We’ve been working hard on the bus to get her in tip top shape so we can head out right away once our mechanic says she is ready to hit the road. However, I don’t want our blog to waste away like a climber trapped on a mountain ledge. So this week, I’m going to talk about Larry Kanuit’s gripping book about death and survival in Alaska, called Danger Stalks the Land.
Danger Stalks the Land tells word of mouth tales told directly to Kanuit by the people who lived them. In some cases, when the subject actually succumbed, stories are relayed by witnesses or family. A small word of warning, in about 30% of these stories, folks die in the wilderness. Remember, these are real people and true accounts, so for the sensitive or faint of heart, perhaps stick to less dire titles. (Here’s a great article that features a town I’ve stayed in, Soldotna, about the land of missing people).
One common factor that runs throughout these stories of survival is that attitude makes a massive difference. The”Pollyanna Principle” – or in short, keeping a positive outlook in high stress situations (like falling through thin ice into freezing waters, or being stalked and mauled by a bear) can easily mean the difference between life and death. The ability to keep your calm, be positive about your outcome, and being able to think clearly and creatively about how to solve your problems are key.
Another common theme is that often accidents happen, not to the inexperienced, but to seasoned outdoorsmen (and women) who became comfortable enough with their surroundings and skill set to become lackadaisical. Even one moment being unaware of your surroundings, traveling alone, incoming weather, a small misstep, can spell disaster. It’s all well and good to have a survival kit in your Cessna or in your Polaris’ saddlebags, but if it’s where you cannot reach it quickly when the plane is on fire or the snowmobile has broken through ice and is sinking – it’s of no use.
**A side-note – this also applies to your home/car go-bag. As I talked about in my last Last Entry – Prepping 101, a go-bag is essential to any family emergency plan, but if you store it behind all your towels in the linen closet or in the attic, instead of in the hall closet / mudroom by the door where it is easily accessible, it’s not going to do you any good.
Having traveled to Alaska, and longing to return, these stories gave me a new respect for the wild, untamed wilderness Alaska still is today. I can’t wait to head back north, but this time I feel as though I’ll be even better prepared. We’ll be carrying lots of great close encounter, survival books in The Road Virus, come get your dose of adventure and peril when we pull into your town!
Stay safe, stay warm, stay vigilant,