How many of you have purposely put yourselves in tough weather? Why would you do it? Would you try it with minimal gear?
I would, I do, and will again.
Since I was in grade school I have relished the thought of being out in the blizzard. I used to watch the weather as a kid to see if it was going to be rough, if so my adreniline started pumping, excitement filled my mind. I would envison myself in my tent the wind trying to tear it apart. Would I be buried in snow? Would the fierce wind destroy my shelter?
One time I was up in the mountains sitting on a rock outcropping, the sky above me and behind me to the East was perfectly blue and absolutely clear, but to the West an entirely different story. I saw a storm front like I’d never seen before. As far as I could see to the North and to the South an enormous black wall of dense clouds moving steadily towards me. It was as though it would take over the world. Directly to the West of me lay the Great Salt Lake with Antelope island in the midst of it and it’s peaks 2500 feet above the water. Already lightnings had struck many times, igniting a fire on the island. I waited intently watching the storm unleash it’s fury, a Western thunderstorm. As it drew closer to me I could feel a change in the air, breezes became winds, thunder shook the ground, I smelled the fresh ions in the air. “I should go down soon, but the storm is captivating, how long can I wait?” I asked myself. Just a bit more and I’ll race down the trail at full speed, I’ll escape the storms danger, just in the nick of time.
It’s a thrill isn’t it?
It is the same in the bitter cold and deep snow of winter, a sure rush of excitement to challenge the elements.
Last spring I did a test out in the mixed rain and snow with just my PSB (WI Personal Survival Blanket) and dressed in only in my street clothes. It was rain turning to snow around midnight. I went up the canyon, wrapped the PSB around me, and sat down leaning against a tree for several hours, I was getting wet, but still warm. Then I laid down on the ground with the PSB around me, it snowed the rest of the night. Even soaking wet I was warm enough to sleep off and on, not comfortable, but survivable.
Doing these tests, are they cold, and miserable? Yes if done properly. But it’s also a learning experience, done in a somewhat controlled manner. I’m where I can go home if I just can’t deal with it. In these conditions you find out a lot about yourself, you learn to listen to your body, making small adjustments to make it feel just comfortable enough to get 30 minutes or perhaps an hour of sleep before doing it all again. A person can learn intensely in these situations about gear, what works and what doesn’t, about yourself, what your body can handle and what’s too much. Reading, watching videos and attending seminars are indeed valuable, but without some real world experience, practical learning is quite limited.
For Wilderness Innovation, Simplifying Survival, till next time – Perry Peacock