Fire Tacks

The Adventurer, Vernon Wade

Vernon was born in the Pacific Northwest and still lives in the shadow of Mt. Hood, near the small town where he grew up. Vernon has spent decades wandering the hills, hunting mushrooms, camping and riding motorcycles into the remotest nooks and crannies to be found in the region.

I dug the latrine behind a large stump about fifty yards from camp.

The trail meandered between the big pines and brushy undergrowth. It was hard to find in the daylight; at night the trail was invisible.

My headlamp illuminated random tangles and shadows of looming trees. It all looked the same. Just a few steps out and camp had disappeared.

Peristalsis drove me into the forest. I blundered across the latrine just in the nick of time and somehow found my way back to camp.


Not wishing to repeat that moment of desperation, I purchased some trail markers to use next time I went out. Fire Tacks are small retro-reflective triangles or cubes attached to a robust steel pin. Stuck to the side of a tree at about eye-level, they brightly reflect the light from your headlamp. Fire Tacks come in a variety of colors. I chose blaze orange, because they are florescent and should make the trail easier to pick out in the daylight,too. They also come in stealth brown, so they blend in during the day and only show up when you shine a light on them at night.

I used blaze orange Fire Tacks to mark the trail to the latrine.











During the day the tacks were unobtrusive. Because they are small, they are hard to spot unless you know to look for them.

At night they glow brightly when your light touches them, relieving the pressure of that early morning trip to the toilet.


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