Day 1 ... The chopper pulled off after dropping me on the side of a hill. I was standing in a clearing at the base of an Appalachian Mountain trying to get my bearings. I don’t really know where I was and had no way to communicate. I was allowed to look at a map of the area for five minutes and make notes before we left. I only hoped I got at least a few of the features right. As I exited the chopper they gave me a reflective banner to stretch out, if I needed help. They advised me that displaying it, ended my share of the experiment. I’m keeping this journal just to keep myself from going insane ... I hope.
It’s dark now so I’m writing by fire light. When I volunteered for this experiment, I spent thirty days pitching the tent I was given, and building dozens of fires with my piece of flint and steel knife. I got so I was pretty good at it before I ever left home. I doubt that I would have come if I hadn’t.
I brought a limited number of tools, even though my supplies filled three big bundles. I told myself there was no ways to think of everything I might need. The first day I used the hatchet, knife, flint, tent, and flexible wire.
I got the tent up, and a fire built. I also brought a pile of firewood into camp. I didn’t really have to cut the wood, there was enough dead wood to use for a couple of days at least. Since we started June 1st, I have a chance to adjust to the temperature before cold weather. I also have a chance to build a better structure for the climate. None of that is the first priority at this moment. Right now finding food is the priority. Yes I am hungry, even though I ate about a pound of beef jerky before I was abandoned on this mountain.
I brought two wire snares up in my pocket. I have a box full of them in a box where the chopper dropped me. The metal snares vary in size from a light thin model for rabbits and squirrels to heavy duty ones for larger animals. I don’t have any bear traps, so it’s up to me to keep them at bay. I have so much on my mind I don’t think I can sleep. Of course the sounds of nature don’t help much when they all seem like dangerous animals to me.
Day2 Exhaustion over took me last night. I made it through the night, It does appear something got curious about the tent or the fire. Before I sat down with this, I set a snare. I set a simple loop snare. It is one which requires what ever it trap has to stick its head though the loop to reach the bait. The bait in this case is a beef jerky wrapper. Since it sure stinks to high Buddha, it should work. When trapping one has to make some assumptions. I assumed the curious animal was larger than a squirrel. If I was wrong, the squirrel would be gone with my wrapper.
I had nothing to eat this morning before I headed off down the more or less trail. I had more supplies to bring up to the tent. Then more snares to set while exploring my new home. I also had to find potable water. The plan was to combine those things. It would be ideal to set a couple of snares on the animal trails to the water source. If I could find one.
I walked a couple of hours down hill. Then I cut west and walked another hour because it looked greener there. Sure enough there was water. I followed it up stream trying to find a closer spot to the clearing with my tent. I got within a couple of hundred yards of the cleaning. Those two hundred yard were thick and hard to walk through. Since I didn’t have anything to eat since the chopper ride, I was really hungry. While I was out exploring, I was thinking a lot about food. I hoped that between the waterhole and camp, I would find something edible. If not animal then maybe vegetable.
I had been give a handbook prepared by some biologist. It listed the most likely Edible Plants to be found along the Appalachian Trail. The organizers felt like it might keep was away from the poisonous mushroom and plants. I guess they really didn’t want to find us dead from last night greens.
The stream was west of my temporary campsite, which I noted in case I had to give directions to it. Along the banks I had found a plant that appeared to be one of the plants in the hand book. I gathered some of them along with my gallon of water. The light weight collapsible water container took up hardly any space in a pack, but it expanded to hold a gallon of water. They were the modern replacements for the bladders of animals ancient human used.
The greens weren’t bad, but would have been better with salt. I wasn’t satisfied at all, but the gnawing hunger was gone for the moment. I turned my attention to my hunting tools. I brought along a 22caliber pellet rifle. For almost all the animals in the area, it was guaranteed to just piss them off. It might kill a squirrel or a rabbit maybe, but I had my doubts.
I put my hopes on a spear. I had five spear spear tips and two hollow aluminum spear shafts. Could I fabricate both? probably. Would they work as well? Doubtful.
I knew I needed to work hard these first few days because my strength would be sapped by hunger soon enough. With that in mind I began to think about either reinforcing the tent, or building a new shelter for the winter. I made the decision to combine both projects.
I decided to build a slightly smaller tent over all, but with a tent frame made of small trees. When I got the frame built, I could take tent down then stretch it over the frame. Then I could reinforce outside the tent with bushy limbs for insulation. Since I had an 18” bow saw blade, I just needed an appropriate green limb to stretch it over. Then I should be able to saw them to length.
It was going to be a lot of work, but staying warm in the winter months, if I made it that far, was essential. The food to get me there was much more important at the moment. The mushrooms on the floor of the forest might be around, but the greens would be gone in a few months. I needed animal protein. Not right away but soon and lots of it.