As I sat here editing part 8 of Lost In The Woods I found myself recounting all the stories of survival I've heard over my lifetime. I'm 56 years old now and like it or not, that's a lot of stories. And yes, that includes everything from Robinson Crusoe and Lord Of The Flies to stories like that of mountain men and fur trappers Hugh Glass, John Colter, and Jeremiah Johnson.
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OUR VIDEO FOR TODAY
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I've heard stories from around the world like that of Molly Kelly and her sister Daisy whose story was featured in the film Rabbit-Proof Fence (released in 2002)... Or Lincoln Ross Hall who was left for dead from cerebral edema on mount Everest, only to be found 12 hours later alive, lucid and talking by passing climbers.
Oddly enough, and with all my fun and research compiled, there seems to be no way to figure the odds on an individual's survival without doing a full psychological evaluation. Surprisingly, it seems that the equipment carried and the tools relied upon... are only as good as the positive attitude and mind that wields them.
On average, around 2000 people get lost every year in our nation's forests... and statistics show that an alarming 60% are never found. Even more alarming is that the largest group within that 60% are young men between the ages of 20 and 25... and the second largest group being men 50 to 60 years of age. No doubt due to overconfidence and poor preparation on the part of both age groups.
And yes... sadly I speak from experience on both of those particular statistics
But it is also clear to me that in many of the cases where people have perished while lost and kept a notable record of their experiences, most seem to recall losing hope and giving up as the greatest factor in their eventual demise.
Maintaining a positive attitude can be one of the most difficult things to do when you are lost. And beating yourself up for mishaps that led to your current situation can only serve to darken the mood. So it becomes important to be your own morale counselor out there as well. Sing a song... Whistle... Tell jokes... Or talk to yourself or the trees and rocks around you. even if it sounds crazy.
It has been proven scientifically that isolation is not a natural state for human beings and that the isolation itself can be responsible for leading us down that dark road of despair and in some cases can even lead us to madness. Keeping the mind busy and active when isolated is often equally as important as keeping yourself hydrated and fed. And in some cases, even more so.
It's important to keep reminding ourselves that what we now call wilderness survival was literally how man lived a few short millenia ago... and all the way up until only a hundred or so years ago. Although we have a hard time remembering it, the luxuries of modern life are not really that old.
From my perspective, a 56 year old man, my great grandmother was still starting a wood fire for cooking in a hearth with flint and steel. Sure they had matches, but matches cost money. Today, this method is pretty much forgotten. A lost art reduced to a novelty among survivalists and mountain man re-creators in only 100 years.
Our general knowledge of plant life identification has also gone the way of flint and steel fire making. Because of industrialized farming and the use of pharmaceuticals over herbal medications, this has drastically reduced the general population's knowledge of not only the identification of such plants, but also how to use and grow them, as well as what purpose they serve medicinally. But I would like to think that the advances in technology and the primitive skill set can coexist side by side and even complement one another.
We human beings have a propensity for forgetting. From simply leaving knowledge behind to completely replacing it, to destroying knowledge altogether in the hopes it won't be rediscovered or used again. But both the modern and the primitive can be most useful side by side not only in the woods, but in everyday life as well. So I see no reason not to learn it all and utilize it as the need arises.
As I've pointed out, man has forgotten much over the generations. And the story of How Dog Taught Man How To Speak His Original Language not only points out this fact, but also stands as testament to its own irony within its own physical existence... as although they are pretty sure it is a story from one of the plains tribes, even my Lakota Elders no longer know where the story comes from today.
But regardless of its origin, its wisdom still stands the test of time as it recounts the dangers of forgetting not only our past, but how we fit into the circle of life and the world around us.
A Word of Thanks
I would like to take a moment to thank the contributors to Episode 5,
LOST IN THE WOODS.
and to pass along my gratitude for their help in presenting this material to the public.
Thank You Appleby Outdoor Products
And Thank You to GRAYL Ultralight Water Purifier
Thank you all so much for watching.
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Til next time...
Be well and Happy Hiking!
Produced by: Terry Craig,
The Disabled Hiker
Assistant editor: Dave Deubler
Photos & video by: Larry Deitch,
& Terry Craig,
Featuring music by: Mad Mme. Em
Featuring music by: Mad Mme. Em
Due to the dangerous nature of filming while trying to survive in the wilderness, and multiplied by the physical issues I deal with on a daily basis,
Lost in the Woods is being presented as a simulation of compiled past personal experiences for the purpose of demonstrating techniques and skills associated with surviving a similar event.
Therefore, the producers of The Disabled Hiker would like to stress that the information contained within all parts of Lost in the Woods is meant for demonstration & entertainment purposes only.
Disclaimer: This blog, written articles, video presentations, and all content within are not intended to take the place of professional medical advice. Please consult your Doctor before making any changes to your treatment plan and/or changes to your exercise routine.
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