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URUSHIOL is very very icky
“Got back Sunday night from my backpack trip to the Kalmiopsis Wilderness in S. Oregon. No one was able to get away so I went solo for the first five days. On day two the trail was so overgrown with poison oak that I had to use my trekking poles to hold it back while I passed and sometimes it snapped back or I missed one. So I made camp on the Chetco and tried to use waterless hand cleaner and isopropanol to clean my hands, poles and legs. No use. In fact I found out that alcohol only spreads the urushiol oils (the active oil compound in poison oak and ivy and sumac)I broke out with the worst case of poison oak I have had since I was 14 years old and got into some smoke from someone burning it. At least I didn't get it in my eyes this time. On the plus side I had the most beautiful place to myself for 3 days without another human being even coming near. Swam in the River and sat and looked at the rocks and trees all day. I did see a baby/adolescent weasel or mink but no otters. Encountered an awesome snake on the trail, it was really pretty and blended in with the leaves so well that I got quite close before I noticed it. It did not fear me and did not move even when I got a stick and gently tapped the ground near it. So I just finally walked really close to it but keeping on the far side of the trail and still it did not move. This was on a short day hike and I saw it again in the same place on the way back down. On the minus side I had to walk out the day after my buddy showed up because I was going from bad to worse and did not have the medical supplies to keep treating the contact dermititus that had spread to my face, right hand, inside of both legs and junction of the legs (gasp!) no wonder they tell you not to touch yourself there! UV will make it worse and so will heat so I had to bail on the sixth day of what I wanted to be an eight day trip. Still it was worth it but I had to get Prednisone sp? because it was so severe and I think I ingested some as well. You see, I got a bit miffed and went back up the trail on Wednesday and used my knife to remove the poison oak that was impossible to avoid. Then I came back to camp and washed the knife with isopropanol still stupidly thinking that the solvent would destroy the oil. But NO, it just dispersed it and the blade right next to the oak cutting blade was what I used to cut my food up. Sheesh was I dumb but now I know what not to do. I read up on it when I got back yesterday and then I went to Immediate Care and got the steroid drug because I was getting worse and I had a fever. So, y'all take care when hiking the lower elevations and read up about poison plants before you go and get in trouble.
“Ouch there nuppy,...sorry to hear about your bad luck, but it sounds like you had some great moments to go along with it.
Get well soon!”
“Get better soon, Nup. That sucks. By the way, I prescribed steroids also for a bad case of poison ivy once.. the stuff works quickly and very effectively, so you can take comfort in that.”
I hope so! and by Thurday for sure
“Thanks guys. When I came out at the trailhead my sister-in-law and another friend were about to walk in to meet me. It would have been her first backpack trip. She was pretty horrified at my face. She continued to be upset further when she asked about some large welts from biting flies and mosquito bites. It don't matter to me. I would do it all again, pretty much nothing but death will keep me from backpacking. I get to camp out again, this time at the festival near Eugene and I sure hope the steroids work soon because it will be hot there and no doubt I will be in the sun occasionally. Right now I feel better but still using topical application of various sorts to quell the intense itch from the worst areas. But, it's only skin deep, just a flesh wound as they say. Having three days in the natural world all alone was so great that the small suffering is trivial in comparison. I have decided that solo backpacking will be a welcome option for the future.
This was my second solo trip. When I was younger I was too worried about predators (men, not beasts) having had a strange rape experience traveling alone in Mexico (I was 20ish) but now that I am older I feel more confident and less vulnerable. The places I go have so few humans around that I feel safer there than in any city for sure. Way too much trouble for most trouble makers to go to for finding a victim. And I am not afraid of bears or cougars.
I wear a whistle and carry trekking poles. I think it would be thrilling to see a cougar and if it got too near I would make noise and tell it "Bad Kitty, back off" and brandish my poles. They are mostly afraid of people anyway.”
“Poison ivy/oak is bad stuff, that's for certain. You need a strong soap or detergent to wash the oil off. It runs in 7-year cycles, I believe, so if you got it this year you are on the heavy end of your cycle.
There is also a folk saying that if you get exposed to poison ivy/oak early in the spring you will not have as much susceptibility to it later in the year. I never have tested that though.”
hiking in the summer sucks
“stay on the wwater, canoe and kayak...no poison nuthing...sorry to hear of your incident. and btw....health is more important than backpacking. stay healthy...backpack more.”
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