My short bio: Born. Had fun. Here now. My Proof:Imgur

Comments: 291 • Responses: 30  • Date: 

TheTalentedMrTorres63 karma

Does the [not to be named!] mean you've seen/patrolled around Hyperion or any of the other closely guarded massive Redwoods?

How does one become a ranger? Did you get a degree in forestry or some other ecological field?

mindwasblank82 karma

No, but I have hiked several of the Redwood parks including in the area she is guessed to be at. Amazing groves there. Visit, respect and enjoy. Yes, I have combined experience, training, school and a foot in the door with Federal jobs. Work experience started just out of high school in the US Army and a little war called Desert Storm...that is my foot in the door. I was a wilderness EMT from NOLS Wilderness Medicine Institute. And, I have taken courses in natural resource management and geology (HSU). Thanks for asking.

pejaieo17 karma

I don't understand the "not to be named" part, what does that mean?

KingSurly35 karma

The largest redwoods are intentionally hidden to save them from being cut down.

foldedsocks39 karma

I don't think that's the reason. I was under the impression that it was hidden because the amount of visitors and tourists it would attract would effect the areas ecosystem.

mindwasblank15 karma

yes. thank you.

mindwasblank34 karma

All of the California and National Redwood Parks are protected from logging. What happened was the old 'tallest redwood' was a popular tourist destination with a trail leading right to it. Due to its popularity, the roots were trampled underfoot and tire, and unable to get water up to the top. The top died, and fell off, and was no longer among the tallest. A tragedy of being loved to death. To avoid a repeat, the location where the tallest tree(s), including the one called Hyperion, is kept secret.

mindwasblank14 karma

I do not want to popularize the area...Backpacker magazine did an article on one of the places I worked, and we expected a surge of visitation that may or may not have occurred, but I want to avoid adding to the popularity. It is nice to have a chance for solitude in such amazing places.


Fellow NOLS Patagonia grad here, thanks for doing this AMA. What do you prefer? Lentils, bulgur, or TVP?

mindwasblank9 karma

TVP...actually, mountain house!

RyanSA38 karma

What is the longest you've been alone in the wilderness?

mindwasblank5 karma

Only several days...maybe two weeks. I always pop out for one reason or another and reset my wilderness clock... supplies, crossing a road on a through hike, days off to go see my kids. Certainly opportunities in California's Sierra Nevada, Wind River Range in Wyoming, Denali NP, etc... I just haven't gone that long.

superbattery30 karma

What was the craziest thing you've ever seen?

mindwasblank47 karma

Snow coming through my tent.

neanderhummus12 karma

care to elaborate? I mean ive had the moisture in my breath freeze and snow back onto my face, but are you talking snow into the door, or like sublimating through the tent canvas?

mindwasblank36 karma

Wasn't that big a deal really. I don't think there is very much 'crazy' about Wilderness experiences. The wind was puffing up the zipper covers and covers over the vents, and fine snow, drifting around my tent, was making its way in. I woke to the feeling of snow falling on my face, but I was in my tent. When morning came, there was a few inches that had accumulated in the corners!

-Thunderbear-6 karma

Had the same experience, only it was sand, courtesy of Desert Storm 2.0!

mindwasblank5 karma

Thanks for your service. I was in 3rd Armor Division Desert Storm. Sand still in boxes that I sent back. Glad you are home.

Xtinguo25 karma

What is the weirdest thing you have come across?

mindwasblank35 karma

WAG bags. Its a weird thing that people want to go to Mt. Whitney but they don't want to pack out their poop.

sho_biz23 karma

Have you had any experience with what people call bigfoot? Any unexplained sounds/tracks/sightings that you've come across during your career?

mindwasblank35 karma

Actually, when I was a Fire Lookout in Northern California some hunters reported a bigfoot description not far from my tower! A frenzy of "scientific" activity!

hannahuberly22 karma

How did you get into this line of work and why?

mindwasblank94 karma

I wanted to get paid to camp.

DanDierdorf15 karma

What mode of transportation are you using to patrol these areas?

What's the purpose of the patrols? Am pretty sure they have other means for fire detection, so............
Why the secrecy over our public lands? It is our land too.

mindwasblank53 karma

Wilderness is patrolled by foot, and I carry everything I need on my back. No secrecy, I pick up YOUR trash from YOUR lands. That's what rangers do. Pack it out!

mindwasblank22 karma

No secrecy. I picked up trash.

Throwawayqw12312 karma

By "desolate" do you mean "furthest from civilization"? What's to stop a hobo from digging a den and foraging?

mindwasblank35 karma

By desolate I mean lack of visitors, yet these places have trails that I was patrolling. Weird thing there...wouldn't see a soul for days, yet I would find pounds of trash. But I have very fond memories there. Very fond memories of amazement.

viveknarayan9611 karma

What's the best thing about exploring the wilderness?

mindwasblank22 karma

The best thing about exploring Wilderness is the wilderness experience. Do you know that there is a difference between Wilderness and wilderness?

Wawgawaidith11 karma

No, I didn't. What is the difference, please?

mindwasblank47 karma

50 Years of Wilderness! The difference between Wilderness and wilderness is Wilderness are places that are Congressionally designated, while wilderness is a place in each persons mind, for example, "we drove through the wilderness until finally we came to a town." In contrast, Capital 'W' Wilderness, by designation, has no roads... "Public Law 88-577 (16 U.S. C. 1131-1136) 88th Congress, Second Session September 3, 1964 AN ACT To establish a National Wilderness Preservation System for the permanent good of the whole people, and for other purposes. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, SHORT TITLE Section 1. This Act may be cited as the "Wilderness Act". WILDERNESS SYSTEM ESTABLISHED STATEMENT OF POLICY Sec. 2. (a) In order to assure that an increasing population, accompanied by expanding settlement and growing mechanization, does not occupy and modify all areas within the United States and its possessions, leaving no lands designated for preservation and protection in their natural condition, it is hereby declared to be the policy of the Congress to secure for the American people of present and future generations the benefits of an enduring resource of wilderness" and... "DEFINITION OF WILDERNESS (c) A wilderness, in contrast with those areas where man and his own works dominate the landscape, is hereby recognized as an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain. An area of wilderness is further defined to mean in this Act an area of undeveloped Federal land retaining its primeval character and influence, without permanent improvements or human habitation, which is protected and managed so as to preserve its natural conditions and which (1) generally appears to have been affected primarily by the forces of nature, with the imprint of man's work substantially unnoticeable; (2) has outstanding opportunities for solitude or a primitive and unconfined type of recreation; (3) has at least five thousand acres of land or is of sufficient size as to make practicable its preservation and use in an unimpaired condition; and (4) may also contain ecological, geological, or other features of scientific, educational, scenic, or historical value." References

Wulfay1 karma

  1. When did you first become aware of the wilderness act?
  2. What does wilderness mean to you?

Asked these two questions all summer long :)

mindwasblank1 karma

I don't know when I learned of the Act first, but I took Wilderness Area Management where we dissected the Act and discussed its implications for management about 15 years ago. That was where I really learned about it first. I don't have a quick question for what it means to me, but I can tell you that I am passionate about Wilderness. It is a cultural heritage that Europe does not have - they developed it before they knew what happened. It is a special place to me, and to Americans, whether we ever set foot in it or not. It is a source of fresh water and air for everybody. Weather we, as individuals, are aware of the Wilderness Act or not, all gain value by just having for those who are aware. I, for one, would be a dick if I didn't have Wilderness to escape to. And the ripple effects from all the people I interact with would be negativity moving out from me into society. There are a lot of people just a passionate about Wilderness as I. There would be waves crashing from the effects if WE didn't have Wilderness.

creasegrease10 karma

Have you had any heart-pounding encounters with bears? Or large cats for that matter?

mindwasblank18 karma

No encounters with bears or large cats. Sorry. They avoid us in the backcountry (bears) if our food is properly stored.

cylons_R_people_25 karma

What is the best advice you have for hikers?

eriwinsto15 karma

Always, always, always carry the 10 essentials when hiking, even day hiking.

  1. Navigation (map and compass/GPS)

  2. Sun-stuff (sunscreen and sunglasses) and bug spray

  3. Lightweight shelter like a cheap bivy sack.

  4. Extra clothing (windbreaker, fleece, dry shirt, season- and location-dependent) AND raingear. If you don't bring it, it will rain.

  5. First aid kit. Nothing too crazy, but have some band-aids, moleskin, ibuprofen, gauze, and an ace bandage.

  6. Flashlight (that has batteries)

  7. Knife. Never know when it's gonna be useful.

  8. Extra food. If you take too long or need to stay a night in the woods, it's good to have.

  9. Extra water, for the same reason. Also good to have some iodine tablets. They're not terrible and definitely good in a pinch. I stick my map, matches/lighter, and iodine in the same waterproof LokSak.

  10. Fire-starter (matches or lighter, possibly with a tiny bit of dry tinder). For if it gets too cold.

mindwasblank7 karma

Nice! That was my advice! I have the Second Edition of Freedom of The Hills, by The Mountaineers...and Kindle Edition (8th, I think?).

Drew12314 karma

I am currently taking a class about wilderness and the American mind at my University. One of the biggest trends is that as people moved farther away from real wilderness they began to romanticize is, whereas those that lived in it hated and despised it.

Where do you fall in that spectrum?

mindwasblank4 karma

Interesting! Thanks for the question. I like, "So, what does a ranger do for vacation, to 'get away from it all'?" Take a drive in the city. Rent a motel room, watch TV, and don't give up the remote control.

footballfan983 karma

What is the worst weather you have experienced while patrolling the wilderness?

mindwasblank2 karma

Thunder. Scary.

E_frame2 karma

I have a B.S. in Business and I was thinking about getting a job with the rangers. What the hell can I do right now to better applicant right now, like volunteer wise and skill set wise.

P.S. Any land nav tips?

mindwasblank2 karma

Funny! I am now a business major. Yes, volunteer. If you can get into SCA, that is a good foot in the door. But, volunteering is experience toward the technical skills required jobs. That is huge to getting on. Good luck!

amgirl12 karma

A good friend of mine climbed Mt Whitney solo in January (yes, he is an idiot) was stuck in the snow for three days and almost died (luckily just lost a couple toes) What steps do you take to keep tourists safe? Are there policies in place where you can keep track of who is where? I'm sure it's an impossible task, but I'm curious about how you try to minimize incidents. Also, do things like my friend's incident happen often?

mindwasblank3 karma

We don't keep track of people. We don't manage search and rescue, that is sheriffs offices that do that. I will respond to hurt or lost hikers, but peoples' safety is NOT our responsibility. It sounds like your friend was in over his head, and he's lucky he didn't die. Winter mountaineering involves technical skills that should be practiced before setting out. Mt. Whitney is not the place to do it. Your friend probably left some trash and gear out there that I had to haul out when the snow melted. He should have to pay for the rescue and clean up.

doopercooper2 karma

What kind of legal powers do you have? I have heard of someone getting a ticket for a weed pipe from what I understood to be a ranger like yourself. Can you write tickets for things like that? And what if people simple refuse to show you ID so you can write the ticket, I can't imagine you can detain them

mindwasblank3 karma

I have written tickets for improper food storage a lot. I have escort hikers off the trail if they don't have a permit (hang tags make it visually very easy to check for Whitney permits). If they give any trouble, the LEO arrests them at the trailhead. They aren't getting away.

guitarizard72 karma

Just got back from camping in kings canyon and hiking at yosemite. Do you have a favorite place to hike? Also what is the safest way to be around bears? Finally, what is your goto camping gear for the area?

mindwasblank2 karma

Nice! We have a dog, so he can't hike in SEKI or Yosemite with us. We go to Dinky Ck and Jennie Lakes a lot with him. I catch some grief from this tough crowd in here, but I don't disclose my favorite places, so I'd rather not tell you about trails, lakes, climbs, snowshoeing spots, etc. I like. Sorry. But in general, the valleys the PCT and JMT traverse are amazing...but they are out there. All my favorite spots are out there! Gear: MSR is all good. I have two Gregory packs. My mountain boots are La Sportiva, harness, ice axe, and other climbing gear Black Diamond, titanium cookware by Snow Peak, tents by Mountain Hardware (4-season), Sierra Designs (my one person/bivie), REI for backpacking with my wife, and a Coleman 4-person for car camping. Coleman and Kelty are decent brands for the price. Spend less if you hike less, but be picky. For example, my mountain boots and crampons are relatively cheap because I climb rarely, but harness and ice axe top of the line because of the safety/dependability issues. It sounds like you're doing ok, though. Keep hiking.

astiocles2 karma

Do you have any experience with Death Valley National Park? If so, do you have any advice or suggestions? We're headed there at the end of the month. Thanks!

mindwasblank2 karma

I was very excited about this question...I tried replying sooner, but I got banned for smarting off to a mod over proof! I provided some docs, and the let me back! Depends....4wd? There is a lot of backcountry accessible by 4wd. If you have access to a 4wd vehicle, take that. Go to the Racetrack. 4wd can also get you to Sulfur Springs. More 4wd trails there than most people know about, and those are the places to explore. Backpacking can get you to some wonderful places that I know nothing about. You can climb Telescope Peak and see Mt. Whitney and Badwater from there (highest and lowest points). Bring lots of water to the Death Valley backcountry. Check out one of the popular destinations listed for sunset/sunrise photography, like Dante's View at sunrise. Go to Artist's Palette and Badwater. There are many more natural attractions, but also some historical, like Scotty's Castle. All this is just off the top of my head... I Love Our National Parks! Thanks again. Have fun!

BtBaMrocks2 karma

Have you read The Last Season? What did you think? I read it while backpacjing the jmt and thought it was spooky.

mindwasblank2 karma

I think so...I read a lot, that kinda stuff in particular, as you could imagine, so probably. I just don't remember... John Krakauer? Is that subtitled 'Lost in the Minarets'? I read a lot, just don't remember what I've read!

jesuskater1 karma

OP you sound like you are harsh with answers. Why doing an ama if so?

mindwasblank1 karma

Grow some skin.

ShyneBox1 karma

What are your top 5 favorite tools or tricks for outdoor survival?

mindwasblank6 karma

Plan ahead and bring everything you need to stay an unexpected NIGHT out (it gets cold at night). Trick: if stranded, play games, talk to your friends or to yourself or to a tree. Stay put, but stay busy.