What Would You Really Do?
If you haven’t lived it, you’ve imagined it: could you survive if you were stuck in the woods without help from outside? Of course, the first phrase on any guy’s lips is, “Of course!” We all like to believe that even in the most dire circumstances, our innate survival ability added to whatever training we may have, would combine to result in our finding civilization again, no sweat.
But all bravado aside, how would you really do? Let me pose to you a hypothetical situation. The idea here is to really picture in your mind your surroundings, the things you have with you, and the people that are depending on you, and to honestly assess your preparedness. In the weeks and months to come, I’ll have more situations for you to ponder, but for today, here is what’s going on:
Here’s the Situation
You’re driving a long distance, out of state, to attend a holiday cookout weekend with your in-laws. But it’s not being held at their house; the venue is a camp they own that’s in a remote location accessible only by a dirt road. The thing is, Google Maps isn’t yet too familiar with the locale, and you find your GPS navigator giving you bum directions.
On a back road in upper New York your GPS turns you onto a side road. At first it looks legitimate, but after several miles the road narrows, then narrows again. Your map is useless at this point, so you reluctantly put your trust in the GPS. But it only takes you further into the woods along many twists and turns. Your spouse and your kids, a teenager and a toddler, are getting nervous and all vote for you to turn back, but you override the democratic process, because you can see on your gauges that you don’t have enough gas to make it back to the main road, even if you could.
It Gets Worse …
Now it starts to rain and visibility drops to less than 100 feet. The roads turn to mud and suddenly you feel the car lurch off the road and down into a small gulley. Thankfully, no one is hurt, but you’re stuck. Really stuck.
Here’s what you have with you:
- Large cooler full of ice
- Pack of chicken breasts and thighs
- Two party-size bags of potato chips
- A bag of charcoal briquets
- An “Aim & Flame” style lighter
- A twelve-pack of sodas
- A crank-style survival AM/FM radio
- The car’s paperwork in the glove box
- Your first-aid kit that’s always in the trunk of the car
- Two packaged Mylar blankets
You’re at least fifteen miles off the road with your family (visualize your spouse and children) and there is no cell phone coverage. You realize that even if the authorities start looking for you, you’re so far in the woods that the chances of someone finding you are slim to none. Not to mention that your vehicle is stuck in a gulley with plenty of tree coverage overhead.
It’s late August and it’s getting cool in the evenings, so you fall asleep in your vehicle that night and wait for the rain to end. The one piece of good news is that there’s a small stream nearby: a source of fresh water.
The next day dawns bright and sunny and your family turns to you for guidance. You get out of your vehicle and take stock of the situation. It’s all up to you.
What Do You Do?
Do you try to effect a self-rescue or are you going to dig in and hope someone finds you? It could take weeks or months before someone stumbles on you. Based on the items that you have with you, and the experience you and your family have with the great outdoors, what do you do?
This particular scenario has played out in many instances across geography and time, so don’t think it can’t happen. The question is, how prepared are you? If you have a story, leave a comment, and as always, keep your head on your shoulders.