mattyboi

Your most serious survival experience?

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Curious how many of us players have ever been in a survival experience, or if not true "survival", what is the most dangerous or stressful situation you have been in out in the bush?

For example; when I was around 11 or 12 years old I went with my dad, brother, and some family friends on my first extended backpacking trip in the Badlands of South Dakota. The entire trip was around a week and a half. One evening we made camp and as I needed to relieve myself, I grabbed a small trowel we had brought for the purpose, and walked a ways into the woods for some privacy. And as you might guess, I made the mistake of not checking behind me to mark my return trip, so after I had finished my business, I realized I didn't have an idea of how to get back to our camp. Then to make matters worse, my first instinct was to panic, and take off running. Thank God I stopped at some point and realized I was probably making a big mistake. I shouted for my dad. When he called back I could barely hear him, which is saying something as he had taken voice lessons in college and probably has the loudest set of pipes of anyone I know. But at least I could hear him, and we kept calling to each other until I found my way back. When I came out into a clearing I realized I had completely overshot our camp and had been headed out into the middle of nowhere. Also, it was nearly sunset, and I had no other equipment with me besides the trowel. It impressed on me at an early age that small mistakes in the wilderness can cascade into serious situations very very quickly.

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Posted (edited)

I've had a few. :)

  • Charged by a mama moose... fortunately she broke off pretty quickly (phew)
  • Had bears raid my camp and one stopped right outside me bitty tent to sniff around.  It was a really hot night so I didn't have a fly on the tent, man he looked huge close up.
  • Had a redwood fall over while out hiking in a rainstorm in the coastal california mountains.  It fell straight toward me but was about 10m too short to hit me (phew again).  
  • I lost a boot during a similar hike while fording the umteenth flooded creek of the day.   I'd gotten too lazy to tie them together and slipped, dropping one boot.  It landed upright and zipped off down the stream like a little boat.  The last muddy, slippery 10km of that hike I did with one boot.

The most "real" survival experience was a day hike with my 72 yr old dad.  We'd climb a 1000m foothill near Denali -- more like a big mound of scree than a hill, actually.  And then a rain squall came up.   Quite suddenly, and so strong the rain drove through my hiking pants, ran down my legs and filled my boots inside just a couple minutes.  It also turned the little map we'd gotten from the lodge into a useless wad of wood pulp, lol.  We emptied our boots and tried to to find the trail back down... slippery scree is bad footing for an old guy, so it was slow going.  We never found the trail.  We ended up descending the hill by launching ourselves from one alder bush down into the next.  When we got down the creek -- which had been a trickle earlier -- was now a waste high torrent.  So I showed my dad how to grab each other's belts and crossed, 72 yr old slo-mo speed (more slippery rocks on the creek bed).  And just to make it even better, about the time we got halfway across the folks at the lodge on the far side chased a black bear out of camp.  It ran straight for us.  We shouted our heads off and it turned at the last second (phew).

Anyway, the folks at the lodge were super happy to see us since we were several hours overdue, I think they were planning a search party when we turned up. :P 

My small mistake that almost cost us: not putting the map in a ziplock.  I do that for backpacking but this was just a day hike so I got lazy.  

Edited by Ruruwawa
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The most serious i have done is not that serious, but one time i was running a Marathon in our capital and suddenly after 24 km my knee felt strange. A marathon is 41,195 km. Like my kneecap was on its way out of its place. So i had to stumble on one leg the rest of the route. Maybe the last 5 kms or so my knee felt a little better so i could begin walking normally again. But it was a long distance to stumble, it was in a city so i was in no danger but i didnt knew the city so i couldnt take any shortcut even if i wanted. My longest run up until that point was 32km but i made it.

Another time was after school i was just a little kid and i had to bike home normally this takes 15 minutes or so, but this day there was a snowstorm and the snow had stockpiled on the road cause it was a small rural road. The snow reached up till my waist. And i had to drag my bike through this aswell. It was really tough. At one point i didnt have more energy in me so i just laid down in the snow and gathered some energy. When i had energy to move again i said fuck this i go up on the field where there not much snow. But i had to climb the small hill to get there not much maybe 1m or 1,5meter but with my bike and through snow it was hard but i made it. Then later the road split in two and i thought i would turn left whereas normally i would just go straight, because turning left gave me some cover from the wind. But it was a mistake because here again i ran into an area where the snow had piled up. So i had to go through this deep snow again. The trip took maybe an hour or a little more and when i came home i had nothing left in me and just dropped to the toilet floor.

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1 hour ago, exeexe said:

At one point i didnt have more energy in me so i just laid down in the snow and gathered some energy.

I know exactly how this feels. One time a friend and I were out in the woods in Montana. We'd been exploring around all day and were trying to get back to our cabin. We ran into a huge snow drift across our path, where the snow went from being at knee level to waist level and then chest level. I'm 2m tall, so I went first trying to break a path through for him to follow after me. In places this drift came up to my neck. It was absolutely exhausting work; took the better part of an hour for us to go maybe 10m because I'd have to keep pausing and just lay down in the snow to try to recover my energy. And after we got through I had to lay there a while again to get the energy to keep walking home.

After that experience I promised myself that if I ever ran into that situation again, I'd spend the time trying to find away around the drift rather than trying to walk through it, because it really is not worth the energy to do it.

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On a day hike stuck in a sleet storm on a mountain, soaked, freezing, little to no visibility, and rocks are icy.  Stay in the rock crevace sliding into hypothermia and hope it doesn't get colder? Try to make it to better shelter and hope you don't slip and fall or slide too far into hypothermia?  We had 3 people in the group and we couldn't decide.  So 2 stayed in the crevase and the 1 convinced walking would be best set out.  The walking one got down to below the trees, found a lean-to, made a fire, dried out a little, made soup and then hauled the soup back up to the 2 in the rocks (following the trail of random items dropped because borderline hypothermia makes you think things like this are smart). Everyone then stumbled back down to the lean-to and somehow managed to live to agree to never tell a living soul - in particular the parents.  Good times, good times.

Also, the soup was stone cold by the time it got back up to the rocks, but not a drop was spilled - so that counts for something, right?

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@Jolan I've never been seriously close to hypothermia myself. Growing up in Minnesota my dad would give us lectures about it and he read us "To Build A Fire" when we were young so I was always conscientious of not putting myself in that position.

I have had to help people who were hypothermic (or nearly there), but it was in a group and we got a fire going quickly so it never felt that serious at the time. But having seen what it's like, I would be very concerned about being hypothermic by myself. They get pretty loopy. 

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34 minutes ago, mattyboi said:

@Jolan I've never been seriously close to hypothermia myself. Growing up in Minnesota my dad would give us lectures about it and he read us "To Build A Fire" when we were young so I was always conscientious of not putting myself in that position.

I have had to help people who were hypothermic (or nearly there), but it was in a group and we got a fire going quickly so it never felt that serious at the time. But having seen what it's like, I would be very concerned about being hypothermic by myself. They get pretty loopy. 

Its a lot like being slightly drunk - you're dumb and you know you're dumb so you think you're compensating by being extra smart, but basically, you're dumb as rocks.  The only reason we survived that huge cloud burst and freeze is luck and the fact that we did actually know what we were doing. And tended to go out over prepared for the day.  As an example for a day hike in summer I had two sets of matches, mittens, a wool hat, a poncho,  a wool sweater, food for two days, a space blanket and a tarp.  Along with the usual stuff - compass, jackknife, chocolate, binoculars, etc. :) That mountain kills a lot of people, we got lucky.

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31 minutes ago, Jolan said:

Its a lot like being slightly drunk - you're dumb and you know you're dumb so you think you're compensating by being extra smart, but basically, you're dumb as rocks.  The only reason we survived that huge cloud burst and freeze is luck and the fact that we did actually know what we were doing. And tended to go out over prepared for the day.  As an example for a day hike in summer I had two sets of matches, mittens, a wool hat, a poncho,  a wool sweater, food for two days, a space blanket and a tarp.  Along with the usual stuff - compass, jackknife, chocolate, binoculars, etc. :) That mountain kills a lot of people, we got lucky.

That's always a good idea. I live in Colorado now and the locals all give the same advice. Freaky stuff can happen at elevation, even in summer. 

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Wow nice stories. I got nothing like that to share I guess. Just some solitary hiking where you have not the best shooes on and it's slippery/raining.

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Posted (edited)

When I was possum trapping in the Tawa Hut area of the Urewera National Park, I would walk 12 hours into the hut with the first load of basic supplies (60 kgs), then go back out a couple of days later for the rest. I'd stay in for a month, then walk back out with fur, and any meat (venison, possum, eel) I had left over, go home to my wife for a week of rest, and do it all again. On my way in on one trip, I saw a small mob of deer across the river not far from the hut, about 30 minutes walk, so decided to take the rifle the next morning, and pick up an "easy" deer early in the stay. I downed a nice big Red hind up on a slip face, and started making my way back down the ridge line with the 90 - 110 kg carcass on my back. I missed my footing, and wrenched my knee sideways tearing a 25mm diameter hole in the cartilage, and stretching the tendons. I knew I would not make it across the river with a busted knee, as it was mid winter, and the river was at it's peak volume which is touch and go to cross even with two good legs. So I took only the heart, liver, and back steaks from the deer, and left the rest. I made a rough two way splint to stop the lower leg continually pulling away from the upper, and started dragging myself the 2+ km upstream to where I could start crossing the three smaller tributary rivers with a little more safety. It took two days to drag myself back to the hut, and I'd slept in a pig burrow for the night, making sure to pee around the entrance so no wild pigs would wander in unaware, and find me in their bed. I never carried an emergency beacon, so I had to stay until either I was able to hobble out, or someone came looking for me when I didn't come home at the end of the month. Either way, over half the months supplies were back at my truck, and I had left most of the months meat supply on the other side of the river. Luckily, I'd had a good run with weather on my last trip, so managed to spend a few extra clear days off the trap line getting fire wood stored away ... it was only a weeks worth, but it was still a good help. I'd drag myself out into the bush on clear days, and put branches on a tarp, then drag it back behind me to the hut, eating as many bugs, and grubs as I could find on the way. Fire is essential for morel in bad situations, and being cold and wet mid winter, it meant I could make tea, hot chocolate, and some basic hot meals to keep myself in a good mood through the pain. I always took flour, and rice in the first supply trip ... so I was able to lay on the floor and make a few loaves of damper bread, and add Huhu Grubs to the rice to make it go further. I'd left a jar of peanut butter there on the last trip, so toasted peanut butter sandwiches were a my little treat in the evenings when the wind and rain made things seem a little bleak (when I found peanut butter in this game, I couldn't stop smiling). After three weeks of doing as much as I could in a horizontal position to let the inflammation go down, and being pretty damn hungry, I fixed a branch to my rifle so I could use it as a crutch with the butt in my armpit .... and started out to my truck. It took me three days to get to the road, I could barely move by the time I got there, and I had completely stopped shivering, so I was in the early / mid stages of hypothermia. My leg had fully stopped working by this stage, and I couldn't use the clutch, so I took the stick off the rifle, and used it to hold the clutch peddle down and change gears on the 1 1/2 hour drive home. It was a real test of mental strength more than physical, and highlighted the need to stay focused on what you HAVE TO do so you don't just lay down and stop moving out of feeling hopeless. 

I'll put photo of the Tawa Hut below, and a pic of the general area for reference. The Tawa Hut in the photo was my home for just over two years ... I loved that place :)

DSC01341_th.jpg

51492213.jpg

Edited by Shane Retter
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 Amazing story Shane. Really incredible. Thanks for sharing it and it's good to still have you with us. Did the leg heal up? I would imagine with such a serious injury and what with so much time elapsing before treatment, it was a long road to recovery.

 Thanks again for typing that up.

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@Carbon 14 years on, and it still plays up from time to time. Luckily the tendons weren't so badly stretched that my knee stayed permanently disjointed. It's still a little ..wobbly ... and It put an end to all my more 'adventurous' hunting trips.

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I agree, that's a great story; thank you for sharing!

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I was out down the river with my family. we decided to bring my dog too. I was feeling adventurous because I would be turning 13 soon.  So I decided to go for a walk with my dog. My brother didn't want to come. So I walk down the island and there was this beautiful view of rapids soaring down the side river...I would have paid my life savings just to get a photo of it.

So I see this cabin that looks brand new. My town up the river has a policy...truce? thing where you don't break into people's cabins down or up river. So, of course, I don't try opening a window. I see a trail behind the cabin and decide I could go down there. But my dog happened to catch a scent of something. He was on the trail of course. So me being the 12-year-old kid infamously known for getting lost on hikes and field trips I follow him. (I panicked and didn't realize he could follow his way back) So I follow him and get off the trail. It was a living hell of wandering through the bush for an hour. Bugs, twigs whipping me in the face, and my dog showing up time to time, never listening to me. I had to walk through a 2-foot puddle when I saw him. I found a beautiful pond however and a nice thought came to me. "I am possibly the first human ever to find this pond." That raised my spirits good enough and I walked to the edge of the island, basically in one direction. I was a bit far from the fire and the boats but who cared. I found my way back. and my dog did aswell. I held him for a good 10 minutes. My dad got worried and looked for me but came back also. and this was just the most recent.

End.

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Welcome to the forums. @AndroidNacho! Did you give your discovery a name, or to this day is it simply "Unnamed Pond"? ;)

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Damn, I'm mighty jealous at these stories (even though there's some real near-death shit in there). I live in the densely populated Netherlands and camping out in the wild (what little there is) is illegal here. Sometimes I go out to a 'wild campsite' with some friends (meaning there's no electricity, one water point but basically just put your tent somewhere in the forest), but being so densely populated one can hardly call camping like that 'survival' (especially when the nearest supermarket is a 15 minute drive away away).

I used to love long mountain hikes when I went to the Alps with my parents, and I absolutely wanna tour Scandinavia some day.

Still not ruling out the possibility that I might someday move to the USA or Canada in order to buy a cabin or house in a small village near the wilderness. In my bones I feel that I miss the connection with nature dearly. Which makes me all the more thankful for games like this that at least let me simulate it to a degree.

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amazing stories here. I actually had my closest call just a few months ago back in may. I actually bought TLD because a friend said "hey you almost died in Canada, its like you lived the long dark!" and I didn't know what he meant so he showed me, and there began my love for the game. anyway this is a long story and I have a few pictures.

 

me and my dad are avid outdoorsman, hunting fishing and the like. I personally also go on solo bushcraft adventures (dad prefers a tent, I prefer tarps).

my uncle and his friend planned a Canadian fishing trip up near Lac La Croix, using Zups canoe and outfitters, me and my dad were invited and of course we said yes.

its a fairly long story so ill condense it

 

we are dropped off at the base of two waterfalls (named...you guessed it, twin falls) and we unload our gear and canoes from the boat and begin our 7 day adventure into the wilderness.

weather was chilly, 44F (about 6C) and the water was barely above freezing, running very high and fast from glacial run-off.

my uncle and his friend (Tom) get in the water first, paddling ahead and taking a look, while me and my dad pack the rest of our gear into the canoe and get ready. they come back and tell us there is one rough spot, but past that its smooth waters.

we get up to the fast spot, we just have to round the corner and we'll be fine, so my uncle gets out and tosses us a rope (to get where he was you need to pass the rough spot, being why we didn't just portage it) my dad grabbed the rope (hes in front, I'm in back) and my uncle begins to pull, we start paddling like crazy into the rapids and about 5 strokes in....my paddle breaks...I spin it (my spare is just out of reach, good one...) and and try and paddle with the handle, Dad doesn't hear me yelling because its so loud and next thing you know, we are tipping into the river.

I consider myself a very prepared person, I'm always ready for a crisis. working in healthcare will do that.

I hold my breath and brace for the cold, throw my hand up and grab the canoe, "keep kicking your legs and breathe" I tell myself to retain focus.

20 seconds and dad still isn't above the water, I begin to worry...splash, there he is, facing the other direction. "TURN AROUND GRAB THE CANOE" I scream at him

he turns and his eyes are bloodshot from the cold and he has a...weird...look on his face (which I now know is being in shock, at the time I didn't make the connection) and he grabs the the canoe

so we are up river from the falls, in between the falls is a fairly large island, and before the one on the left (see picture) is a smaller island. I do a quick speed calculation and figure we cant get to the small one considering how fast we are moving down river, so I scream "kick the other direction!" and dad being in shock and technically unconscious (he has no recollection after hitting the water) he yells "NO NO NO NO NO" and I yell back "THE FUCK YOU MEAN "NO"?? KICK THAT WAY" *pointing at the big island* no response, just kicking the wrong direction

so I say "fuck it, I guess we're going this way" miss the island by 100ft..speeding to the falls...on a complete whim and some sort of intervention, I manage to find a spot where the water is only up to my stomach (I'm 6 foot 3, 1.6meters I think) and I grab let go of the canoe and grab my dad (by this point I realize hes in shock) he isn't moving and his face is turning white

I stand in this spot against the current for 20 minutes, trying to find a way off and onto the island, water is too deep and running to fast. crazy luck that I even managed to get to the spot I was standing in. at that point I see my uncle and tom on the island, screaming at me.

the long story short, they threw a rope and tom dropped it because he doesn't handle pressure very well, so my only choice is to swim across the current to the shallow area...45 minutes of standing in the cold water, dad is turning blue and I'm barely feeling anything below my waist, I decided its either stay here and wait for the cold to kill my dad and make me to numb to swim, or just go for it. both ending with me probably going over the falls anyway.

I'm a fighter, I choose the latter.

one arm, swimming like a fuckin madman, I make it halfway before I realize with all of the weight, I'm being dragged into the current. so I tell dad "ready? were going over.." he says "hrrrglebughhh" (hes speaking nonsense by that point) I wrap my arm around his head to cushion it, and as I'm about to do the same to my own (20feet from the edge of the falls) I see a rock, instinctively I kick my foot and wedge it under.

we are stuck. water is only 3ft but I'm to tired to stand up, holding my dad. I look up...uncle and tom running to grab us...

fast forward 2 minutes, they are stripping my dad naked (hes blue and purple and unconscious) my uncle screams at me to go make a fire, I grab his matches and rush down to where we got dropped off (theres a firepit there) and make a fire.

fast forward another half hour, dad is returning to consciousness and regaining a small amount of color.

another half hour I had the other picture taken by my uncle for "memories" (I think that was my own hypothermia making me crazy)

 

anyway, rescue story is boring, a boat came by a few hours later and brought us back to the outfitter.

 

so if youre ever up in Lac La Croix, at Zups canoe and outfitters. ask about the 23 year old who saved his dad. apparently I'm a hero there hahaha, which I disagree, I just didn't wanna die yet!

anyway, its far better told in person!

I had to make the map to easier explain the story to some coworkers haha

Capture_LI (2).jpg

dads life.png

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Well said story, Mr. @snakevondoof , and truly motivating one. You have my deepest respect for handling that situation so well. Most people would never prepare for it in advance, and even less of them would be able to maintain their composure and make that right call in a seemingly hopeless situation. I went through a lifeguard training in the US last summer so I can pretty well picture it from the story you said. It is NOT easy, trying to swim with someone who is not cooperating, using only one hand, especially not against strong current... I would agree with what others say, you are a goddamned hero, sir ^_^ 

Hope this experience didnt put an end to your outdoor adventures :D

 

Will try to think of mine, but I have been thinking for a while and nothing comes to mind. It is either because its virtually impossible to get into a bad situation here in Europe, or because I am just too cautious. Might be combination of both. I have almost died a couple of times, but it was never anything outdoor related. 

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5 hours ago, Mroz4k said:

Well said story, Mr. @snakevondoof , and truly motivating one. You have my deepest respect for handling that situation so well. Most people would never prepare for it in advance, and even less of them would be able to maintain their composure and make that right call in a seemingly hopeless situation. I went through a lifeguard training in the US last summer so I can pretty well picture it from the story you said. It is NOT easy, trying to swim with someone who is not cooperating, using only one hand, especially not against strong current... I would agree with what others say, you are a goddamned hero, sir ^_^ 

Hope this experience didnt put an end to your outdoor adventures :D

 

Will try to think of mine, but I have been thinking for a while and nothing comes to mind. It is either because its virtually impossible to get into a bad situation here in Europe, or because I am just too cautious. Might be combination of both. I have almost died a couple of times, but it was never anything outdoor related. 

I truly appreciate the kind words. I don't feel like a hero, just a guy in a desperate situation...but that being said, Ill take the compliment ;) 

man it was NOT easy at all, I'm a big guy and so is my dad, my dad weighs around 280lbs (127 kilos) and I had to do that arsehole of a swim with one arm! my left arm (the one I used to hold him) was sore for about a month. I would have had it checked out but once it started to get better I just figured whatever

as for putting an end to my adventures? heck no! whats life without excitement and adventure! I may have almost died, but damn do I have a great story now haha!

and I'm glad you are alive! almost dying is quite and experience

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5 hours ago, snakevondoof said:

as for putting an end to my adventures? heck no! whats life without excitement and adventure! I may have almost died, but damn do I have a great story now haha!

and I'm glad you are alive! almost dying is quite and experience

That is good to hear! And I fully agree, being close to death puts one into a great perspective when they can reflect back on life they almost lost, it can be a great motivation to not waste life and focus on doing things one wants to do, because we really dont know how much time we have.

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