GaryPalmer 238 reviewer rep | 5,434 forum posts
5:29 p.m. on March 28, 2014 (EDT)
Got to work on the Fire Building.
Thanks for the link Gary, Hawke gives some good advise here although I'm not a big fan of that type shelter myself.
I was building leanto's when I was a kid in upstate NY. I have rarely been in an outdoor place where I had to stay over night with just the contents of my daypack, but the one time I did I had a Bic lighter in my pack and it was summer so the night Wasn't that cold,slepping in my clothes. I curled up around a juniper tree and used the branches to keep any moisture off as it was in winter on the south rim of the Grand Canyon.
He cheated! He used a magnesium fire starter! WAAAAAAAAAAAAAA! too bad it wasn't in the dead of winter, I would like to see him pull it off then...So was it summer or winter gary? first you say it was summer, then you say it was winter. which was it?
Well it was winter I guess. I have been out doors living for an average of 276 days a year the last 37, so my stories get all jumbled together when I think about all the 1000's of trips I have done.
People are always telling me I should write a book, but the few times I have tried to I can't get the times and dates right. When I am on the road (bicycling) and on the trail hiking (backpacking) for as much as 9 months or 276 days a year I have so many memories stored in my head I get them all mixed up when I start telling about them. Never been good at even keeping a journal, I will write for a few days but then get so involved in the just being outdoors away from others and on my own, doing whatever I want I forget to write anything down. At the end of a long trip when I am looking for a few months work again I dig out my pack and find the 3 day journal and think, well another journal failed. I have not tried to keep a journal now for the last 20 years.
In thE last 37 years I have spent about 10,200 nights outdoors sleeping in my tent,bivy bag or just under the stars when its warm enough. I have only spent about 3400 night living in an apartment or room in a house while working to support my adventure travels.
And I don't see my lifestyle changing any time soon. I am 58 years young, hard to believe in just under two years I will be 60 already! In 7 years I won't have to work anymore when I retire.
I am here now in Wyoming to work for another 3 month summer. Work won't pick up till late May so I still have two months to just hang out, hike and bike and wait for the summer to warm up and tourists flock in and make work for us transients.
You ask a very fair question. Outdoor types seem to suffer a lot from over-confidence. They see people on tv that make it look easy.
Your story is a very interesting one, and your opinions command respect.
It is not common knowledge, but many people give in to despair quickly and are ready to give up within a few days. I like to watch "Naked and Afraid" even though it is a little goofy, because people are out for 3 weeks. It is long enough for everyone to get pissed off, depressed and insanely hungry.
I often hike with others who get discouraged just because its starting to rain on them on a day hike, much less being out overnight. I like the outdoor living better than the indoor living (what I call work). I have made my life EXACTLY what I have wanted it to be, 'free and easy', tho now stopping to look for work and then working is not what I like, but being I only save enough each year to go biking and backpacking for 9 months at $200-300 a month.
Now of course backpacking a maximum of 10 miles a day or 70 miles a day on my bike is not easy. But it works for me. No mortgage, no car payments, no family to support, no bills beyond the food I eat. And home is where I am currently camping in a house that cost me $199. My bed cost me nothing as I found my current bag on the side of the road in its stuff sack, my kitchen is my 13 year old Pocket Rocket stove or a campfire of free wood in the wilds.
Photography no longer costs anything with no film to buy being I went digital 11 years ago.
I spend on average $3000 a year to live outdoors from September to May, compared to the $1650 I will spend here in Jackson to live this summer June,July and August on rent and food.
I had one job in the last 37 years that I made enough in 18 months of work to save enough to take 3 1/2 years or 42 months off. That was the longest time I ever worked for one job. The average has been 3 months since 1981. I have had about 75 jobs in the last 40 years in NY,MA,AR,OK,NM,AZ,UT,CA,AK,WY,MT,NH, but mostly summers here in Wyoming with 30 out of the last 35 summers and a few winters.
With that resume, it is fair to say that you can and have lasted a long time in the outdoors.
I could, though It would be a long night. I have all the stuff that is supposed to assist in my pack. The bad thing would be if I LOST my pack....or was injured.....
giftogab said: The bad thing would be if I LOST my pack..
I once did just that on a day hike here near Jackson. I was carrying a camoflauged pack that I had taken off and laid in some brush near a stone outcropping I was climbing around on. I wandered far from my pack and soon after a few miles realized I had forgotten it somewhere. I tried to retrace my route and get back to where I thought I left it, but I could not find it or remember where I had been when I left it in the brush.
That was early in my backpacking days and carrying a day pack was not something I did very much, which is how come I forgot about it and wandered off while climbing the rocks. I never saw the pack again.
I lost a backpack on a hunting trip for a few hours once. Dropped the pack to get into a good position. Adrenaline got pumping and I lost the pack for a bit. Wasn't fun. I no longer will step away from my pack. Bad news to do that.
Gary, your stories awe and inspire me.
I think the question of survival for 24 hours greatly depends on the conditions and whether you truly mean just surviving vs maintaining ideal homeostasis and being ready to move on to the next thing. While I'm still a dabbler, I guess I would answer that question by saying that whenever I leave civilization I go prepared to safely, if not completely comfortably, deal with reasonably expectable conditions for at least 24 hours longer than I plan to be out. In the parts where I do most of my meandering (NorCA Coast Range, mostly under 3,500 ft), reasonably expectable conditions during much of the year include lack of water outside of creeks that are big enough to be named, fire danger from mid spring to late fall, and a paucity of blizzards.
This is TrailSpace, we do that stuff for fun, then write a Trip Report and three gear reviews!
Jason Ruff said:
I lost a backpack on a hunting trip for a few hours once...
Jason, sometimes even well experienced mountaineers can't find their camp, let alone a stashed pack, albeit poor visibility is the usual culprit. Do not fret, you merely need to stash your kit properly. For starters chose a conspicuous land feature and place you pack there. Second, triangulate that position off prominent geographic features, taking note of the compass bearings. Lastly return to the stash using the geographic features to get you in the vicinity, and the compass bearings to place you close enough to discern the chosen stash point. With a few modifications this technique works even in near white-outs and darkness (provided you have a flashlight). Poor visibility is addressed by choosing a stash point where terrain channels your search to the stash, for example by a stream or along the base of a cliff or the top of a "very large mound", and/or triangulating off distinctive points on the horizon line, if possible. If terrain lacks these features, contrive one. We sometimes marked camp locations on trips by running a picket line of bamboo wands through both sides of camp, perpendicular to the expected return line of travel, spacing them sufficiently close so they will be hard to miss even in a blizzard. You can do similar tricks with cord and marker flags. Just clean up the landscape after your return.
Another trick is to use a GPS device to set a waypoint where your kit or camp is stashed.
Lastly others should not downplay Jason's dilemma, as if he was lame or something. Do not assume you will remember "that" bush or rock, as features this small often end up looking the same as everything else, and sometimes are hard to locate even when you are close by. Always use a marking technique similar to as described herein, whenever you need to return to an exact location that lacks really obvious distinctive features.
"..People are always telling me I should write a book, but the few times I have tried to I can't get the times and dates right... ..I have so many memories stored in my head I get them all mixed up when I start telling about them..."
Gary, write that book anyway. Your story can be centered on a philosophy, life perception, or simply collection of anecdotes and experiences, none of which require a chronological order to relate. Think themes evoked by titles such as "While I was Away", "Lost and Found: A Lifetime of Self Discovery in the Backcountry", or "A Squirrel Ate My Lunch (So I had Him for Dinner)." When you figure out what you wish to share with us the title and storyline will come along on its own. Who knows, perhaps a series of short stories is a better format?
I have thought of waiting till my 40th anniversary in 2017 just a few years away to start a book on life on the road. Many movies have been written on my life "Forrest Gump" and "Into the Wild" both seem to be my lifes story other than the fact that I am still "kickin" and din't die of edible plant poisoning.
I will be 61 in 2017 and June 15th of that spring will be my 40th anniversary date since 1977 when I first took to the open road by thumb on my initial 10,000 miles hitchhike around the Lower 48 states to get me to Alaska and begin my life as an adventure traveler.
My mother used to have a hand stitched map of the USA on the wall in the living room of the house I grew up in in upstate New York. Every state had its bird,flower and other special state emblem on it and I always would look at it wanting to see each state and understand how it became the place we all now love and enjoy.
In the last 37 years I have hitched, biked, walked and camped in its many varied places. So give me a few more years and I will work on a book of my life.
I think a collection of short Gary stories would be the best!
Jason Ruff said:
I lost a backpack on a hunting trip for a few hours once...
Jason, sometimes even well experienced mountaineers can't find their camp, let alone a stashed pack, albeit poor visibility is the usual culprit. Do not fret, you merely need to stash your kit properly.
I hear ya Ed. Thanks for the advice. Loosing my pack was actually a situation where I mindlessly dropped it where I stood to get myself into a better position on some game animals. Needless to say the adrenaline got pumping and the chase was on. I was fortunate to find the pack several hours later.
I have actually been backcountry backpacking and hunting for decades so I am no stranger to caching gear with many of the methods you mentioned.
People are always telling me I should write a book ...
I believe that they are right. You live a fascinating life and many people would like to know more about it.
... the few times I have tried to I can't get the times and dates right.
I have so many memories stored in my head I get them all mixed up when I start telling about them.
Dates are not important. Your story and your experience are important.
Not remembering some dates should not stop you. As Jerry Weinberg once said “Truth should not prevent you from telling a good story”
I have thought of waiting till my 40th anniversary in 2017 just a few years away to start a book on life on the road.
You already started writing your book whether you have realized this or not. I believe that you are using Jerry’s “Fieldstone Method”. So I strongly recommend getting “Weinberg on Writing: The Fieldstone Method” book to further master it. (I was not able to provide a link. Just search for this title on the Amazon.)
I follow your travel stories since your bike was stolen on a way back from Alaska. By the way, what year was that?
It may take some time for you to finish your first book. At the same time I would like to see your fist bigger article published in a magazine like “Outside” this year. I understand that the next few months you will spend at the same place. So you have enough time to finish writing of your first big story.
You do not know what story should be published first?
Just take any story that was already published on the Internet and generated a lot of interest and convert it into a magazine article by providing additional details.
This thread took an interesting turn. :)
Yury said: I follow your travel stories since your bike was stolen on a way back from Alaska. By the way, what year was that?
The year was 2006. I had bike across Alaska and was going to bike down the Alaskan Highway from Anchorage and I had neglected to lock my bike one night after drinking with some others at the Hostel I was at. When I woke the next day a fellow cycle tourer asked me where my bike was at breakfast and I said it was outside. He said it wasn't, so I went and looked figuring he was joking, but lo and behold it was gone.
I then was planning to work the winter in Anchorage and do the trip south through Canada in the spring, but in mid winter I decided I had had enough of the 20 hours of darkness and -20 degree temps and decided to fly back to Utah and left in early January 2007.