Wednesday, June 6, 2018

                     Are You Mentally Prepared To Survive?

The society we live in today is so "consumer goods" oriented that we often have the misconception that all we need is this tool or that gadget to accomplish whatever task or goal we take on. Those of us selling these goods sometimes will try to convince you that all you need to do is buy their product to accomplish your task or goal - no knowledge or experience required and you will succeed. In our case, it is survival gear.

While the proper survival tools and equipment are important (some quite crucial), they alone will not ensure your survival. You simply must have experience, common-sense, and the proper mindset to survive.

Experience is easy to gain, but don't wait till you are in a life or death situation to learn how to use your gear! Many of us gain this experience while camping or hiking with family or friends. Lots of fun can be had learning how to use your survival gear. Make up competitive games or "races" such as a fire starting or wood-cutting contest. Compete to see you can make the best survival shelter in the shortest amount of time. Have a scavenger hunt using a map and compass to locate hidden items. Use your imagination and you will be surprised how much fun you can have with this. Not a camper or "outdoorsy" type of person? No matter - you can still do much of this at the city park, your backyard, or in the comfort of your home or apartment. No matter how it's done, you must become familiar with your gear.

Common-sense is usually something you either have or don't have. Thru a career of guiding hunters and fishermen, I have met some of the most intelligent people alive - fortune 500 types. It never ceases to amaze me how many possess little or no common-sense in the outdoors.

Common-sense comes naturally for some, others must work at it. What it really boils down to is simply thinking before you act. Think of any possible results or effects of your actions. For example; if it looks like there is even a slight chance of rain, don't pitch your tent in a ravine or dry wash. If at all possible, don't camp under dead trees. I've seen more than one tent flattened by falling trees. Give some thought to your campfire location. Don't build it under low hanging tree branches or near vegetation that may be ignited, or at least clear a 6 to 8-foot area down to dirt before lighting, and keep a close watch on it. The route you take hiking or even driving should be well thought out. Simply be constantly aware of your surroundings and any consequences of your decisions or actions. before you know it, you won't be consciously thinking of these things, but you will just instinctively know what to do or how to act.

Your mindset, or frame of mind, and your attitude is the hardest to master. The moment you realize it will be dark soon and you don't have a clue where you are or how to get where you want to go, panic, or at least a feeling of urgency begins to come over you. Most of us can relate to this and most likely have experienced this phenomenon to some extent.

What's the big deal? The only thing that has changed is the fact that you had not planned on spending the night outdoors, and you don't know where you are. At this point, you need to just take a deep breath and try to relax. The night only lasts a few hours. Your situation will look a whole lot better in the light of day. Providing you have sufficient survival gear and clothing, being lost is just an inconvenience - not the end of the world unless you convince yourself it is. One of your first thoughts will be that your family or friends will be worried sick about you. Unfortunate, but not the end of the world. Remind yourself how happy they will be to see you when you do get home!

Try to think of the experience as a challenge or a mission that must be accomplished. Accept the circumstances and prepare to hunker down for the night BEFORE dark. Choose your campsite and gather more firewood than you think you might need to get thru the night. There aren't many things as comforting on a dark chilly night as a warm campfire.

Staying hydrated is extremely important to keep your brain alert and working properly. You can go for days without food, but water is crucial to your survival. If you are out there in the first place there is no excuse for not having some type of survival water filtration system with you. A filtration straw is ideal for these times. They weigh nothing and take up no more space than a pencil.

Get as much sleep as you can. A rested brain will perform better than a tired one. Chances are good that come daylight you will be able to determine
where you are, or at least which direction you need to go to get back. If not, then perhaps the best thing you can do is stay put if your location can be easily seen from the air or from a long distance away. If not, relocate as short of distance away. Ideally, you want to be near water, some form of shelter (or the materials to construct one), wood or sagebrush for fire fuel, and you want to be visible to rescuers who will be looking for you.

At this point, evaluate your mental state of mind and attitude. Shake off the fear and depression and accept your situation for what it is - a learning experience. Some of the best experience you can gain comes from unexpected circumstances and failures. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade and enjoy drinking it!

Monday, April 2, 2018

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                     HOW TO MAKE AND USE DIVINING RODS

I recently read a blog post about water dowsing, also referred to as witching or divining. I found the title to be somewhat misleading, as the author made no mention of using a divining stick or rods, just useful tips on how to locate water in various climates and topography.

Without thinking about it, I hastily posted a comment pointing out the omission of the use of divining rods, and that I have personally done it and it does work. Some time later it occurred to me that when I used divining rods I was not trying to locate water, exactly, but a PVC (plastic) sewer line and septic tank. I assumed the water in the line and tank was what the divining rods were acting on. Then it occurred to me that the underground water table level is quite high in the whole valley, ranging from only 4 to 8 feet below ground level. Shouldn't the divining rods have reacted to water that shallow? Or would the divining rods "act" differently in an area where the underground water table level is very deep or non-existent? I am anxious to test this somewhere where it is unlikely for water to be anywhere near the surface - maybe the top of a mountain? We still have several feet of snow on the ground here so I won't be doing that anytime soon so the jury is still out on the ability to locate water, but I would like to share how to make and use divining rods to locate utilities, which is what I have successfully used them for.

Many people think that using divining rods to locate water is just an old wives tale, scam, or simply a forgotten art or special skill. When I was a young boy I watched an old guy determine where to drill a well, using a forked stick. According to a U.S. Geographical Survey Website I visited, the best stick is from willow, peach, and witchhazel. They also state that some "dowsers" use keys, coathangers, wire rods, pliers, pendulums, and several other materials or items. They go on to say that many scientists debunk this age-old method of locating water on the grounds that almost everywhere there is water underground - hence the successful record.

As mentioned above, it will be awhile before I can test this further in locating water, but I can say beyond a doubt that one can accurately locate things buried in the earth, such as phone and power lines (whether live or disconnected), water, sewer, and propane or natural gas lines, and septic tanks.

I used to be rather skeptical or at least thought it took a special skill or knowledge to be a “water witcher” until a guy I know demonstrated his method to me. He showed me how to do it, and it truly does work extremely accurately.


The ones I have used are brass brazing rods 30 inches in length (I don’t believe the length is that critical). The gentleman that showed me this claimed that heavy copper or even steel wire would work too, but it is not as sensitive, therefore not as accurate as brass. 4 or 5 inches from one end bend the rods 90 degrees to form the “handles”.


Grasp these “handles” firmly, with the rods horizontal and parallel to each other in front of you pointing forward, about 8 – 16 inches apart. Test this on something you know is buried underground, like a water or gas line, septic tank or something to that effect. Walk slowly over it. The rods will be drawn together and cross each other when you are over it, and they will return to the parallel position after you pass. If you are walking along the length of the line the rods will remain crossed unless you waver off the line, or it ends, in which case the rods will return to the parallel position. If you come to a 90-degree bend in the line, one rod will remain straight, but the one on the side the line turns will point in that direction. If you hit a “T” both will point out in the directions the line is running. Whatever force it is that moves the rods in your hands (I assume some kind of magnetism) is very strong – so strong you can grip the rods nearly as hard as you can and they will still move. Give it a try – it will make a believer out of you, and hopefully, this will be as useful (and fun!) for you as it has been for me.

If anyone out there has any personal experience with the use of divining rods, feel free to share with us. I will follow up on the validity of locating water with these rods when our snow melts, so be looking for that post in a month or two. Thanks for reading!

Thursday, March 29, 2018


I've always figured I'd be prepared for just about any type of disaster, but I realize now I've been foolishly deceiving myself. I guess that's just been the bulletproof over-confidence of youth. In reality, it would be catastrophically devastating.

There are very few people in this country that would be properly prepared and provisioned. Just think about it. Our society has become so dependent upon electricity in nearly every aspect of our lives, and we take it for granted it will always be there. In reality, a power outage of more than a week or two would bring us to our knees as a nation.

I recently read an archived National Geographic article released October 25, 2013:  ’American Blackout’: Four Major Real-Life Threats to the Electric Grid. It is quite scary how easily this disaster could become reality.
The four major potential causes of a power grid failure are:

Cyber Attack
EMP (electromagnetic impulse) Attack
Solar Flare
Grid Failure

Here are a couple excerpts from this informative read:

"As a May 2013 Congressional report noted, sophisticated cyber saboteurs may already be probing our vulnerability to a massive blackout. U.S. utility companies already come under frequent attack from Internet hackers who continually try to infect utilities’ computer networks with malware and search for security flaws. One company alone told congressional investigators that it was hit with an astonishing 10,000 attacks in a typical month."

 terrorists or an enemy nation would detonate a nuclear weapon at a high altitude above the U.S., releasing a burst of radiation that would interact with the Earth’s magnetic field and atmosphere—including the ionosphere, the thin upper layer filled with free electrons, which facilitates radio communications. As a result, a powerful electrical current would radiate down to the Earth and create additional currents that would course through manmade electrical circuits as well. Electrical infrastructure and electronic devices would receive severe shocks, causing severe, widespread damage. A 2004 Congressional Commission report warned that such an attack could cause “unprecedented cascading failures.”

Yousef Butt, a scientist at Center for Astrophysics at Harvard University, argued in a 2010 article in the online journal Space Review that the likelihood of a devastating EMP from a solar storm is greater than that from an intentional EMP attack.

There is a good possibility that the electric grid could break down on its own.
That’s because of a crucial design flaw: when one part of the grid breaks down, it can cause a phenomenon called “cascading failure,” in which the whole grid progressively collapses like a stack of dominoes. “What happens is, a failure occurs somewhere and weakens the system a bit,” Iowa State University engineering professor Ian Dobson explained in a 2010 article. “On a bad day, something else happens. Usually, it doesn’t, but on that day, let’s say it does. If it’s a really bad day, then a third thing happens and the system becomes degraded. You’re in a situation where it’s more likely that the next failure is going to happen because the last failure already happened. That’s the idea of cascading failure…Everything in the power system is protected so it doesn’t fry when something goes wrong. Things can disconnect to protect the equipment, but if you disconnect enough things, you get a blackout.

In an article published in Nature Physics in August 2013, U.S. and Israeli physicists concluded that for a system dependent upon a number of critical nodes, such as the U.S. electrical grid, such cascading failures are pretty much inevitable.

This is scary stuff, folks; especially for anyone living in a metropolitan area, but those of us in rural areas will take a hit too. While many of us rural folks will be able to harvest, gather, or grow food, we will be forced to revert back to horses for transportation, because nobody will have propane, gasoline or diesel fuel, and very, very few people will have the resources to store fuel for any length of time. We would have none of the resources we take for granted today. Nearly every single aspect of our lives is dependent upon electricity. We would have no fuel to run a generator. Solar or hydropower could be used to operate a freezer or refrigerator, water well pumps, and lights for quite some time, but eventually, the batteries used in these systems will need to be replaced. Even those of us that heat our homes with wood will have a tough go of it. I have a hard enough time keeping up with our firewood consumption using a pickup and a chainsaw. If I had to rely on a crosscut saw and a pull cart or a horse I would never keep up. I would have to close off most of my house and live in one room.

In my opinion, the best I can do to prepare for such a disaster is to stockpile at least a years worth of rice and freeze-dried vegetables, and put together a "seed bank" so I can grow vegetables and fruit, which is not an easy task in the high country of Montana I call home. About the only resource that will be easily available in my neck of the woods is meat. Even in the unlikely event I should run out of ammunition for my firearms I will be able to harvest game with a bow, snares, or traps.

Life out here in the boondocks will be tough enough, but I can't even fathom the devastation that will occur in the cities. Literately millions of people will most likely perish from such a catastrophe no matter how well they try to be prepared.  I believe the best thing city dwellers can do is educate yourselves in outdoor survival skills and practices, and when the time comes, get the heck outa town. Without a doubt, it will be difficult to survive for very long, but your chances will be better than if you decide to dig in in the city.

If anyone has any thoughts on this you would like to share, I'd like to hear them.

Monday, March 19, 2018

                         MOST THREATENING SEASON...PART 2

Greetings from the Crown of the continent! My last post summarized surviving day one of a 5-day Smith River Trip as an example of why I believe Springtime may be the most threatening season to our survival, simply because we often are not as prepared as we should be. This trip took place in June, which we consider "Spring" here in Montana. Heavy rain has been non-stop thus far in our journey.

Day two greeted us with more of the same; heavy rain, some wind, and cold temps just above freezing - perfect hypothermia conditions. Everyone in our party was more comfortable thoughpvc poncho or a garbage bag made into a poncho, which made a huge difference in our comfort level.
 because we were better prepared for it by dressing more appropriately. Those of us that had extra gloves, hats, rain jackets, and other clothing, shared with those that did not. Most everyone also wore a

As we had expected, the river had come way up overnight, transforming this peaceful little river into a raging monster. The river looked like chocolate milk, and there was lot's of debris; logs, entire trees - root wad and all. At one point we pulled the boats over to allow a mass of debris float past us. It was what looked like about a mile of barbed wire fence with dozens of fence posts all wadded up in a big ball just tumbling down the river. This was a very treacherous situation to be in.

Our rafts are setup with the guide in the middle, an angler in the front and an angler in the back. Though considering it pointless, a couple of the anglers tried fishing for a while, only to confirm that fishing would not be productive under these conditions. It was just too muddy and there was so much debris in the water. It got to be kind of scary, and just plain dangerous.

Typically, we don't wear our life vests when on these trips, but we did now, and the guy in front watching for floating debris ahead, the guy in the back was turned around watching for debris floating down on us from behind. The "back currents" in the plunge-pools was so strong it was difficult to row thru. Most of them were great big whirlpools full of logs and other debris. We couldn't take the main current thru these or we would get slammed into the rock walls and pinned or flipped.

Aside from the hazards in the water, we had to try to keep away from the cliffs because the heavy rain was causing rocks of all sizes to tumble down into the river. These cliffs are several hundred feet tall. Even a small pebble falling from those heights would cause lot's of damage to us and/or the boats. At one point, shortly after we passed by, a whole cliff-side broke loose and crashed into the river. If a boat had been under that it would have been "game-over".

Night two was pretty much a repeat of the first night, but our camp was under a heavy canopy of trees, and the rain lightened up just a bit for three or four hours, and we didn't have the volume of wet clothing we had the first day because everyone was better dressed, so we did not need to construct the "smoke hut", we just built the fire up real big. It was still a bit of a challenge to find wood that would burn.

The next morning it was raining just as hard as it ever was, and the river had come up several more feet - much higher than any of us had ever seen. At that point, the outfitter in charge of the trip decided to pack it in and row for the take-out, which was over 30 river miles, which normally takes us two days to cover. We did it in about four hours. According to a guests GPS, we averaged 10.3 miles per hour. That was a very fast boat-ride.

Fortunately, everyone in our party was no worse for the wear, but others were not so lucky. A couple of gals had to be air-lifted out after capsizing their canoe, and an elderly couple crashed their drift boat into a boulder and capsized, killing at least one of the occupants. The demolished boat was still there on the river bank for another year or two; a stark reminder of how treacherous this peaceful little river can become at times.

We, as professionals, were relatively well equipped for this trip, but there was room for improvement. I, personally, added a very large sheet of 6mil plastic and several lawn/garden bags to my boat gearbox, along with extra wool and fleece clothing, gloves, hats, etc for my guests that did not come prepared.I also included a breathable, waterproof survival bivy  Though I did not get really cold in my soaking wet sleeping bag on that trip, it was not comfortable, to say the least. I'm surprised how much more comfortable I am now with that bivy, and kicked myself for not getting one sooner.

I also added more fire starting material to my kit, and two more butane cigar, or "hurricane" lighters, as well as a FULL can of butane to refill them. I make my own fire starter with 1 1/2 inch wide by 1 ft long strips of corrugated cardboard which I roll up tight and tie with twine or dental floss, then soak for a minute in hot melted paraffin wax.

As a whole, the biggest improvement our party could have benefited from would be packing the proper clothing, and making sure it was with us in our own boats, and not packed away on the gear boats.

I am often accused of "over-packing" on most of these trips, but I would rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it. That is really a good policy, especially in the Springtime, which can be the most threatening season of all, to your chances of survival.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

                                                                PART 1 OF 2

I suppose this will vary according to your geographical location and activities you are participating in. Here in the mountains of Montana, the Spring season, in my opinion, threatens the survival of more people than any other.

Some folks might argue that Winter is worse, which may be true for some, but then again, we expect Winter to be harsh and dangerous so we are most likely to be very prepared and equipped for surviving harsh, unforgiving cold weather. On the other hand, Spring is a deceiver; a wolf in sheep clothing. Even the most pleasant Spring day can transform into a savage beast in an instant. I will elaborate on my point with this survival story. This is a rather long survival story so I will break it down into two parts for practicality and simplicity. Part two will post next week.

The month of June I guide fishing trips on the Legendary Smith River in Montana. This is a spectacular 60-mile trip that lasts 5 days and takes us thru a beautiful, yet harsh wilderness landscape. Once we launch at "Camp Baker", there is no egress for 60 miles, with no cell service and very few places to get satellite reception. Most of its length we pass thru towering sheer cliffs and forest land. The weather on the Smith in June can range from snow to 90 degrees or more. Typically, days are warm, nights are cool but usually not too not cold. The prior two weeks had been very pleasant and "summer-like", so we were not quite prepared for what the week had in store for us.

Survival on one such trip proved to be a challenge even for us, the professionals. It began raining the night before our planned departure and shortly after we launched the boats it really began to pour and the temperature began to drop. We had 8 guests and 7 crew on this trip. Everyone had "good" name brand rain gear and chest waders, but... all was the uninsulated "breathable" type. Now, breathable rain gear and waders are the "norm" and usually work quite well under most circumstances, however, torrential constant downpours are not one of them. I had taken the weatherman seriously for once and had also brought along wool long underwear, a waterproof saddlecloth rain parka, a pair of neoprene gloves, and a pair of wool mittens.

By noon that first day most everyone was wet and cold. We pulled into the first campsite to build a fire to try to warm up and found there were 7 or 8 boats tied up there and all the occupants huddled in a tight group trying to get a fire started. These were not guided parties, but GP's - general public
(guide lingo). They were pouring boy scout juice (lighter fluid), on big wet wood and fanning the flames with an air pump. This may have worked had they taken time to gather up some kindling and went easier on the air pump.

I watched patiently for a while and noted that one of my clients and several of the "GP's were shivering quite noticeably and figured they were approaching hypothermia. Some of these folks looked to be in their 70's, and I know from experience that older folks are usually more susceptible to hypothermia, and I realized then that this could go from "uncomfortable" to critical in a short time. While the GP's were breaking out their second quart of boy scout juice, I went in search of some dry kindling.

Dry material for getting a fire started is usually not too hard to find, but this location proved to be a challenge. After at least 15 minutes of searching, I finally found some. At the base of a cliff, I found where a few big rocks had recently fallen, and from under these rocks, I was able to gather as much dry twigs, pine needles, and duff as would fit inside my coat. I was also able to collect some lumps of pine pitch from a beetle-infested tree. With this dry material and a hurricane lighter we were able to get a roaring fire going in a short time. Most of the folks had their duffel with them in their boat, so were able to dig out more clothing and get better dressed for the conditions. my clients' and my duffel were on the gear boat already down-river and most likely already at our campsite. I had my extra parka and three pairs of gloves which I shared with my boat mates, and a couple of large plastic garbage bags which we made into makeshift ponchos for them, and got back underway.

In spite of the conditions, we did experience fairly good fishing up to that point, but we did not even attempt fishing in the afternoon. We were just rowing hard to get to our camp, which we knew the gear boaters would have put up by the time we would arrive.

Our camp consists of 2-man "summer" tents for the guests, and a large 20'x24' wall tent that serves as the kitchen and dining tent. This is also where the crew sleeps. We refer to this one as "the big top". This time of year the weather is usually quite mild, so we don't pack heating stoves for the tents, but the propane cook stove in the big top heats it up well, so this is where everyone was congregating
this evening. Needless to say, it was very, very crowded. Everyone had gotten changed into dry clothing, but we had no way to dry all the soaking wet clothing, raingear, and waders. So after dinner, we built a lean-to shelter next to the campfire. We used oars and webstraps to construct the frame, and stretched a poly-tarp over it. In spite of the heavy downpour of rain, we had the fire roaring so hot the rain never reached it. Soon, the framework was laden with all the wet clothing, which dried in 2 - 3 hours. The lean-to was big enough for most of us to fit under, and it really saved the day. With warm dry clothing on and drink in hand, everyone's mood was lifted as we enjoyed our social time swapping stories and lies. The only downside was the smoke that filled the lean-to, which we dubbed "the smokehouse". It was also a challenge to keep up with the wood consumption. These are designated campsites used nearly every night from May thru the middle of July, so, needless to say, there was very little firewood close to camp. Our headlamps were all but worthless. Because it was raining so hard all you could see was the raindrops. A flashlight held at waist level was the best way to see where we were going and what we were doing. Under such conditions, an axe is not the best choice for cutting wood. Thankfully, we had a folding survival saw that worked quite well and much safer than the axe.

This was a long miserable first day, but we survived it and ended the day on a good note. A major concern we Guides shared was the river level. This much rain (which was showing no signs of letting up) was surely going to raise the river. How much was the big question. We had not shared our concerns with the clients yet at this point, but figured it would be pretty apparent to everyone the next morning. As a precaution, before retiring for the evening a couple of the Guides dragged all the boats well up on the beach and tied them down securely. This river is capable of rising several feet overnight and carrying a boat miles downstream before you would even know it was gone.

Please check back here next week to see how the rest of our trip went for us and what we did to survive it, and some tips on how to be better prepared for a situation like this. Thanks for reading!

Thursday, January 25, 2018


Greetings from the top of the Rockies! I had intended on writing this post a month ago, but we've been too busy just trying to survive the harsh winter we are having this winter. We have had more snow this winter than we have seen since the winter of '96.

When we think of survival and survival gear, we usually think in terms of surviving camping or hiking trips, or civil unrest and such. I doubt many of us think of survival on a daily basis. The fact of the matter is, anything you do that contributes to you living to see tomorrow is an act of survival.

In these modern times, nearly all of us, whether you are a city mouse or a country mouse,  must earn money to keep a roof over our heads and to keep us warm and fed. Whatever you do to earn that money is a survival skill. For most city folks, day to day survival simply means keeping the mortgage and utility bills paid on time and stopping by the grocery store when you need to restock the fridge and pantry and perhaps throw a survival kit in the car trunk.

For country folk, there is likely to be a bit more required besides just paying the bills. If you rely on propane to heat your home, you must monitor the propane level in your tank and order more before you run out. In my neck of the woods, most of us make a lot less money than folks in the city, which requires us to do more for ourselves and plan further in advance. For example, most of us around here heat our homes primarily or solely with wood. What that requires is securing our firewood in late Spring, Summer, and early Fall. Those of us that grow our own vegetables must begin in early Spring to grow food for the upcoming Winter several months away. Fall is the time to harvest enough meat to last us until the next Fall. Life here is very much like the story of the "Ant and the Grasshopper".

This year I have been more like the Grasshopper than the Ant. Mother Nature had a bit to do with this but it still could have been avoided. Instead of making firewood a priority in the Spring, I put off gathering it, thinking I would have more time in Summer and Fall. As luck would have it, we pretty much went right from spring to drought and wildfires, which implemented "Hoot Owl" restrictions, which prohibits operating chainsaws in the woods after 2pm. During Summer my job as a Fishing Outfitter and Guide requires me to work most mornings. By the time I would get home it was too late get wood. Those few days I did not have to guide, what did I do? I went fishing instead of putting up wood. No problem; I'll just have to do it in the Fall. An early snowstorm shut me down before I had enough wood put up to get me through the winter. On to plan "B" - get wood with the snowmobile and sled.

That worked "ok" till we got another big dump of snow that was too much even for the snowmobile. It took a couple weeks of snow "settling" before I could even leave the yard. Back on track - hauled a couple sled loads, then the snowmobile broke down. That's when I remembered that the previous winter I was having problems with it due to ethanol in the gas deteriorating the plastic fuel lines. I had intended on replacing them before this winter but forgot all about it. After several days and a 150- mile round trip to town for parts, I finally got it all fixed and running again just in time...I was down to my last few sticks of wood.

This winter has been a wake-up call for me. Here I am; a guy entirely confident and skilled at surviving outdoors for weeks on end, and getting paid to ensure my clients survive our expeditions, and I came close to not surviving this winter in my own home. Rest assured I will not make this mistake again - I've been humbled and have learned my lesson.

I hope those of you reading this will learn from my mistakes and plan ahead for your survival, whether it be just "daily life", a road trip, outdoor excursion, civil unrest, disaster, or any other type of scenario that may put your survival in jeopardy. Proper advance planning is a major factor in your ability to survive no matter where you are or what you are doing.

I am making a new commitment to myself to put down on paper my "Annual Survival Plan" for daily survival as well as "excursion survival", and utilize checklists to ensure I do not forget or omit tasks and survival gear items I may need to survive any scenario. I encourage you to do the same by writing down your own "Annual Survival Plan" that is tailored to you and your needs and circumstances. Furthermore, just writing it down is not enough. We must then muster up the self-discipline to work on and fulfill your survival goals. This year I will be an Ant. Being a Grasshopper is far too stressful. I will get the chores done first, then go fishing!