to consider. The methods and suggestions mentioned in this article are just that and aren’t meant to be 100% sure fire tactics that work every time. They are also not the law as it applies to any jurisdiction you might be visiting. It is always a good idea to check local laws and regulations before you engage in any actual on the ground activity. Doing so could save you a major headache.

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