Archive for December 2012

Thoughts for a New Year

Thoughts for a New Year

“Heart, be brave.  If you cannot be brave, just go.“ Persian jurist and poet, Jalil ad-Din Muhammed Rumi, penned these words in the 13th century.  They are as true today as they were then. Whether it is sudden emergency situation in the mountains, or a more mundane aspect of our lives, all of us will, at one time or another, become indecisive with, even paralyzed by, fear.  This isn’t simply an expression, but in fact a natural truth.  This is part of your brain’s defense mechanism which has evolved over the eons to keep you safe (just as it has in all land mammals) by gambling that when you spot an approaching predator it won’t notice you standing there frozen so instead passes on or even chases after someone else running away in a panic.  However, sometimes doing nothing can be worse — Just like it doesn’t help the possum or deer in your headlights. […]

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Search-And-Rescue: What Do They Carry?

Search-And-Rescue: What Do They Carry?

I spent a week last Spring in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.  These mountains are some of the most beautiful, and welcoming, that I have ever seen.  But as one gazes upon its rolling peaks, it is wise to remember the adage, Looks can be deceiving.  After all, this is the home of Mount Washington, famous for its dangerously erratic weather, which for 76 years, until 2010, held the record for the fastest wind gust ever recorded on the Earth’s surface.  During all seasons of the year, outdoors people, from novice to experienced, are routinely needing to be rescued from its various peaks and slopes.  Just for the short period that I was there, there were at least three major search and rescues, and a few minor ones.  Sometimes the endings are happy, many times they are not. In this part of the country, search and rescues are conducted […]

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What are the Traits of a Survivor?

What are the Traits of a Survivor?

If anyone is looking for a last minute Christmas gift, then I have terrific recommendation.  One of the best all time books on the subject of survival is Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why? by Laurence Gonzales. First published in 2004, Gonzales seeks to answer a classic question that has puzzled many of us for so long: Why does survival seem so unpredictable?  For example, why does only one out of a group of five in a lifeboat survive while the rest die?  Or, why does an experienced hunter die overnight, while, in worse conditions, a toddler survives many days?  Using a combination of physiological and psychological analysis, plus true-life case studies, Gonzales weaves a deceptively simple, yet powerful, explanation: Equipment, training, and experience, though helpful in a survival situation, are not decisive … It is what is in your brain and heart that counts. One reason that Gonzales’ book is […]

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The End of the World? Not!

The End of the World? Not!

Unless you tend, like me, to be oblivious of popular culture, then you all know that the end of the world will be tomorrow, Friday, December 21, 2012.  That is just a few, short hours from now. If, though, you are also like me, you are already making plans for this weekend.  In particular, I will be spending Sunday afternoon hiking with my friends, Edie and Celeste, who have invited me out as a guest with their Meet Up group.  Afterwards, the three of us, then, will quite likely head over to Mad Mex in Shadyside for a margarita or two … or three. This so-called Mayan Doomsday Prophecy has been a staple of discussion for about ten years now, probably since just after the humdrum conclusion of Y2K (which I find almost hard to recall now).  Since then it has become a fixture of fear-mongering websites and blogs, books, even […]

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Hunter Survives 3 Weeks without Food

Hunter Survives 3 Weeks without Food

As I regularly explain to clients during our wilderness survival courses, a lack of food in a survival situation is not necessarily a big deal.  In fact, in such situations, food is a detriment as it is a stressor on the body.  This is one reason why you’ll often hear survival instructors talk about the Rule of 3s — That is, one can go 3 minutes without air, 3 hours without shelter in harsh conditions, 3 days without water, and 3 weeks without food. The following news account, then, helps to underscore my point: Police in Manitoba ended their investigation today surrounding the events that caused a man to become lost and stranded in the wilderness for three weeks while hunting.  Other than an apple, which he ate on Day One, he had no other food and lost 40 pounds. So, this story helps to illustrate why, of the Seven Survival […]

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Update – Lexi DeForest

Update - Lexi DeForest

Do you remember Lexi DeForest?  In case you don’t, she is the Colorado State University student who in late August made a video of herself while she laid waiting (painfully) for a Search and Rescue team in a remote section of Wyoming after severely breaking her ankle.  For more information about what happened, please read our original post. Anyway, about a month after her accident, Lexi posted another video.  In it, she provides more information about what caused her to fall and the effort involved afterwards to rescue her.  Like the first one, this video offers us all many great lessons — Chief of which is the power of positive mental attitude.  Happily, Lexi appears to be doing amazingly well. Check it out for yourself:

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The Survival Knife: Which One for You?

The Survival Knife: Which One for You?

For anyone who spends time in the outdoors, arguably, one of the most important items to consider having with you is a knife.  It can certainly be handy as an all-around tool, but, more to the point, it plays a vital role in your survival pack.  After all, preparation is a key component to best responding to an acute emergency situation and a knife can help you more easily do 1,001 things.  So, spending a little time considering which knife can best serve your personal tastes, your chosen outdoor activity, your potential needs, while not burning a hole in your wallet, can pay off huge dividends.  Let me, then, offer you a few thoughts which you might find helpful to get your started. A survival knife isn’t just used for cutting.  In a survival situation, you will most likely also be using your knife to pry, pound, chop, dig, scrap, […]

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