Not long ago I had an interesting conversation with a friend about what would happen after the balloon goes up. He’s a cool guy who moved out here years ago from California because he thinks that at some point a collapse of some kind is going to happen and he didn’t want to get caught flat footed when it did.
He’d thought long and hard about it and decided that Maine was a good choice of a place to live because it’s less likely to be a destination for the golden horde. For the sake of argument I’ll use this definition for golden horde:
Golden horde: The anticipated large mixed horde of refugees and looters that will pour out of the metropolitan regions WTSHTF. Coined (in the survivalist context) by James Wesley Rawles.
We talked for a bit and came up with a theory.
First, we went with a worst case scenario in that everybody was on foot or moving very slow in vehicles. Using New York City as our starting point we figured that if people decided to flee they’d have four choices. North to the colder states, west to the corn belt and other points in the midwest, south to the warmer latitudes, or east bugging out by ocean.
Of these cardinal directions east via the ocean is the least viable option. Keep in mind I’m talking about the majority of the population. Most people don’t have boats ready to get away during some kind of societal melt-down. A few will make it out that way, but not many.
If a NYC resident decides to go west they will eventually run into the Appalachian Mountains. They’re not big mountains to be sure, but if you’re carrying children, aren’t in shape, are used to following the path of least resistance, or have drug and alcohol dependencies, you’re probably not going to go over them. They’re still mountains and it’s a lot of work to climb one.
At this point a person then has three choices. North, south, or back the way they came. If they are fleeing the city along with millions of others chances are good they’re not going to go back the way they came, which leaves north and south.
Which way makes more sense for people who are scared, disoriented, and looking for safety? North is the cold. For the last two weeks it’s been anywhere from below zero to twenty degrees here in Maine. That’s pretty cold folks. If it’s already winter the last thing people on foot are going to do is go to where it’s going to be even colder. If it’s summer or fall people will know the cold is coming.
Most people that I’ve met from NYC are pretty good folks when you get them in a one on one conversation, but one of the things I found that they have in common is absolutely no idea about camping, hiking or other outdoor related activities that deal with the wilderness. They live a concrete jungle and that’s where they’re comfortable.
So if a person is on foot, hungry, inexperienced in the wilderness, scared, and faced with mountains in front and cold weather and wilderness to the north which direction do you think they’ll go?
My guess is south.
Once again, I’m playing the big number game here. Some will go over the mountain and some will go north, but I suspect the majority of people faced with these criteria will head south.
Advantages and Disadvantages
The south has a longer growing season and much shorter and warmer winter than us folks up here in the Northeast have. With this bit of reasoning people will go south in droves looking for food, water and shelter. Unfortunately, if the majority of the population does this the southern states are likely to be over run with refugees from the north.
Back in Maine I’m looking at a few disadvantages myself. First, we’re at the end of the supply chain here. If and when TSHTF we’re likely to be on our own much sooner than the folks in the cities or living in the south.
However, if a person is reasonably prepared this need not be a devastating blow. First we need to stay warm. Because it’s cold here many Maine residents have wood stoves they use to heat their homes. Heating oil is expensive and relying on just one form of energy for heat is asking for trouble. When the temperature drops to ten degrees and below for extended periods of time things tend to break down. You know it’s nearing the end of a Maine winter when the temperature goes up to thirty degrees and people are walking around in sweatshirts and windbreakers.
Second, we need clean water and food. Water in Maine is not really an issue as we have more lakes, ponds, streams and brooks than you can shake a stick at. Some way to clean the water may be needed, but the resource itself is there.
Food is where your prepping will come in really handy. If you have enough food to get through the winter that should give you time to get your garden in and possibly even do a little hunting. As I’ve noted before, thinking you’re going to live off the land by hunting is probably a foolish notion, but if you can get out there and supplement your food stores with wild game then you have an advantage. It’s like anything else, hope for the best and prepare for the worst.
In the interest of keeping this post semi-short I’ll stop here, but you get the idea.
If nothing else it was an interesting thought experiment.
What about your area? Are people likely to head your way when TSHTF? Are you prepared for them? Some or even most of those folks are likely to be good people in a bad situation. Will you help them?
Sound off below!