Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Alone Season 2: Episode 3 Thoughts and Commentary

Another very good episode of History's ALONE this past week where we see one contestant go home by the end of the episode and several others thriving in their environment. One "popup" fact that really stuck out to me was that each year Vancouver Island receives 12.5 feet of rain. That is a crazy amount of rain for someone not from the Pacific NW to comprehend/fathom let alone understand the struggle of constant rain. In West Virginia two years ago we equaled that amount of rain and went above and beyond that with snow fall and I remember thinking this rain every single day is really a pain. It impeded a lot of the outdoor sports I enjoy and really limited the amount of pack rafting and rafting I could do simply because the rivers were so high there were no take out points (i.e. it was at flood stage all summer). Below I will break down the episode according to what each participant experienced on the show. 
Day 7-
Something tells me (the way she is shaking) that is her first major injury treated in the field. I found myself thinking at least clean/flush the wound to see what you have before you call for help. 

Apparently she is tapping out and pressing the button on her locator beacon without trying to do much self aid. One would think basic first aid would be a required skill to be on the show. I have cut myself several times in the field and simply sewn it up with plantain cordage or fishing line or for smaller cuts just seal with pine resin and go about my business. 

The wound took a total of four 4x4's to control bleeding and it looked like it could have been an easy sew job. If she would have 1) calmed down, 2) flushed the wound, 3) determine extent of damage (if no nerve or tendon damage she is fine to treat herself), 4) stop bleeding, 5) suture or seal wound. Granted there could have been more damage than it appeared (nerve, tendon or vascular damage would require a surgeon to fix) and if any of the previous were the case its good she tapped out, I just wish she would have given it a little time to clean it and see if feeling returned after the initial shock.

I had a feeling she would more than likely be one of the first few people to leave just based on the skill set and background she brought into the competition. I love it when people prove me wrong and hopefuls she is able to come back from this and give it another try on a different show format or location.  

Day 7-
No game trails, vertical climb to get to a flat piece of ground

Great idea on making hand holds and foot holds to make your long term life and trips up the hill easier. Only issue that I can foresee with this setup would be a slip/trip/fall and impaling himself with one of the sticks used as a foothold.

I'm glad they are not editing around the expletives man, no matter what people film if you spend enough time in the woods you will get pissed, you will get hurt and you will curse like a sailor when something goes sideways. Stay frosty and unfiltered my friend, hope its a long journey for you on the island!

Day 7-
Bow drill in that environment is going to be tough without having time for the bow drill set to dry out, really glad you didn't just tap the second you lost your ferro rod. 

Good form on the bow drill!

It looks as though he is using his show laces for the bow string, great reason to change out your standard shoe laces for paracord or even firecord due to their versatility. 

Why is it everyone uses a rock for a bearing block? I've always found a good hard wood works the best aside from a commercial bearing block. Where in the world do people find these awesome bearing block rocks? I walk a creek and I find nothing but he finds a perfect one in an hour.

Looks like he is at least six attempts in on his current hearth board without success. I might focus on other things for a day while keeping the friction set in my spare clothing to dry out and give it a go the next day.

Great job getting a friction fire in that environment, at least it isn't the wet season yet! Now hopefully you make some char and start looking for a glass bottle or grab a piece of high carbon steel and start testing materials for a flint/steel fire. 

Day 7-
Finally makes her first appearance on the show and she has a nice little cove to call home.

Her first tip- Listen to the birds, they will let you know when trouble is around. Best watch dog in nature!

Good lean-to shelter with insulation. The more I think about it the more I'm leaning toward a tepee style of construction making use of several lodge poles and lots of pine. This would make for a warm shelter that could be quite comfortable and large while still being able to have a fire inside the structure. 

THANK YOU! The first practical response to a bear! I see bear near a river maybe there is a supply of fish over there! Amen Sister!

Her first thought about the bear grunting noise was that it sounded like two Sasquatches having sex, now that's funny? Can't say I believe in Big Foot but I guess if I did maybe that would be my first thought too.... but I was assuming the bear was killing something.

Day 7-
Welcome to the show!

1st person to get/use natural cordage (I use young pine roots as natural cordage personally) by digging up spruce roots. He made a very good point that you need to keep the cordage in water to maintain their elasticity, This method of gathering cordage is often overlooked and I'm very surprised as its one of the easier means of obtaining workable cordage quickly. 

"Lack of humility is a good way to prevent success in mother nature" i.e. over confidence will bite you in the butt every time, causing mother nature to chew you up and spit you out!

Making a fire blower, I usually just use bamboo/river cain or my hat, but great skills. That's why he was my pick to win. I like that he is already thinking long-term in several aspects (camp convenience, fire making, cordage, etc.). I think my first non-camp and non-trap line project would be a simple spoon and then chop sticks or a fork and bowl. 

Wow that fire stoker/blower works really well. I might have to make one of those! Doubles as an instrument, great moral boost! 
Day 7-
She is just now putting out here gill net. No luck with traditional fishing. Why would this not be a day 1 or 2 kinda deal like I've said in past articles. Gill net after a few hours has a crab and a fish... that's exactly why you want that out ASAP!

She has augmented her shelter to have four walls and it is looking a little better, but I just can't believe that no one is building a long term debris insulated shelter yet while their energy reserves are still relatively high. 

I wonder what that red pouch is that she is carrying? I guess if you make it into a sling or haversack it would be great for carrying around the bulk of your gear that you need quick access to on a regular basis.

Everyone in fire/ems/LEO/Military all have one or two stories that weigh on them that were a turning point in their career. What makes the difference is weather you take that pivotal point in your career and make it into a positive change by letting it drive you or you let it destroy you.

Seems everyone went with a down sleeping bag, I get that they are light and warm, but what I don't understand is why? Down gets wet and stays wet and loses its insulation value. Why not go with a king size wool blanket that is thick as you can get and just saddle stitch that bad boy up yourself with a canvas outer layer. That would be a heavy duty bombproof sleeping bag that would dry quickly and resist water, all while performing like a tank!

Has a bear coming into camp after making that crab/fish soup in her camp, I can't imagine why in the world that would happen (sarcasm added). Bad thing now is that she has a mamma and cubs close so not getting between mamma and cubs needs to be a major priority for her, I would also make a pine pitch torch and an extended reach fire-hardened spear for extending defensive reach (well I would have done that the second I go off the boat/plane/helo but I digress). If you are going to cook in camp you better 1) have a fire all night and 2) expect a visitor or two through the night as you are basically calling the predators to your location.

Lot's of good learning points this week! 1) Birds and bears can be your eyes and ears; 2) you haven't spent enough time in the woods if you have went off on a tool/tree/animal a time or two; 3) get those trap lines setup early- you need the food bad get ahead of the calorie game if you want to thrive; 4) Those with very high skill levels are rising to the top of the pile as you can just watch and see who has actually spent a significant portion of their lives in the woods; 5) wool is where its at for sleeping material and not down like everyone seems to be taking and in a pinch much easier to re-purpose as additional clothing; 6) friction fire is possible in that environment without drying your set; and 7) Glad to see at least a few people are thinking long-term already.

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  1. Thanks for another great post.

  2. I read elsewhere that Mary Kate's injury severed the tendon and required surgery to reattach, she mentioned not being able to move it so I think she knew it was cut through right off the bat. Larry said on his YouTube channel that his bag is a synthetic wiggies bag rated to -20 and would barely fit in the pack! Good observations!

  3. Great article! Just an FYI I don't think most of us took down sleeping bags. I know mine and a few others for sure were synthetic - too wet for down. My clothes were all wool (I agree - wool is the best). And wait and see....a lot they didn't show week one! Hoping they'll show how those they didn't show were eating, making water caches, making fire and building shelters. Hopefully in future episodes. Again, great commentary!

    1. Nicole, I saw two people talk about down and made an assumption, sorry about that. Still prefer wool over synthetic though personally.

      I wish they would setup the first episode like a survivor man episode where the covers his three zones (person, pack, and immediate area). That would give us insight to your kit, clothing, shelter location and immediate resources and challenges avaliable and would setup the show a little better in my opinion. I assume this format means more than a few make it a full month!