Tuesday, December 24, 2013


Having the talent and skill to observe your surroundings and understand potential uses for materials  (natural and man-made) can go a long way to increase your potential for  survival in the wilderness.    Keep a constant awareness of your surroundings.  Evaluate  your options for survival and observe the weather, terrain, available supplies and equipment, your personal capabilities and the abilities of your companions if any.  Consulting  with your companions regarding your options may present additional observations that you may not have considered.  Taking time to constantly observe your surroundings and situation can save lots of time and effort that may otherwise compound your situation.      

First observe you immediate condition and surroundings.  If there are immediate dangers present, then do what is necessary to address these situations.  While there are often materials provided in nature that may be useful, perhaps you or a member of your group already have something on you that may be useful.  While you may observe that there is wood and tinder for making a fire and maybe some stones that can be used to make a spark needed for a fire, if somebody in your group has a lighter in their pocket or survival kit then maybe keep the stones for later use if needed but use the lighter for now.  While you may observe natural materials that may be useful for stopping a bleeding wound, first use items from an available first aid kit when available.    While you may observe some obsidian stones around which are very useful for making knives,  if you already have knives with you or within your group, then you may be able to forego making obsidian knives.  There is generally not much point looking for items provided by nature if you already have a suitable tool for the job.    Still, it is always good to make mental note of items in your surroundings that may be useful or that may present problems.    


Perhaps your observations will dictate that finding shelter is an immediate priority or  perhaps shelter will be secondary to giving first aid in medical situations.  Maybe nighttime is coming soon and you find yourself in an unfamiliar area and it is best to stay put for the night, make yourself as comfortable as possible and look for better options when you have daylight to help in your observations. 

One fun activity you might try and it is easy to do -  if you are hiking or even driving down the road, look at the area you are in and observe items (natural and manmade), then  along with your observations determine at least three ways an item may be useful in a wilderness survival situation.

While observation goes hand in hand in many ways with the prior blog “THINK” it should involve using all your different senses as much as possible along with your thinking.    Thinking is good but observation can be a tremendous support that your thinking is heading in the right direction.  You may be lost and thinking to go in a certain direction for help but if you happen to smell bacon cooking, it may be worthwhile to follow your nose and perhaps find some campers who are cooking breakfast and who are not lost.  Taking time to look, listen, feel or even taste depending on the situation will help your observations which will greatly improve your success in the next big step – PLAN.