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Digital Subscriptions > American Survival Guide > Oct 2019 > PREPARE FOR THE KILLER COLD

PREPARE FOR THE KILLER COLD

WINTER IS NO TIME TO BE WITHOUT A PLAN

For many years, I led Saturday hiking classes into various wild areas through the local college. One Saturday in December, I was leading one of these classes in the mountains of the Angeles National Forest. We had hiked several miles up a trail to the approximately 3,000-foot level to our destination, Echo Mountain, the site of a tavern and hotel many decades earlier; it was now all ruins.

We spent a little time wandering around the sprawling mountaintop ruins and then created a small fire in front of an old still-standing fireplace. It was challenging to make even a small fire, because rain had been falling for the previous few days. The day was windy, and there was old snow on the ground.

We collected dry pine needles and the dead leaves from some of the various conifers that had been planted there decades earlier. We even added pieces of sandwich wrappers and other odd bits of paper in order to get the fire going and keep it going. Everyone gathered closely together to warm up on the cold day. Our fire was never that large, but it was enough to heat some soup and to warm the fireplace stones just enough to radiate heat for our group of a dozen or so who all huddled very close to it.

Finally, after we’d all had some hot tea or soup, we packed up, and it was just in time. It had been very cold, and as we watched, the very light rain was freezing before it hit the ground — it was turning to snow. It steadily grew heavier, as we all donned our packs and headed toward the trail back home.

As we began walking, eager to get back down the trail and out of the snow, a woman and about 10 young girls appeared out of the light snowy mist, like an apparition. I wondered where they’d come from.

“Do you have any matches?” the woman asked, with great expectation apparent in her voice. She explained that it was their second day of a five-day campout with her Girl Scouts, and that she’d used up all her book matches the previous day.

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About American Survival Guide

American Survival Guide October 2019, REAL-WORLD Rehearsal, Bark River Knives + Winter Travel, BattleBox Leads the Way, And More....