Archive for January 2013

Lost Hikers – Two Outcomes, Both with Important Lessons

Lost Hikers - Two Outcomes, Both with Important Lessons

In the national news this month, two separate incidents occurred that involved two different sets of hikers who had set out for an enjoyable day on the trail.  However, in both cases, their fun quickly became an ordeal when the weather suddenly turned against them and they were not properly prepared for conditions. In the one case, the story had a happy ending.  Two sisters were rescued after spending a night on a mountain in California.  They suffered the effects of hypothermia, but will likely fully recover. The other outcome, however, was terribly sad.  A man and his two young sons succumbed to hypothermia overnight after getting lost on a remote trail in Missouri. When I initially read about this latter incident a few weeks ago, I had planned on writing a detailed post about it.  However, the more details that I discovered, the more that I couldn’t bring myself […]

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Improvisation: Important in the Outdoors … And in Life

Improvisation: Important in the Outdoors ... And in Life

Whether it is a survival situation, or a medical issue, a recurring theme in dealing with an acute emergency in any remote location is the importance of improvisation.  That’s because rarely, if ever, will we have with us an unlimited amount of resources.  In particular, tools, supplies, and, perhaps most importantly, time, will likely be in short supply.  Most often, we will be forced to make due with what little we may have and in a terribly short of amount of time (thus, making an already stressful situation, even more so).  However, this need not necessarily be too bad — In fact, it could actually be an asset.  We just need to train ourselves to do two things.  First, we need to be able to mentally accept that which we can’t change … Or, as a wise old man once elegantly stated, “Embrace the suck!”  And, secondly, we must learn to […]

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Orienteering: Putting Your Navigation Skills to the Test

Orienteering: Putting Your Navigation Skills to the Test

For anyone who spends time in the woods, whether it is in a remote national forest or a local county park, one of the most fundmental skills of which one should have a strong command is the ability to navigate.  Surprisingly, I have found this skill to be uncommon in the outdoors community for one of two reasons.  First, there are lots of people who spend much time outdoors who definitely may be considered advanced, even expert, in their chosen activity — like rock climbing, backpacking, hunters, or adventure racers — but they really don’t know how to use a compass or even properly read a map.  To them, they are satisfied that they have a GPS or that they can read a trail map.  I’m betting, though, that all of you can see the flaws in this thinking.  Or, second, they once learned how to navigate, but they haven’t […]

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