mattyboi

Your most serious survival experience?

9 posts in this topic

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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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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