Survival Training: Pride Can Be a Killer
Pride can get you killed. Refusing to admit you cannot do it can put you in a survival situation. It’s one thing to shoulder a pack and walk around the block a few times, or to hike the two mile walking trail through the park, it’s another thing entirely however, to hike over rugged, uneven terrain with a 40 to 50 pound pack on your back when it’s cold, snowy or raining and its close to dark.
You start out with one scenario in mind but the tables get turned on you. Instead of stopping a few hours before dark to establish a camp you push on. You push on, because you imagine yourself tougher than you are, smarter than you are, and better trained than you are.
This is human nature, you are told that to succeed in life you have to push, test your limits, and take risks. This may work when buying stocks, or positioning yourself for a promotion at work, but it does not work out on the trail in the backcountry.
One of the problems is that some if not many today are not taught failure. Everyone gets a trophy for participation. No one is taught the harsh realities of life and one of the realities is that everyone fails at some time or another at something, no one is perfect, and you are not always the smartest person in the room.
Some refuse to accept advice from those that have traveled the path before them. Some are told by their parents and their teachers that they can do anything, are never told no and that they are nearly perfect in every way. With this mindset people die on the trail, people get lost 200 yards from camp, from their homes and from their vehicles. They thought they knew better, because no one had ever told them otherwise, no one prepared them, and they did not prepare themselves.
Even when advice or recommendations are given some refuse to listen and wander off the trail to get in touch with nature. In some cases, they are never found or their remains are found months or years later during the spring thaw.
Before You Listen To Anyone Else Listen To What Your Body Is Telling You
You can train for anything at any age. If you want to hike you must prepare your body for hiking. If you have never hiked what makes you think you can physically take it. Just because you go to the gym a few days a week does not mean you can hike 12 miles a day with a pack shouldered. The only way to condition your body for hiking is to do and you can start training using small steps.
Your steps may only be a half mile at a time, then one mile and so on. It may take months before you are ready for the back country, but if you attempt to do more than your body will let you, you may not come back, because once you get exhausted, cold, and hungry you start making possibly fatal decisions, and you get this way, because you were not ready.
Your mind fogs over, you want to drop and just relax, and sleep, but if you do, you may never awaken. You pushed on past dark and now you have no idea where you are, because you wandered off the trail in the dark. The guides had told you to stop at designated points. They know from years of experience how far you should push yourself in the wilds to prevent this exact scenario from happening, but you didn’t.
If you cannot carry what you need to survive in your pack, because it is too heavy then you are not prepared to leave the house. The first thing people do is to start emptying their packs along the trail.
You thought you needed this or that, but now all of a sudden you don’t, because the pack is too heavy. You still need the items left scattered along the trail however, and it is easy to toss away a heavy sleeping bag when its warm out, but it will be a different matter once the sun sets and you are left to spend the night along the trail.
Lack of skills and real life experiences may mean you toss away much needed survival items and hang on to other items you don’t necessarily need, but you didn’t know, because you lacked experience and pride forced you to attempt to carry the heavy pack in the first place.
Some people are under the impression that instinct will carry them through any crisis, but what exactly is instinct and is it enough. The will to survive is there in most of us, but people still perish along the trail. Instinct is behavior. It is a pattern of actions one takes without thinking about it so is it a learned process, or is it something that is coded in our DNA well it’s both.
You know instinctively that if meat smells bad you don’t eat it. If a snake comes to close you move away. You know without thinking that fire can kill or hurt you and that the dark can hide predators and you know without thinking that you are the prey when the sun goes down.
Humans are not challenged as they were in the past. We have no need to train ourselves to behave in a certain way, because we do not live in caves or stick huts. The threats are different today than they were 10,000 years ago, and for most people there are no wolves or other large four legged predators lurking just outside the door ready to pounce as we leave to forage for food or to carry water back from the river.
We do not have any instinctive behavior associated with this type of survival situation anymore. However, once on the trail in the wilds you need to know how to behave. You have to train yourself so you take the right action, make the right decisions without hesitation.
People get stranded close to civilization, because of medical issues and some perish due to this. A twisted or broken ankle, arm, or leg can be deadly even if you are just a few miles from home, camp or any type of civilization.
Pride led you push a bit too hard, your pack is too heavy, you walked to many miles without stopping. You should have set up camp and spent the night, but instead you carried on past dark. Some injuries could be prevented. You tried to cross a steam when tired, when your muscles ached. You climbed up when you should have gone around. Your decisions have consequences.
Train first, gather skills first and never go it alone until you have your body ready, your mind ready and you have the skills to handle a survival situation.