Emergency Wilderness Survival, Part 1

© Mike Spinak

In early December, I posted a humorous look at the danger signs I’ve encountered while photographing nature. Humor aside, people who head into nature can face real and substantial dangers. I see people seriously injure themselves on a regular basis, such as the unfortunate person in my picture, above. I also encounter several people per year who need my help, because they got themselves injured, lost, or otherwise in trouble.


Many of those who read this blog are either nature photographers, or aspire to take up nature photography.

Nature photographers tend to spend a lot of time in the wilderness – often alone. Even during the least venturesome excursions, such outdoor skills as topographic map reading, and identification of edible berries, will come in handy. More importantly, accidents, errors, and complications happen, and are more likely to become disastrous for the unskilled and unprepared.

It can be as innocuous as underestimating how long the return hike takes, and ending up in the trail-less woods in the dark. Or falling into the river on a cold, wet, windy day. Or badly twisting your ankle. When you leave the manicured world of civilization, your risks increase, while potential help from others becomes slower to arrive and less reliable.

When things go awry, your survival is your responsibility. You should at least know the basics of assessing your situation and options, first aid, fire making, shelter building, sustaining yourself, signaling for help, navigation, and the like. You should also be carrying a personal survival kit, and know how to use its contents.

Thus, I’m hereby starting a series of articles wherein I’ll introduce readers to some basics of the subject of emergency wilderness survival. I hope you never find yourself in an emergency wilderness survival situation – but if you do, I hope this upcoming series helps.

Thanks for reading.

Continued in Emergency Wilderness Survival, Part 2.

All pictures and text are © Mike Spinak, unless otherwise noted. All pictures shown are available for purchase as fine art prints, and are available for licensed stock use. Telephone: (831) 325-6917.