Survival

14. Golden Nuggets from the Trail, Part 2

How can you make nature trekking easier and more enjoyable for everyone in your family?

In our last blog post we talked about the importance of being a good leader especially when you’re out in the wilderness with other people. We learned that assertiveness, calmness and logical thinking can get you out of the tightest situations.

What makes a good outdoorsman and survivalist?

In addition to acquiring the special skills that will allow you to survive in austere environments, truly great outdoorsmen possess one thing that cannot be learned from books: the survivalist mindset.

The survivalist mindset is calm, focused and intelligent. It assesses all situations comprehensively and is centered on creating solutions, not more problems.

Developing a survivalist mindset isn’t difficult at all; in fact, even young children can learn to be calm and solution-oriented.

Wilderness Nuggets

Are you ready for today’s collection of tips? Here they are:

  1. Start Eating Weeds – If you want to become a truly great outdoorsman and survivalist, you have to be aware of the “essential edibles” that can be found all around us.

Sure, trapping small animals is ideal to get some much needed protein if you’re fatigued and hungry. However, not everyone is trained to trap wild animals and if you’re shaking from hunger, waiting another 1 or 2 hours for food may no longer be a viable option.

If you can’t wait another minute for food and your resources are running low, keep these “essential edibles” in mind:

i.) Pine tree needles – Can be used to make tea as it is naturally rich in ascorbic acid or vitamin C.

ii.) Acorns – Squirrels love acorns and so should you. You would have to boil them first before eating them as they can be very bitter. The bitterness comes from naturally-occurring tannins. If you can find a white oak in the area, harvest your acorns from that tree as the tree doesn’t produce very high levels of tannins.

iii.) Cattails – Peel young cattail shoot and eat the succulent and semi-sweet cores.

iv.) Clover leaves & roots – Clover can be consumed like your regular salad fare. The roots and leaves of this plant are nutritious and very safe to eat. Avoid harvesting clover in areas where pesticide run off may be present.

v.) Yucca fruit and petals – The small fruits of the yucca can be eaten fresh from the shrub. You can also cut away tender stems and peel them for the starch they contain. After peeling the yucca stems, be sure to boil them first before eating them.

vi.) Daisy leaves – The young leaves of the daisy plant can be eaten (like clover leaves). If you’re hankering for tea and don’t mind the bitterness, you can pluck away the white petals of the flower too and use it as tea leaves.

  1. Count Your Steps – You can estimate the distance you’ve travelled so far by doing some simple conversions. The average adult’s stride length is 30 inches or 2.5 feet. 1 mile of stable, flat ground will require about 2,112 steps (assuming that your stride is no less than 30 inches in length).

Wearing a pedometer (a walking counter) will help you determine how many steps you’ve taken to walk from point A to point B. This type of orienteering is extremely useful if you’re using an old fashioned map that has been triangulated with miles/kilometers.

  1. Let Nature Heal You – If you scratch or cut yourself while trekking and have no first aid kit nearby, Mother Nature can help you out:

i.) Sphagnum moss – A favorite among American outdoorsmen, the sphagnum moss is Mother Nature’s answer to sterile gauze and dressings.

Sphagnum moss is naturally absorbent; as such it can be used to manage an open, bleeding wound. This moss also has powerful antibacterial properties which are very much needed when a person is wounded in the wilderness.

If you have some dressing with you but no clean gauze to absorb the blood or any exudate, place the sphagnum moss on top of the sterile dressing before applying bandages to secure all the layers.

ii.) Oregano – If you find any oregano nearby, you can apply the crushed leaves on wounds to control bacteria too. If you’re in pain, a strong oregano tea made with plenty of leaves will help with the pain.

Oregano contains not only antibacterial compounds but also anti-inflammatory agents that may help reduce tissue swelling. The oregano might not work as quickly as synthetic analgesics, but it’s natural and Mother Nature would really like you to try it!


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