We are all survivors

My river walk fishing adventure

Man and woman fishing in a river.
Stock photo of a man and woman fishing in a river. (This is not me or anyone I know.)

Today, for some reason, I was thinking back on a time when my survival instinct had to kick in. Oh yes, now I remember...I was thinking about the fact that preppers are really survivalists. That's what made me think of this one time, about 20 years ago when the "survival me" had to come to surface. I was in a situation where I had no choice. It was literally a "do or die" situation.

My husband (at the time) and I were actively into primitive camping and fishing. He wanted me to experience walking a river and fishing it. So he, myself, and my oldest son set out to a place he had gone years before to do just that. We set up in a campground that was by a river. We were lucky to find one of the primitive sites that was only a few feet away from said river. The campground itself was not entirely primitive...they did have a shower and restrooms; which was almost like being at a five-star hotel to me! There was an area for tents along the river bank, so that's where we set up our tents.

The next morning we set out to "walk the river" and fish along the way. It was to be around a two hour trek. We had two vehicles, so we left one parked at a small bridge about a mile away from the campground. Then the three of us went in the other vehicle and drove, and drove, and drove until we came to what my then husband "thought" was the area that we needed to park to enter the river. Supposedly, the reason we drove and drove was because it was a hilly area and there were a lot of winding roads going around the terrain and following along the river. Yah, right. My thinking was he didn't really remember where the actual place was! Anyway...

We grabbed our gear and went down into the river. The river wasn't deep, but it was between knee to thigh high to me. It was a nice, warm, sunny day. Very pleasant for the mile or so that we were prepared to walk the river and fish.

After a couple of hours I was getting tired and hungry. We stopped at an area along the side of the river and had lunch. I was told that we only had a little ways to go, and I was so happy to hear that! I was exhausted. This was not something I had ever done before, and walking against the flow of the river (which was at the shallowest points knee high) wasn't like just normal walking. Not to mention the terrain at the bottom of the river was rocky, sandy, and everything in between. We ate our sandwiches and chips and headed back into the river.

Well, that "little ways to go" ended up being far, far away. Around the fourth hour of being in the river, I was beyond exhausted. At this point, there was no way to escape the river. Meaning, there were no banks, just high walls along the river on both sides. So, I pulled up my big girl panties and trudged forward, as best as I could.

Six hours later, I truly began thinking that I was going to die in that river. I had no strength left in my legs and felt like I was going to pass out from exhaustion and heat. I was literally praying my last prayers. I was preparing myself to meet The Lord face to face that day! Of course, the guys were giving me a hard time about being a wimp, which did not help matters any. At all. After all, this was only supposed to be about a two hour adventure!

I trudged on and on. Pushing myself totally outside my abilities and limits. There were many times I felt like all I could do was sit right down in that river and die. I even imagined myself doing that very thing several times. It was way beyond anything I had ever experienced before (and since)! By the way, the reason we didn't get out of the river and take a break was because there had been no place along the river that we could get out of it. None! For the past four hours!

A very long two hours later (we had been in that river for eight hours now!) we came upon a small bridge passing over the river. The first one we had seen all day. Finally! A place where we could climb out of this death trap! However, it was quite a climb up there, it was probably around 15 feet or higher and was muddy. Let's just say, it was not an easy climb. But, with much help from two totally exhausted men, we made it up to the road.

We sat down on the bridge rails, resting, and trying to figure out how to get back to our vehicles and then to our camp. It was just a small country bridge on a small country road. No traffic. After we sat there for about half an hour, we heard a vehicle approaching. The guys jumped up and flagged the vehicle down. The vehicle stopped and the gentleman inside rolled down his window. He was an older man, not too plump, but not thin either. He looked like he might be a farmer. Next thing you know, the guys were telling me to come on and get in the car. We all grabbed our gear and hopped in the car. The man drove us back to where our second vehicle was parked. We thanked him, got into our car and went to find the other one. Then, nine long hours after leaving that morning, we were back and safe at our campsite. The sun was beginning to set. To me, that gentleman who "happened" to be driving on that deserted country road at the same time we were needing help was a God send. It was truly a miracle!

Why did I tell you this story, and what does it have to do with prepping? Well, as I said earlier, I was thinking of how preppers are actually also survivors. We have a mindset that we are going to do whatever it takes to get through a situation and survive it. This particular incident showed me how much of a survivor I truly am. In BIG BOLD LETTERS!!

I, like most of us, have been through many trials and tribulations in my life. But this one, was the one that pushed me the hardest physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Physically, because my body was not in good enough shape to ever accomplish such an adventure (even two hours was pushing it). Mentally, because it was a constant battle in my mind to keep telling myself I could get through it and to not give up. Emotionally, because I did break down a few times during our adventure and had to keep telling myself to stop crying/sobbing, suck it up and keep moving forward. Spiritually, because I had to depend upon God to give me the strength I didn't have to get through it all. And He did. This was the first time I ever had to go into FULL survivor mode. I've been in survivor mode before, and even since, but never to the full extent of that day.

I believe that each and every one of us comes with a survivor instinct. We all have the ability to automatically kick into survivor mode. However, we don't all react to it in the same way. Some will give in quickly to the mental stress that tells them they don't have a chance and should just give up. Some will give in eventually, when their physical strength gives out. Others, will give in when they are overcome with emotions regarding the situation. However, there are others who know that where their own strength may fail them, they have another source they can rely upon. You see, God can give us the strength to overcome the mental, physical, and emotional areas wherein we are weak. If we can trust and rely on Him, He will provide us with that extra strength we need to make it through.

Then, there are some who will literally go bat sh*t crazy in a stressful situation. I cannot comprehend what may cause this because I have never (to my knowledge) been there before. But, they will not have any of the strengths mentioned above. Their survivor mode will kick in and they will not think, but will act. They may even be out to kill for what they want and need (or think they need). I suppose those are the ones who have no conscious and are only evil to begin with. But, I'm not sure, so I can't really say.

I wrote a blog article the other day about The two most important things a prepper needs. I believe that if we have a good healthy mental and spiritual strength we will be able to overcome any physical and emotional weaknesses we may have. (Just to be clear, I am not talking about those with actual physical handicaps or disabilities in this article) For you see, those were the two biggest strengths I had when I set out for my river walk adventure on that day; mental and spiritual strength. And, even though my physical, emotional, and mental strengths were pushed to their limits (and perhaps even beyond), my spiritual strength stood in the gaps. That is what truly got me through. Not my strength, but trusting and relying on God's strength.

So, remember, no matter what situation arises or you may be facing...we are ALL survivors! However, being prepared and having the necessary skills for a situation will go a long way in helping us survive, you know, like a SHTF situation. Even though we have the instinct for survival, having skills and knowledge is needed to persevere.

Until next time...happy prepping, and God bless!

Zechariah 4:6, ..."Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts." (KJV)