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The Donner Party

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  • The Donner Party

    I am watching a documentary on the Donner Party, and event like these remind me of several survival lessons. These are particularly important if you have a distance to travel. I have learned some of these lessons myself. The biggest one is that a shortcut is rarely actually a shortcut. On my long distance challenge last fall, there were several times that I left my intended path because I saw what I thought was a way to make up some time. Even with GPS satellite imagine to see the terrain, I was almost always wrong. Every shortcut I took added time to my journey.

    Another lesson from this story is to never underestimate the weather and its unpredictability. With just slight changes in weather patterns, a comfortable hike can turn nasty. In some cases it can turn deadly. In addition, be careful about whom you chose to lead your party. In the case of the Donner party, this was by far one of the biggest mistakes made. Picking a leader based on their friendly nature is not always the best call in a survival situation.

    While this story is incredibly sad, it is also a tale of true survival. What these people were able to accomplish was amazing no matter the cost of that accomplishment. People have been learning from this story every since.