In the spring of 2010 I had been exploring some trails on my mountain bike, one trail in particular had caught my fancy, parts of it are rocky and cobbly there are lots of stream crossings. One day late in the afternoon I took the trail and went farther up on it than I had previously been. The water was a bit high with some spring runoff, not dangerous, just a little high. I was riding back down the canyon, blazing down the trail, a blasting through the water crossings, I was having one of the best rides in a long time. Suddenly all the fun ended, a hidden hole at one of the crossings caught me by surprise, my bike dropped into it and I was heading straight for some boulders in the water, head first. I ended up landing on a boulder on my right shoulder. The water was pushing me against some debris, I was under the icy water except for my head. I soon found I could not use my right arm at all. The only way I could get up and out was against the water flow, but that meant using my right arm. I was soon able to roll myself onto my bike somewhat and use it as a crutch to get out.
Once on shore I found my shoulder had been knocked loose and was useless. I was cold, the sun was setting, and no one knew exactly where I was. I had my Wilderness Innovation Survival Kit and a Fire Starter Kit was part of it. I figured if I could not get out, I would need to get a fire going, and I would have to do it one handed, and before it got too dark. It was decision time.
As it turned out, luckily I was able to get my shoulder popped back in place, but it was too painful to use my arm for anything much. I got the chain back on my bike and was able to carefully get on it and get out of the canyon to my truck.
Back to that moment of decision, I knew I had to decide one way or another whether I was staying put or getting out, and I had about 15 minutes to determine which it would be. I figured the ideal situation would be if I could get out, so I would see if it was likely possible, if not I would stay, make fire and camp till morning. When I thought of staying the first thing that occurred to me was that I would need a fire for sure and I would have to do it all one handed. I figured I could do it, but I had never done it before so I wasn’t sure how would be the best way.
Recently someone inquired about changing to some other kind of fire starter besides the Doan that we use, and they cited a device by another company that was designed for that purpose, a one handed fire starter. I knew their products were good and even owned a couple pieces. As you certainly know, I love the fire starter kit we have. I’ve been using essentially the same thing for nearly 30 years now. In fact I am still using the very same Doan Magnesium Fire Starter, and it still has lots of life in it. To me there is still nothing better than the Doan. Most of the things out there now are spark throwers, which is fine a lot of the time, but to me can’t match the ability to vary the heat output which the Doan can do and the others can’t. So anyway I got to thinking, I need to try doing fire with the Doan, one handed, one armed.
Today I did just that and I filmed the first attempt, which turned out to be successful. You can watch it here. Conclusion, the Doan is a wonderful tool that easily passes the one arm fire starting test. Another reason to just keep what I have had all these years. You can get your own on our website, it’s likely the last fire starter you will ever need. I tell my kids I’ll leave mine to them in my will. Check out the video and see how easy it is. I did it the hard way too, with just the Doan and not with the other aids we have in our kit, they would have made it impossibly easy.
A bit of news. We had a problem with the Rendezvous on Aug 26 and 27 and would have to change it, then we found out we were invited to the Preparedness Show in Boise, Idaho on that same date, so it all worked out anyway. If you are near Boise, come and see us there. We will notify of a reschedule date for the Rendezvous, it may be better a little later anyway as the plants and berries we were going to use for part of the activities are a little late this year. Keep in mind we are limiting the size of the the group to ten people plus ourselves, this will be nicer and more effective.
Until next time, this is Perry Peacock, “Simplifying Survival”