Archive for the 'Survival' Category

Couple that died of extreme heat on hike were trying to save their baby, probe finds

BY Herschel Smith
23 hours, 33 minutes ago

Sent from a reader, a sad analysis.

The couple found dead on a Northern California hiking trail over the summer desperately tried to save their 1-year-old daughter before all three succumbed to extreme heat as temperatures soared to 109 degrees, investigators found.

British software engineer Jonathan Gerrish, 45, his wife Ellen Chung, 31, and their daughter, Miju were found dead of hyperthermia and dehydration on a remote Sierra National Forest hiking trail in August.

Their dog, Oski — an 8-year-old Australian shepherd and Akita mix — also died on the trail.

Investigators now believe the couple was desperately seeking for medical help for Miju, before they themselves succumbed to the brutal temperatures, according to a new 77-page report obtained by The San Francisco Chronicle.

Officials ruled out several other factors for their deaths through the course of the investigation, including murder, lightning strikes, poisoning, illegal drugs and suicide.

A survival trainer wrote in an email to detectives that in all likelihood, the parents’ panicked efforts to help the baby — who likely began suffering from symptoms first — possibly led to their own deaths.

“Sadly, I believe they were caught off guard, and once they realized their situation, they died trying to save their child and each other,” the trainer wrote to detectives, according to The Chronicle.

He called the mix of the terrain, elevation and heat a “deadly trifecta.”

“It is likely the child began to succumb first, which hurried the parents’ efforts up the hill,” the trainer wrote. “When one could no longer continue, they stayed behind to care for the child and pet, while the other tried to forge on and get help for their loved ones. It is a tragedy of the highest order.”

First of all, remember the necessary life-saving kit that MUST be carried in the bush: Rubberized poncho, parka, redundant fire start, large bore handgun, food energy, cordage, tactical light, knife, water and means of water filtration.  This might have saved their lives.

Beyond this, I was commenting to my oldest son not too many days ago that the biggest enemy of survival in the bush is panic.  If you carry the right kit, you can be in the position where you say to yourself or loved ones, “I don’t know where we are, but it’s getting dark and we need warmth, shelter, water and rest.  We have the right kit for it, so we camp here for the night and get a safe, good night sleep, and carry on at first light.”

If you panic, adrenalin rushes into your system, you expend way too much energy, your judgment is clouded and you’re more likely to do stupid things, you get exhausted, the exhaustion makes you cold, and you risk hypothermia.

In the bush, panic is your enemy.  It sounds as if they didn’t have the right kit, and they panicked.

It’s a sad but preventable story.

Oregon Woman And Her Mentally Disabled Daughter Lost In Idaho Wilderness, Woman Deceased

BY Herschel Smith
4 weeks, 1 day ago

News from the Northeast.

An elderly dementia sufferer died after getting lost in a remote forest after following GPS guidance to travel to a funeral with her mentally-disabled daughter.

Deputies say the pair – Dorothy ‘Kae’ Turner, 84, and daughter Heidi Turner, 58 – were following a navigation system from Pendleton, Oregon to Salt Lake City when they got lost in the northern Idaho forest. Relatives say Dorothy suffered from dementia.

Dorothy left to find help when their car broke down, but died from exposure to the elements while Heidi, who is mentally disabled, stayed behind. She survived her ordeal, although no further updates on her condition have been given.

A hunter discovered the mother’s body in the Solitaire Saddle area of the Panhandle National Forest and reported it to the authorities at 11.45am Friday, according to the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies then discovered the broken-down gold 2015 Chrysler Town and Country minivan nearby with the daughter still alive and suffering from minor injuries.

A family member who reported them missing said they were taking an ‘unusual route’ through Idaho, according to the East Idaho News. They were reported missing from Pendleton, about 5 hours southwest of the forest, on Wednesday.

‘They were en route to Salt Lake City, UT from Pendleton, OR for a family funeral. Kay suffers from dementia and we have reason to believe that they may be lost and/or in danger,’ family member Doniell Taylor Arnold said in a Facebook post Thursday.

The maps and pictures of this area show it to be extremely remote, except obviously for hunters.

Take a look at the woman who ventured out on her own.  With her age, she had no hope of survival in the wilderness.

Lesson: Don’t allow family members to go out into the bush unprepared.  That lady never had a chance.

Five people have disappeared into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and never come out, with bodies never recovered.

The GSMNP is more than half a million acres.  Jones Gap in S.C. is around 13,000 acres, and people have gone missing for a period of time there.  Later, it was learned that they didn’t know what they were doing in the bush.

The missing hikers were not prepared to spend the night in the woods, according to rescue crews. They did not take food, water or flashlights.

The Greenville County Sheriff’s Office used their drone with thermal imaging to search for the teens. The area is remote with little cell coverage, according to Jones.

If efforts to find them with the drone are unsuccessful …

They ended up having to walk out on their own.

I’ve hiked Jones Gap many times.  You can die there, and I almost lost a dog from a slick rock leading to a waterfall.

Your strategy in the bush is just this: be prepared enough not to have to panic.  If you panic, adrenalin shoots into your system, you make stupid decisions, you expend too much energy, you get tired, the exhaustion leads to being cold, and being cold leads to exposure and possible hypothermia.

Be prepared enough to be able to say, “Well, we’re not where I thought we were.  We’re going to spend this night in the bush.  Let’s make camp before dark, gather firewood, set up some shelter, find water, gather bedding materials, and ration food.  We’ll find our way out tomorrow.”

Continuing when it’s almost dark leads to death.  Always carry the following: med kit, flashlight, redundant means of fire start, rubberized poncho or tarp, parka, large bore handgun, water and water filter, food energy, cordage and knife.  Even on day hikes.  Especially on day hikes.

PanFaWar Conditions

BY Herschel Smith
1 month, 1 week ago

Michael Yon on the Pandemic-Famine-War conditions.

China has shut down Magnesium smelters to save electricity during their energy crunch.

Without Magnesium, there is no Aluminum.  We are weeks away from shutting down.

87% of Magnesium comes from China, because it is impossible to build a new smelter in the EU, USA or Canada.

Yea, I know.

This affects everything from AR-15 lowers to automobiles.

Prepare for a time of dearth and scarcity in everything from machinery and repair parts to food.  But you knew that already.

Minimalist Survival Kit

BY Herschel Smith
1 month, 3 weeks ago

That’s extremely minimalist.  Too small for me.  I’ve outlined what I usually carry into the bush before: rubberized poncho, redundant means of fire start, light, knife, poncho, cordage, water, emergency food, and large bore handgun.  Including a container to boil water is smart.

Notice that when he mentions bank line, he shows you twisted line.  There are two types of bank linetwisted and braided.  Decide for yourself which one you want.

Number One Consideration In Survival: Water

BY Herschel Smith
2 months ago

Some guy is apparently on the run, possibly in the Florida bush.

Alligators, black bears, clouds of gnawing insects. Two different types of rattlesnakes. Coyotes, bobcats and panthers. Everything is wet, almost nothing is edible, and safe drinking water is nowhere to be found.

If Brian Laundrie actually is deep in the Florida wilderness, a survival expert in Sarasota said that by now, he’s either dead or in very bad shape.

“If he’s down there in the Carlton Reserve, he’s living in hell,” local survival expert Mark Burrow said.

With heavy rain in recent days, starting a fire will be nearly impossible. It’s also the wrong season for foraging edible plants, Burrow said.

He said Laundrie may be able to scavenge leftovers from a predator’s kill. There also are freshwater clams and snails he could collect. Fishing is another possibility.

“People have been making a big deal of the alligators and the snakes,” Burrow said. “But it’s dehydration that’s the real danger.”

Even if he were able to get a fire started to boil water, recent rains will have made the drinking water full of tannins from local foliage. Tannins occur in the roots, wood, and bark of oak trees, and high concentrations can be harmful to humans, Burrow said.

“That can cause loose bowels,” he said. “Not a good thing when you are already dehydrated.”

When it comes to animals, the area’s bears and panthers are not likely to bother humans. But if Laundrie is injured or struggling, he will also have to deal with coyotes and bobcats.

“If you were injured or exhausted,” Burrow said, “they would eat you.”

There are at least four different types of venomous snakes in Carlton Reserve, the cottonmouth likely being the most dangerous. There’s also the pigmy rattlesnake, the diamondback rattlesnake, and the coral snake.

I wouldn’t be too worried about Bobcats or Coyotes, and panthers aren’t numerous enough to pose a real threat, but bears, alligators, snakes and insects are a threat.  The biggest threat, however, is lack of potable water.  I outlined how water controls your every thought and decision in a trip to Colorado.

Here is a recent video on water filtration.

Frankly, I wouldn’t trust a seep well.  It won’t filter Giardia or Cryptosporidium.  I have no idea whether water filters will remove plant tannins.  I confess I hadn’t thought about the risk posed by plant tannins.  I’m glad I stumbled on this article – I will think about it in the future.

I have a backpacking water filter, but I know there are a lot on the market now, and a lot of designs I haven’t seen.

What do readers think and what kind of water filtration do you have, and why?  I notice that carrying bleach wasn’t brought up in the video, and I’ll tell you that I don’t like the idea of loading my thyroid up with iodine.  There can be adverse health effects from that.

But pondering all of this shows just how difficult it would be to survive a protracted time in the wilderness without food, potable water, medical care, dental care, proper hygiene, etc.  Walkabouts can be dangerous.

Emergency Survival Blankets

BY Herschel Smith
2 months, 1 week ago

Discussion at Outdoor Life.

I’ve seen in-field tests.  These things have limited capability, and are no replacement for having a parka or being able to start fire (which underlines my constant attention to redundant means of fire start).

If anyone has an experience with survival blankets, please indicate in the comments.

Starting A Fire With Wet Wood

BY Herschel Smith
2 months, 3 weeks ago

Being Able To Reach Out And Touch Someone When In Trouble

BY Herschel Smith
2 months, 3 weeks ago

News from Alaska.

Hunter Jason Long of Eagle River, Alaska, was attacked and injured by a sow grizzly bear near the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve on Sept. 8, reports the National Park Service. Long was hunting alone when he encountered the sow and her two cubs.

Long was in an unnamed drainage near the Chisana River when he was mauled by the grizzly. He suffered lacerations and puncture wounds, but was able to press the SOS button on his Garmin InReach GPS device. The emergency message triggered an Air National Guard rescue mission, coordinated with the NPS.

A 210th Rescue Squadron HH-60 Pave Hawk II from the Eielson Air Force Basewas already airborne on a routine mission near Talkeetna, when it was diverted to the hunter’s location. A two-man 212th Rescue Squadron para-rescue team was dropped at the scene to treat and prepare the patient for transport. Meanwhile, the helicopter met a 211th Rescue Squadron HC-130J Combat King II for air-to-air refuel before returning to the hunter’s location to hoist the para-rescue team, the injured hunter, and another hunter from the party.

The grizzly-mauled hunter was brought to the town of Northway, Alaska, then flown to the Providence Alaska Medical Center, the largest hospital in Anchorage. Long was treated there, and his last known condition was considered stable.

When you go out in my neck of the woods you don’t have to worry about grizzlies.  You do have to be aware of black bear, coyote, and rattlesnakes.

There are ways to minimize the risk.  Take what you might need, e.g., a med kit.  Travel with a companion.  Solo hiking or backpacking or hunting can be dangerous.  Carry a large bore handgun for personal protection.

Carry all of the things we’ve discussed, even on a day trip (rubberized poncho, cordage, water, quick food energy, light, knife, clothing and redundant fire starter).

But there is little you can do about the problem of mechanical injury except call for help.  If you have no satellite phone or GPS and way to reach someone with your coordinates, you’re in trouble with an injury caused by bad mechanical decisions or incidents, bear attacks or snake bites.  If a rattle snake bites, you’re in very deep trouble.

That’s one reason I don’t go into the bush very much in the summer.

Stealth Shelters – Where, When, and Why?

BY Herschel Smith
4 months, 1 week ago

Interesting video.  Also applicable to some hunting.

They are using a light weight poncho, and I’d like to get a Polish Lavvu poncho, but here is the only place I can find a legitimate and authentic one, and I don’t even know if they ship to the U.S.

Things I Didn’t Know

BY Herschel Smith
4 months, 2 weeks ago

There are many of those.  But this one is quite interesting, and I’ll repeat what I’ve said before: I don’t start my day without coffee, even if I’m on the trail.  A better way of saying it is that coffee starts my day.

In this case, coffee may save your life one day on the trail in less than optimal circumstances.  You can start fire with it.

I wonder if this works with flint and steel or a ferro rod?  I guess there’s one way to find out.

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