Wilderness Survival

Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are serious conditions that should not be taken lightly. When you or a member of your party starts showing signs of being over heated, take action at once. The solution is to get the person cooled off, but when its 100 degrees in the shade, and 105 - 110 in direct sunlight, and your 5 miles away from the nearest house - what do you do?

This past Saturday (July 11), my wife dropped my son, my nephew and I of at the usual hiking location. We start 4.5 miles - in a straight line from our destination and then hike back to the camp. On average its more like an 8 mile hike.

The trip started out as usual, we went to the bottom of a hill, turned right and followed a creek. From the very start I knew that this was going to be a rough trip - because the creek was dry. This stream usually has water in it year round. But the serious lack of rain fall in east texas has pushed us into drought conditions.

The first swimming hole the kids and I came to was 2 feet below normal. The water was not even flowing and the small water fall had dried up.

From the time we left that water hole, it was about 4 hours before we found running water that we could filter. By that time we were all on the verge of heat exhaustion. The creeks were either dry, or the water was a brown stagnated color.

Heat exhaustion had set in and I felt that I was about to go into heat stroke. Confusion had set set in, the first drink of water I took was vomited back up within seconds. To cool down I stripped down to my underwear and jumped into the swimming hole with the kids. About 45 minutes later I was finally able to eat a little something and keep water down.

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