Survival

/ Sunday, 7 June 2009 / Canada

I had an interesting chat with some friends the other day, some who hadn’t heard of my worldwide plans and we discussed one of the most frequent subject – living.

How are you going to ensure you are going to have enough food and water?” is the most frequent question that is asked, so I figure I would detail it here. It is recommended that the human body have 8 glasses of water (2 litres) per day to survive. Now, this doesn’t only come from drinking water alone, but from your foods and such. Some days it feels like I’m not even coming close to that number – which can’t be very good.

On the road however, dehydration is a real risk and factor at play – regardless is the sun is beating down on you, or the clouds are grey. With physical exertion comes perspiring, and somewhere along the lines the fluid needs to be released. Based on some camping that I have done in the Black Rock desert in Nevada for the Burningman Festival – I found that the number to survive in such arid temperature jumped up to 8 litres per day, for cooking, washing, and drinking. This seems to be a good number to aim for on a daily basis while on the road.

The plan is to use a water filter, such as the MSR Miniworks EX, only good for 1000 litres,  or the Katadyn Pocket filter – good for 50000 litres (at a much higher price however..) to be filtering the water from creeks, streams, and lakes. This should allow for clean water removing harmful bacteria and other water borne diseases via its ceramic filter. I have 3 water bottles attached to my Surly Long Haul Trucker frame, and will be carrying a 6 litre MSR Dromedary water carrier. In some locations, additional water will be held using plastic containers, should the conditions require.

Food? Well, other than the 2 days of “meals” that will be carried at all times with me on an emergency level, the hope is to restock from small towns and villages along the way. This all seems fine and all, but then one of my friends posed the question – “What are you going to do when there are no villages?”, which forced a reality check..  What do I do when that happens?

Jokingly, we talked about relying on the environment and those around you to provide nourishment, reflecting on an old Gary Larson Far Side cartoon – where there were multiple people and a dog in the boat, yet the dog had drawn one of the longer straws. It got me thinking about a thread that I read on the Bike List about eating roadkill. Now the thought of road kill conjures up bad thoughts (and again, another Gary Larson cartoon) and doesn’t sound entirely appetizing – but when survival mode kicks in, you obviously do what you have to do.

Since then I’ve been spending time doing research on traditional animal preparation and cooking, knowing that this will potentially come in handy along with the knowledge of knowing which plants are safe to eat. It also made me wonder if I should be going through training to learn how to use a firearm. While I don’t foresee an instance arising where I will need a firearm ever in Canada, (which of course would require a Possessions and Acquisitions License through the RCMP). It could only add to my palette of knowledge, and gives me something to do while I climb the walls waiting to go on this trip.

Of course, there may be a restaurant every 15 minutes and no need to plan for such extreme survival tactics, but – better to be over-prepared and starving and delirious.

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