Last week, Jarhead Survivor wrote about achieving goals, and how one of his personal goals had been to lose 15 pounds over the course of 4 months (Sept. 3rd to Dec. 3rd). We’d been knocking the idea back and forth via text messaging, and since friendly competition usually makes things more fun and easier to work towards a goal, I told him I’d jump on that bandwagon with him. I’m not really fat, just mostly out-of-shape from not having a supremely active job anymore, and all my spare time has been spent working on the house, tending to the pregnant Mrs. Warrior, or just dealing with the other 9 million things that go on in daily life that make you lose focus on things that are important to you.
So, in an effort to better my life, and to help Jarhead stay motivated via trash-talking and encouragement, I’m also working to lose 15 lbs. in the same time period. I clocked in at 195.2 lbs, Jarhead at 185.0 lbs. yesterday, the starting point. At 4 months’ duration, we have to lose a little less than 1 lb. per week, which is measurable and attainable without much effort. I plan to try to stay away from the easy, junk foods and pack healthy lunches to work, watch portion control ( I REALLY pig out at dinner…I LOVE food) and get out in the woods to get some hard exercise with my BOB every day after work – more on that in a bit.
It’s a competition here, so what is at stake? Well, we agreed that whoever won (providing just one of us met our goals) with a minimum of 15 lbs lost on Dec. 3rd will receive the outdoors item of his choice, purchased by the loser, around $50. If we BOTH do not meet our goals, we each will donate $50 to a charity we really don’t like (We quickly settled on PETA), to make things distasteful and to give us something to work for and against simultaneously. Be prepared; we’ll be updating occasionally on the blog and very likely on the SHTFblog.com Facebook page. There will be smarmy remarks and trash-talking. There will be pats on the back and “attaboy”s. I’m really looking forward to it.
Does anyone else want to work with us to meet a similar goal? Sound off and let us know! We’ll send a SHTFblog coffee mug and a Firesteel Gobspark Armageddon to the person who A: makes aware his/her goals and keeps updated with us, and B: loses the most at the end of the 4-month duration. You get to feel better, have more energy, and win neat shit! What’s to lose besides useless weight?
Well, a big part of how I plan to lose weight is by getting off my ass, and instead of plunking down on the couch and nursing a beer (oh, beer, how I will miss you for 4 months) when I get home from work, I will sip water from my canteen when perched on the top of a nearby mountain. I have a mountain that I dearly love here in Southwest Maine, that happens to be both my favorite hunting grounds as well as a bug-out location if needed. I figured getting to know this mountain better would be beneficial in many ways, from helping me narrow down where game travels and when for hunting season, and also to locate natural resources (water, food, shelter) in case shit goes down and I need to vacate my premises promptly.Backwoods selfie.
A topo map tells me much about the area: a nearby lake at the foot of the mountain for water; ingress and egress logging trails, the lay of the land. However, that’s about all it will show you. At some point, you gotta recognize the fact that you have to put feet on the ground (especially if it’s a Bug-Out Location) and figure out what the hell is there. Is the terrain a bitch to walk for you? If so, how would a person with you who may be injured or otherwise infirm handle it? Is it remote enough so that others will probably not follow you? Is there shelter? Are there game trails (and consequently game to hunt/snare and eat)? Are there other worries (severe tick population, rabid animals, signs of other people)? Is there a place you can hunker down and collect your thoughts, and set up a camp? Is there an abundance of firewood? Are there other natural resources that would make life easier for you when the chips are down? These are all things I set out to find in more detail.
I found lots of neat stuff that I hadn’t seen, even though I hunt the mountain every year.
This fallen tree would make a great lean-to spine, and with the help of some other trees, cut to length, leaned over the spine tree and lashed down, and with branches and other foliage above, would make a killer shelter in not much time.
Rocky outcroppings and ledges work in a similar fashion: you can lean branches over them for a shelter or a windbreak, and they also reflect heat from a fire very well. They can keep driving rain and other elements off you and firewood stockpiles, and provide cover and camouflage. Snow will drift up to them, but sometimes not UNDER them. Good things to know.
Keep an eye out for 4-wheeler trails and old logging trails and mentally note them; they will be the fastest points of egress if you need to get the hell out of Dodge, but they can work the other way: they will be the most likely points for other (possibly undesirable) people to walk in. They will also be the likely inroads for first responders to reach you in case of an emergency as well.
How about firewood? The past few years in Maine seem to have been a little extra rough on trees, downing many, but it makes for free firewood with little no work involved. As a bonus, dead pine needles, such as on the tree pictured above, have pine pitch in them, burn quickly and easily, and make great fire-starters.
Local food, such as blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, acorns, beech nuts, and (in my lucky case) wild-growing Concord grapes, can all be subsided on when needed. You have to know where they are first, though!
I found all this stuff in just one hour of scouting and kicking around the woods, plus gave myself a hell of a good workout and got some much-needed quiet time. I can’t wait to do it again tomorrow!
Stay safe out there! If you DO get out there for some scouting, be smart! Always, always, ALWAYS tell someone where you’re going and how late you will be, and always bring a compass and fire-making material. Shoot a return azimuth too in case you get turned around. Have fun!