Friday, February 25, 2011

Wilderness Survival For Dumb Kids

As an only child, I learned early on to entertain myself. Growing up in Montana, it was easy enough to let my imagination run wild. One afternoon I might be a stealthy ninja, hacking up frankensteins with my dual katanas...


...and the next day I'd be a badass cowboy, laying waste to stupid vampires.


I had friends, of course. I was a social child, but the fact was there were times when I'd be left to my own devices, and on occasion I'd get carried away. I remember one summer I set up a zip-line between two trees in my front yard, tied a blanket around my neck like a cape, and literally spent hours zooming back and forth through the air, kicking my feet and screaming at imaginary space invaders. My mother would watch me from the living room window, no doubt wondering how long it would take for the doctors to finally diagnose me.


One winter we traveled out to the North Mocassin Mountains to visit a friend's cabin for a few days. On the first night there was a heavy snowfall, and the next morning I couldn't wait to go out and play in the woods out back. My mother fed me some breakfast and sent me on my way.

"Don't get eaten by mountain lions," she warned me. "But if you do, try to keep your snowpants free of bloodshed. I can give them to my next child."

And with that, I bounded out the door.


It wasn't long before I was fending off an imaginary horde of zombies, punching and kicking my way to glory. I hopped onto a fallen log, then launched myself into a spectacular kick attack.


Unfortunately, the snowbank below me was deeper than expected, and I landed in the soft white powder with a faint FOOMP sound. I was up to my neck in snow.


Unable to move, I switched into panic mode almost immediately.

"Think, Adam! THINK!" I told myself, "You're a boy scout, you can get out of this!"

I'd only managed to earn two merit badges at that point, but I wracked my brain for a way to free myself. Nothing handy came to mind. All I could remember were useless tidbits about wilderness survival, none of which applied to my current dilemma. I remembered my scout leader had told me, "If you're ever being chased by a moose, just hide behind a tree. Moose are dumb and will probably forget they were chasing you in the first place."


That didn't help me in the least. I vaguely recalled being taught how to free myself from quicksand, but the details were fuzzy, replaced instead by nonsensical scenarios from any number of adventure cartoons.


There was nothing for me to do. Surely I was going to die.

Then, suddenly, I heard a rustling a little ways away. Fearing a mountain lion coming to feast on my face, I was relieved when a white-tailed deer appeared instead.






The deer left and I was alone again, once more convinced that death was imminent. I don't remember how long I was trapped there in silence, but it felt like eons. Finally when I started to lose feeling in my fingertips, I did the only thing I could think of.

I started screaming my head off.

Unfortunately I must have been farther into the woods than I'd thought, because my yells didn't carry back to the cabin and my mother didn't come to rescue me.

Somebody heard me, though. After several moments of shrieking, I was approached by a man. He stopped in front of me, puzzled. He looked like someone out of a rural Southern Gothic novel, all grizzled and dirty, and my naive, overactive brain instantly jumped to the most gruesome conclusion.


Thankfully, he did not eat me. Instead, he wordlessly reached down and lifted me out of the snowbank, and then disappeared back into the woods. Still not convinced he wasn't a murderous cannibal, I tore down the hillside back toward the safety of the cabin.


I told my mom what had happened, but I don't think she believed me. Granted, I probably shouldn't have frantically started my story with, "So I was just minding my own business, high-kicking zombies, when all of a sudden..."

She made me some hot chocolate, and I drank it in front of the fireplace.


  1. Ah, childhood. I still imagine fighting zombies at times. Also I've always kind of wondered what it would be like to suddenly find myself up to my neck in snow. Oddly specific thoughts, I know.

  2. That was great! I can't begin to tell how many days I spent either searching for Dragon Balls as Goku or beating up Jokers goons when I was a kid haha.

  3. I am almost positive that there was a snake involved in my 'get out quicksand' scheme. This must have happened on tv at some point..

  4. You know, this exact same thing happened to me last weekend...

  5. I fervently hope that it somehow manages to snow enough in pdx that you can relive this adventure.

  6. I needed this on a loooooong Friday afternoon at work. Thanks! Now, I'm off to save the world from space quids.

  7. I think I may have grown up with you... No, really. I'm 2 years younger then you and spent a good portion of my younger years living around and about parts of Montana. Weird.

  8. lol internet srs business

  9. So if I ever come across a moose chasing me I'll hide behind a tree and hope that my last breath isn't trampled out of me by the beast.

  10. Best advice to give a kid. Blood is so damn hard to wash out of clothing.

  11. Youre absolutely amazing. :)

  12. Zombies? Dude, I was a child of the 90s and it was all dinosaurs and Power Rangers for me. I probably karate-chopped out all of my younger brothers' baby teeth. Oh, and Storm Troopers. I can't forget about those. Any available stick became a lightsaber.

  13. sooo happy you posted again so soon! you've just made my day =] love when your mother wondered how long it would take the doctors to diagnose you. keep up the good work ;]

  14. The pooping deer made me laugh.

  15. I was an only child too. My childhood adventures didn't involve kicking zombies. They did involve my Barbie becoming a stripper. She lived on a Barbie Cruise ship and entertained the masses (Snoopy, Huckleberry Pie, and a Puppet Mouse) I was probably watching too much "Love Boat" at the time.

  16. I don't know how it would play out in reality, but my first thought would be a swimming-like motion. Also, always jump with arms over the head, not by the sides...

  17. Ah, the imagination of a youngster...My sister and I played cowboys and crooks. Don't know what happened but the chair gave away and the "hanging" turned from pending fake fate to reality. I had a blue ring around my neck for weeks. Don't think I would've been keen for hot chocolate.

  18. That sounds WAY more fun than my exploites in the snow. Games include:

    Throw the slush
    Avoid the yellow bits
    Jump over the snow

    The snow doesn't get deep enough to get trapped.

    I am jealous

  19. Fucking deer. What a rude prick.

  20. did you have that same sexy hairstyle throughout your WHOLE life?

  21. I think we were the same child...except I got girl parts of course.

  22. I've never been stuck neck deep in snow.
    But once I did have to trek through a waist deep El Nino puddle (lake) to get to an English class in middle school.
    I was stuck in wet jeans instead.

  23. Mom behind cracked shutters with a glass of wine and a cigarette. Love it.

  24. Gosh.. I was a boring child.. I only cared about barbies...

  25. Your murderous cannibal reminds me of the sweet old man on "Home Alone" and how Kevin was so scared of him.

  26. I love this! i cant seem to stop reading!

  27. I was an only child too. It sucked.

    Also I read all the Animorphs books when I was younger (something that I am deeply embarrassed about to this day), and I desperately wanted to be an Animorph. I would sit in my room and daydream about being one and wish as hard as I could. I think after about a week of wishing this, I started to realise that when adults tell you that you can be anything you want to be, they're lying.

    Nowadays I wish I could be a Puca. Think about it, shapeshifting would be so handy. Get into an argument with someone? Shapeshift into a tiger. Now they're not arguing anymore.


  28. awesome illustration
    clean but clear

  29. Did you have a stuffed tiger too? You are like the real life version of Calvin from 'Calvin and Hobbes'!

    I once asked my brother to play pirates with me. He tied me to a bed post, like a captured prisoner tied to the mast, and left me there for a couple of hours. Scarred me for life.

  30. I recall one time while camping as a boy scout, We where playing capture the flag in the dark and no one was allowed to use a flash light. At one point I was being chased by some kids and I ran through some trees and stepped into a deep snow bank that went almost to my shoulders. Somehow I had lost the kids chasing me and was all alone stuck. I clearly recall the rustling in the bushes beside me and the shape of the Wolf (I choose to believe it was a wolf...) emerge from said bushes... after that all I remember is my scout leader bending over me next to the fire. I had apparently fainted and was pulled from the snow by the other kids and brought back to camp. Everyone said they didn't see the wolf but I know it was there!

  31. I once decided to fall backwards into a deep pile of snow. Once I realized I was stuck I asked my sister for help. She just stood there and watched as I grew more and more irritated. She even stepped back a bit before helping me up when I started yelling for our parents.

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