It was opening morning of archery elk season in Oregon and I was off in search of the great wapiti. I had my camo on, my badlands pack on and my bow in hand. The only thing I needed to do was to find an elk.
I was off on a short solo hike in new area. To my back was camp and in front of me was a deep canyon. As I headed into the canyon I took in the beauty, scenery and fresh elk sign. Just at that moment I heard branches breaking and spotted a herd of 20+ elk heading up the ridge to my left. These elk were on the move and spooked by something in the canyon.
I took a minute to gather myself and began up the ridge in hopes to find where the elk had gone. I sent my husband a text letting him know I encountered elk and was headed up the ridge after them. He decided to get up to the top of the ridge to see if he could spot them. As I hiked up in the dry August heat each branch I stepped on cracked and broke. The hike up wasn't pleasant at all as the terrain of Central Oregon is much different than that of the coast.
There were many large boulders, bluffs and steep terrain to navigate. Step after step, the higher I got. Then it happened... I stepped on a piece of wood about 8 inches in diameter, I heard a crack and down I went. Once I gathered myself and got back to my feet I noticed a cut on the palm of my left hand. Blood was flowing like a river. There I was, alone, on a rocky ridge, miles from camp in the August heat. At first panic set in, next fear, then anxiety. Being a nurse I knew right away that I needed to calm myself down and apply pressure to the cut to slow the bleeding. The cut was about an inch wide and pretty deep. From what I could tell it needed stitches or to be glued closed. That simply wasn’t going to be possible given my situation and location. I got in touch with my husband and let him know I had cut my hand and we worked a plan to meet up and head back to camp.
I was able to cleanse my cut with some sterile normal saline, apply nonstick sterile gauze and wrap my hand with coban to keep pressure applied and my wound clean.
The crazy thing about this whole situation was the morning before I left camp I went through my pack and removed items I knew or thought I wouldn’t need. During this process I removed my first aid kit from my pack and debated putting it back in. The area I was hiking looked to be easy and I didn’t think I was going to end up very far from camp since I was hiking solo.
Since this incident I can’t express the importance of always having a first aid kit in your pack on any hike. You never know when you or someone else may need it.
In 2015 when I attended my first NW Ladies Hunting Camp Kristy Titus mentioned that she always wears gloves when hunting to protect her hands. I did take this advice into consideration at the time; I now own 4 different pairs.
I have learned so much from this situation. Here are my tips for you:
I have personally come to like the Orion Safety Product Survival/First-Aid Kits. Orion offers a variety of different first aid kits for different situations and needs. Most these kits are relatively small in size and are light weight.
Aside from having a kit it is important that you know how to use it in case of an emergency. Basic medical knowledge is very important and could save your life or someone else’s. There are many of books available. My favorites are:
I hope you find this helpful or are able to take something from reading this!
Stacey Sutherlin, Nature’s Paint Pro Staff