Surviving Maine’s Great Outdoors Part 1 

Maine’s great outdoors is often a safe haven and a place to relax.But what happens when the conditions turn potentially deadly? How do you survive?You’re headed out the door for a hike. You’ve got sturdy shoes on, you’ve dressed in layers, and you’ve let someone know your plans. But is that enough to make it through a couple nights if you had to?In part one of the series Chelsey Anderson shows you what to do as she gets stranded in Maine’s great outdoors.”Before we even head out, we consult our gazetteer.””North is always the top of the map, so this road is running east and west. So if we get in any trouble, and only have our GPS to get us out, we’re going to move North to the road.”Registered Maine Guide and navigation specialist, Randy McEwen, stresses the importance of working a compass.”The key is to hold it straight and turn your body.” “Oh.” “That way you’re facing the correct direction.””The most important part of this is the direction of travel arrow. That’s the direction that you need to be going. That you need to be moving.”Make sure you mark your start point.”We’ve made our way point. It’s number 178. We’ll lock that away in the back of our mind.” “Ok.” “And when it’s time to come back out, we’ll dig this back out, we’ll find 178 in there and we’ll say, ‘take me back to the camp.’ And you’ll follow the arrow back to the woods.” “Great!” “Bringing you right back to camp.”Now we’ll look over our survival pack.*An easy to carry bag*Noise maker for signaling*Maps of the area*Several compasses and GPS*Spare gloves and HotHands*Sharp knives*Flagging tape and a permanent marker*Survival blankets*A flashlight*Glow sticks*Fire starting material (magnesium and steel wool)*Duct tape*Folding saw*Twine *Multi-tool *Water/Water purification tool*”You Alone in the Maine Woods””And structure your pack accordingly. Everybody needs to carry with them what makes them feel comfortable.”Don’t use a kit in a can.”We really shouldn’t stake our life on it. I highly recommend that they build a kit from scratch.”We head out into the woods. Lost.”We’re not lost. We’re just turned around.” “That’s what my husband says.” (laughter)”So at this point you’ve got to gather your thoughts. You’ve got to stay calm. The old adage: STOP. Sit, think, observe, plan. Sit down. It’s imperative that you stay calm. Because that’s what kills people. Panic is what kills people. And you’ve got to stay calm. If you can do that, you’re going to survive.”First, we build a shelter. “Let’s make camp.””What we’ll be doing is gathering small dead wood. Small saplings and we’ll be putting them in this fashion to make sort of a roof on both sides. Then we will clear the leaves away and find some boughs or some branches with leaves and make ourselves a nice dry bed.”Be sure to check the ground.”You wouldn’t want to plop your butt down on a bunch of ants while you were trying to survive, because then it would get a little uncomfortable.” (laughter) “Looks pretty clean.”Now we’ll gather dead wood from the forest floor.”We’ll just fill in and we’re just going to try to get the sticks reasonable close together reflect most of the heat or keep in most of the heat.”We lay our survival blanket over the top to give us some protection from the elements.”Now we’re going to lay these in to give us a little bit of insulation and a little bit of material to lay on.””That’s actually quite a bit of room!” “And it smells really good.” “Smells like a Christmas tree.” “It’s got that natural air freshener.” (laughter)Next, we have to find dry materials for a fire.I searched underneath trees, grabbed some dead pine needles and some Old Man’s Beard. I also found standing dead wood that I was able to cut down and split.”Alright we have to start with tender. We’ve got a piece of steel wool.””This works in any weather. See how that throws a nice spark.”Easy for Randy to say.(strike, strike) “There you go!” (blow, blow) “Put some wind into it!” (blow, blow) (laughter) “I think it went out again.”(strike, strike) “Maybe I wouldn’t be a good survivor!” (laughter) “Oh!” (blow, blow) “Keep it going!”Third time’s a charm.(strike, strike, strike) (blow, blow)”Yeah, it’s a fire!”We’ll it took Chelsey a little while, but she was able to stay warm by the fire. If you have something in your survival kit you haven’t used before, go camping! Try it out!In part two of this series Chelsey will show you how to build another type of shelter, test out a water purification kit and actually drink the water from a beaver dam. And then navigate herself out of the woods.