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#169551 - 09/18/12 09:11 PM Re: Survivalists? [Re: lori]
aimless Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 3149
Loc: Portland, OR
You make a good point, Lori, about dehydration altering one's ability to think and make good decisions. Hypothermia is notorious for this, too. If you allow yourself to get to the point where your mind is malfunctioning, then no amount of survival training will do you a bit of good.

Sometimes, sadly, experienced and highly trained individuals become overly confident of their ability and forget some of the most basic truths about how not to put themselves into a survival situation. In my opinion, easily AVOIDABLE situations account for a hundred SAR events for every one where the person is fully prepared, alert to dangers and proceeds with caution, yet everything goes to heck in spite of that. Such rare events seems to be more akin to what the original poster wants to discuss.

Sometimes the best survival skill is knowing when to stop, reconsider, change plans and bail out.


Edited by aimless (09/18/12 09:31 PM)
Edit Reason: added another comment

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#169553 - 09/18/12 10:17 PM Re: Survivalists? [Re: aimless]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6742
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Great post, aimless--I agree 100%!
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#169554 - 09/18/12 11:27 PM Re: Survivalists? [Re: OregonMouse]
Gershon Offline
member

Registered: 07/08/11
Posts: 1109
Loc: Colorado
Awhile back, Lori mentioned Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies. It really addresses the mental aspects of survival and addresses the two main issues on the thread. Avoiding trouble and getting out of trouble.

Another book I got was NOLS Wilderness Navigation. I wasn't so satisfied with this one as I didn't feel a person could learn the information without a pretty good knowledge of it before. That's probably the right level for many in NOLS and I did get some good tips.

Another book I read was "Never Get Lost (aka Green Beret's Compass Course." The problem with this method is it involved plotting vectors and pretty soon you run out of room.

Orienteering can't be learned without field work, so I did a lot of it. Finally I tossed both these methods out and learned to navigate using just a compass and 2 sets of Ranger beads. From there, adding a map is simple. All the math can be done in your head with practice.

I just bought the Army and Marine winter survival books for Kindle. They are just $0.99 apiece.



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#169561 - 09/19/12 09:10 AM Re: Survivalists? [Re: Gershon]
Gershon Offline
member

Registered: 07/08/11
Posts: 1109
Loc: Colorado
I think I'm starting to get a better sense of what Jbylake is suggesting. I'm not in agreement with the concept of "everything going bad" just because my mind doesn't work that way. But things can sometimes get a little inconvenient. Often knowing a little trick can turn an inconvenience into just another adventure.

If the thread transitions from general to specific, we may stumble on some good advice or dispel some myths.

Let's look at the problem of getting water. My stomping grounds are the Colorado mountains, so I'll make it specific to there, but the techniques may work in other places.

From about 1/2 hour before sunrise until about 1/2 hour after, dew is the heaviest on our tents. We can wipe that dew off and get some water. Thinking ahead, we can lay our footprint out next to the tent. In a situation where water is critical, pitching the tent in an open low spot will likely result in more dew on the tent. The place with the most bugs is a good candidate.

Often there are brief rainstorms during the night. If short on water, it pays to know where the water runs off the tent. Place a container below that spot before it rains. You might have to dig a little hole. I always carry a coffeecan to carry water to put out fires, to wash clothes and for a marine bath. If you don't have a container, put a shirt or something in the spot and wring out the shirt into something you have. After a brief rainstorm, there are almost always little hollows on the top of big rocks that have water. Many times these only last for an hour or two after sunrise.

Many times I've seen posts on this forum that mention melting snow for water, yet I've never seen a post on how to melt snow. If it's above freezing, you can put a little water in the bottom of a pot, fill it with snow, and stir it with a stick, but that sounds like too much work.

I've been reading the Marine Winter Survival Course Handbook. They suggest making a water generator. Just fill a bag or a shirt with snow packing it as hard as possible. Then hang it in the sun. If you have a black plastic bag, this can be done well below freezing in the sun. Then put a container under it to catch drips. Four cups of packed snow will make about one cup of water.

Looking at my gear, filling the arms of my rain jacket with snow and hanging it in the sun would likely work. Tie the sleeves so the hole is smaller.

If you use white snow, according to the survival manual the water doesn't need to be filtered. However, if you melt ice it does need to be filtered.

If you are hiking, another method is to put snow in a Ziploc bag and put it between layers. Obvious warnings about hypotermia apply.

If you can find a moist spot, dig a hole down to where it gets more moist. Lay your footprint over the hole securing it with rocks around the sides. Put a little rock in the middle and place a cup under the rock. The water will drip down into the cup. This has to be done in a sunny spot. Often a stream bed will still be moist a few inches down. This method usually doesn't get a lot of water.

These are methods that should be practiced before they are needed. They can be passed on by example. I'd hate to start a survival class on a group hike as it would likely start a riot. But if I do it without comment, someone might ask about it.

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#169564 - 09/19/12 09:58 AM Re: Survivalists? [Re: Gershon]
lori Offline
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Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Researching water sources is one of the first things I do when planning. It lets you know how much you have to carry.

A friend once hiked from Death Valley to the top of Whitney. He spent days before the actual trip putting water caches in place, and they hiked in the desert at night instead of through the day. Pre-planning and knowing what they faced = success.
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#169565 - 09/19/12 10:38 AM Re: Survivalists? [Re: jbylake]
lori Offline
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Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Originally Posted By jbylake
But you can have ice water in your veins, and if you still do not know what to do, if your lust of nature, and the outdoors takes you to earth, and mother natures "bad" side all of the planning in the world can go out the window. That's the only point I was really trying to make. And a great many people have needlessly died, for lack of knowledge and skills. Do you see where I'm going with that? You can plan and prepare till the cows come home, but when the boogeyman comes, as we used to like to say, can you deal with him? Other than this one last point, I believe we are absolutely on the same page.



All true - but the ratio of poor planning to random act of bad luck is pretty interesting. The vast majority of our searches are for people with "experience" in the outdoors without real experience, and the search comes as a result of no planning and lots of assumptions and bad decisions.

Misfortunes do happen, but less often when you can get people to understand that climbing (mountaineering, not walking up a hill on a trail) is not a good solo activity no matter how much experience you have. And the vast majority of the searches we've had monthly have been folks underestimating water - which is really telling, since this is such a dry year and most of our rivers (Kings, San Joaquin, etc) are nothing close to their usual flow. Two kids died in the Merced below Vernal Falls - it's trickling compared to its usual. Most of the water rescues could totally be avoided if people were more careful, but that would mean awareness that they are not exempt from the warnings - OMG, why would that apply to us? I can swim!

Awareness always always helps. It helps you not do stupid things that lead to bad decisions. It's why there is a stapler in my car and a little pile of laminated signs talking about the ten essentials and precautions for hikers. NOT DOING THINGS YOU CAN'T DO requires that you understand they are beyond you. Awareness is the first step and sometimes the ONLY step you can reasonably expect Joe Public to take.

We are not going to get every person who attends the SAR presentations we have at REI to go out and learn how to self arrest. We MIGHT prevent them from going on a 60 mile four day backpacking trip without first going on a 10 mile, single night one to figure out how to work all the gear, stay dry, etc. because we can raise their awareness level that backpacking isn't just throwing junk in a sack and go. (20 year old male clause applies.)

We are NEVER going to keep the unexpected from happening, but we can make people aware of the possibilities and that they need to avoid certain things that increase the risk of broken bones, falls, drownings, etc - so that's what we do. No reasonable person can expect to completely eliminate risk, but there's good odds that nothing will happen. As the Gonzalez book Deep Survival points out, sometimes an expert is someone who makes the same mistake every time and never reaps the consequences. It isn't hard to make dumb mistakes and get off scott free - taking food into Yosemite without a bear can, building massive fires every night, free climbing randomly up stuff solo - people have done this and not paid the price. Other people do things wrong and they don't get in trouble or hurt, and so become convinced they won't have to pay attention, the park rangers are just paranoid, etc. I'm sure the experienced backpacker who died on Whitney four seasons ago had managed to survive poor hydration many many times, but that one trip he not only became dehydrated but hypothermic and confused, went the wrong way, fell into an altered state, and succumbed. I've been dehydrated lots of times, once very seriously to the point of an altered state. I try like nobody's business to avoid it each time and still struggle with it.

Awareness of the reality of things doesn't come easy to folks who just want to go backpacking. They will be afraid of bears but not respectful of water crossings. I go all the time with newbies - I'm taking my backpacking class out this weekend. And I can tell you that what's between their ears is the key to it all. You can talk skills all the live long day but you can't make them buy into the notion that they need to be able to light a fire with wet materials just in case - "I check the weather report before I go. I'll take fire paste. I'll just get in my sleeping bag."

It's a hard, hard sell to a leisure backpacker who will go once a year because the odds are actually really in their favor that nothing will go wrong. We really do not have a lot of folks get in trouble. One out of a thousand, maybe.

Extreme environments like desert or winter conditions in the mountains will have a minimal margin for error - and I'll bet folks get into trouble at a higher rate in the desert than in winter. People don't like being cold. Our winter efforts tend to be focused on the area around the ski resort or on roads where snowmobile enthusiasts travel.
_________________________
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

http://hikeandbackpack.com

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#169575 - 09/19/12 03:03 PM Re: Survivalists? [Re: jbylake]
balzaccom Offline
member

Registered: 04/06/09
Posts: 2039
Loc: Napa, CA
Some good posts here. I do have a hard time envisioning a scenario when "everything goes completely bad all at once."

My experience is that things usually go badly one or two at a time. Real preparation is not so much a question of being prepared for when everything falls apart completely, but in making sure that when ONE thing goes wrong, you become extra careful and cautious so that none of your subsequent decisions make things any worse.
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#169594 - 09/20/12 05:35 AM Re: Survivalists? [Re: balzaccom]
oldranger Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/07
Posts: 1735
Loc: California (southern)
Often when you analyze an event, you find that a succession of "bad" decisions (viewed in hindsight) led to misfortune. Alter one or two choices, and the bad outcome could easily be averted. And I can recall many situations where I personally did not continue to make dumb decisions, but got enough right to live till the day when I could post on the internet.


Edited by oldranger (09/20/12 08:20 PM)

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#169601 - 09/20/12 11:26 AM Re: Survivalists? [Re: oldranger]
Gershon Offline
member

Registered: 07/08/11
Posts: 1109
Loc: Colorado
I've done a lot of Googling on hiking accidents. Falls are by far the number one cause. Many are in areas where simple precautions would have prevented them. The next cause seems to be falls near water near falls.

Flash floods are seemingly the second cause, but only because they tend to take a lot of people at once.

Rescues are a little harder to determine as only dramatic ones seem to make the news. There are a lot of people calling for help on cell phones after getting lost. But the primary cause of rescues seems to be injuries after falls.

There are a lot of avalanche deaths each year in Colorado. I put these in a simple category to avoid. Learn about avalanche conditions and then don't go there.

Jbylake seems to want to go to the next level. After reading about fatalities and incidents, I'd say the first thing to emphasis to a person new to hiking and backpacking is DON'T GO PLACES YOU MIGHT FALL FROM.

The first layer of safety will probably prevent 80% of problems. The last 20% is more difficult.

I'm not saying people shouldn't learn about hypothermia, dehydration, heat stroke, bear safety, etc. Maybe emphasis on these have kept people out of trouble.



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#169807 - 09/26/12 12:13 AM Re: Survivalists? [Re: oldranger]
jbylake Offline
member

Registered: 09/15/12
Posts: 202
Loc: Northern KY USA
Originally Posted By oldranger
Originally Posted By jbylake
Going into the Daniel Boone National Park for a few.
"Daniel Boone National Park"??? Don't you mean Daniel Boone National Forest?? This is similar in magnitude to the classic distinction between "rifle" and "gun". Drop and give me twenty, trooper!

This thread can use a little diversion, anyway......

No can do oldranger. In my younger day, I could drop and give you a hundred. Nowdays, well I think I might be able to drop, without breaking something....Yep, and since my bithplace and residence since 1998 has been KY, I should have known the differnce bettween "park and forest". Man am I red faced.

To the rest of you...thanks for all of the interesting replies.
Interesting conversation.

Maybe I have poor written communciations skills. At first I got the notion that some of you made the inference that I was stating that if you didn't have the skills of a S.E.A.L., Ranger, Combat Controller, Green Beret...etc..etc..then you shouldn't be backpacking. Nor do I believe the years of survival training, we were always practicing our skills anytime we were in the field, or SAR, or other related field was a requirement, as well. That was never my intent, and I think as the thread grew, people started seeing where I was going with the thread. (However, one reply, something to the effect that a 125 pound geek, could outsurvive a 200 lb "Macho Man, sheerely based on the "geek's" superior intellect, kind of befuddled me). Machismo was never injected by me, and during my military day's I couldn't break 169 to save my life laugh.
Anyway, since this forum has no real "Introduce your thread", it was a good opportunity to "meet" many of you.
I could still debate the point endlessly, but I think enough people shared their different points of view, that it was a well rounded conversation, that has come full circle.

Thanks for all of your input.

Cheers,
J.

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#169812 - 09/26/12 02:12 AM Re: Survivalists? [Re: jbylake]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3917
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
It's good topic that's worth bringing up.

I like Gershon's observation about falls and flash floods. Those are probably the two biggest gotchas around here. People ignore warnings about rising rivers and getting too close to a cliff's edge all the time here, and they pay for it.

And I like the resurgence in interest in bush crafting skills and techniques. I'm lucky to have access to forest land where I can play with and practice them, and we're all lucky to be able to share them like we can now.

Here's a diversion:

Imagine getting caught out in an ice storm. I know what I would do, depending on my options, but after having been through a few doozies now (while safe inside the house) I can tell you that's a tough scenario.

I don't know of anyone who's been caught out backpacking in an ice storm, or any "Survivor" show that's addressed that one, but if there's a special skill for that I'd sure like to know about it.

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#169830 - 09/26/12 02:55 PM Re: Survivalists? [Re: jbylake]
midnightsun03 Offline
member

Registered: 08/06/03
Posts: 2936
Loc: Alaska
Jbylake...

My guess is that it was your choice in using the term "survivalist" that caught people sideways. It usually implies that someone intentionally sets out to "overcome" the environment or "threat" as opposed to "being prepared" for worst-case scenarios. You don't need survival training to have a "survival" mentality. Surviving an adverse event on a backpacking trip is, as so many people have mentioned, all about being mentally prepared. It doesn't hurt to work through "worst case scenarios" and practice skills like route finding, water finding, fire building, shelter building, and general panic control. Also, I believe OM and Lori both mentioned having a "Plan B" or "bailout plan", which is such simple and yet profound advice. Also, taking a Wilderness First Responder or even Wilderness EMT course sure is a great way to learn how things can go south fast, but also learn what to do about it. There are probably many many people, however, who never bother to think through the worst case scenarios, and they are the ones the SAR groups end up looking for.

MNS (who is headed back up to AK - to live - in a couple of weeks)
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#169833 - 09/26/12 04:20 PM Re: Survivalists? [Re: midnightsun03]
jbylake Offline
member

Registered: 09/15/12
Posts: 202
Loc: Northern KY USA
I sort of anticipated that. In the very first post, I stated in the first line or so, that I wasn't referring to someone hunkered down in a bunker with 10 years of food, and 100 thousand rounds of ammo. Unfortunately, as on any forum, as the threads grow, people jump in at some point in the middle.
I think this was the case, and my mentioning that I did 20 years in the military, probably just aggrivated that situation more.

Thanks,
J.

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#169845 - 09/26/12 07:35 PM Re: Survivalists? [Re: midnightsun03]
dkramalc Offline
member

Registered: 09/19/03
Posts: 1070
Loc: California
Seriously off topic here, but did you land a position up in AK, Andie?
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#169846 - 09/26/12 08:14 PM Re: Survivalists? [Re: dkramalc]
midnightsun03 Offline
member

Registered: 08/06/03
Posts: 2936
Loc: Alaska
Originally Posted By dkramalc
Seriously off topic here, but did you land a position up in AK, Andie?
Yep, back at the hospital I used to work at, but this time I'll be in the cath lab instead of dispatching medevacs. I miss my old job, but I like my new profession too. smile

MNS
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#169848 - 09/26/12 09:00 PM Re: Survivalists? [Re: jbylake]
midnightsun03 Offline
member

Registered: 08/06/03
Posts: 2936
Loc: Alaska
Originally Posted By jbylake
I sort of anticipated that.
I realized that as I did read your initial post, however, from experience I would suggest that any time you feel you have to caveat your post up front it is a good clue that maybe you need to alter your presentation to begin with. Also, you are right, some people will jump in on page 4, or respond to someone elses response without fully reading the initial posts, or others may just skim posts and not spend the time trying to discern context. This is generally a friendly forum, but we all work pretty hard here to have the friendliness, and any perceived threat to that will put people on the defensive.

MNS
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#169872 - 09/27/12 02:21 PM Re: Survivalists? [Re: midnightsun03]
jbylake Offline
member

Registered: 09/15/12
Posts: 202
Loc: Northern KY USA
Originally Posted By midnightsun03
Originally Posted By jbylake
I sort of anticipated that.
I realized that as I did read your initial post,..... This is generally a friendly forum, but we all work pretty hard here to have the friendliness, and any perceived threat to that will put people on the defensive.

MNS

Yeah, I goofed that one up..my apologies to all.
J.

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#169878 - 09/27/12 04:13 PM Re: Survivalists? [Re: jbylake]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6742
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Don't worry--you have made excellent contributions here! One problem with the term "survivalist" is that it has come to mean either ad-hoc "militia" groups in camouflage armed to the teeth or unrealistic TV programs like Bear Gryllis, neither of which have much to do with lightweight backpacking. (My apologies to fans of such programs!) Our main interest--and obviously yours, judging from your follow-up posts--is in being able to cope with emergencies that may arise during a hiking or backpacking trip. I'm sure (at least I hope!) that we're all "in" to that!
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#170138 - 10/05/12 03:52 PM Re: Survivalists? [Re: OregonMouse]
finallyME Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/07
Posts: 2710
Loc: Utah
Interesting topic. I have not had any formal training. I was in the military, and even spent some time in Iraq. I wasn't anything special, so received no special training. Lately, however, I have been doing the same thing I do here, but on the topic of survival and bushcraft, basically that means I belong to a few forums under those topics and participate in them about what I participate here. You can learn a lot from the internet. I also go and practice skills to hopefully become more proficient. Bushcraft and Backpacking seem to be two different topics, although there are a lot of bushcrafters who backpack. I believe that you can take the good of each and make something better.
In August, I took my boy scouts on a wilderness survival campout where they built their own shelters. Last month, we practiced making fire without matches.
Survival is something that both have in common, although they talk about it differently, and sometimes have different approaches. There are a few skills I think every backpacker should have, regardless if they actually ever need to use it. Here is my list of skills:
First aid
fire starting
shelter making
land navigation
signalling
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#170142 - 10/05/12 06:37 PM Re: Survivalists? [Re: finallyME]
jbylake Offline
member

Registered: 09/15/12
Posts: 202
Loc: Northern KY USA
I think your list is just about right for anyone.

J.

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#170144 - 10/05/12 08:24 PM Re: Survivalists? [Re: jbylake]
Franco Offline
member

Registered: 04/05/04
Posts: 1008
Loc: Australia
Re Who Lives And Who Dies.
A mate that has survived a few situations (falling into water by himself at -40f was one...) that would have killed most gave me that book to read.
Very interesting and yes it makes perfect sense.
Not reccomended for the ego of the Rambo types..

BTW, if not mentioned already, keeping an eye of where birds fly to around sunset may lead you to water.

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#170148 - 10/05/12 11:06 PM Re: Survivalists? [Re: jbylake]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3967
Loc: Bend, Oregon
Your post kind of got off to the wrong start - people here are REAL testy about stuff like low impact and ultra light and leave no trace and stuff and consider backpacking almost an artform or a form of meditation, a way of slippng in and out of the wilderness unseen, etc etc.

Frankly a huge number of them have absolutely no survival skills that would be of benefit in the event of total social melt down and they don't like to think about stuff like that, so no - very few people here even have food two weeks supply of water and fuel in their homes. Or a plan...

So nope - not many survivalists here...

We could use one of those vote thingys but we wouldn't get an accurate count since unprepared people wouldn't admit to it.
Jim shocked
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#170176 - 10/06/12 12:26 PM Re: Survivalists? [Re: Jimshaw]
jbylake Offline
member

Registered: 09/15/12
Posts: 202
Loc: Northern KY USA
Originally Posted By Jimshaw
Your post kind of got off to the wrong start - people here are REAL testy about stuff like low impact and ultra light and leave no trace and stuff and consider backpacking almost an artform or a form of meditation, a way of slippng in and out of the wilderness unseen, etc etc.

Frankly a huge number of them have absolutely no survival skills that would be of benefit in the event of total social melt down and they don't like to think about stuff like that, so no - very few people here even have food two weeks supply of water and fuel in their homes. Or a plan...

So nope - not many survivalists here...

We could use one of those vote thingys but we wouldn't get an accurate count since unprepared people wouldn't admit to it.
Jim shocked

Surviving in the woods, has very little to do with low impact.
I can go through the heaviest stuff, and not leave a bit of a clue as to the fact that I was there. We trained in the military for that, but for a different reason. You don't want to leave a trail for the enemy to follow you.

A lot of that, if not all of it will apply to a backpacker/hiker. I'd be willing to challenge all but the most experinced SAR/Former Military, etc..to find me, by following my trail/tracks.

That being said, I was refering to survival skills in case of an emergency on the trail. Many think that "planning" will keep you good and safe from anything. It will, if planning includes knowing how to find food, water, shelter, orienteering, etc..etc..but I get the feeling that a few think that all of this is unecessary.

Let me give you an idea of what can really go wrong. I've experienced many things gone awry, but this one is directly related to backpacking/hiking.

I got permission from land owners to hike a trail that had for years been used primarily to herd sheep, by an Amish group.
Part of the property belonged to a friend, and part by the Amish.

I first took the time to let my friend know, as well as the Amish know, where I'd be, and how long. It could be done in a day or so, but I told them to give me 3 days, as I wanted to take my time, and camp along the way.

I was hiking (in the Clark Range mountains) in Tennesse, on a path that varied from 2 to 4 feet wide. Should have been so easy a child could do it, if he/she could handle some fairly steep grades. Other than that, an untrained monkey could have handled it. Until...as I was traveling through an easy section, nearly 4 feet wide, I took a step, and my whole world went upside down. Later I would find out that a very large rock had fell out of the ground, under the trail, and I essentially stepped on a "bridge" with about 4 inches of dirt to support me. I never knew what hit me, and I went head over hills down the side of a mountain. I sustained numerous injuries, most obvious, broke off two front teeth (now sporting caps) a broken nose, a couple of bad and bleeding cuts, (later, after x-ray's) seven total broken ribs, and a badly sprained ankle.

The worse part was, that I knew that no one would be looking for me for at least 2 more days.

Fortunately there was a cold running spring, and materials for cover ( I lost most of my meager suppplies with my pack, up the hill). I managed to cauterise one of the worse cuts (still have the scars to prove it), and to keep a long story short, was able to withstand the elements, keep myself warm, hydrated, and fed with some candy bars, granola bars, lighters, for fire, and a knife, all of which survived in the cargo compartments of some BDU's I was wearing. I kept the swelling down in my ankle, by alternating it in and out of a cold creek. This story goes on ad nauseam, but aside from being in great pain, my friends came looking for me and found me. Next part of journey was to a hospital. But this was a three day adventure that I didn't enjoy, but was easily survivable, even though I had "planned" the trip. So if anyone ever thinks that "planning" can get them out of any situation, or that planning would keep them away from dangerous situations, they might rethink. This was a trip that a brand new to the lifestyle, hiker should have had no trouble with. Oh, I forgot to mention that the place was ripe with snakes, both rattler's and copperheads.

So I don't argue with those who think that hiking over a well worn path doesn't post dangers. I does no good.

As for the survivalist part, as in the guy's hunkered down in a bunker, well I do a little of that myself. However, I'm not in it for armeggedon, the Mayan calender, a great civil war, or total economic collapse (although the last, economic collapse, could possibly happen). I actually stock a walled off section of the basement with enough stuff to last about 2 weeks. This is because I live in an area where tornado's are common, and this is my greatest concern. We had an F4 last spring that missed my sister's house my a couple of hundred yards, hit a housing subdivison which caused terrible damage, crosse an interstate, tore out a wooded area, hit several more homes, destroying them, and some barns and other structures. One woman was found several day's later by a farmer surveying dead livestock on his property. She had her car lifted and thrown, killing her. No one was looking for her, as she was from out of town, lived alone, and wasn't missed. So, I have enough stuff to get me by in case I'm shut in my shelter, until rescue arrives. BTW which took the people in the subdivision a while because so many homes were it, it took rescue/fire/police, quite a while to search all the homes for injured, trapped or dead people, and to mark them cleared.

But I'm getting away from backpacking/hiking emergency survival. But even the most "testy" person, might want to be able to have the materials to start a fire that might leave a trace in the wilderness, if they were too injured to move too far, and needed the expertise to survive until help came.

That was what I was getting at. Heck, if people want to go so natural as to take off on a 50K hike with nothing more than their underwear for clothing and shelter, and baggies on their feet for footwear, more power to them, and their "planning", and so forth. Yes, this thread did go a bit south, I think because people envisioned me as being a "Rambo" type, but I was particularly intersted in "emergency" situations that can happen when you would very least expect it, in the most hospitable trails or woods that you can experience. And that was all.

J. grin

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#170227 - 10/08/12 10:06 AM Re: Survivalists? [Re: jbylake]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Originally Posted By jbylake

But I'm getting away from backpacking/hiking emergency survival. But even the most "testy" person, might want to be able to have the materials to start a fire that might leave a trace in the wilderness, if they were too injured to move too far, and needed the expertise to survive until help came.

That was what I was getting at. Heck, if people want to go so natural as to take off on a 50K hike with nothing more than their underwear for clothing and shelter, and baggies on their feet for footwear, more power to them, and their "planning", and so forth.




Here I am in the High Sierra.

There are no trees, no animals other than birds, pika and marmots. Since it's fall the latter two are all bedded down and ready for winter under the tons of granite around me.

Let's say I'm daft enough to go out here miles from anywhere without anyone knowing where I am, and have no one with me, and am immobilized.

What survival skills can rescue me? Oh wait - I should have PLANNED and left a note for my family that I was going. I should have taken someone with me to go for help when the ton of granite slab fell on my leg. I maybe could have carried some extra water to stay alive for the couple of days it will take him to go find a helicopter. Because that little tarn is dry over there, the grass is all dead and growing in decomposed granite - not the world's best substance for digging out "mud" to hope for a pool of water. And that stupid grass won't burn long enough to keep me warm as the temps drop to 10F.

That stupid ol' planning - no one needs THAT.
_________________________
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

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#170232 - 10/08/12 01:12 PM Re: Survivalists? [Re: lori]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
The reason search and rescue hammers away at things like planning your trip, knowing about things like water sources, the risks that exist where you are going, being aware and avoiding needing survival skills in the first place - it is UNREASONABLE to expect the average urban worker who might backpack two or three times in a decade to develop fire building, shelter building, etc. Skills.

It is more reasonable to expect them to take steps that do not require lots of time and energy on their part - simply because that is what is more likely to actually happen.

That I am continually having to help people set up REI tents and teach them how to use stoves does not instill a lot of faith that actual survival skills would be within some people's abilities. You are preaching to the choir here - I believe survival skills are important. However, experience teaches me that it won't happen Unless the person has a motivation to put effort in, and a good ninety percent of backpacker just don't.
_________________________
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

http://hikeandbackpack.com

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