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this is my story of getting lost in a blizzard

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The year was November 1995 when I got lost while hunting here in Colorado. I wrote up the story because my friend and guide Rudy Rudibaugh told me when we left the mountain that people do not live through what I had just experienced so I should write it up. I said okay but you had to write what you were going through looking for me. The following is the complete account that was written by the two of us that year.

Unexpected Experiences

by Jerry Wigutow

Dedicated to Rudy Rudibaugh

It was the third hunting season here in Colorado and I was off to Fossil Ridge Guides and Outfitters, owned by Rudy Rudibaugh. Rudy is a small man in his 8th decade. He is in remarkable condition, can ride a horse all day long and walk up the side of a snow covered mountain.

The Fossil Ridge Wilderness that we are hunting in is about 12 miles east of Gunnison, Colorado, with the base camp at approximately 11,400 feet. Actual hunting in the area can range from 11,000 to 12,500 feet. The third season is the first week of November.

This season was strange because the snows were not there yet to drive the elk from the back country over the traditional passes to the winter ranges. Elk don't know it's November and time to move. They do know that if there's no snow, why go. Under these conditions, we hunters have to go out and find them. As a somewhat newcomer to the sport, I had my first experience at an old-fashioned hunt whereby you try and drive the herd from the high forested areas to the lower meadows where you might have a good shot at one. This type of hunting requires considerable skill vs. sitting on a ledge of rock viewing an open pass where all you need to be is a good shot.

So, we get on our horses and leave the base camp and head for Box Canyon, a place we had gotten familiar with the day before. There is Bob, Jerry, Jack, myself, and the guides Ross and Rudy. Ross has us separated at about 300 yard intervals. We are to proceed at our own pace down slope to the left and turn to the right to eventually end up at the valley floor where Ross and Rudy will be with the horses no later than 4:00 p.m.

At 12:00 noon I cross paths with Jerry, each noting that we've seen nothing. At about 1:00 p.m. I cross paths with Bob and again state that there is nothing to be seen except for a significant amount of tracks. I tell Bob that I'll drop down to his left before heading right for the valley, based on the time. Walking through these lands is not the easiest thing and you should always allow for extra time.

The evening before, Rudy related a story or two of hunters from his camp getting lost and all turning out alright, and then he handed me a Fossil Ridge cigarette lighter. I put it in my pocket with a dozen or so wooden matches that I always carry when I'm camping. He also made reference to a new hunt­ing coat I'd given him upon arrival at camp. He had it in his pickup at jeep camp and went to sleep in his pickup for the night. He said he couldn't have had a better night's sleep in bed. He stayed toasty • warm even though the temperature was in the teens at best.

As I proceed down slope I find I'm not quite on the mark for the bottom of the valley. It is about 2:30 or so and I assess my location from the surrounding mountains and find no easy access to where my cohorts are. It is now 3:00 p.m. and I decide it is time to let them know I am lost. The signal is three shots in a row. Thinking that they Will think I've shot at an elk, I fire a second burst of three shots. Later I was to be told that all six shots were heard and the second burst was answered with a burst oftwo, which is the answer. Unfortunately, I never heard their answer, nor would I hear the answer two more times the following day.

I now begin to realize that I might be out for the night. Unless you are familiar with the vastness of only a tiny section of the Rocky Mountains, it is difficult to describe how vast they are. The likelihood of being found after dark becomes very remote. As the time reached 5:00-5:30 p.m., I made the deci­sion to stop walking and build a fire. I was in a location large enough with ample timber to get a good blaze going. As I pulled out the lighter Rudy had given me, I wondered if he had had some sort of premonition, as I couldn't remember him giving a lighter to anyone else. I had passed over a couple of streams and at each one drank as if I'd just come out of a desert. Your body dehydrates much more rapidly in cold than in hot climates. In addition, you will burn up the storage of fats just to stay warm. I had a couple of granola bars and decided that only one would be eaten, saving the second one until morning.

I decided the most important thing to do was keep the fire going for the warmth and possibly for searchers to see or smell. It worked very well for the warmth.

I was wearing nylon fishnet long johns, which I believe were the most vital article of clothing, cotton blue jeans, a cotton shirt, leg jackets (insulated chaps), a proto type parka (exactly except for size as I gave to Rudy), wool rag socks, leather boots and muk luks. I can only imagine the temperature to have been in the teens. When I did sleep I never was cold. Remember, my first concern was keeping the fire going and watching the sky. It started out clear and all I could hope for was that it would stay that way, as it makes it easier for searchers to find you. I also made as many conspicuous signs as possible, like sitting to rest but not clearing the snow first. Rudy found them and noted that they were getting closer together as I tired. Unfortunately, I was leaving the horse trail as I thought I was nearing a place that would allow me to descend into the valley where I knew they would be waiting. On two occasions I went through a meadow that Rudy showed us on the first day in Box Canyon where at least 75 elk had bedded down the previous night. With this knowledge I still couldn't find the right slope to head down. The next morning I'm up and on the march at about 5:30-6:00 a.m. I decide the earlier the better. I again look at the surrounding mountains and make an effort to head down slope. This time I come into the meadow area and even come across a dead bull that several hunters are chasing ever since it had been wounded. The story was that it was large, but they would be disap­pointed to find out it was only a 3-pointer. Since it was only 8:00 a.m., I decided to leave it alone. Had it been late afternoon, I would have had a meal. In any event, I pressed on in the meadow until I reached a forest and chose to go around it on the north side. Ross was to inform me later that the forest was not very deep and it would have opened again to the meadow. Had I known this I would have been home free. So now I'm heading up slope again, always seeing where I should be but not being able to get there. It's about 1:30 p.m. and I find a stream and start following it, expecting it will cross one of the back roads. At about 3:00 p.m., I encounter Ben. Ben is out with friends from Wisconsin. He has a walkie-talkie and tells one of his buddies that I'm with him and We'll head back to their camp. He gives me an apple and off we go with map in hand, have lots of water, and fill his water bottle. We are now walking up slope to hook up with his buddy, Jamie, all the while continuing to drink as much water as possible. Remember the meadow that Rudy showed me? Well, here it is again. We finally meet Jamie and we're off to find Trail No. 431. Daylight is now getting short and I realize that I'm going to be out for a second night. Ben and Jamie don't want to accept this reality and are pressing on harder than ever. Being younger and stronger, Ben puts his arm around my back and assists me as much as possible. We eventually get a few hundred feet below tree line and they decide to stop.

Being a seasoned vet of sleeping out, I tell them our main goal is to get a fire going and keep it going. We take shelter in the center of three pine trees whose branches come right to the ground. I have a hatchet which we use to cut down the interior branches to start the fire. In addition, they cut branches from other trees to fill in between the trees to give more protection from the wind. By the way, it had started snowing about 3:00 p.m. and hadn't stopped. The boys were beginning to feel the cold. I had them remove their outer garments and dry them as best as possible. They then removed their long john tops to dry them out, wearing just their outer garments. This worked meagerly. They did the best they could, but the weather was getting to them. From about 2:00 a.m. on, I was the one to collect firewood. They couldn't believe that I was warm. But it didn't matter - they needed the fire and I was the only one to do it. At one moment, I had to make sure that Jamie, being lanky, didn't go to sleep, vs. Ben having some beef on his body. I'm equally sure that if need be, Ben would have car­ried Jamie, after all he did for me, so to speak, and that I'm a stranger.

At about 5:00 a.m. they decide we have to head south, which is up the mountain to get to 431. I'm against it, but this is no time to argue. I decide since I had no bullets to hide my rifle and get it later. Also, it has yet to stop snowing and the depth is above my muk luks, which are 18" high. I also sug­gest that we stay since I know Rudy will be searching for me. I also figure we have the fire, and with daylight we can make it larger. But they are somewhat headstrong and I follow. They climb for about an hour to the tree line only to find a shear wall. They also fired two shots and yelled something which I took for success. Not the case. They then reappeared above me and were heading a new direction. I advised that we needed to get to the valley floor where a stream existed, where I had started from. This was unacceptable and I was finally back on my own. I followed a trail that was close to being covered by the snow to the valley floor, which was familiar. I decided to build an igloo inside the edge of one of these small forests and build a large fire in the meadow. Having not felt the cold during all this time, I felt pretty good. Once the sky cleared the fire would be very visible. There was already a search plane flying overhead; these were not conditions for fun flying. As I was formu­lating this plan, Rudy shows up.

Rudy tracked the odor of the fire and upon reaching the camp site gets a call from the boys. Rudy had to get stern with the boys to follow his horse trail back to the camp. The boys were entering the first stages of hypothermia, where it is hard to concentrate, but they did listen to him and made it to the camp.

Rudy puts me on his horse and proceeds to walk 5 or 6 miles up slope in thigh-high snow. This show of strength from a man his age is remarkable. He tells me all the places he followed my trail and then where I left it and he couldn't take his horse. He knew after examining my gear that I had the lighter and matches and 17 rounds of ammunition. Because of the weather, he did not think he would find me alive. About one mile from the camp, Steve, the camp cook, shows up with two horses. When I walked into the cook tent, there were Ben and Jamie getting warm, dry and fed and smiling. It would only be a few hours and they would be back with their friends.

Rudy's Story

During the time I was roaming the countryside trying to find my way back to camp, Rudy was-out looking for me. The following is his account of the events as he was experiencing them.

Third Season Hunt

by Rudy Rudibaugh

November 4, 1995, the third of our three rifle seasons on deer and elk opened here in Colorado. As usual, the two days prior to opening day were busy, with hunters arriving and being packed in. Well into the 3rd of November, Jerry Wigutow arrived. Jerry has hunted with us for a few years and is a manufacturer of outdoor gear, specializing in cold weather clothing, sleeping bags, and such. Now Jerry is an excellent hunter and loves to come to the high country. He also gets a chance to try out some of the new developments in his products. This year he brought me a newfangled look-in coat. It had beautiful workmanship and looked like suede leather. Jerry asked me to try this prototype out and to see what I thought about it. He had the only other one like it. They both had removable hoods and a couple of zip-in linings you could change with the weather. Well, we headed for camp, coats and all. I really liked my pretty suede jacket. Although I was just a little dubious since, I ride in the wilderness without trails and tender clothing gets torn up easily. Anyway, the weather was nice. We had some snow blow in, nothing much, not over five inches, which melted out with warm weather in the afternoons. Now, I live in some of the most beautiful mountains in the state. They are also very dangerous and can take the life of a person in just a few hours if one goes into the mountains unpre­pared. To take care of oneself in the changing elements, a person must be aware and ready to add layers of clothing and have enough provisions to stay overnight if necessary. This is not to say you need to haul along a seven-course dinner and a sleeping bag everywhere you go but to be prepared. Even in the middle of July and August we have run into drastic temperature drops and snow at the higher altitudes.

The first two days we hunted without much exertion. We saw elk, but there were no legal bulls in sight. We have a 4-point restriction in our area. My camp is at timberline, 11,400 ft. altitude, and get­ting acclimated is extremely helpful. By now everyone was ambitious, and with no legal bulls in the immediate area, we started moving further from camp, looking for those elusive bulls. I did a lot on horseback each day scouting for tomorrow's hunt. Most of this scouting requires that I take short cuts through very dense forest, dead falls, as well as steep and hard riding. As I have said before, much of this wilderness area has no trails. Well, I wore the new coat and it got tried out - it was good! It stayed together, no rips or tears. With coming back from the basin we were hunting in, in late afternoon it always gets dark and cold as the sun sets. It is a dark and windy ride, and it kept me comfortable. It stood the abuse as well as the heavy horse-hide jacket lined with sheepskin that I have worn for many years. This was much lighter and more comfortable.

On the third day, I made a trip out to the ranch, our base of operation, that had to be made at night. I got back to the trail head about midnight and was tired enough to just turn the motor off, sitting and relaxing, listening to the night sounds of the corral. I pulled the coat over me to get an hour or so of sleep before saddling my horse and heading for camp. Ordinarily the chill of the night air will wake most anyone up in frigid weather after about an hour. Well, at 5:00 a.m., there I was, warm and com­fortable, and just getting on my horse. I arrived at camp a little after 6:00 a.m., fortunate that Ross had the day's hunt planned and horses and hunters ready to go.

Everything was working good. We should have some elk down by nightfall. I went and scouted a new area for the next day. Ross and I had planned a rendezvous for about 2:30 to move horses to the pick up sight for the hunters. Everything was going according to plan. The hunters all arrived except Jerry Wigutow. I had seen his muk luk tracks on the lower trail and thought we could pick him up on the way out. Well, 4:00 came and we heard three shots from Jerry's direction. I didn't have a gun but asked hunter Jack Graham to fire two shots in answer. This is a signaling plan we always utilize and is explained at orientation to each new hunter. Now we were ready to head on to camp and get Jerry's horse. The guides and hunters were heading for camp. Three more shots sounded off and someone answered with two shots. Well, I went on. The shots sounded like one to two miles off. When I was about half way, about 20 or 30 minutes later, I heard three more shots. I heard the group returning to camp fire two shots in answer. It sounded simple enough. I hit the trail where I'd seen Jerry's tracks an hour and a half earlier and saw Jerry's tracks going in the opposite direction, so I knew he was up the trail ahead of me. Well, somewhere Jerry left the partially melted-out trail and I didn't locate him. I stopped and pondered a bit. I had yelled several times with no answer or response. It's getting dark, and not having any preparations for night work, I headed back to camp to get set the way I needed. I told the guides I should be back into camp in about three hours. After returning to the area, I fired my gun off. There was no answer. I was out all night trying to locate Jerry. I tracked and worked his footprints out where he had left the trail the day before until 4:00 a.m. This was flashlight work and slow, but each time I came back to the trail on his tracks. I located two sets of tracks that I could not follow because of scrimpy snow or lack of snow. At 4:00 a.m., I tied up my horse, built a small fire and bedded down with my poncho, keeping the freeze off of me. I slept about two hours, awoke, saddled my horse, and fired my rifle again, to no avail, then headed back to the tracks. With daylight, I was able to make out the tracks that I was unable to follow the night before. One set I found returned to the trail. From the other set it looked like he went uphill some, then head­ed downhill. Finally I lost them completely. I fired my gun off, and got no response.

Tracking can be tricky, but while trying to find Jerry I had come across two people that were strange to me. It is unusual for people without horses to get into the country that I work in. From the tracks, these two were tired, real tired. They would not get out of the area they had gotten into that day unless they had horses somewhere.

Now there was added concern. I had a storm moving in. The night had been relatively nice, but weather in the high country can change fast, very fast. It didn't look good. Ominous clouds were mov­ing in.

Jerry's tracks going downhill meant he may have headed down stream to get to a road. The fact that I didn't find his fire bothered me. He had matches and a lighter. I had fired over 20 rounds through my gun and not received a response. I needed to let it be known that I may need help. Snow was falling and it would be a low visibility day.

As I headed back for camp, I considered the possibility that he could have headed out. At camp I got my very tired horses taken care of - it had been a bad night for them. All was in order there, so I took off for the ranch. No one had heard from Jerry at the ranch. I also found out that six men had lost their lives so far during hunting season and there was a big storm headed my way. Two men were lost in my area but I wouldn't find this out for awhile yet. The Sheriff's Dept. would call my Debbie (my wife) about two hours after I had headed up the trail. She would not be able to get word to me until the next day at best. Well, I had a pretty good idea where those fellows were by the tracks I had seen if I had known they were lost. From the way the weather was headed, I knew I had to find Jerry soon or I'd lose him to death. After giving my wife instructions to call Search and Rescue if not contacted by noon the next day, I headed back. My idea was to take two horses and try to find Jerry's fire again. At camp a few things had changed, mainly the weather. We now had blizzard conditions. There was no way to see more than 50 feet in front of you, and most of the time not even that. Snow was falling heavily and white-out conditions persisted. It hurt to face the fact that I must wait until morning, but with the storm raging there was nothing else to do. I decided to go through Jerry's gear in order to evaluate what he had with him. Doing so can tell what a person doesn't have as well as what he does have. We determined he had about 17 cartridges for his rifle, his day pack, had warm clothing (includ­ing fish-net long Johns to help keep him that way), the lunch, the lunch he had left with the first day, a lighter, and a small hand axe. He had used up at least nine of the cartridges signaling to us the first afternoon. His camera and handgun were still at camp. With the things we found, he should be able to stay relatively warm but would be getting pretty hungry. Still, I got up every couple of hours to check conditions, to see if the weather had lessened at all, and whether I could get out and hunt for Jerry.

When daylight finally came, I was prepared to get out there and find him. The snow was two feet and better. Some places were up to my hips. The one thing in our favor was the fact that the wind was down to a minimum. Not in our favor was the temperature, about 10 degrees, and visibility at about 0. About four miles out, I ran across some tracks All trails were blocked with drifted snow, so all I could tell was that they were fresh. Whoever was making the trail was confused. They kept going in circles. It was a trail to follow and I milled around on these tracks until I came across two boys. They were very tired, wet, and on their way into hypothermia. With no waterproof gear and very deep snow, I was concerned as to their condition They had a map and wanted directions on how to get to their camp 20 miles away from their present location. It meant certain death for them to try to get there wading in the snow with that storm. I was finally able to talk them into going on my tracks and headed for my camp along the horse trail. Now they informed me they spent the night with my hunter, Jerry, and he had taken off at a different direction that morning. I went on to find him and from their direc­tions was able to locate new tracks about 3/4 mile further on. These almost had to be Jerry's. After following them for close to a mile, I came to Jerry. He had lost the hood from his coat the day before, so after spending the night without his head covered, there was ice on his hair all around but it was melted on the top, this proving dramatically the fact that most of the body heat had been escaping there. Jerry had deserted his day pack and rifle after using up his ammunition. He also told me he was planning on building or starting to build an igloo to spend the night in just before I had gotten to him. With the storm not getting any better, it was time to get out of there. I got Jerry onto my horse, with the snow so deep, and since she doesn't handle for everyone, I led her. I gave Jerry what little food I had and headed for camp. The snow was up to my thighs in a number of places and I needed to break the trail for my horse. About a mile short of camp we met up with Steve, one of my guides and our cook. He was heading out with an extra horse to help us. The two boys that I had met up with had made it to my base camp. They were drying out and getting some food in them. We got there to do the same. Then we headed out for my ranch. On the way out we met up with the Search and Rescue team coming from our side. The two boys had been reported as missing. All members were glad that the three hunters were found.

Now back to Jerry's outdoor gear. When I found Jerry he was very tired and physically beat to a slow mental condition. The clothing Jerry wore did an excellent job of giving Jerry warmth, and above all, he stayed dry completely throughout the 24-hour storm period he had just gone through. First, he had muk luks on his feet, then leggings over his Levis, and the coat he was trying out. He was in excep­tionally good condition for the storm situation he'd been through. Proof of the gear being exceptional was plain - he was warm, he was dry, he was happy. Jerry had the three things going for him that are a must for survival in the elements.

The coat - I was also wearing one when I picked Jerry up. I had spent eight hours myself in the bliz­zard conditions of snow, blowing snow, and damp foggy atmosphere. The coat breathed with my body. I walked through snow to my knees part of the time and some as deep as my hips, and it was a lot of work. I did not sweat and the coat did not soak up water from the snow. It was simply mar­velous. I have spent 40 years in the saddle, been through all kinds of weather conditions on horse­back, and I will recommend the Wiggy's line of outdoor gear to anyone going against mother nature's severest elements. They will bring you through when others fail.

The Psychology of Survival in a Cold Environment

by J.N. "Wiggy" Wigutow

The hunting season of 1995 was a most eventful one for me. I had the opportunity to learn first hand how to survive in the high country of western Colorado. The location was the Fossil Ridge Wilderness area, located near Gunnison, the coldest area of the U.S., so the locals claim. In addition to myself were two 21-year-old boys (I'm 54). The time frame was two nights and three days for me and one night and two days for the boys. The temperatures varied from 0 to 20 degrees. The time of year was November 1995 and the altitude was 11,700 feet to about 12,500. On day #2 it started snowing at about 3:00 p.m. and continued until late the next day, ultimately dropping about five feet.

At the time I met Ben and Jamie, I had been out for 24+ hours. What I was not cognizant of was the fact that I was not yet cold. During the next 24+ hours that I was with them, I noted the changes they were beginning to experience, for one and only one reason - they were cold.

Trying to survive without food or shelter in a cold environment is almost useless if you are cold. Your thinking is centered around getting warm. If you are not warm, all of your energy is consumed trying to attain that state. The longer it takes, the more of your energy is channeled into that area. The less you accomplish, the more frustrated you become and the harder you try, with the end result always

being the same - failure.

Both boys exhibited certain characteristics dramatically to me such as some irritability and major urgency to get to that warm and dry place. Even though I had figured out where we had to go to be rescued, it was of no value to them.

The question is what about me? After all, I was in the same environment and out one day longer. At the time, I was unaware of the reason for differences in thinking. Initially I chalked it up to being older and not panicky in a stressful situation, but upon reviewing the events, I have concluded that my situation was different from theirs simply because I was warm. In view of this fact that I was warm, I never gave thought to getting warm, but rather how best to put myself in a position to be found.

The boys' experience was totally the opposite of mine. They had no thought of being found but rather of finding that warm place. In order to be found, you have to sit still and wait. A person that is warm can do just that, sit still. When you sit still, you limit the use of energy, therefore, you retain more of your strength for a longer period of time. If you are cold, the thought of sitting still is an unacceptable state to be in. You feel the urgency to move because you know that movement will warm your body. The fact that you have lost your bearings or are too far from a known location is not considered. The only thought is getting warm. When you begin to move, the movement is as rapid as possible. To begin with, you want to get that initial warmth, then you feel that you are getting closer to your final destination of that warm spot. The fact that you are not necessarily going in the right direction is not a consideration. All that matters is the movement and the thought that you are accomplishing some­thing. What does occur is the further debilitation of the body.

If your body is warm, your ability to cope with the situation is very different. For starters, the fact that you are warm means that you don't think about it. When man is in his natural state of being, he does not think about a variety of physical actions such as eating until he feels hunger or warming himself when he feels cold. At the times that man is hungry, his body tells him and he then acts on the physi­cal need to satisfy it. The same holds true for the need to warm his body. If the need does not exist, there is no thought to act on an unnecessary need. Therefore, you can utilize your energies more productively, such as how best to make your presence known to those who are looking for you. You can now use your rational capacity to think to your best advantage and not waste your precious ener­gies.

Clothing Worn During My Experience

by J.N. "Wiggy" Wigutow

Thus far you have read about my experience in the field and my observations. This article will deal with the clothing I was wearing and why it worked as it did. Please understand that while I knew my clothing was the best available, I just didn't know how good it was.

The first layer of clothing is the most important, and that was my fish-net long underwear, made from 100% nylon yarn. The yarn does not absorb any moisture and the 3/8 inch holes do not stifle the flow of moist vapor that your body emits. I was walking almost constantly from 1:00 p.m. Wednesday until about 5:00 p.m. before I stopped to start the first fire. I had to have been giving off significant

amounts of moisture, but the vapor was free to get away from my skin surface. If my long underwear had been the traditional close knit variety, regardless if they were knitted from a synthetic yarn, they would have stifled the flow of moist vapor, as the two boys I met up with experienced. The second day I was on the move almost constantly from about 5:30 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. when we stopped to build a fire. Again, I was not retaining any of the moisture I was generating. Therefore, one observes the importance of the open knit to allow the body-produced vapor to get away from the skin surface as quickly as possible. It should also be noted that if the vapor molecules were allowed to band together, as noted by Dr. Frank Hubble, a specialist in treating hypothermia victims, a liquid would develop, commonly known as sweat. The now wet skin surface would work as your enemy, conduct­ing your body heat away from you very rapidly. From this layer we find all good things occur. Each layer of clothing worn over the fishnets performs more efficiently, as you will read. The second layer was a cotton shirt and jeans. Initially this does not sound good, but these articles of clothing were not a detriment. As the vapor left me, the greater portion would rise, as all heated vapor does. So long as my parka collar was open, the only direction the vapor would travel was up to the collar opening. Therefore, my cotton shirt had little opportunity to absorb and hold the moisture. The jeans were cov­ered by the "leg jackets", therefore, they did not get wet from the outside, and whatever vapor did emanate from my legs would have gone up and out the top of the leg jackets. The leg jackets are essentially insulated chaps. The lining is the single-ply taffeta that is used in the sleeping bags. The insulation is the Lamilite L-6 that is used in the overbag, and in this case, the shell is also a single-ply taffeta. All of the materials used for this product are vapor permeable. The parka was one of two that I had made. One for Rudy and one for me. The shell is a 100% nylon fabric made to look, feel, act, etc. like suede. The operator at the factory who has experience with leather thought it was suede. In any event it proved to be as durable as any suede I've seen. There are two zip-in linings that go with it. One for moderate cold and the other for extreme cold, the same lining/insulation we use in our Antarctic parka. The latter is what I was using. When I returned to the base camp, I examined the lin­ing and found that it was dry. I was not surprised, since I've used several versions of this parka for skiing and never had any moisture retention.

On my feet were a pair of close knit, very heavy wool socks and a pair of leather insulated hiking boots with the standard amount of insulation that is used. There was no form of material in the boot that is advertised as "waterproof/breathable". I would not own a product advertised as such. Over the boots were the Joe Reddington Muk Luks. The lining and shell fabrics are coated to be waterproof. The insulation is Lamilite L-12, the same as is used in the parka. When removing the muk luks, I found that the boots were fully wet, but my socks were only damp, as if I had been out for the day. Had I been wearing a boot that had a so called "waterproof/breathable" lining, I'm quite sure my feet would have been wet, and therefore in danger of frostbite. Regardless, the muk luks kept my feet warm.

I had with me a new pair of mittens that were made for me by the Trophy Glove Co. The exterior is a poly/cotton overmitt with a leather palm. I had three separate liners to insert. The one I used was the thickest of the three. Unfortunately, I lost one, the left-hand set. During the time I was walking, my hands were fine, even though I didn't have anything but a shell over my right hand. Unfortunately, while I was on horseback and just sitting there for about four hours, my right hand did receive a slight amount of frostbite. I can tell you I would not like to experience a significant dose.

In retrospect, while I am very pleased with the outcome of my experience, I have no interest in repeating it. But I now know a great deal more about the performance characteristics of my products than I could ever have imagined. I would comfortably go to any location on the planet if necessary, so. long as I could choose my gear. More importantly, I can also advise people with total confidence that what they can acquire from Wiggy's really works!

Survival Equipment For A Day Hunt in Colorado

After reviewing my experience, I gave thought to what I would have liked to have. Keep in mind that when I left the camp I had six granola bars and an apple. In addition, I had wooden matches, a butane lighter, a large diving knife, and a hatchet. I chose to leave my thermos at camp as well as my 9mm pistol. For the future, I will carry three or four butane lighters, fire starters, and a space blanket, not for heat retention since it does not provide it, but for a form of shelter and as a signaling device, since it is made of a reflective material.

I would continue to carry a large non-folding knife and most definitely the hatchet. Of what I had for equipment, the hatchet was by far the most important. I initially carried it in order to cut pine boughs to cover the snow while I waited for an elk to show himself. Last year I used a knife. The hatchet is better. An old military canteen will be on my hip. The boys had plastic water bottles. I stuffed each

with snow and could only put them just so close to the fire, otherwise they would melt. Hence, they were useless - the snow wouldn't melt. Using a metal canteen means that you can put it directly into the fire. The 9mm pistol would also be with me. I doubt that I would carry any additional food.

I am quite sure other suggestions can be made that are equally viable as mine, so don't stop at what I recommend. If it works for you, that's all that is important!

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