Posted by: highmountainmuse | June 15, 2009

A cool tip for a hot fire… and off to the high country

horses on pasture above the reservoir on another rainy day

horses on pasture above the reservoir on another rainy day

I have not shared any of our back woods/survival skills as of late.  In spring time, we’re lucky to sneak off the ranch for a quick walk.  The back woods, and high country, seem at times out of touch for the season.

But the season is about to change… summer’s about to begin, though the weather tells us perhaps it came and went without us knowing it.  Today, we’re ready to head for the hills.

In case we’re not far enough away from it all here, the three of us, with dog and horses, head up higher for work when we can.  We dig ditch in the Wilderness.  For those of you who know what we do, you’re chuckling and rolling your eyes knowing how odd we may truly be for actually loving this job.  For those who have no idea what I’m talking about… I think I’ll keep you on pins and needles until we return and share it all with you then. 

In the meanwhile, back to the survival skill tip I wanted to share.  It’s about fire, among the most precious of survival tools up here.  And it uses hand sanitizer wipes – little individually wrapped packages of towelettes soaked in hand sanitizer.  Forrest and Bob shared with me the trick they recently learned that for an emergency fire starter, hand sanitizer gel, just a squirt, works great.  Of course you’ll need matches (preferably the waterproof/strike anywhere sort) as well.  More often than not, most of us seem to be carrying that hand sanitizer gel with us any way. Try it out. It works.  And remember to use it to build a safe, warming fire should you be stranded and chilled.

Well, I have these packages of individually wrapped towelettes of hand sanitizer – a big box of them that my mom found at Sam’s Club for me a couple years ago – even easier to carry around that a bottle.  Rather than packing the gel, I usually pack a little package.  I can fit one easily into the pocket of any jacket or jeans. So, I tried these out to see if they’d burn well too, and sure enough, these turned out to be the ultimate of fire starter/tinder.  They burned even and slow and for long enough one should be able to get some small kindling burning on top and a good warming fire going in no time.

Of course, the biggest thing to remember here is to be prepared, and not to leave home without them and your waterproof strike anywhere matches.  The elements can get you very quick up here.  You need to be quicker.

Anyway, friends, I’ll be gone until Thursday night.  In any emergency, Beka is here at the ranch checking my e-mail (and about a zillion other things for us). Otherwise, I’ll look forward to hearing from you and writing when I get home. Bet I’ll have a lot to share, so check in Friday morning!



  1. Ihope its not anything wrong with family. i will be looking forward to your return . be careful be safe .You are part of my family now . I worry about you and your family

  2. Thanks for sharing that tip. I keep an emergency kit (actually it’s in a backpack) in my vehicle. You never know when you’ll need stuff when you’re away from home. That’s a great thing to keep in there in case I ever need it. Have a safe trip.

  3. You will be missed sorely. And then I’ll be gone for at least 7 to 10 days. But there may be a ghost post on my blog. Hugs to my sister…

  4. Have a safe trip…look forward to the stories upon your return…love the fire starting trick.

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