Sunday, February 19, 2017

Lost in the Woods, Part 5.

Awakening the Inner Navigator

Our Little Sleep-Out

As a rule, I take a lot of precautions today to prevent spending an unexpected night in the woods. However, slight as that possibility might be, that scenario does still exist out on the fringes of possible outcomes. 

To be sure, TaSunka is one of the greatest assets I have should the situation arise. Besides being an extension of my eyes, ears, and nose, he is also warmth, protection, and companionship if not sanity itself.
As anyone who has spent an extended amount of time alone can tell you, we humans don't do well in isolation. So when I look at TaSunka I see him as not only a survival and safety tool, but as a survival buddy and confidant as well.
Ironically, although you might think this is a good time to let TaSunka run free, it is at this time that we literally become connected at the hip. When lost, nothing would be more devastating than to become separated and to lose my best friend to that wilderness as well. And although TaSunka is not one to go chasing wildlife through the woods, he has been known to wander out of camp while simply following that big nose of his.
It's a dog thing.

(Continue reading below our video)


(Continued from above)

 "I Got an App for That"

On the whole, one might think that one compass is as good as another. And indeed the inner workings and parts of a compass  are little more than a magnet suspended in a free-floating environment. The magnets North Pole points North, and its South Pole points South. It's just as simple as that. 
So what can go wrong? Well, for one, you can over-complicate a system like that. Thus, it no longer works simply nor simply works.
Over the last couple of years several compass apps have become popular. But I seriously doubt they will be replacing the traditional compass anytime soon. At least not until they get a few things straightened out so that cell phones no longer lose service just because they've wandered outside of the zone covered by their cell phones signal provider. 


The No-Compass Compass

So why did primitive man do so well without a compass? This is a question I've asked myself many times throughout my life. And although I've found many mechanical alternatives to the compass, I've yet to find a reason why we have replaced these more primitive concepts of directional knowledge... If not connection to the earth itself... 
And exchange them for technology that can be lost, stolen, or broken. 

As an amateur anthropologist this is always fascinated me. I.e.; we had the ability to do something naturally, so we instantly felt the need to replace it with technology, while forgetting the natural way completely.
But, I guess an even more interesting anthropological question would be why some of us feel the need to return to these methods, primitive as they may be.



Compass & Patrol Map

Have you ever gotten lost while only a few feet away from camp? Yeah… For instance, maybe you got up to go urinate, and taking a few too many steps outside of camp you suddenly realize you have no idea which direction to go in order to get back. ... Or perhaps you went out to hang your bear bag and a giant fog bank rolled in and you couldn't see 2 feet in front of you with no idea how to get back? ... 
Yeah... I've lived a full life. 

But somebody once told me that the only way to become an expert in anything is to experience doing all the wrong things in all the worst conditions, and surviving to hopefully correct the mistake for the next time. And I guess if that's true, I must at least be on my way as I've made an awful lot of mistakes. But I did survive. So I guess that does say something.
So often when I'm in an unfamiliar place I will draw a small patrol map just for the purposes of remembering what direction everything I found was in. Besides being a great physical reference, this is even more of a memory trick that can help you remember small details about your surroundings and lessening the chances of a stressful moment when still only a short ways out of camp.
As well, patrol maps can be a great way to start probing the woods for a way out of your present Lost in the Woods predicament. By picking a direction in which you believe you will find civilization, a trail, or rescue, with a compass and patrol map you can stay on course and avoid the circular walking patterns that naturally happen.
Yes, that's right. Humans have a natural proclivity to walk in circles. To begin with, all humans have a dominant leg that is not only stronger but slightly longer than the non-dominant leg. Much like a car that has larger tires on the driver side than on the passenger side, this little-known fact causes each and every one of us to naturally walk in circles, and even on open terrain where we have clear view of the horizon.
Another thing that can cause us to walk in circular patterns in the woods is when we constantly have to walk around obstacles. And when those obstacles begin stacking up, you can often find yourself walking in the wrong direction hoping to recover your original heading. This is why it is so important to find and walk from landmark to landmark instead of just following a compass bearing.
Essentially, you are carving out a straight line as a search pattern sent out like spokes on a wheel. This will not only allow you to continually return to the safety of your base camp after each attempt at finding your way out, but also helps you to gradually create a detailed map of your area while also mapping out where valuable resources can be found like water, food, and fuel as well as possible dangers such as steep drop-offs, cliffs, or animal dens.

Although Lost in the Woods is a simulation, I did my best to take things as they came at me while filming. So when I heard construction equipment in the valley below, I instantly viewed that as a viable source of rescue.
Now I have a choice. To continue my spokes on a wheel search pattern? ... Or follow the sound and try to find my way down to the valley below?
Tune in next time to find out what our heroes do next.

Hope you enjoy part 5 of
Lost in the Woods.

Thank you all so much for watching.
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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

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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