Friday, March 26, 2010
Lessons from T.R.
I recently finished The River of Doubt: Teddy Roosevelt's Darkest Journey, which retells the events of the first decension of the River of Doubt and one of the earliest explorations of the Amazon's deep interior. The author discusses each of the team member's motivations for making the treacherous journey. Men have strange reasons for sticking something out long after they should have left it behind. Overall, this book is the story of a misearable trip made worse by many mistakes, poor planning and genuine bad luck. Anyone who has spent any amount of time hiking has a trip in the back of their mind when it all went to hell for the same reasons. The goal is to learn from it, laugh about it, but never let it happen again.
Recommendations for avoiding such disasters include: 1) stay hydrated 2) stay dry -no cotton 3) stay warm -don't skimp on a sleeping bag 4) bring extra batteries for the headlamp 5) check the weather report 6) get in shape before the trip -really good shape 7) bring a day's worth of extra food 8) research the trip -find someone else who did it or something similar 9) bring a morale booster -lifesavers, pocket flask, etc.