First, don’t forget that there will be a new episode of Dual Survival on tonight, 9:00pm EST. The new one is titled “Misty Mountain Drop” and the description says:
Joe Teti and Cody Lundin must stay alive in the humid and perilous woodland environment of North California’s mountainous region, which endangers their lives with its lack of fire, building materials and radical temperature change.
“Misty Mountain Drop” is the last episode for this season.
And now, here are some thoughts about last week’s show, “Rocky Mountain High”.
The scenario in this episode is getting lost via GPS (GPS doesn’t tell you if a road is closed due to snow) and a pickup truck getting stuck up in the Rockies of Colorado during the middle of winter. They also start it off with Cody being separated from Joe and the truck, so Cody has to find his way back, and then they need to survive with what they can find and what they have in the truck.
One thing they don’t mention at all is that Cody is not barefoot as usual. Of course he’s not barefoot—he’s no dummy. But they also don’t say what he is wearing on his feet, or why. Here’s a shot.
As near as I can tell, he has on wool socks and gaiters. He’s done the wool socks before, for instance in the Rocky Mountains of Wyoming with Dave Canterbury. Wool socks really do work quite well, and even if they get wet, they still insulate. At the same time, they are not constricting the foot or cutting off blood supply, the way boots do, and give the feet a better chance to stay warm. The gaiters make a lot of sense for keeping the deep snow off the legs.
As Cody is trying to make his way to Joe, he’s dropping two feet through snow, so he comes up with the idea of improvising snowshoes. (No, not snowshoe.) He uses boughs and tries to tie them together and onto his feet with a cut-up wool wrap of some sort.
We also get another look at his socks and gaiters as he steps onto the “snowshoes”.
The idea of snowshoes is very old. We have this description from Paul Le Jeune in 1634 in the Montreal area, describing the snowshoes of the Native Americans there. (It may well be that Native Americans invented snowshoes, since Le Jeune made such a big deal of describing them.)
Pendant les neiges nous nous ſeruons tous, François & Sauuages de cette forte de chauſſure, afin de pouuoir marcher ſur des Raquettes; l’Hiuer paſſé nous reprenons nos ſouliers François, & eux vont pieds nuds.
During the snows we all, French and Savages, have made use of this kind of foot gear, in order to walk upon our Snowshoes; when the Winter had passed, we resumed our French shoes, and the Savages went barefooted.
It’s a good idea, but it just doesn’t work for Cody. He doesn’t have quite the right materials, and he really doesn’t have the time or luxury to just sit down and spend half a day making them right (which I have no doubt he’d be able to do). Cody comes out of the failure with exactly the right mindset, saying
I tried something on a hunch, based on the snowshoe hare philosophy. I failed.
I’m going to erase that failure, get a party-on mindset, and move on, and try to track down my partner, who’s hopefully actively signaling me.
Meanwhile, Joe is back at the vehicle, and thinks about how to build a fire. First thought: check the cigarette lighter. Nope, the truck doesn’t have one. (Do any vehicles have them any more? I know my car has the outlet so I can plug devices into it, but it just has a plastic cap, not a cigarette lighter.)
Next up, using gasoline from the truck to start the fire. I suspect only certain people would even want to attempt this—unless they are fairly familiar with cars, I doubt most folks wouldn’t be able to identify the fuel line as it enters the fuel filter. (I’d also worry about not getting the line reconnected and losing all my fuel on the ground.)
But Joe gets his gas, soaks some padding, and starts his fire.
I was surprised it took so many sparks to ignite. On the other hand, it’s really gasoline vapors that ignite, so maybe the extreme cold was really holding that down. Anyways, he did get it lit, which is critical under these conditions.
[Funny side note: when hooking up the jumper cables to make sparks, Joe makes sure to hook red to red and black to black. Now if you are jumping a car, that's important. For making sparks? Not so much.]
After Cody makes it back to the truck, guided by smoke from the fire, they spend the night in the truck, running the engine to warm the vehicle.
Hmmm. Why are they wasting the energy of the lights? So folks would see them out there? In the middle of nowhere? Highly unlikely. (It does make a nice camera shot, though.)
Actually, I suspect they could have, right there, done things a bit differently so that they could use the heat of the fire, and not the gas. I think I would want to preserve that gas for as long as possible so that it was still available for later emergencies or conditions.
Anyways, the next morning they check out their area and find an old outhouse that they can tip over and use as a shelter.
They’ve cannibalized the truck, and Joe is shown chinking the wall of the outhouse with the material. That’s really important.
[Another side note: they make the very good point that preserving one's life is much more important than preserving the truck. If you are afraid of the cost of replacing it more than your life, your priorities are in the wrong order. I wonder if insurance would pay for a replacement truck, though?]
After spending the night (it looked pretty comfy-cozy!), they then work on signaling for rescue. Cody spends some time tromping an X into a meadow, Joe collects boughs to fill it with (for contrast), they find and eat a beaver (and tell beaver jokes), and eventually hear a plane overhead.
OK, I guess you need to try the mirror, but without any aiming device the odds of flashing the airplane are pretty low. That X has a much better chance, and worked.
I also found it funny that, as the plane goes overhead, Joe starts yelling, “Hey! Hey!” Does he really think the pilot will hear him? To tell you the truth, in that situation, I’d probably do it myself, simply as a reflex.
I did get to wondering about clean-up though. I bet the whole crew has to stay behind to clean things up. You don’t want a large, well-contrasted X sitting in the middle of that snowed-over meadow after a rescue. And the same thing with the cannibalized truck.
Anyways, don’t forget to watch “Misty Mountain Drop” tonight at 9:00pm. And you can catch the rerun of “Rocky Mountain High” right after that. (Usually, they show last week’s episode right before the current one; for some reason, this week they’ve put it afterwards.)