Nature survival basics

There are many cases when people, having gone to the taiga and not having sufficient experience and knowledge of local conditions, easily lost their way and, having lost their orientation, found themselves in a distressful situation.

How should a person who is lost in the forest behave?

Having lost his orientation, he must immediately stop moving and try to restore it with the help of a compass or using various natural signs. If this is difficult, then it is necessary to organize a temporary parking in a dry place, which is not easy to do, especially in moss forests, where the ground is covered with a continuous carpet of sphagnum, greedily absorbing water (500 parts of water per one part of dry matter). A canopy, a hut, a dugout can serve as a temporary shelter. In warm weather, you can limit yourself to the construction of the simplest shed. Two 1.5 m stakes as thick as an arm with forks at the end are driven into the ground at a distance of 2-2.5 m from each other. A thick rail is laid on the forks – a load-bearing bar. To it at an angle of 45-60 degrees. lean four to five poles and secure with rope or flexible branches. Three or four poles are tied to them (parallel to the ground) – rafters, on which, starting from the bottom, tiled (so that each subsequent layer covers the underlying one by about half) spruce branches, branches with dense foliage or bark are laid. Litter is made from spruce branches or dry moss.

The canopy is dug in with a shallow groove so that water does not flow under it in case of rain. A gable hut is more convenient for living. It is built according to the same principle, but the poles are laid on both sides of the supporting beam. The front part of the hut serves as an entrance, and the back part is covered with one or two poles and braided with spruce branches. Before starting construction, it is necessary to prepare materials – branches, beams, spruce branches, bark. To obtain pieces of bark of the required size, deep vertical cuts are made on the trunk of the larch (to the wood) at a distance of 0.5-0.6 m from each other. Then, from above and below, these strips are cut with large teeth 10-12 cm in diameter and carefully peeled off the bark with an ax or knife. In winter, a snow trench can be built for shelter. It is opened in the snow at the foot of a large tree. The bottom of the trench is lined with several layers of spruce branches, and the top is covered with poles, tarpaulins, and parachute cloth.

Being in the taiga, it is difficult to move among the rubble and windbreaks, through dense forest, overgrown with bushes. The apparent similarity of the environment (trees, folds of the terrain, etc.) can completely disorient a person, and he will move in a circle, unaware of his mistake. But, knowing various signs, you can navigate the cardinal points even without a compass. So, the bark of birch and pine on the north side is darker than on the south, and tree trunks, stones, rock ledges are thicker covered with moss and lichens. Resin drops on the trunks of coniferous trees stand out less abundantly from the north side than from the south. All these signs are clearly expressed in a freestanding tree in a clearing or forest edge. To maintain the intended direction, a well-visible landmark is usually chosen every 100-150 m of the route. This is especially important if the path is blocked by a blockage or dense bushes that force you to deviate from the direct direction.

Trying to go ahead is always fraught with injury. The transition in the taiga in winter is extremely difficult, when the snow cover is very deep and it is almost impossible to overcome the snow-covered areas without ski-snowshoes. With a certain skill, such skis are made in the form of a frame of two branches 2-2.5 cm thick and 140-150 cm long.The front end of the ski, after steaming in water, is bent upwards, and the frame (the width in the center should not be less than 30 cm) braided with thin flexible branches. In the front of the ski, from four transverse and two longitudinal strips, support for the foot is made according to the size of the shoe. In winter, you can walk along frozen rivers, while observing the necessary precautions. So, it must be remembered that the current usually breaks the ice from below, and it becomes especially thin under the snowdrifts near the steep banks. In river beds with sandy shoals, streaks are often formed, which, freezing, turn into a kind of dam.

They are most often hidden under deep snow and difficult to spot. Therefore, it is better to bypass all obstacles on river ice, and in places of river bends it is necessary to stay away from the steep coast, where the current is faster and the ice is thinner. Often, after the freezing of a river, the water level decreases so quickly that pockets are formed under the thin ice, which are very dangerous. On the ice, which seems not strong enough, and there is no other way, they crawl. In spring, the ice is thinnest in areas overgrown with sedge and near flooded bushes. Small taiga rivers are quite passable for light inflatable boats and rafts. In the center of the raft, you can build a small shelter (hut) from rain and wind and prepare a place for a fire by pouring layers of sand or pebbles. Two or three long poles are cut down to steer the raft. A heavy stone with a strong rope can serve as an anchor.

The most insidious obstacles in the taiga are swamps and bogs. A characteristic feature of the marshy area is its poor habitability, the absence of roads, the presence of difficult, and sometimes completely impassable areas. Swamps are rarely equally passable throughout and at different times of the year. Their surface is very deceiving. The most difficult to pass are bog bogs, the distinctive features of which are the whitishness of the surface layer. It is easy to bypass small wetlands by stepping on bumps or rhizomes of shrubs, or to wade, having first felt the bottom of the sixth. Having made sure that it is impossible to pass or bypass dangerous areas, you can sketch out a few branches, put a few poles crosswise or tie a mat of reeds, grass, straw and cross this prepared "bridge" onto solid ground. Lakes overgrown with peat-vegetation cover are of great danger to humans. They often have deep shady water bodies covered with floating plants and grass from above, and these "windows" outwardly hardly stand out.

You can fall through them suddenly, if you neglect the precautions. Therefore, passing through an unfamiliar swamp, you should step slowly, carefully, without making sudden movements, always have a pole with you and probe the soil ahead. Having fallen into the swamp, you do not need to panic, make sudden movements. It is necessary to carefully, leaning on a pole lying across, take a horizontal position, then try to reach the reeds, grass with your hands and, pulling yourself up, crawl away from the dangerous place. If several people are moving through the swamp, you need to stay closer to each other in order to be able to help your comrade at any moment. You can check the thickness of the peat layer, its density and the hardness of the soil using a metal pin with a diameter of 20 mm with notches every 10 cm. To overcome vast swampy spaces, you can make bogshoes and other devices from available tools.

(based on materials of «Энциклопедии безопасности» Громова В.И. и Васильева Г.А., Москва. 1998)

 

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