Survival

13. Golden Nuggets from the Trail, Part 1

How prepared are you to face the potential challenges of trekking through the wilderness?

Survival training is not just useful for dealing with man made or natural disasters. It’s actually quite useful for different activities such as mountain climbing, nature trekking, etc.

If you love the great outdoors, it is essential that you are familiar with basic survival skills, like building a fire without matches or creating a temporary shelter. The best way to get this type of training is by signing up for wilderness training courses or survival training seminars.

It would also help if you learned from the experience of other outdoorsmen.

That’s why in today’s blog post, I am going to share with you some golden nuggets that I’ve learned over many years of nature trekking with friends and family. 99% of the time, we encounter zero problems when we set out to hike or explore a local forest or reserve.

However, there are a few trips that bring about unusual and sudden problems, like someone getting left behind and no one noticing it.

I’ve gone through my trekking journals and extracted some of the vital facts and experiences that will help you in your own journeys in the great outdoors.

How can you manage accidents and problems if you’re trekking on your own?

Nothing compares to the exhilarating feeling that you get from going solo on the nature trail.

However, accidents do happen and when they do, it can be difficult to accept the fact that you’re alone many miles away from the main road (and let’s not forget, a hospital).

If you do have an accident while you’re hiking or climbing alone, bear in mind that your biggest enemy is not Mother Nature or the injury, but your emotions.

What is the cost of being emotional in the wilderness?

We humans are hardwired to react to everything emotionally; however, being emotional can cost a person his life if he doesn’t take control of the situation.

Raw, uncontrolled emotions can easily lead to panicking; and when you panic, your mind begins to spin out of control. Viable options are seen as dead ends and you start feeling like you’re the first casualty of Armageddon.

When you start panicking, your body is in a “fight or flight” mode that will give you a short-term adrenaline boost.

The adrenaline boost is useful, but the accompanying catastrophic thinking is not. When you think that nothing else can be done and you feel like it’s the end, start forcing yourself to think logically.

In addition to thinking logically, I would also recommend distracting yourself by focusing on any positive aspect of your situation.

This will help your mind relax so you can think of a way out of your problem. Trust me – being emotional and panicky will not help in any austere situation!

How can you be an effective “pack leader” during an adventure in the great outdoors?

The first thing that you have to develop as a leader is your assertiveness.

Leaders aren’t pushy or bossy – they are assertive. This means that you have to do everything in your power to be heard if you think your group is headed in the wrong direction, figuratively or literally.

An effective leader is also calm and in charge of his emotions at all times. If your group encounters problems at any point, you should avoid laying blame on anyone.

Instead, focus on assessing the situation and providing an actual solution to the problem. If you start accusing people of being “lazy” or “sloppy,” you’re group is going to be in trouble.

A splintered group is more likely to encounter severe accidents than a unified and harmonious group that walks and thinks alike.

A good leader must not only provide guidance and expertise to his members, but also genuine, emotional support.

When you are out in the wilderness or in any outdoor setting, people tend to experience a whole spectrum of thoughts and emotions, from inexplicable euphoria to pure fear.

If someone in your group is showing signs of fear or uncertainty, it’s your job to speak calmly to that person so that you can find out what’s wrong.

It would be better to find out what’s wrong now than later.

If someone is feeling fatigued or overwhelmed, that person will not volunteer that information because it’s embarrassing to admit that you can’t manage what everyone else is doing. It’s the leader’s task to reassure each member that the group is there to support everyone and it’s not a solo endeavor.

Empathy is an extremely useful skill when someone in your group encounters a problem. When you empathize with someone, you show genuine concern and understanding as to what is presently taking place. When you use empathy, people are more likely to calm down and listen to your advice as to what should be done next.


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