The Survival Game - Northern Woods

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True story
Years ago I, when I was in college, I frequented a tavern run by a guy I knew and his father. On one occasion he told me about a rafting trip that he and some other friends had done on a nearby river, with plans to camp overnight along the river. After putting into the river, they came to some rapids, which caused their raft to overturn, and some of their gear was swept down the river.

After they got their raft righted, they set off again. Not too long after that they were surprised to hear a roaring sound ahead. Turns out that the noise was coming from Nooksack Falls, which drops 88 feet.

They managed to bail out of their raft and make it to short, but they lost all the rest of their gear.
Obviously they had no map, nor had done even minimal research to find out that the river they planned to float down included a major impediment to navigation.

Luckily, none of the participants lost his life, but the lesson they learned came at the cost of all the gear they had lost, including the raft.
My point is that I don't head off (consciously, not mysteriously) into the woods and mountains without the appropriate clothing (which is NOT jeans and tennis shoes), nor without the essential items I need.

The game in this thread might be interesting if you don't have any experience being out in the woods and mountains, or camping miles away from a vehicle.
 
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The game in this thread might be interesting if you don't have any experience being out in the woods and mountains, or camping miles away from a vehicle.
Coming back to just to say I agree with this. I had deleted a comment where I said that probably this isn't the best game of this type, because I didn't want to hurt Greg's feelings; but let me try again. The part I really liked about this game was the "mysteriously" business; it's the challenge part that wasn't so interesting.

It's not that I have bad memories of people getting lost & dying - although I know people who know people to whom bad things have happened, and my wife who was a technical climber had several friends who died, though not from getting lost. It's more because I did enough hiking & camping & canoeing in my day to know that which 8 items you go for is not as critical as other things. You get to pick a handful of items that are less than what you'd want; which would make it all the more critical to have good weather, be in good health, and have some experience with rough camping - which I will add I don't have, but which can be gotten via NOLS, maybe Outward Bound, etc. Having the usual sort of experience with hunting, fishing, trapping, and/or wild foods would help too.

In other words, which 8 items to choose is not really that interesting a question under those circumstances. The factors that would really affect your chances of survival would have much less to do with these items (since most folks would pick roughly the same ones if being serious) and much more to do with luck (weather, not turning an ankle, etc.) and experience; and you can't put experience in a jeans pocket. Even ordinary hiking experience would help some: there are city folks I've gone on day hikes with, very smart, who if I hadn't been there would have gotten lost on what to me was an obvious trail.
 
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You can't even pretend a situation where you're not in complete control?
Not even to participate in a thought experiment?
When I'm off on one of my trips, I am **not** in complete control. A lot of times I have only a vague idea of the country I'll be in (based on poring over maps before the trip), and even whether we will be able to get from point A to point B on our trip. (We often pick locations where there aren't any trails.)

Other things I don't control are rainstorms, accidents, and whether the place our food is stored at night will be secure from animals, among other things.
 
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Swiss Army Knife
A couple extra pair of strong shoe strings
About a square yard of fine netting
Small container of vitamins/minerals
Small lens or magnifying glass and a full cigarette lighter for making fires. Use the magnifying glass first whenever possible and conserve lighter fluid.
Container of superglue for closing smaller wounds
Commando wire saw:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000WDPGW2/?tag=pfamazon01-20 To cut poles for shelter as well as firewood.

The premise is: you have to survive 40 days, then you'll be rescued. No point in trying to find your way out. Just make camp and survive. It's summer and there's a stream, so dying of thirst or cold are not issues. Your biggest problems are going to be starvation and dangerous animals, especially bears.

256bits is right that a stream is not likely to have fish of any size, but, having grown up in New England, I know there will be guppy sized fish in small streams, and, if you're lucky, crayfish and frogs. That's what the netting is for. (Ignore salamanders in the woods there, incidentally, they are poisonous to eat.)

There should also be squirrels and chipmunks. Squirrels hang out in trees and chipmunks hang out in rock piles. Indians used to kill these with a throwing stick. That's nothing more than a stout stick about 2 1/2 feet long. The stick tumbles end over end after you throw it, which lessens how precise your aim has to be. Both squirrels and chipmunks are territorial and will hold their ground and chatter at you. If your aim is not too bad, you can also just kill them with rocks.

If you're lucky, you'll encounter a porcupine. They don't move too quickly and can be killed with a stick. And, as far as I know, the meat of any snake you can catch in that region is edible. Any small animal has intestines and these should be cleaned and dried for their function as cordage. They'll be like rawhide: stiff when dry, but soft after soaking.

Near the stream there might be fiddle head ferns, which are edible. If there are squirrels, there may well be acorns as well. Be aware: acorns have to be ground up and leached a few times to get rid of the tannic acid before you can eat them.

The smell of meat, cooked or raw, is what will really attract bears. I would adopt the policy of two camps: a cooking camp and a sleeping camp, at least a hundred yards apart. Don't bring anything edible to the sleeping camp.

If it rains, you're going to be miserable. Worst case scenario is you initially end up there right while it's raining. What you need to do to avoid catching pneumonia (wearing only a t-shirt, as was stipulated) is to push together as big a pile of forest floor litter as you can; pine needles, leaves, whatever, and then burrow into it. Despite being wet, this will afford you the most insulation. When I say "big" pile, I mean you want three feet or more of litter on top of you and some underneath to insulate you from the ground. You might think that crawling into a pile of wet stuff is going to make matters worse, but you will actually be more in danger of being roasted to death in there: wet organic matter massed up in piles actually heats up on its own and over time can spontaneously combust. Ask any farmer about storing wet hay: it's a fire hazard. So, you may actually have to get out and pull some of the matter off the pile to cool it down.

Thereafter, you're going to want to make a zoobie brush shelter for the next time it rains. With your wire saw, cut enough long poles to make a tipi like structure, then cover the outside with fir boughs hung upside down to drain the water away. You should be able to make lashing material for that by splitting thin, green branches and soaking them in the stream to make them more flexible. Might have to experiment to find the best kind. You leave a smoke hole at the top and you can have a small fire inside. (Obviously, don't do that when it's not raining and the fir boughs are dry.) Traditional Indian tipis are somewhat tilted: the smoke hole is not over the center of the floor where the fire is but is offset so rainwater doesn't drip right on the fire. The water drips on a spot between the fire and the door hole. Rough out a little drainage channel.

At night (or anytime actually) you can cover your head, at least, with the guppy netting to keep mosquitos off.

Ration out your vitamins. Your diet is going to be limited. The vitamins are a stop gap against any sort of deficiency that could take your edge off.

According to google there are plenty of birch trees in Canada. Birch bark is a great material. You can peel it right off the living tree: score the shape you want with your knife, lift up an edge and carefully peel the sheet off. If you fold over a large rectangle and lace up two sides, sealing them with pine pitch, you would have a sort of envelope for bring water from the stream to camp. Punch holes in the edges of the bark with the awl of your swiss army knife, and lace up with the shoe strings or squirrel gut, if you've been able to get one. If you prop that up, say between two rocks, you can make a fire and heat up some stones which you can drop into the water to heat the water.

People started out this way: living directly off the forest. It's absolutely doable, but you have to chuck all thinking about what modern tools you don't have and dig in and see what can be done with what's actually around you. If a person has water, they can survive three weeks without food. Your job is to somehow hunt/scrounge the minimum survival calories needed to keep you alive the full 40 days.
 
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You can play the game, but I'm not. So far in my life, I have never come to and found myself mysteriously in the woods, either in Canada or elsewhere. Nor has a portal materialized and presented me with items of my choice. Ever.
The main way a person could end up suddenly in the woods is a plane crash. Jeremy Wade, for example, host of River Monsters, and his whole crew, went down in a Central American jungle in a plane. They all survived the crash. Luckily, they were only about an hour away from civilization. Small planes crash in the wilderness more often than you probably realize. They are a pretty common form of transport in remote areas. Alaska, for example.
 

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