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Day 3

 

Yesterday I looked around at my suroundings, I couldn't spot a single house or road.  There was the large timber I went into, as well as a couple others scattered around the area.  The one thing that really stood out was the large hills and cliffs to the East.  It seemed like I was being watched yesterday, but I made nothing of it...

 

During the middle of the night I wake up, scared out of my wits.  Hmmm... I didn't have a bad dream, I can't hear or see anything, I just have that feeling.  Is being out here for two days getting to me, what if I don't get out of here.  What if it snows again for weeks on end and I don't get found until spring when I'm a mummy sickle. 

 

No, its not the bush getting to me, I can hear somthing now, its very quite but I can make out a low noise, almost a purr.  I grab my flashlight and my bowie knife, as well as my hatchet.  I put my headlamp on, but keep the light off until I am ready to see what I am up against.  I slowly and stealthily crawl out of my trench through my emergency exit.  I am at about half strength, as I havn't slept well, and have been rationing my food.  When I flip on my headlight, my heart sinks.  What I see is a huge, full grown mountain lion looking at me from ten feet away. 

 

I imediately drop my flashlight and pull out my axe and knife, all while standing up and spreading my arms to scare away the cat.  It seems to know that I am tired and week as it closes in slowly, so I start talking in a loud firm voice to the cat.  Telling it to stay away or I WILL kill it.  It stops when I start to speak, almost realizing that I'm not going to give in easily and will fight it to the death. 

 

The cat turns away with one last low growl and starts walking away.  What a releif, I thought I was a goner!  I thank God for the strength he gave me to face the beast, then look at the time on my phone, 4:30.  And what, wait a second, I have two new voice message.  I imediately call my mail box and wait for the first message to start. My heart is so high right now and the message starts...

 

"Hello, this is Tammy Kirby, I am calling to get ahold of Kathy, please call me back at......"  My heart sinks, its the dumb lady who keeps calling me with the wrong number again.  But wait, there is another message...

 

"Hey SK, I got your message, I called the cops and they are out looking for you now.  I hope your ok, hang on bro!"  rings my friends voice.  I am going to be ok, I'm going to be saved.  I listen to the message again, and then try again when my phone dies, out of battery.  I start cussing and crying, my only current link to the outside world is gone!  But he still called to get help, help is coming! 

 

With a cheery attitude I head down to the timber at first daylight and start my fire again.  I make some biscuits and gravy and eat like a king.  Then I have some pine tea to help with the cold I've been fighting.  My breakfast seems to turbo charge me and my spirits soar,  I am going to be ok! 

 

At about noon I realize that I need to make a big pile incase someone goes by that I can light on fire and attract attention.  So I spend about two hours making a huge wood pile, with a big tinder ball in it, ready to light at a moments notice.  Then after this I blow on my whistle for another half an hour using three long burst. 

 

When the sun starts getting low in the sky I get ready to head back to my camp when I see a light coming towards me.  I immediately light my tinder bundle with my lighter and start blowing my whistle and waving my hands.  Then I see another 2 lights behind it, and they are driving on what looks to be a road.  In about five minutes they are getting very close.  I can see that flashing lights on the front car and know that I'm safe.

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During the middle of the night I wake up, scared out of my wits.  Hmmm... I didn't have a bad dream, I can't hear or see anything, I just have that feeling.  Is being out here for two days getting to me, what if I don't get out of here.  What if it snows again for weeks on end and I don't get found until spring when I'm a mummy sickle. 

 

- A mummy sickle! :rofl:  I love it!

 

No, its not the bush getting to me, I can hear somthing now, its very quite but I can make out a low noise, almost a purr.  I grab my flashlight and my bowie knife, as well as my hatchet.  I put my headlamp on, but keep the light off until I am ready to see what I am up against.  I slowly and stealthily crawl out of my trench through my emergency exit.  I am at about half strength, as I havn't slept well, and have been rationing my food.  When I flip on my headlight, my heart sinks.  What I see is a huge, full grown mountain lion looking at me from ten feet away. 

 

I imediately drop my flashlight and pull out my axe and knife, all while standing up and spreading my arms to scare away the cat.  It seems to know that I am tired and week as it closes in slowly, so I start talking in a loud firm voice to the cat.  Telling it to stay away or I WILL kill it.  It stops when I start to speak, almost realizing that I'm not going to give in easily and will fight it to the death. 

 

- I have heard that this is the best way to react when a dangerous large animal comes at you.  What a horrifying experience!

 

At about noon I realize that I need to make a big pile incase someone goes by that I can light on fire and attract attention.  So I spend about two hours making a huge wood pile, with a big tinder ball in it, ready to light at a moments notice.  Then after this I blow on my whistle for another half an hour using three long burst. 

 

- Very good, SK!  Make it as easy as you can for your rescuers to find you.  And keeping busy will help with the anxiety and panic too. :yes:

 

When the sun starts getting low in the sky I get ready to head back to my camp when I see a light coming towards me.  I immediately light my tinder bundle with my lighter and start blowing my whistle and waving my hands.  Then I see another 2 lights behind it, and they are driving on what looks to be a road.  In about five minutes they are getting very close.  I can see that flashing lights on the front car and know that I'm safe.

 

- YAY!!! :thumbsup:

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SK, you really have done an amazing job in your scenario.  You've made it really informative, entertaining, funny, and dramatic, all at the same time.  But that's how life truly is, isn't it?

 

It made you think, didn't it? :yes: 

 

I have no doubt at all that you would survive in your situation.  Great job!

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Well, like I told LOST, just thinking my way through a scenario has opened my mind tremendously.  Now, I find myself really paying attention to things instead of just going through life tra-la-la. :grin:

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in day two you said you put you coat and trousers back on to sleep, use your coat as a blanket it gives more warmth like this.

 

When you moved to the woods you should have stayed there and not done back to your trench, the woods offer you protection from the elements, they are warmer than out in the open and you have a close supply of wood.

 

Why didnt you ring the police when you rang home?

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in day two you said you put you coat and trousers back on to sleep, use your coat as a blanket it gives more warmth like this.

Thanks for the info on that, I didn't know that.

 

 

When you moved to the woods you should have stayed there and not done back to your trench, the woods offer you protection from the elements, they are warmer than out in the open and you have a close supply of wood.

I was thinking I already have a shelter that worked, so why build another. Plus isn't it that you are supposed to build you camp cook site 100 yards away from your shelter. Or is that just camping in bear country :blushing:

 

 

Why didnt you ring the police when you rang home?

Because I didn't think of it, I should have.

 

 

 

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:rofl:  I didn't think about you calling the police either, SK! LOL!  Thank goodness Adi did! :hugegrin:

 

That's the best part of these scenarios, you get the benefit of the experience from many people.

 

I'd like to hear if anyone else can think of anything that SK could do if he ever finds himself in this type of situation. 

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Day one-

Wait a second, wait a second.... great, thats the perfect shot.  I turn around and realize that what was my beautiful backdrop earlier in the day, is now a solid wall of snow, blowing right at me.  I turn around, and my already cold body starts shaking as the wind pounds on my back.  I look in front of me but can't see anything but my own two feet.  "Where do I go, what am I going to do?"  I start thinking to myself.  Wait, I have all kinds of pictures with me from today, I'll use that to find my way.  I turn on my camera as I continuosly shiver, and look at the days pictures.  It may not be very clear on the small screen, but I can see that there is a small drop off, about five feet in front of me.  I start walking forward, one, two, three, four, five.... I was right, I fall about five feet off a small sheer cliff. 

 

(I am a little concerned here about the location you chose.  You stated the wind was at your back as you walked forward to the drop off for your sheltering location.  That would bring the wind-blown snow over the edge of the embankment and directly down on top of you.  Have you ever watched a snow drift on the edge of a road that has an embankment.  At first the snow blows over the side of the embankment and out by a few feet into the street.  Then as it continues to drift, it will backfill the gutter area until the snowdrift matches the rest of the field.  You cannot see the difference of the height of the drop off as compared to the rest of the surrounding area.  It all goes smooth.  In your case you would have been buried alive with such a heavy wind.)

 

Now I am at least safe for the time being, the wind isn't nearly as bad here.  I look at the rest of my pictures and notice that there is also a timber, its only 100 yards away, but I don't dare try to reach it now, for the risk of getting lost in the blizzard. The snow has already piled up from earlier in the year, and there is about three feet of snow on the ground. 

 

I am trying to help here, so don't get upset, okay?  Something to consider.  The snow amount of three feet piled up from "earlier in the year" will be ice packed to some degree.  If it is three feet thick, you probably would have been hurt dropping in on it.  Also, it will take you much longer to hack through that amount of ice for a trench the size of your body.  An ice pick may have helped, but a shovel may be nearly impossible to use.

 

I can see the idea already forming in my head, yes, it will have to work!  I pull my pack off my back and dig out my shovel. I take my flashlight off my belt and turn it on, then I start digging a trench right up against the cliff.  I finally hit solid ground after thirty minutes work.  I make sure to take it slow because, if you sweat, you will die.  I continue to slowly dig myself a trench big enough for me to lay in, it looks kind of like a coffin, lets hope its not going to be mine!

 

A smaller type to just sit in would have been better.  Remember, as you are digging more snow is constantly coming over the edge of the field and into your digging area.  It is blowing so hard and fast you most likely could not keep up with it.

 

After a very cold hour and a half, I have my trench.  I put my pack down in the trench on one end, then dig out my 2 thermal blankets, tarp, wool blanket, bunsen burner tripod legs, my small butter knife out or my untensils kit, a granola bar, and garbage bags.  First I dig a small tunnel off from the side of the trench, just in case I need to get out. I then take the tarp, and silver side up pound two corners of it onto the top edge of the cliff with two of the tripod legs, then pound the other two corners tightly into edge of my trench with the tripod leg and small butter knife.  This gives me a nice layer of protection from remaining wind, and the snow. 

 

Wrapping up in your tarp with the shiny side in towards your body is the way to go here.  You want the heat to reflect back towards you.  Wrap yourself up and stay dry.  If necessary, climb into one of your trash bags to keep your bottom half off the snow.  Put all you gear in with your lower half to keep it all dry, and move things around your legs to help insulate them from the cold.

 

After that, I take my three garbage bags and unfold them.  Then lay them in a nice cover on the ground.  This stops any melting snow from soaking me.  I also poke large holes into the ground at the lowest point in the trench, so melting snow can go down through there.  I then take my disposable emergency thermal blanket and put in ontop of the trash bags.

 

I take off my coat and snow pants, and roll them up to make a pillow.  Right here you keep on what you can to stay warm.  Forget the pillow.

 

Then I eat one of the granola bars, to soothe my starving stomach.  Good for you to eat food and help you stay warm.  One thing you want to keep in mind here is, that as your body is digesting food youcan become sleepy.  At a time when you may be cold, try to stay awake. If shivering occurs you are already into the stages of hypothermia.  Concentrate on wiggling body parts inside your blanket and snow clothing.  Moving will help circulation and keep you from freezing to death in your sleep.

 

After I finish my little snack I take my wool nlanket, wrap up in it, put the reuseable emergency blanket over me, turn my flashlight off, then lay down on my "pillow" trying to drift off to sleep, away from all of this...

 

With the amount of gear and clothing you had you would have been plenty warm enough.  When you decided to make a shelter over the embankment you said the drop was 5 feet, but there was already 3 feet of old snow laying there.  That would have put you at two feet below the field level of your drop off.  The snow would have definitely covered you while you slept.  Okay, so here, you have made the decision to hit the drop off.  Put all your gear into one trash bag to keep snow off of it.  Keep on your heavy snow clothing and with as much snow off of you as is possible climb into a second trash bag. Draw it up around your waist like a sleeping bag and sit down.  Use your wool blanket to sit on (inside the trash bag) to help insulate you from the cold ground.  Wrap up in your space blanket, making sure to keep your head covered with some ventilation to breath.  If you feel the weight of the snow coming down too much on your shoulders and packing you in, just stand up and stretch and wiggle until it moves out and away from you.  Then resume a comfortable postion.  Even a fetal position will allow you to be comfortable - but be sure to use that wool blanket between you and the ground.

 

 

Your very first and foremost priority when you decided to stay out there would have been to dial 911.  Even cell phones that have had the service removed can be utilized to dial for an emergency 911 location.  You would want to inform them of who you are, your number you are calling from (if in service), your present condition (cold, sick, injured, etc.), and the best location or direction of travel you can.  Describe what they would see if they were to walk into where you are.  What is around that they could use for reference points.  Stay on the line with them and let them call everyone else for you. Let them help you out.)

 

Hope this will be of some help SK.  We want you to be able to live up to your name and teach others one day from all of your experiences.  Good job, and I mean it when I say you are doing great here in learning and sharing.  One day I would be so honored to shake your hand.

 

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SK: I do not believe it would be necessary to go through the other two days before your rescue.  You have completed a task given and that is more than what some adults would have done.  :clap: :clap: :clap:  :thumbsup:

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Very impressive story SK the only thing I would add is you should always have an Idea where you are even if you get distracted while taking photos which can happen. If you can pick some type of boundary on each side of the area you will be traveling in, say the hills to your east, the highway six miles west of those hills, A large creek on the North side of the area running northeast to southwest and your farm to the south.  As long as you stay within this boundary you know that you can travel in any direction and run into one of the boundaries you have set. It is always good to have a map of the area you are in and a compass.

 

From your story I gather that it would not be a good idea to go toward the hills and more into the Mountain Lions territory, I ran into a mountain lion on a trail one night in Washington State with nothing but my headlamp and a knife, luckily the cat seemed more afraid of me and took off into the woods.

 

Another thing is I think you made the right decision to stay put and wait for a rescue, if you already had three feet of snow and probably would have gotten another one to two feet from the storm it would have been very hard to travel without snowshoes, especially without knowing where you are at.

 

Great job SK, now you need to pick someone else and create a survival scenario for them to get out of. Pass this on the way Holly passed it to you.  :thumbsup:

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I like the highway boundary Ive used it plenty of times in Canada. The only problem is when you come to the road thats impossible to miss you dont know if you turn left or right. Been there done that. When that happened I turn to my inner compass and rely on it. For some unexplained reason I havent been wrong yet.

 

With the knowledge of a stream thats impossible to miss at least you should know from pre planning by the direction of the water what direction you need to go.

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I like the highway boundary Ive used it plenty of times in Canada. The only problem is when you come to the road thats impossible to miss you dont know if you turn left or right. Been there done that. When that happened I turn to my inner compass and rely on it. For some unexplained reason I havent been wrong yet.

 

With the knowledge of a stream thats impossible to miss at least you should know from pre planning by the direction of the water what direction you need to go.

 

 

Swede the way we were taught in the Army was to intentionally aim off course a few degrees in one direction or another, say your camp or vehicle is along a road, you shoot an azimuth a few degrees off to the left of where you want to go, then when you get to the road you know to go right

 

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I have never used a Lensatic  compass just a compass. I know if the road runs north and south and I left going west I know if I go east I cant miss it. In my wanderings hunting or exploring Northern Saskatchewan Canada I watched my directions but didnt calculate distance or travel any more than by watch since foot travel was so inconsistent.

 

I see what you mean though. Straight line travel is impossible in the boreal forests in that area. You go where you can but stay on course. So drift off line is certain.

 

Today I rely on GPS and the "tracks" program. I carry a compass also. I have never taken the time to learn the Lensatic.

 

Dont you need a line of sight for several yards to shoot an azimuth?

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I was taught the same thing....you already know the odds of hitting dead on are astronomicaly against you so you use that information and intentionaly aim off to maintain control of the situation.

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Today I rely on GPS and the "tracks" program. I carry a compass also. I have never taken the time to learn the Lensatic.

 

Dont you need a line of sight for several yards to shoot an azimuth?

 

Try using your compass along with the GPS, use the GPS to find your distance and direction then set your compass and follow it to your destination. you can use the GPS to double check your bearings as you go and make any corrections on the compass as needed. The GPS track program does not help if you are trying to go somewhere you have not been, it only shows you how to get back to a previous point.

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This is a great exercise.  Lots to think about and some very good information and ideas.  I love going through this type of scenario in my head.  Good job, SK – glad to hear you made it!!

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