Lance Foster (hengruh) wrote,
Lance Foster

Long post: The Tourist Test

OK, I told you last time I was going to give you the results of my taking the Kamana “Tourist Test,” so here it is:


“…If you don’t know the answer right off, just move on to the
next question. It shouldn’t take you that long, maybe an hour.
Enjoy the test and regardless of whether you feel you were able
to answer many of the questions or not, take time to reflect upon
this once you have finished.”

Name: Lance Foster
Today’s date: Jan. 2, 2013
Name of nearest town: Helena
Simple description of the area: Intermountain valley in western Montana

INSTRUCTIONS : The first thing you should remember when taking
this test is that honesty is the best policy. The object is not to
prove anything, but simply to find out what you know and what
you do not know. The test will illuminate for you what Wilderness Awareness School is all about. If you find yourself interested in
knowing the kinds of things that are on this test, then this school
is for you.

Find a quiet place where you will be able to concentrate. Answer
the questions in short, succinct phrases or with single word
answers. If you do not know the answer, leave a blank. Quick
guesses are fine. If you were asked, “What is 2+2?”, in a second
you would write “4.” This is how we want you to treat this test.

When answering the questions on the following pages be sure to
think of plants and animals that are specifically located in the area
described above (only name animals and plants from the bioregion
that you have chosen). Have fun!

1. Name two species of ticks found in your area.
a) Deer tick
b) Dog tick

2. Describe these ticks by size, color and general characteristics.
a) Brown, small, flat body
b) Smaller but similar to above

3. What two diseases are carried by ticks?
a) Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
b) Lyme Disease

4. How does one prevent tick infestation when traveling in the
= Tuck pants legs into socks or boots; keep out of brushy areas

5. Which wind in your area is the harbinger of heavy rains?
= West/southwest wind

6. Which direction does the cold, clear air blow from?
= North/northwest

7. What type of tree is lightning most likely to strike in your area?
= Boxelder (I see lightning scars on several in the neighborhood); large Ponderosa pine

8. What five plants in your area are most poisonous to eat?
a) Death camas
b) Water hemlock
c) -
d) -
e) -

9. Name one poisonous snake in your area. (If none, write “none”)
= Rattlesnake

10. What is a sign in your area of a particularly cold winter to
= Extra fuzz on fuzzy caterpillars

11. Which plant growing locally is known to natives of the region
for its effectiveness in cases of fever, colds or respiratory ailments?
= Chief’s medicine (I think it’s horsemint or bergamot, but not sure at the moment, I just knoww hat it looks like when flowering- pink-purplish flowers)

12. Which plant growing locally is known to natives of the region
for its effectiveness in aiding insect bites or stings?
= Not sure what the Indians used here, but I use either mud or plantain weed

13. How are they used?
a) chief’s medicine: tea and/or in sweatlodge on hot rocks
b) insect bite: mud, apply to bite; plantain weed: chew and apply

14. When is the best time of year or in their life cycles to gather
these plants?
a) chief’s medicine: just before or during flowering
b) plantain weed: anytime

15. Name two plants which are edible that have poisonous lookalikes
growing in the same bioregion.
a) camas/death camas
b) water hemlock/cow parsnip

16. When people encounter bears in the wild, they sometimes do
things which cause bears to become aggressive. Name two of the
most dangerous and common situations where bears are known
to attack people.
a) bear surprised esp. when guarding food
b) cubs present

17. What time of day (during daylight hours) is least active for
birdsong and calls?
= Afternoon

18. When a mountain lion makes a kill, what does it do with the
carcass after it has had its fill?
= Covers with twigs, leaves, loose dirt, etc.

19. What are the symptoms of rabies in a wild animal?
= Stiff legs, growling, foaming/salivating a lot

20. Which mammal in your area does not have the potential to
carry rabies?
= Deer

21. What are the symptoms of distemper?
= Not sure

22. Name an animal in your area which commonly carries distemper.
= Fox?

23. Which trees are most dangerous in a wind storm? Name two
species and explain why they are dangerous.
a) Box elder: brittle limbs
b) Cottonwood: same

24. Name a tree that is good to hunker down by during a severe
wind storm.
= Not sure, maybe spruce?

25. Which trees make the best products for use as insulation in a
survival situation for building a temporary shelter.
= Juniper, spruce, fir, Douglas fir

26. Which trees in your area indicate an area of low sunlight, cold
or wet situations which should be avoided in a cold emergency
= Spruce and fir (not Douglas fir, real fir)

27. When a twig is ready to be harvested for burning there are
ways to tell. How does one recognize twigs which are perfect for
= Very dry, break/snap easily but not crumbly

Track Identification
Use the illustrations A through L to answer question 28.

28. Pick 10 of the 12 tracks from the previous page and identify
the animal, or a close relative that lives near to you (non-human
that is). Identify the species (or at least family) of animal for each
of the 10 that you have chosen. Place the letter of each track next
the name.
1) A: Mink?
2) B: Cottontail rabbit
3) C: Squirrel
4) D: Looks like an opossum but they don’t live here, nor any of their relatives
5) E: Deer (we have two species, white tail and mule deer)
6) F: Some kind of cat, maybe bobcat
7) G: Dog or coyote
8) H: Fox?
9) I: Muskrat
10) J: Some kind of weasel?
11) K: Wolf or large dog
12) L: Fox?

Trail Interpretation for Gaits and Body Mechanics
Use the illustrations/questions A through L to answer question 29.

29. Look at the track and trail patterns on the previous two pages
and choose 10 which you can interpret. Place the letter of the
track pattern next to your brief interpretation.
1) A: Deer walking
2) B: Deer running
3) C: Cat walking
4) D: Cat running
5) E: Too blurry on test; can’t tell what it is, but it looks like it’s foraging
6) F: Rabbit, looks at #3 like it sped up
7) G: ?
8) H: ?
9) I: ? (Don’t know gaits at all I guess)
10) J: Doe?
11) K: Decrease?
12) L: ?

30. What is the relationship between the rate at which a track ages
and sunshine?
= If it dries out faster it ages faster, so if the track is in full sunshine would increase rate of aging.

31. What is the relationship between the rate at which a track ages
a) sand content?
b) clay content?
= Sand drains better, so I would think the track would not only dry out faster, the grains are coarser so the track would lose shape faster as the particles crumble away from the edges as it dries. Clay would hold both moisture and shape longer, so the track would age more slowly

32. When a bird is singing from a low perch, how will a feeding
deer respond?
= It would imply there are no ground-based predators so that would calm the deer

33. What predator leaves its droppings at the base of large trees or
on logs?
= Bobcat? Fox? Not sure.

34. What predator leaves its droppings concisely at the intersection
of two trails but only in places in open country or with open
sky above?
= Not sure, maybe a member of the dog family

35. What predator marks its droppings, or those of another of the
same species, with urine?
= Don’t know

36. What animal sometimes fills hollow trees or caves with its
bean-shaped droppings?
= Don’t know

37. What is a deer’s most likely response to approaching humans?
= A quick look and then flight

38. Why do deer respond to approaching humans in this fashion?
= To identify what kind of predator is coming

39. Think of a deer’s most common response to approaching
humans. How do jays respond to the deer’s actions?
= Jays begin scolding?

40. Describe the odor of red fox urine.
= Don’t know- never smelled it.

41. What predator will eat a bird and leave feathers which are cut
neatly at the base—especially of the larger feathers?
= Don’t know

42. What predator will eat a bird and leave the feathers mangled
and matted with saliva?
= Something in the dog family

43. There is a large tree on the edge of a dense thicket bordering
a field. There is a slight breeze blowing from the southwest to the
northeast. There are many intact dove feathers in a northeastsouthwest
line with the smallest the furthest out into the field, the
largest right beneath the tree. It is afternoon. That morning at
dawn there was no wind, last night a south breeze blew. What is
the predator most likely to be?
= Owl of some kind, maybe great horned owl?

44. At the base of a pine tree there are several egg-shaped gray
masses of fur, skulls and feathers littered about that are of varying
ages. The masses are about golf-ball-sized in diameter. What are
these most likely to be?
= Owl pellets

45. Name an insect that becomes very abundant during late summer
and early fall in the grasslands and meadows and that provides
an important staple food for many ground feeding mammals
and birds.
= Grasshopper

46. What do green, shiny flies in large concentrations indicate?
= Feces around somewhere (or is that, a dead body around somewhere)

47. What type of caterpillar feeds on cherry and makes visible
webs that are commonly seen in spring?
= No idea, we don’t have cherry trees here; maybe a tent caterpillar?

48. What is one of the most dangerous spiders of your area and
what markings identify it?
= Black widow; red hourglass on underside of abdomen

49. What four-legged animal has five toes on the rear foot, four on
the front, and leaves footprints in the snow around the base of
berry or seed sources in the snow showing a predominately hopping
gait, with tail mark in the powder and a trail width of 1.5”?
= Not sure, meadow vole? Deer mouse?

50. What animal is so strong that it can hardly contain its energy
when it moves across the level ground and must jump extra far
every so many bounds just to use up that extra energy? Hint: It is
quite dense in body mass, it has bark colored fur and speaks with
its tail.
= Some kind of squirrel?

51. The tracks of this animal are in a pattern often confused with
the animal in #50, as they are similar in width and in the number
of tracks together. But it is almost its opposite in body density:
light, almost bird-like in its build, especially its bones and skull. It
uses its tail in a different way. It is colored like the ground it lives
next to and uses almost no trails in its usual forays for food—that
is, unless one considers the whole of its environment a trail.
= No idea from this description.

52. Where would one most likely encounter a network of vole
trails (Describe the environment especially concerning the relative
height and species make-up of the vegetation)?
= Meadow which has heavy snow during the winter; not sure of further details

53. What is a small mammal that feeds beneath the leaves and litter
but above the soil, either moving incessantly in its search for
insects and other invertebrates, or going into a state of torpid rest?
Its remains are often found in the pellets of owls.
= Shrew?

54. What small mammal feeds on insects, insect larvae, and other
invertebrates by wedging the root mass of surface vegetation into
a continuous trap for its prey?
= Mole?

55. Deer trails in the wilderness (away from the influences of the
modern world) appear and disappear as one follows them through
the forest. What is the reason for this?
= Because they concentrate in areas they must go across if those areas are steep so they make common trails in the easiest way to go up or down a slope, or through heavy brush, and that makes a deer trail. But in easy more open terrain the deer spread out more and so a trail is more rare since they don’t have to stick to one route,

56. What are two common rocks of your area (by name or description)?
a) Flathead sandstone
b) Madison limestone

57. What are three basic soils of your area?
a) Don’t know the names
b) “
c) “

58. What can you predict about the whereabouts and/or exposure
of deer regarding their winter daytime bedding areas in relation to
the four directions, weather, and position of the sun?
= Facing south/west to get more warmth if sunny; more in deep timber of weather is bad

59. How do squirrels and birds behave before a cold weather pattern
arrives in the winter or fall?
= Very active to forage more food in case they have to hunker down when the storm/cold hits

60. What did the settlers of the region do to the area that created
a major impact on the life of the area?
= They settled all the watered valleys and cut trees, changed all the vegetation to put in agriculture, drained ponds and marshes, made irrigation ditches and dams to alter the hydrological patterns. The mountains are still much like in the old days but the valleys and the wildlife depending on them are very changed.

61. How did this change in the land effect the rivers, lakes and/or
bays of the area?
= The Missouri River was dammed in several places, creating several artificial “lakes” (reservoirs) and drowning riparian systems, creating new systems with more infertile margins. The reservoirs are deeper and the water column is different; they were stocked with nonnative fish which meant the native species are gone or rare, and the introduced species (walleye for example) dominate the waters there.

62. What is the single most important factor affecting a deer herd’s
choice of trails in a suburban setting?
= Vegetative cover

63. What animal leaves a dropping, or series of droppings, in one
location composed entirely of one food type including all yellow
jackets, all berries, all animal products or all acorns?
= Bear?

64. List two mast (nut producing) trees of your area.
= We don’t have any nut-producing trees here; no “mast” happens. The whitebark pine up in the mountains produce pinecones with pinenuts that bears depend on, but the pines are in severe decline.

65. List four types of edible berries of your area.
a) chokecherries
b) currants
c) strawberries
d) huckleberries

66. If there were no sun shining (cloudy sky) and you needed to
walk in a straight line for several hundred yards through a thicket,
how would you do it? List three ways.
a) The right stride tends to be longer than the left, so overcompensate with the left
b) Look straight ahead as far as you can and straight back, and keep looking back and forth as you move to keep moving in a straight line
c) ?

67. Describe three methods that you can use to find your way
back through trackless wilderness in a situation where there is no
snow or sand and where tracking is difficult (such as through a
forest)—in other words, back tracking is not an option.
a) Follow drainages downslope
b) North star
c) Using the sun stick

68. Where in the sky is the sun at noon?
= Overhead, but depending on time of year, more to the south (winter) or more overhead (summer)

69. In the summer, the sun rises __North__ (North, East,
South, or West) of __East__ (North, East, South, or West).

70. The most reliable part of an herb to be studied as far as identification
is concerned is which structure or part?
= The flower

71. What is a compound leaf? (Draw one.)
= One petiole, several leaflets often confused for leaves

72. What is an irregular flower? (Draw one.)
= I forget

73. Name two ways you can be sure you are looking at a leaf on
a tree and not a leaflet.
a) Look for the petiole
b) Look underneath the tree for fallen leaves, as leaves fall whole at the detached petiole

74. Draw a simple map below and simply place a check mark next
to the letter if you have completed that task as indicated by the
instructions and letters below.

If you were flying above your neighborhood at the altitude of a
high-flying hawk, could you easily map out the waterways (a.),
the forests (b.), the thickets (c.) and the other features of your
neighborhood for a one mile radius (d. indicate the four directions)?
a) x
b) x
c) x
d) x
= Not going to draw a map right now, but I know where these features are within a one mile radius.

75. Name five plants that are extremely common in your area:
a) dandelion
b) box elder
c) lilac
d) lodgepole pine
e) knapweed

76. How did the native people ensure that there would be enough
plants for medicines, crafts and other uses of herbs, in their area?
= Burning, although here lightning-caused forest fires were very common (still are) so I don’t think they did it here as much as elsewhere in the U.S.

77. Why did the forests flourish as result of the interaction of the
people and the land?
= Not sure what they are getting at here; the forests here didn’t flourish that I can tell

78. Name four non-flowering more primitive plants of your area.
a) horsetail
b) moss
c) lichen
d) algae

79. What was the indigenous culture of your area?
= There were several ancient indigenous cultures. Archaeologically they were the Paleoindians (Early Prehistoric), the Archaic period (covers part of Early and Middle Prehistoric Periods), and the Late Prehistoric Period, before the Historic Period. The Historic Period tribes that were in this place were the Salish (the earliest named tribe here), the Shoshoni, and the Blackfeet. Later on the Chippewa-Cree came in during the European settlement period.

80. What was their primary staple food in winter?
= Meat from buffalo, elk, deer; supplemented by dried bitterroot and camas.

81. What was their primary staple food in the autumn?
= Same on the meat, except berries in the fall.

81. What was the most important food in the summer?
= Same; Summer was the season to dig and roast bitterroot and camas

82. Did they migrate?
= Yes, during the buffalo hunts

82. From where to where?
= From/through this area to over near Great Falls and the plains beyond

83. What time of year is the time of most rapid plant growth?
= Spring and early summer

84. What is the time of year where plants add wood to their structures?
= Fall?

85. What key animal and/or plant species are missing today from
your local forests (name three)?
= We pretty much still have all the key animal species here, although in much fewer numbers; only the buffalo is missing. Frogs also seem to have declined since my childhood.
As far as plants, it’s pretty much the same picture, all still here but some are very much threatened, especially those depending on the valley habitats that human beings have changed the most.

86. Describe second growth forest.
= It kind of depends on whether the primary growth (old growth) forest was done away with through human action (logging) or natural action (forest fire). In either case, the trees are smaller, and usually of a different species. I don’t know of any old growth (primary growth) forests around here.

87. What in an aquifer is the recharge zone? Describe it.
= I think it’s the area where the most water (rain, snow) falls and has the opportunity to not run off but soaks in and gradually adds to the aquifer?

88. What does an established river otter population indicate about
an ecosystem?
= I would think the area is diverse and healthy, so that the food pyramid in the water supports enough fish to support the otter, as well as low pollution and a lot of native vegetation remains; water is fast and pure.

89. What does the presence of many frogs indicate about an
= Same as above I think; water is slow, slow change in environment

90. What does the presence of many kinds of vines and thorns
indicate in a forest?
= Stress on the vegetation, such as overgrazing, by either livestock or too many deer

91. Name local ecosystems of at least six types.
a) Alpine
b) Subalpine
c) Montane
d) Mountain meadow
e) Riparian
f) Plains grasslands

92. Where in your area can you:
a) find sand?
b) clay soil?
c) really rich soil?
= Sand: In the valley, where the sand and gravel operations are going on; Clay: Certain places along creeks (I used to know some specific areas but no longer); really rich soil along creek benches.

93. What is the first type of tree to move into a newly cleared area
(name two)?
a) lodgepole pine
b) douglas fir

94. What is the most common soaring hawk of your area?
= redtail hawk; this is the type I’ve seen most often here

All animals have certain strategies which they follow. Their bodies
and behaviors are a reflection of this. For instance, a house cat has
large eyes, as that is the dominant sense, and therefore its strategy
is to walk slowly, and to look around often during a short
pause. Considering that, answer the following questions:
95. Coyote:
a) What is the dominant sense of a coyote? = Hearing, and smell
b) What is its hunting strategy? = Listen for prey under snow, then leap on it, as an example
c) How does this strategy influence a coyote’s choice of trails? = Interesting question, never thought about it

96. Weasel:
a) What is the dominant sense of a weasel? = Sight?
b) What is its hunting strategy? = Look for prey
c) A weasel has a concern that a coyote does not, which greatly
affects its behavior. What is this concern? = worry that a flying predator might get it
d) How does this affect a weasel’s behavior? = hangs out in heavy brush

97. Deer:
a) What is the dominant sense of a deer? Hearing, then sight
b) What is its feeding strategy? Browse, stop and listen and look, then browse again

98. What is the activity strategy of a typical, suburban house dog?
= Smell around for something interesting, then follow the scent

99. Where are the descendants of the native people who once
inhabited the area located today (What states or reservations primarily)?
= The Salish are on the Flathead Reservation up by Ronan, the Blackfeet are on their reservation up by Glacier Park, and the Shoshoni are mostly down on Fort Hall Reservation in Idaho

100. Describe the difference in forest cover between a North slope
and a South slope in natural-timbered areas. What species really
gets more numerous on the north side?
= Different species of trees – the cold-tolerant species like spruce and fir are more common on the north slope, but it also depends just as much here on the altitude

101. What herbs grow in the winter on southern exposures in local
parks, yards and roadsides (name three)?
= I haven’t looked – good question

102. Draw a fast and effective shelter for emergencies (label materials
in a cut away view showing some detail of structure, insulation
and other important aspects of practical shelter building).
= Not going to do this here as it’s a hassle to do and post a quick drawing; main thing is a shell to protect from rain and wind, and then an insulating layer inside

103. What tinder works fastest in your area under:
a) dry conditions? = Grasses, pine needles, pine sap, twigs
b) wet conditions? = Pine sap and maybe twigs on drier part of the tree

104. What trees in your area have opposite branching with compound
leaves (name two)?
= None that I can think of, off the top of my head. We have few hardwoods and mostly conifers here.

105. What are the most common native trees in your area growing
in wetlands (name two)?
a) alder
b) willow

106. Name three more shrubs not mentioned in the previous questions
that are common in your area.
a) mountain mahogany
b) wild rose
c) buckbrush

107. What is a common creekside plant in your area?
= willow

108. What are three native grasses of the area?
a) buffalo grass
b) fescue
c) wheatgrass

109. Name four plants which are used for making baskets in the
a) pine needles
b) willow
c) ?
d) ?

110. Name three plants good for making cordage in the area.
a) ninebark
b) cottonwood inner bark
c) nettle

111. What wood in the area makes good bows (name two)?
a) mountain mahogany
b) ?

112. What wood in the area is good for arrows?
= ?

113. What wood is really hard in your area (name two)?
= None; even the “hardwoods” are soft, like box elder or mountain maple

114. Which are the hottest burning woods (name two)?
a) pine
b) ?

115. Which tree grows really fast?
= cottonwood

116. Which tree grows really slow?
= Whitebark pine or subalpine fir perhaps

117. Name five animals that can be physically or strategically imitated
in your area which would help you in a survival situation.
Give the behavior you would mimic from each next to the animal’s
a) bear – general habits, looking for berries and roots, living in cave
b) deer – watching and listening, bedding down in bad weather, move in dusk/dawn
c) wolf – pack for hunting and defense of territory, raising young
d) wild cats, hawks – get good vantage point for observation of surrounding area
e) squirrel – nest building for warmth

118. Name one type of call (a sound emitted by wildlife) that
affects many species of birds or animals.
= Jay or flicker warning cry

119. Name two kinds of insects which call in your area.
a) crickets
b) grasshoppers (clacking sound)

120. What common bird in your area has a crest on its head?
= gray jay in hills; in town, cedar waxwing

121. What common bird of your area has a white eye-ring?
= Not sure

122. What common bird of your area has white wing bars?
= mallard duck

123. What common bird of your area feeds on the ground and has
white in its tail feathers?
= not sure

124. What common bird of your area lives in thickets and will not
usually be seen in tree tops?
= forget the name (creeper? Kinglet?), a small bird hard to see

125. What common bird of your area loves the tree tops?
= red tailed hawk

126. What are five really common birds in your area that you
haven’t named yet?
a) junco
b) common sparrow
c) chickadee
d) robin
e) meadowlark

127. Name two kinds of common woodpeckers in your area.
a) flicker
b) ?

128. Name two birds that will tell on a stalking hunter or animal
in your area.
a) magpie
b) gray jay

129. Name a bird that will tell of the presence of a large soaring
hawk or owl by mobbing the predatory bird.
= Crow

130. What is the most common snake in your area?
= watersnake (don’t know the scientific name)

131. What is a common turtle of the water in your area?
= turtles are not common here; there is a water turtle I’ve seen but don’t know the name

132. What is the first frog, toad or treefrog chorus to sing in your
area in spring?
= I never hear any here

133. What is a common salamander in your area?
= No idea

"TOURIST TEST REFLECTION: After you finish all four levels of the Kamana program, we will ask you to go back and take the test again so you can compare the differences. Take a few minutes to reflect on your experience before writing.”

My own reaction?

They don’t give a key for the “right answers.” That’s just as well, because when you do this test, it gives you an idea of where you might start improving your knowledge. I was spotty overall, but according to this test and how I felt about it and where I struggled most, tracking is probably my weakest area right now overall.

I certainly learned a lot about what I -need- to learn!

So what can I learn about where to start? I guess I should start with improving my understanding of tracking and how it interacts with the ground conditions. So I’ll be digging through some websites and books to begin with, to see how to learn and what resources for tracking there are. I’ll also be taking a walk later today to see what I can see in the way of tracks and animal sign in the neighborhood. I’ll look at the condition of the snow too. It’s sunny and cold, like yesterday. I might see only human tracks, dog or cat. But that’s all part of the picture too, right?

How about you?… maybe you could pick one or two of the questions that interested you most. Perhaps you ran into a question whose answer that you didn’t know, but that you thought you did know or should know. That’s my challenge to anyone who reads this. Even if you don’t take the whole “Tourist Test,” pick ONE of the questions that interested you most, and find out the answer. And if you are having a hard time, let me know and maybe I can help you find the answer, because that’s how I learn too!
Tags: bioregion, helena, montana, natural history, naturalist

  • Big Storms Tonight with the Chance of Tornado

    Big storms coming here tonight in Iowayland, on the border of Kansas and Nebraska, along the Mighty Mo. We have hot wet weather today, in the 80s. A…

  • Tracks and Birds

    Moon waxing crescent, 23% full 33 degrees F Feels like 24 F Dew Point 19 F Rel. Humidity 55% Wind W 12 MPH About 6 inches of snow on the ground from…

  • Waiting for Snow

    Mostly cloudy, 36/28 F. Rel. Humidity 52%. W 17 mph. Visibility 10 mi. Sunrise 8:11 am, sunset 4:59 pm Not too cold, waiting. One of those still…

  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.