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How do you ID yourself when in the woods, or whatever you do in the natural world

n the woods, wilds or whatever you call them I carry my old (now) Dog Tag from my US Navy days in 1975-76. I used to have two but its safe in a cache in the wilds.


Along with my other I.D. my Arizona one I also carry my sisters and brothers names,addresses and phone number/email address in my wallet. More for their sake not mine. Someday, maybe soon in a couple months I am going on a walkabout, heading south first along Kanab Creek to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, The spending about 2-4 weeks exploring the North Rim on my bike on the forestry roads, then by foot to places like Powell Plateau, Thunder River, Roaring Springs, Ribbon Falls, etc. The rise around the GC to the east and down towards Flagstaff via the San Francisco peaks, Sunset Crater, the Meteor Crater, Winslow, Holbrook, Show Low, the into the Salt River Canyon to Globe then head west to Sedona maybe for the winter and maybe to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon to spend winter there hiking and camping on the rim and inner canyons.

I don't carry any ID or anything that has my name on it...

If I'm out in the woods and something happens to me---I don't wanna be found....

Leave me where i lay----I'll be happier there...

I rarely am out for days alone. When I go, I leave a trip plan, and carry an old DL. On all my trips up north, I have a fairly detailed float plan. That is left with two responsible individuals, and the local RCMP. The plan includes, put in and take out points and dates, information on all members, including allergies and medications, address, emergency contact person(s), cell and sat numbers, canoe colors and types, tent colors and types, spray deck colors and types. Also, emergency gear carried. As well, all my boats have my name and address marked inside the hull as do my paddles, my PFD has my name, as does my helmet, my throw bag. Additionally, if the trip is long(over four hundred km) I will have sat phone check in dates so I can update on progress. Kevin mentions that he doesn't want to be found. In a way, I would want to stay where I died. However, I have to disagree that that would be a good course. People missing in the bush result in large searches. In the north, this is often by air. Aside from the risk these SAR people take to search, there is also the cost in time and money. Even if you do not survive, your loved ones may have to bear part of the cost. 

Found or not found---dead or alive.......

How does it take away the cost of a rescue/search that you suggest?

Maybe I should just leave a note in car saying don't bother looking for me.......I'll be happier where I lay....

Understand completely, but I have a close relationship with many of my close friends and relations and I come back once in a while to say hello, I am still in the living and share my wealth of knowledge to the humans in town so they know I am okay and they are too.

Live together or die alone, Jack Shepard on LOST

I always kinda hope my next trip is my last but I always find reasons to return to let them know I am okay. I carry an ID on the idea that someday someone does find my shell, I can be IDed and my family and friends can know the truth, that I lived outdoors the rest of my days.

At 57 now I am ready I think to go the last go, say my goodbyes and stay outside. No more work,taxes,rent,noise,smog,etc...I need a Walkabout to find out a spiritual immersion in Nature to find our true selves To Be Free!

Kevin, having worked on SAR a number of years ago, I can relate that it is very frustrating when you don't know where to start looking. That adds dollars for a much wider search. As well, no ID means that someday, someone might find  moldering remains and the forensics team has to do more work.

While a number of people have expressed that "Into the Wild" Chris McCandless had a right to head into the bush alone, few think about the aftermath and the people affected. Few think about the personnel who had to investigate the site, zip up the body bag and cart it back to civilization. Some get paid for SAR work, many are volunteers. IMHO it is disrespectful to go into the bush without thinking of the consequences my action might cause others. SAR personnel have died trying to rescue the unprepared, or the incompetent, or the unlucky. You can't do anything about the third, but you can offset the first two.

I am always safe when I go into the backcountry. I have never broken a bone or any major problems. (hard to type listening to Iron Butterfly in my headphones) Anyway, I have spent 32 out of the last 37 years living on my own in the outdoors/wilderness and can further do so. I have a right to my ancestors to continue the plight to being wild again. Sink or swim I will survive now or in a couple months whichever comes first. $500 or $2000 now or two months from now I am returning to the wild to be the man humans have been living since actual primitively millions of years now.

Like NEO in the future says This is the Matrix, a blind that has been put over my eyes as I am lead to death. I am free  "a one with nature"  being. I am not into so much civilizasion (however its spelled) Mother Nature is my God.

No offence to anyone, we are all capable of rational decisions.

And/but I have loved ones out here just as you, I am my brothers keeper and my own.

And I should as I said before I have my brothers and sisters permission. I have their full records in my wallet. I like to connect with them once in a while. I am a wild "hu"man first, civil second.

I respect your SAR job but as they found out in the Grand Canyon, I like to disappear  once in a while and be a nonintentional thorn any any ones side. I live that I am!

I just do what I do best and that listen to my mother "Nature" she knows best whats good for me. Man is a very inventive Tool Maker and has filled the world with them. So much so that Nature our ancestral home is crowded father and farther back, some day with no checks we will loose Nature and be living in a building, not a planet.

I am a product of the millenium (spelling?) I have studied nature and her ways and have concluded that I am Forever a Mountainman.

harm no one but myself if I am wrong living?

Other members what do you think, should I stay and work year round or be free to make my own way? Into the Wild...on zero money. I don't need money in the woods. Burn it once in a while to start a fire. Ben Franklins burn the hottest. :) Also burnt topo maps when not needed anymore. My wallet is the only manmade item in my decor. Most of my gear is made from sticks and hides as well as my home gear, tent,food,fire,water finding natural shelter living, not coming with in 2 days walk of towns. Just beyond anti ATVs territory for hunters and non professional hunts.

I killed a deer once with a Bowie style knife bare handed, Fell on him from a tree above grabbed him after the Shed, and slit his young throat before he he fight or run. I lived on his flesh for 3 months and made tools from his bones and sacks from his inards. Had a deer stomach window glass. Let light into my dugout but could barely see thru it. 

I have lived in Igloo's, wigwams, tipis,yurts, tents,old cabins (in the plains of Montana), cabin tents, under the trees in too many shelters to describe. I started making them in the woods behind my house in up state NY. lean-to's Wicciups before I knew that's what they were called.

I once slept with a bear cub, a black bear cub who's mother must have gotten killed as it was young and it wanted my company. It wandered into my camp once in the high Sierra. It came to me from the Wild asking for friendship. It stayed within feet of me in my tent for months, then one day went out and never came back. It had matured enough to know its own way, was not human.

I could be a 1/12th ancestor to a Mohawk Indian from about 225 years ago, if my grandmother was a Huron, who married a John Smith type and made me a future descendant. My instincts at childhood age 12 made me realize I wanted to live like and Indian not a American. I want to catch frogs not to dissect but to eat someday in the future, and now at 57 1/2 I am ready to do just that. No more grocery store, unless I come to town, except nature will feed me as it did ancient man and woman. My wife lives outside too but is away on her Vision Quest. I will see her again this fall.

Our paths will be made one in due time, right now you are a SAR volunteer, while am living Into the Wild. Someday out paths will me and you will know fully what I am living...

Gary C Palmer

With rare exception I have always travelled alone and have never told anyone where I was headed; chances are I wouldn’t wind up at my pre-arranged destination anyhow. Being an orphan with no family ties or restraints it did not take much to sever the last ties to society, learning as I go and extending my stay in the back of beyond ever longer. It provided a certain freedom to my travels, allowing me to go where I pleased when I pleased. There is, after all, a sense of empowerment that comes with anonymity and I would always travel with the expectation of there being no help. On the rare occasion I happened upon someone it would always invoke the same sort of inane question, “You mean you walked?!” So, the short answer would have been ‘No, I don’t carry ID with me in the bush’. But, now that I have been recently married, I do give my partner in life a brief indication as to my return date, give or take a few days. She understands how I am and respects that.

October 26, 2020
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