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This is a question What was I thinking?

CactusZack tells us: "I stopped dating a girl AFTER she got breast implants. For what reason I do not know, and I still kick myself for this." Tell us about inexplicable decisions that still haunt you.

(, Thu 23 Sep 2010, 11:58)
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Really cold survival trip
I was on a survival camping trip for my highschool's Outdoor Education class. It was one of those 2 day long trips where you only have to survive 1 night out in the woods, in groups of 2. You were allowed to bring a lighter (a couple lighters), a knife, some light snacks, bog roll, a few luxuries, and mild weather clothing. As it was April we were expecting mild spring weather (pro-tip: don't "expect" warm weather here in Canada). With mild spring weather come plenty of mosquitos coming back to life after a long winter, so one of our luxuries was a large can of bug spray. More on this later.

We had been instructed on how to build shelters, on how to collect water, on how to avoid nasty animals, on where to place the fire to keep warm, etc. The groups were dropped off in 1/2km intervals so you didn't exactly get to choose your area for the night. My mate and I got stuck in an area between a cliff face, roughly 30 feet high, and a lake, with about 50 feet of flat ground between the two, all soaking wet moss (comfy, but no insulation, wet, and full of bugs/pests).

We found a perfect flat outcropping about 10 feet up the cliff which was easy enough to climb to, but difficult enough to access that it would keep us safe from any pesky bears, etc. It was rock so we could lay down a base to keep us comfy and warm, and had a tree growing off the edge which would give us something to stack our wall against.

We set forth building our nice warm shelter with some decent sized logs and a fair bit of work, it took a few hours but we were looking forward to the trip and having a blast so it didn't phase us. We finished with enough time to eat our snacks and collect plenty of firewood for the night, but having done all these, we started to get bored.

The fire was placed directly at the foot of the shelter as it allows the heat to cycle into the shelter, but the roof isn't solid enough to keep harmful smoke in, etc. As long as the fire keeps burning, you should be relatively comfortable. The mild spring weather didn't pan out, it ended up dropping to a, not so bad if you're prepared for it, -10 degrees celcius, and we weren't prepared for it. But still, fire is burning well, we're having a good time, let's have some fun before we go to bed.

This is where my bad idea comes into play. I turn to my mate, mention that as it's ball-freezing cold out we won't be getting bothered by mosquitos that night, let's see what happens if we chuck the bug spray into the fire. He chuckles, pulls out the camera on his phone (back in the 0.3MP days) and we hide behind a large rock on the cliff after I've placed (tossed) the nearly full (pressurized aerosol) can in the middle of our decent sized fire.

The blast sent a 10 foot fireball hurtling straight up in the air, blew our fire and firewood off the cliff and scattered across the wet ground, sent embers flying everywhere, and set our shelter ablaze. Luckily, the canopy of the evergreen tree on our perch didn't catch, but the leaves were singed by the blast and rained down embers for the 20 minutes we spent fetching water from the lake and salvaging whatever parts of our shelter we didn't have to kick down onto the wet ground below. This happened around midnight.

The rest of the night was spent running around in the dark collecting what was left of firewood in the area to try and keep a proper fire going so we wouldn't die of hypothermia. When we were collected the next day, the other groups camped 2-3kms away mentioned the blast had woke them.

Apologies for length, my mate didn't complain when we were spooning for warmth.
(, Fri 24 Sep 2010, 15:38, Reply)

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