Poison oak can be found on trails throughout California. Roughly 85% of people get allergic reactions to the oils on the plant.


  • Symptoms include redness, swelling, itching, & small blisters
  • The rash can be bumpy, streaky, linear, or patchy
  • An infection is not contagious
  • Usually takes 12-72 hours after contact for the symptoms to appear
  • The rash can last 1-3 weeks


  • Usually has “leaves of 3”, but not always
  • Leaf sets grow left then right, never side-by-side
  • The leaves are shiny
  • The leaves can turn red in the Fall, but not always
  • The leaves have jagged edges, but never has thorns
  • The plant can be a scrub or a vine


  • Thoroughly wash affected areas within 20-30 minutes of exposure
  • Wash clothing with your usual detergent in hot water
  • Wipe shoes with a degreasing cleaning



Four species of ticks live in California with only one carrying Lyme disease. The threat of tick bites is year-round in our climate, but the risk is highest in the spring and summer.


  • Stay in the middle of trails
  • Avoid grassy areas
  • Avoid contact with logs, tree trunks & fallen branches or tree limbs in forests
  • Apply repellents with at least 20% DEET to skin and clothes
  • Check yourself & others during & up to 3 days after activity in tick habitats
  • Shower soon after returning from tick habitats


  • Remove it as soon as possible
  • Use fine-tipped tweezers
  • Grab tick as close to the skin as possible
  • Pull straight up with steady, even pressure
  • Ensure all parts of the tick are removed
  • Clean the bite area with rubbing alcohol or soap & water


There are 33 species of snakes in California. Only 6 are venomous, and they are all rattlesnakes. Thankfully, rattlesnakes generally aren’t aggressive unless threatened or provoked.


  • Triangular head
  • Rattle on the tail, but not on young snakes


  • Stay on well-used trails
  • Avoid tall grass
  • Watch where you step
  • Don’t reach into places you can’t see
  • Listen for rattling sounds


  • Stay calm
  • Give it space
    • A coiled rattlesnake can strike a distance of half its length
  • Stay still and wait for it to move away or walk around at a distance


  • Stay calm
  • Call 911
  • Wash the bite area gently with soap and water if possible
  • Remove watches, rings, etc., which may constrict swelling
  • Immobilize the affected area
  • Keep the bite below the heart if possible
  • Transport safely to the nearest medical facility immediately


Mountain lion encounters are rare as they normally keep their distance. If you do happen upon a cat, they will normally lose interest and move on once they realize you are not prey.


  • Seem as large as possible
  • Make noise
  • Act defiant, not afraid
  • Slowly create distance
  • Protect yourself

Go DB!

Get a shirt. Run a trail. Drink a beer. Repeat. It’s that simple.