There’s a lot of things people tend to gloss over in survival stories.

When I got lost, deliberately lost, in Pexate National Park out west to try and kill a few weeks of summer after Angelina left, I found this out. Keep in mind that this comes from someone who gets antsy if she doesn’t spend at least two weekends a month roughing it. I have a Boy Scout Fieldbook and I know how to use it.

First: latrines. They stink, literally and figuratively. You have to dig them, you have to fill them. If you don’t, you run the increasing risk of stepping in your own shit, and that’s before something you eat out there gives you trots like the Kentucky Derby. And let’s not forget the various and sundry creatures that like to stop by for a taste. Plus, toilet paper. It’s finite, and our species does a lousy job of adapting to life without it.

Next: lady parts. Cover your ears, gents. When Aunt Flo comes to visit, what do you do with the used bits? I’ve learned that a variety of woodland denizens that I hesitate to call “cuddly” seem to enjoy them as a snack or a pretty curiosity. Not sure if that’s just my life being weird or not, but there you have it. Also, as light and easy to pack as they are, you run out. And the medicines for cramps, which never seem to surface in civilization as often as they do in the wild? You. Run. Out.

Youd think food would be tough, and maybe for vegetarians it is. But if you don’t mind a little fishing–make that A LOT of fishing–you can get by okay. No, the problem I keep running into is exhausting my environment. What do you do when you’ve fished out a stream, snared out a clearing, eaten all the berries? Our ancestors moved on, but they were also old hands at it. In my experience, food starts to become scarce as soon as you have your campsite running like a Swiss watch. And don’t even get me started on the critters. You wonder what they eat when they can’t get garbage from gutting fish!

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