View Full Version : Survival

09-18-2010, 09:03 AM
Interesting note. The last episode of "Man Woman Wild" on the Discovery Channel featured the couple being lost in the Smokys and "survival" techniques. The fire starting technique was a little weird with the use of chemicals no one is likely to be carrying, but the episode taking place in the Smokys caught my eye. It will repeat next Friday if you want to check it out.

09-18-2010, 10:15 PM
Yeah I think they filmed it on private land adjoining to the park from what I heard. They eat crayfish and salamanders in the show apparently which wouldn't be legal to do I don't think in the park itself. I haven't seen it but was talking to some folks who had.

09-19-2010, 01:17 AM
Here is some more discussion on the show:


"When Mykel and Ruth wander far off the beaten path in the Smokey Mountains, their deliverance depends on eluding hungry black bears and a host of hidden hazards lurking in the forest."

Also apparently they find a cabin in the woods and walk up to it "yelling out" in case there are any mountain people in there making moonshine so they don't get shot.

Sounds a little over dramatic but I would still like to see it lol.

09-19-2010, 02:28 AM
We watched it, and here are my thoughts:

Overall, it was fairly accurate as far as the environment and conditions, although they didn't stress the weather changes nearly enough - and pretty much went a little over the top on the "scary bears" segments. When you've been doing shows from rainforests, jungles, and deserts, the Blue Ridge should be a walk in the park.

Announcing your approach toward anyone's home out in the country is a good idea, even today....that goes for other rural places, not just the areas around the park. I'd never approach a cabin back in the woods in GA without first letting anyone that might be inside it know I was coming. Not surprisingly, this is also a common practice among many primitive people the world over.

Other than being afraid that a bear would crawl up into the tent with them(the wife is always a bit over-dramatic), or a snake attacking....I'd say they only got one thing wrong.

Unfortunately it's a big one, and I was really disappointed that this survival specialist from KY didn't get it right...

No stream, no spring, no creek - no matter how "high" you are - is guaranteed safe to drink from without first treating or boiling the water. I just couldn't help thinking that he just told millions of people that if they were "high enough" up in the mountains, they could drink the water safely without taking the proper precautions. But, what's done is done. There are folks on this forum who claim to drink straight from the streams and if you're up to the risk that's your business. But I've seen folks from other parts of the country taking handfuls of water from streams surrounded by all kinds of animal sign, including raccoon, bear and even hogs.

As for the show in general, at first I didn't think I'd be able to take the wife's whining and complaining.....and the rather dishonest narrative at the end that " she's so brave" or "doing so well" or whatever. However, lately as the episodes have rolled on, I really think she is getting to be a little more confident and a little less whiney than she was at first. Plus, she's not bad to look at either and kinda funny at times, so it makes her easier to tolerate for me. I wonder if her husband feels that way? ;)

If they'd gotten the water thing right, and the fact that ornery hogs are probably more a threat than bears, it would have been a perfect representation of the dangers of the Southern Blue Ridge. As it was, it was 95% accurate, and sometimes that's good enough I suppose.

PS - even though I've been tramping around in the Blue Ridge for about 20 years along trout streams the "bear corn" was totally new to me! I've never even seen it in the wild...I thought perhaps they'd found some morels...but it turned out to be the "bear corn" stuff. It was very interesting to hear her say it tasted like " sun tan lotion." :) LOL

09-19-2010, 02:43 AM
It wouldn't be a believeable show if the woman "camping" wasn't complaining about something... right?? Just kidding.. I've saw it and it's better than "Bear Grills". The show where they were in Alaska and she asks "If I froze to death would you eat my leg?" After a minute of thought he says "yes honey I would eat you but, I would start with your leg." To that she asks "what would you eat?" "That butt of your looks mighty tasty." Spoken in true southern style.

09-19-2010, 03:01 AM
Ya know, I hadn't thought about it that way. You are absolutely correct - at least as far as it goes at my house. ;) LOL

09-19-2010, 06:53 AM
They say that fast running water is better to drink from that pools. I forget the life cycle of Ghiardia (sp?) but I'm fairly certain that if a mammal take a dump in the creek upstream from you, it won't matter what kind of water you drink from if it's infected.

09-19-2010, 01:13 PM
I watched it........................that's 30 minutes of my life I wasted and will never get back. Hokey, staged, and totally predictable crap.

Jim Casada
09-19-2010, 08:54 PM
Flyman (and Owl)--I wholeheartedly agree with Flyman--unmitigated crap and unrealistic in many ways, with an invitation to giardia being right at the top of the list. As for foodstuffs, how can you even think about starving, if you are reasonably skilled in woodscraft, in the most ecologically diverse area in the northern hemisphere? There are hundreds of edible plants, not to mention considerable fauna, in the Smokies.
Owl, the "bear corn" is much more commonly known as squaw root. It is incredibly abundant (my Grandpa Joe would have said "common as pig tracks"), and anyone who has done much turkey hunting in the southern Appalachians has seen plenty of it. The name comes from the fact that Cherokees considered it useful for various women's diseases and for use following childbirth. Bears do indeed love it, but in the season when it is at its prime I'll personally take a mess of ramps and branch lettuce, with morels on the side.
Standard wisdom may suggest staying put when lost, but in the Smokies I don't totally agree if you have decent skills in the woods. Obviously it is foolish to travel at night unless you have a good source of light, but in the daytime there are two logical approaches to take if you are lost or, as Daniel Boone once put it, "temporarily misplaced." Try to get to a ridge line or follow drainages. In general the latter is preferable, because more trails follow streams than they do ridgelines, although both are common enough. That wouldn't be for everyone, but for someone conversant with the land and with a moderate degree of fitness, it would be preferable to have the NPS spend untold man hours and expense to correct your screw-up.
One other thought, and I'll offer it despite the fact that I harbor a world of negatives about Horace Kephart and will be offering a son of the Smokies' view of him from something of that perspective in an event at UT in early November. Forget the literary abomination which is much of Our Southern Highlanders (when one scholar described it as the "Nadir of Appalachian stereotyping" he was dead on). Old Kep flat-out knew his woodsmanship and truly deserved the moniker "Dean of American Campers." Other than changes in technology, his massive work, Camping and Wodcraft, remains quite valuable and accurate even today, and some testament to its value is provided by the fact that it has never, since original publication, been out of print.
As for the show, I know any number of fine mountain folks who teach that pair not one but a whole passel of lessons in dealing with the land.
Jim Casada
www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com (http://www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com)

09-20-2010, 08:14 AM
It was the third time I have watched it, and it is somewhat entertaining. Survivior man was the first to do a show like this, and is the only one that seems somewhat legit. Others (Now 6 or 7 different shows - must sell well) seem to be more about egos and hype, but they do all end up giving me tidbits of info, that is still more fullfilling than watching HGTV with my wife:eek:

On a positive note, I didn't know the "Bear Corn" was edible, so maybe that will help me out one day.

What I'm trying to figure out is where the heck were they? I was guessing maybe the private land above Dunn Ck where it hits the apple orchard, but really have nop idea. I couldn't place it, and other than to guess it was private land adjoining the park. They said they were on the TN side. But also said theis was the area where the unabomber hid out, which was in NC, so I'm not sure if they put this which would be irrevelent to most, but confusing to us few that know better.

And the ones of you who are upset by this program, I hope you didn't confuse reality TV with reality.:biggrin:

09-20-2010, 11:35 AM
"don't mistake reality tv with reality". Quite possible the best statement I have heard on the board in a great while. All of those shows are fake. Bear Grills, the other guy that got busted for being illigit, and the show we are discussing, all fake, all staged, all filmed with a crew.. After they ate their bear popcorn, they ate their real meal prepared by someone off set. Do not look to tv to learn survival skills, get a good book. I think some have already been mentioned that are good. There is also a huge book called "How to Stay Alive in the Woods", that encompassed everything you could possible want to know about wilderness survival. It has amazing pictures, great descriptions, and is pertainable to any area in North America at any time of the year. A glance through such a book will teach you more in 5 minutes than you might squeeze out of an entire season of a "survival show" on tv..

09-21-2010, 10:41 AM
I recently found Kephart's Camping and Woodcraft in a used bookstore and have been reading it every night....even for this country boy raised in the old ways,I'm impressed he actually knew his stuff,like a lot of the oldtimers who taught me.
I remember his words on drinking from spring branches,and the idea that I've often heard in the years which I never believed,that water purifies itself running over rocks and gravel,and which he also said wasn't true...the statement he made about every cabin in the mountains being built next to a spring branch and in that cabin could be a case of dysentery or typhiod should stop anyone from drinking from a branch in the country without going to the source...the "living rock" as he put it.
Somebody who is sick and suffering from drinking contaminated water will never do it again....I speak from experience,and still cringe thinking about the rotten dead dog in the branch upstream from my drinking spot.

Scott H.
09-21-2010, 11:56 AM
Good stuff!
I think someone has their bombers mixed up though.
It was Rudolph from the Olympic Park and bombed abortion clinics that they found in NC. The unabomber was up in the woods in Michigan or somewhere.