NARAM-52 Survival Tips

NARAM-52 is located in a part of Colorado that is considered a dry high altitude semi-arid prairie. At 5177 feet above sea level, the air is thinner with less air pressure than at sea level, and the temperature can vary during the month of August from the 50's to the high 90's (F). The surrounding terrain is fairly flat, but to the east are some canyons that become steeper and rockier as you walk deeper into them. Very few recoveries occur in this area, but there is the possibility that you might have to search there. The Pinion Pine trees in the area are no taller than 10 feet, which make retrieving rockets from them very easy. There are several varieties of short cactus, like prickley pear, that are easy to walk around, if you are paying attention. You might encounter a rattlesnake, and if you see deer, it's possible that a mountain lion might also be in the area.

All of this is not meant to scare you away, but it is practical precautions that all outdoor men and women take into account on a daily basis when venturing outside the city. We want you to be safe and comfortable and to show up everyday.

ALTITUDE There is less oxygen in the air at 5177 ft. Visitors who are coming from lower elevations will notice this, particularly when exerting themselves on a hike or other outdoor activity like chasing rockets. Some may experience discomfort from altitude-related ailments. Symptoms include headache, nausea, insomnia, irritability, shortness of breath and/or general fatigue. The best way to prevent these unwelcome symptoms is to gradually acclimatize yourself to the area's higher elevations during your first one or two days in the area... a good reason to get here Friday, before competing on Monday. Drink lots of water, as it helps to reduce headaches associated with altitude sickness.
HEAT and SUN Despite the tall mountains surrounding the launch site, Pueblo is in one of the hottest areas in Colorado and can be a very hot place in August. We are fortunate that the dry air makes a 90 degree day feel like 80 degrees, but if you are not conscious of the heat it can ruin your NARAM experience, if you don't take precautions. If you have asthma, diabetes, a heart condition, knee or back problems, or any other health or medical issue, limit both your exertion and your exposure to the heat. The altitude, strenuous walking, dehydration, and intense inner canyon heat will combine to make any medical problem worse. Stay within your physical limitations and abilities. Drink lots of water and apply sun block lotion before starting the day and re-apply often. Wear baggy, loosely woven clothing that allows evaporation of sweat. Keep your head covered. Beware of drugs that increase your risk of heat illness and sunburn. When internal heat starts to become a problem, almost everyone begins to feel it. That's when you should stop, rest, drink, and wait until you feel okay again. There will be volunteer paramedics most days at NARAM-52. Hang out with local flyers who have brought EZ-Ups, and rest often (sure-right-its NARAM!) in the shade.
SHOES Wear good high-topped footwear. Many of the areas that you might find yourself in area are steep, loose and exposed. As a result, wear sturdy footwear that has good support and provides exceptional traction. Additionally, prickley pear cactus will penetrate most light tennis shoes, like trainers and walkers. Low topped shoes, especially sandals, will not prevent stickers and spines from getting into your socks and causing injury to your ankles.
FOOD & WATER The heat, as well as spending a long time walking around in the sun, will sap your energy, and you need to stay well hydrated and well fed. Salty snacks and water or sports drinks should be consumed regularely throughout the day, and on any rocket searching expeditions lasting longer than 30 minutes. (Remember this mantra: No food = No fuel = No fun.) Stay well hydrated. Urine output should be clear and relatively copious, an indication of adequate hydration. Water or sports drinks are best; avoid alcohol and heavily caffeinated beverages. It is practically impossible to drink too much water, but you can do it if you're not snacking regularly, so munch on lightly salted snacks.
LIGHTNING The west can get some spectacular lightning associated with rain storms and fortunately on most days, we can see these coming from a hundred miles away. If you're out looking for rockets when you see lightning, go to low-lying areas away from cliff edges, lone trees, poles, or metal objects, however the nearby canyons might be subject to flash floods, so you might want to leave the area if it starts raining, and search another time. Do not seek shelter in caves or alcoves. If lightning strikes nearby or you feel the hair on the back of your neck bristle, become a smaller target by squatting low on the ground. Place hands on knees or back of neck with head between knees. Do not lie down or touch the ground with your hands. Minimize contact with the ground and nearby rocks to minimize ground current effects caused by a nearby strike
WILDLIFE In the Rockies, it is a great treat to see wildlife, as there are many species that share our wonderful state with us. Most all of them will avoid you if they spot you first. However, this is August and the beginning of fall, so deer and elk may be rutting for a mate, and if deer are present, then mountain lions might also be in the area. Bears may be foraging for food to build up their fat before hibernating. Rattlesnakes may be out sunning themselves as the weather gets cooler, and coyotes may be seen stalking prey (small pets included). The best thing that can happen is that you'll be able to witness these critters in their natural environment. The worst thing that can happen would be for you to wind up in the middle of their activities. Step on top of large rocks rather than stepping over them so you do not accidentally step on a sleeping snake. Be noisy, to warn animals that you are present, which allows them to get away from you. Keep pets on a leash and never let children look for rockets by themselves, unless they are trained for the outdoors.
COMMUNICATIONS You'll want to be able to attract the attention of others if you get lost or need help. The simplest safety device for kids is a whistle around their neck. Cell phones may not work everywhere (but we think they do here), and FRS radios would be handy for everyone in your party to have. The canyons are not really very deep so you should be able to communicate with the radios. Garmin has a line of FRS/GMRS Rhino radios with GPS that allow you to see where everyone in your party is after they make a transmission. The best communication is to let someone else know where you are heading, so they can come looking for you if you don't come back soon.