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Wild Edibles Expert
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
We've all read their posts here... with a gun and a plant guide book they are going to head for the hills and be glorious. When you suggest they are ill prepared you get a lot of ignorance and testosterone shoved in your face.

Well, Christopher McCandless, 24, did exactly that, in 1992. In a pristine place full of food he starved to death. He had a rifle, ammunition, a plant book, and shelter. A stream nearby was loaded with fish. A movie in his name glossed over what an idiot he was, like our Mountainmen Rambos. The authorities didn't. Alaskan Park Ranger Peter Christian wrote:

“I am exposed continually to what I will call the ‘McCandless Phenomenon.’ People, nearly always young men, come to Alaska to challenge themselves against an unforgiving wilderness landscape where convenience of access and possibility of rescue are practically nonexistent … When you consider McCandless from my perspective, you quickly see that what he did wasn’t even particularly daring, just stupid, tragic, and inconsiderate. First off, he spent very little time learning how to actually live in the wild. He arrived at the Stampede Trail without even a map of the area. If he had had a good map he could have walked out of his predicament. Essentially, Chris McCandless committed suicide.”
 

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well i guess the key to that would be trying it out in a wilderness that you could easily walk away from. try your skills and try to find where you are lacking. you cant trust your skills until you have done this a few times, at least a few, i wont trust my skills until i have done that way more. i have wondered out into the woods three times to count to test my survival skills and each time i came back with information on where i was lacking or my kit was lacking. until i come back with nothing to add, then i will be happy, until then i will use that as a last resort.

not to say these skills arent awesome to use on camping/backpacking trips, as they add a challenge and a bit of fun, you can make a game out of what plants you can identify on the trail or test out a snare at night. when you use survival skills in this way not only do you make it more fun, you learn.
 

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V
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silentmaster101 says it all practice practice and when you think you might just about have it right practice some more.

I've read several people say it CAN be done, I myself have said it CAN be done (and I stand by that), obviously I've missed the part where someones said it'll be easy and gotten SR's backup :D:
 

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Wild Edibles Expert
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Discussion Starter #4
silentmaster101
I've read several people say it CAN be done, I myself have said it CAN be done (and I stand by that), obviously I've missed the part where someones said it'll be easy and gotten SR's backup :D:
Some of the threads at this site read like they were written by boy scout want-a-be's, and about the same age. That there are 115,000 edible species in the world and that the Indians did it a 1,000 years ago means they can instantly thrive in the wilderness.... piece of cake... Any suggestion, it is not quite that simple is met with first-grade derision. It's a rather consistent idiocy.

Fine then... let them die... more women for you and me...
 

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V
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It's a rather consistent idiocy.

If thats the way it reads to you mate then fare enough, to me personally I think some people argue when someone (such as shootmor's thread) states it CAN'T be done.
The arugment that there will be xyz amount of people competeing is another issue, if things got that bad that everyone was going to have do it then your talking complete meltdown and total collapse and all bets are off.

I know I practise,I know I'm out at least once a week practising even if only for a couple of hours,but I also know I still lack plant ID skills something I'm working on, books are great but slow,a course would be better but I lack the funds so I'll agree anyone who thinks they can pack a book and they're set well I've said it before "Crayfish bait" :taped:

Fine then... let them die... more women for you and me...
And the down side is?............................... well my wife wouldnt approve :upsidedown:
 

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Ha i can barely handle the one woman i have, no more are needed.


now there is no way i could possibly know all the edible plants everywhere, i concentrate on the ones in my area. i know a few, but i rely more on laminated info cards for my direct area more. dont get me wrong i am not going to eat anything i dont know exactly what it is.

furthermore, i will be hard pressed to survive without my survival kit, at least without firesteel, a good knife and some type of shelter i would be in a bit of a bind.


not that it cant be done, but i am no survivorman, and even he cant handle everything.
 

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Doomsayer
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And there was this guy who drove his car straight over a cliff.

Thus, anybody who thinks they can drive is an idiot...
 

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Backpacker I Adventurer
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Razor you bring up a great point, and I agree with you. However with Christopher McCandless (I know that quote wasn't your own but another blokes), it needs to be known that Chris died from a fungus that had grown on his seeds he was eating in the bag he was storing them in. A mistake that I know I would have made, as I had never even heard of this fungus till the timeof his death. As well the he didn't bring a map because he didn't think of one, he had chosen not to. Does that make him stupid? I don't think so. And a lot of people don't take into consideration that he survived 2 years wandering the united states and Mexico living off the land, and working odd jobs for money. Or that he lived 3+ months in the Alaskan wilderness before subcoming to the fungus that killed him. Where I will agree that if he had had a map he could have gotten out alive. Does that make him a idiot, no I don't think so. Just a poor judgement, something we all do every day, and have and will do from time to time while in the wild.

Not that I am proud of this, but many of the times when I go backpacking I don't have a map. Again I'm not proud of this, but I don't think it makes me an idiot who's looking for a death wish either.

It's easy to judge someone from the comfort of our homes and computer chairs. Try doing it when you have walked in their shoes.
 

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Mountain Critter
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McCandless has been idolized by some, especially since the movie came out, as someone who died “doing what he wanted to do.” Nonsense.

As far as I’m concerned, his idiotic mistake was not going off on his own and trying to make it in the wilderness, it was doing so with a lack of preparation and foresight that demonstrated not only a lack of respect for the “wilderness,” but for his own life.

Now I’ve taken risks that some might consider foolish, gone out, for instance, solo mountaineering in the winter in places where a fall or other bad accident that left me incapacitated could well have meant death, with no chance of rescue because no one knew my location. And I’ve spent long periods of time, again alone and with minimal gear, in places remote enough that a bad infection could have been fatal. But these were informed, calculated risks, taken after years of learning and experience that at least gave me a fighting chance. I have done these things in the past and will do them again.

But what McCandless did was in effect, if not intention, suicide, and I think that’s why it irritates me so much to see him portrayed as some sort of hero.

I mean, the kid starved to death after shooting a moose right outside his camp, because he hadn’t the slightest idea how to preserve the meat, leaving it rotting and full of maggots within days.

The wilderness doesn’t care whether you live or die. You’ve got to take responsibility for that yourself. Otherwise, you are, and should be, just part of the food chain.
 

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The alternative might be worse.

The problem might be going it alone.
 

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I help enlighten folks
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Razor you bring up a great point, and I agree with you. However with Christopher McCandless (I know that quote wasn't your own but another blokes), it needs to be known that Chris died from a fungus that had grown on his seeds he was eating in the bag he was storing them in.
Interesting, I didn't know that, was the fungus invisible or what?
 

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Improvise Adapt Overcome!
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well i guess the key to that would be trying it out in a wilderness that you could easily walk away from. try your skills and try to find where you are lacking. you cant trust your skills until you have done this a few times, at least a few, i wont trust my skills until i have done that way more. i have wondered out into the woods three times to count to test my survival skills and each time i came back with information on where i was lacking or my kit was lacking. until i come back with nothing to add, then i will be happy, until then i will use that as a last resort.

not to say these skills arent awesome to use on camping/backpacking trips, as they add a challenge and a bit of fun, you can make a game out of what plants you can identify on the trail or test out a snare at night. when you use survival skills in this way not only do you make it more fun, you learn.
Reply]
I go to family campgrounds, but then do everything like I was on my own I the wilderness. So far i have figured out i have way to much to learn to try it for real yet.
 

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Improvise Adapt Overcome!
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Some of the threads at this site read like they were written by boy scout want-a-be's, and about the same age. That there are 115,000 edible species in the world and that the Indians did it a 1,000 years ago means they can instantly thrive in the wilderness.... piece of cake... Any suggestion, it is not quite that simple is met with first-grade derision. It's a rather consistent idiocy.

Fine then... let them die... more women for you and me...
Reply]
Since I am the one who brought up (4000 in North America), I'd like to comment'

I brought this up because people are so convinced that living off the land is impossible. But from what I am seeing, we are literally surrounded by edible vegetation.

Also, Primitive man DID thrive 1000 years ago, by living off the land. However, I have never made it out to be easy to make the transition from modern, to primitive. Infact, I have consistantly commented that it takes a lot of study and practice. For example, I keep pointing out that if I keep on my current course, I *Should* be able to forage at a basic, survivable level by next fall.

If you take into account i started this over last summer, we are talking about 18 months of study and research, which includes book learning, some coaching from my sister, as well as field work. That in no way indicates a thought that you can just run out to the hills with nothing but a book and survive, having never attempted the skills before.

Someone like me has an advantage because I have fabrication skills. Those skills transfer from the metal shop, to just about any enviroment. Granted the specific details revolving around the medium would be different, but I am still way ahead of the curve because i have spent much of my life either making things from just raw materials, or fixing them. Taking on the task of making a primitive bow for instance, is a no brainer for me. I just need to work out the specifics to tune it.

for someone who has done nothing but go to school, and push paper in an office, they would have to take years of dedicated study, and most likely need to imurse themselves in some sort of full time wilderness living course.
 

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Improvise Adapt Overcome!
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Interesting, I didn't know that, was the fungus invisible or what?
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I question this too. I allways heard he misidentified the plant and actually had a poisonous look alike.

It's easy, for example, to mis-ID wild carrots, and end up eating poisonous Hemlock
 

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Backpacker I Adventurer
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reply]
I question this too. I allways heard he misidentified the plant and actually had a poisonous look alike.

It's easy, for example, to mis-ID wild carrots, and end up eating poisonous Hemlock
THis is a common theory. BUt take into consideration he has been eating these seeds for a long time while there and is then unlikly he miss identified the plant. They use this theory however in the film, and as most people take film to be fact that is what is accepted.

Anywho I'm not here to say Chris was a god. I do respect him for the guts he had to do what he did. And I don't think him an idiot. He did plan ahead, and he had good gear. While he was lacking some gear, and knowledge of Alaska that would have helped that doesn't make him a moron. For example with the moose issue. He had done research on how to prep the animal, however he did not know there is a difference from dressing an animal in the states where he learned vs in Alaska. (I too did not know this till Chris's mistake). At same time if I got lost or injured int he bush, and I had to shoot or kill game. I have no knowledge in how to dress or prep a kill. (A problem I am working on rectifying). But does that make me an idiot for going backpacking into the bush? Been doing it since I was 9 and i'm not dead yet.

But could Chris have done better? Yes of course, there is always something we could do that would make us better. Things happen in the bush, and they are beyond human control. But I'm glad to know that someday if I ever happen to die while backpacking or traveling I'll have people call me an idiot and moron for the choices I made in life while they sit comfortably in their homes living live as a zombie until they die. (this comment ins't directed to anyone on this site)
 

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The Punisher
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We always get a good chuckle out of the bag of rice and a bus suicide mission.:D: Too bad the movie glorifies his idiotic behaviour, but making a movie about someone who came up here and actually made it wouldn't be that exciting I guess. Most people that do, just want to be left alone.
 

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THis is a common theory. BUt take into consideration he has been eating these seeds for a long time while there and is then unlikly he miss identified the plant. They use this theory however in the film, and as most people take film to be fact that is what is accepted.

Anywho I'm not here to say Chris was a god. I do respect him for the guts he had to do what he did. And I don't think him an idiot. He did plan ahead, and he had good gear. While he was lacking some gear, and knowledge of Alaska that would have helped that doesn't make him a moron. For example with the moose issue. He had done research on how to prep the animal, however he did not know there is a difference from dressing an animal in the states where he learned vs in Alaska. (I too did not know this till Chris's mistake). At same time if I got lost or injured int he bush, and I had to shoot or kill game. I have no knowledge in how to dress or prep a kill. (A problem I am working on rectifying). But does that make me an idiot for going backpacking into the bush? Been doing it since I was 9 and i'm not dead yet.

But could Chris have done better? Yes of course, there is always something we could do that would make us better. Things happen in the bush, and they are beyond human control. But I'm glad to know that someday if I ever happen to die while backpacking or traveling I'll have people call me an idiot and moron for the choices I made in life while they sit comfortably in their homes living live as a zombie until they die. (this comment ins't directed to anyone on this site)
I never read the book or saw the movie. What's the point when you know the ending?

If it were fungus this is not all that uncommon even in domestic wheat production. I have had ergot on my wheat before. If you ever see a very pretty purple/blue dust on your grain, don't eat it. Though corn smut is a fungus too but very tasty and not poisonous.

I have read that ergot makes the best high you can get.:D: I know I wouldn't want to risk it because it also lets you go mad befor you die.

If we were in an EOTWAWKI situation caution would have to used no matter what food was eaten, domestic or wild. Milk poisoning through the cattle ingesting the wrong plants, like white snakeroot, is more deadly than eating the plant yourself. Cow's mulitiple stomachs have a way of getting all the toxins out and putting it into their milk. Supposedly the USDA is making sure the general food supply is not infected with ergot and other fungus and the milk supply is free of toxins from the cows, but I have never trusted my government that much which is why I raise my own food.

Americans, long seperated from their food source, no longer really know just how dangerous it is to eat blindly, because their government is supposedly keeping them safe. In an EOTWAWKI situation they would have to learn very quickly.

BLT
 

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Primitive man came into North America with tens of thousands of years of hunting and fishing tradition, into a continent that didnt know what people were. They came in groups that knew how to work together.

One person...? Life for him will be solitary poor nasty brutish and short. There are so many ways to die in the Alaska wilderness! Our hero was impatient and just took the first one that came along.

Now, a few people have had what it took, including luck, to survive for years alone in the wilderness. If we have one of them on this forum we probably have a dozen rock stars.
 
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