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Can You Turn Your Fear Into An Asset – Episode 036

In a survival situation, do you know what your needs are? Do you know how to stop, assess a situation, recognize your needs, and then improvise to get those needs met? Don’t worry – there are a lot of us that have not thought that far ahead. However, today’s guest on Off the Grid Radio, survival expert Greg Davenport (, is going to show us a few tips for doing exactly that.


Off The Grid Radio
Ep 036
Released: February 25, 2011

Brian: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome – as the announcer says – to Off the Grid News, the radio version of I’m Brian Brawdy, here as always with Mr. Bill Heid. Bill, how are you sir?

Bill: Greetings, Brian. I am well, today. Here comes the sun. The long cold lonely winter is starting to break and so I think you see a lot of smiles – not just here in our little studio but smiles as you see people walking around town and here in Illinois in general. It’s nice …

Brian: And the temperatures last week – I said that -15°F is the new 0°F. It was so cold here. Then when it got to 0°F, I went outside in a pair of boxers and flip-flops.

Bill: Sunday it warmed up enough that I was down at the causeway – you know where the causeway is down here? Down at the causeway, and there were people riding bicycles through the slush. I went down to see if I could go ice fishing, see what the lay of the land was there. I wanted to do a little ice fishing but as it turned out, too much slush on top of the ice to fish. But there were people riding their bikes down there. That’s what happens here, for you people that are in southern climates, realize that when it gets 35°F people start taking their clothes off, of all things, and start acting like crazy people. Riding their bikes.

Brian: Yeah, you do one of those ‘polar bear dips’ or whatever – if it’s to 0°F, people are like “wow, a heat wave.” At one point there was a 45° temperature swing in 24 hours – Tuesday in to Wednesday. The straight temperature was -15°F here.

Bill: But it’s a beautiful thing when the sun comes out and it warms up, just to see demeanors change. I think there’s lessons there too, about what it is a little bit of sun … we all need to get outside, even when the weather’s cold we can’t stay inside. A little bit of a survival tip – cueing you up for who we’ve got with us today. A little bit of a wilderness training tip. That sun – when that hits you, that does something to you. It gives you a sense of rejuvenation.

Brian: Absolutely. I will tell you that when it hits me it gives me skin cancer. And even with that – even all my occurrences of skin cancer – I’m still out in the sun. I’m still outside whenever I can be. You guys make fun of me – most times we’ll be having the staff meeting and Bill will look up and go “where’s Brian?” Jeremy goes “he just walked out the door.” It’s like I can’t get my mind to think any more if I’m not looking up at the sky, the sun, the clouds, whatever it is.

Bill: It helps to be outside. We’re going to talk with someone who’s an expert about being outside today.

Brian: Sarah sent me an email yesterday and she goes “you are going to love tomorrow’s guest. Talk about two peas in a pod.” She sent me an email and as soon as I opened it and I saw the name, I recognized it. Ladies and gentlemen, our guest today has a profile or resume so long that I couldn’t decide where to jump in with Greg Davenport. Of course he has a Master’s Degree in physician assistant studies with an emphasis, Bill, on wilderness and emergency medicine. He’s an author, he’s a TV personality, he’s a family man. I dig the idea of having a chance to speak to a survival expert for a couple of different reasons, Bill. We’ll get to those after we introduce our guest. As I said, an author and a Master’s Degree – Greg Davenport, welcome. Thanks for hanging out with us today.

Greg: Hey, Bill and Brian, great to be here. It sounds like you’ve got some nice weather up there. I hate to interject that I was actually in Phoenix last week and it was 75°F and pretty nice.

Brian: Well, half of being a survival expert, Greg, is knowing how to avoid bad weather. So God love you for taking off. It was 15°F below 0°F here, so you had us beat by almost 100 degrees.

Bill: Greg, I went to the Super Bowl and imagine my surprise when we landed on a snow-packed runway and got seven inches of snow the day that I landed. I think it just follows me around like some kind of curse or something. But it certainly has warmed up here.

Greg: I don’t know, maybe you could go hang out at the ski resorts. Maybe they’d pay you a little money just to stand at the bottom of their slopes.

Bill: Maybe I could be their rainmaker – the snowmaker.

Brian: That’s a great – Bill Heid doing a snow dance. We’re always thinking here, Greg, what can we do to get a viral video?

Bill: I’ll need some different clothes.

Brian: The Bill Heid Snow Dance. Now that, Jeremy, just put that out – it’ll have a million hits in no time.

Greg: Yeah, that on YouTube would be worth a lot of money.

Brian: Greg, speaking of being worth a lot of money, there are some serious points we wanted to kick around today. Obviously we’re always talking to people about preparedness – that’s one of our passions. I’d like to address when the outside comes inside. What I thought was cool about having a survival expert is that you don’t just survive out of doors, what happens if you lose your power, if the temperatures drop, you lose the ability to get water – that kind of thing. A second thing that I’d also like to talk about is mitigating fear in an emergency – in a survival situation. If that’s cool with you, I’m sure we’ll get to other topics throughout the hour, Greg, but that’s what I had hoped we could kick off with. Talk to us about being a survival expert but also how you’re able to take some of the lessons that you learned in nature and apply them to what happens when we lose the norm in our lives and now all of a sudden the outside is inside, where we live.

Greg: Wasn’t that the crux? Seriously, we all think that survival is different from one environment to another, or from the wilderness to our home, but it’s really not. If you think about it, every day we have the same basic needs. We have needs for clothing on our back, shelter, heat – which helps keep us warm or cool, depending on the environment – of course the heat doesn’t … we have personal protection needs. We have sustenance needs for food and water. We have health needs which are needs related to environmental – needs related to avoiding traumatic injuries. And of course our mental health. Then of course every day we try to travel from point A to point B, it seems like, as we try to keep our life going – I think people forget that in a survival scenario those needs are still present. It doesn’t matter if I’m in the woods or I’m in my house. The tsunami hits and I’m stuck and I’m waiting for rescue to come. Maybe I don’t have water that’s coming out of the tap anymore and maybe my electricity doesn’t turn on, so I don’t have heat or air conditioning. Maybe I don’t have any food in the house. How am I going to meet those needs? I have to go about using my brain to make that happen. For example, down in New Orleans, when we had the big disaster there several years back, 1800 people perished during that time. A lot of them perished in their homes. I guess the question would be, why didn’t they recognize that search and rescue was out there? And why weren’t they taking the paint that we all have in our basement and getting on the roof, if they had the ability to, and painting SOS on the roof so search and rescue knew they were there? Why weren’t they getting water from their gutters on their house or other areas where it was pooling and using that to drink? Treating it if they needed to by starting a fire with that nice furniture that they have in that house? What good is that if you’re dead? But maybe they just didn’t step back and recognize what their needs were and then go about prioritizing how to meet those and then improvising to make it happen. That’s the crux. Wilderness, city – it doesn’t matter. It’s all about recognizing what your needs are, prioritizing them and then improvising to make it happen. You know, if we could do that, we could survive probably almost any disaster that comes to us, of course except for the Grace of God, and have another day to enjoy life.

Brian: Greg, that would have to be the theme that goes through all of your books. You’ve got some great ones – obviously “Wilderness Survival” is in its second edition, “Wilderness Living.” But you have “Survive in Cold Weather,” “Survive in Coastal and Open Waters,” “Surviving the Desert,” is another book. That’s your basic theme. You call it the crux. You’re saying in that moment be able to step back, assess what’s going on and then there must be a unique skill set that applies to all the different situations that may not be unique.

Greg: I look at a survival scenario – and I’m not talking primitive living, I’m talking a survival scenario – is coming down to two main things – maintaining life and returning home. Returning home might be getting out of your home and getting to wherever the hospital is. Maintaining life, again, it’s going to revolve around personal protection, which is our clothing, our shelter and our fire. It’s going to revolve around sustenance, which is food and water. And then that health issue which is environmental injury, traumatic injuries and mental health. If we can meet those needs, we can usually maintain our life and go on another day. Then of course if we’re in a true survival scenario, we’re trying to get out of that situation, so we want to signal – we want to return home, so we want to signal – and we can signal using a man-made device that we might have – road flares or some other type of a signal mirror or a mirror we take off our car or a whistle, or we can use something that we find in Mother Nature to signal with that creates contrast and has size and angularity that’s going to attract people to our location. Then of course if we know where we are and we know where rescue is at, we may decide just to go ahead and travel and take things with us to maintain that life and to signal while we’re traveling from point A to point B. That’s the crux. Maintain life and return home. If we could just put it in that perspective and realize that survival is cookbook, there might be a little extra dash of this and a little bit less of that, but it’s still cookbook. Those needs remain the same. The recipe is the same, it’s just what order you put the ingredients in and how much of each ingredient you use is going to change from scenario to scenario.

Brian: Greg, what we’ll probably do is we’re going to run to a quick commercial break. Then when we get back, if we could talk a little more about those recipes – the things that you would add in and how to take a very general solution and apply it to your personal survival needs in that moment. Ladies and gentlemen, we’re going to run to a quick commercial break. Come on back. Wilderness medicine and survival expert, Greg Davenport, back with us after the break.

[0:10:14 – 0:14:25 break]

Brian: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome back to Off the Grid News – the radio version of It’s been a long, cold lonely winter, hasn’t it Jeremy?

Bill: It seems like years since we’ve been here.

Brian: [laughs] Jeremy gets craftier every day. Every show … wasn’t that something else? Speaking of crafty, Bill, if you’re just joining us, our guest is wilderness medicine and survival expert par excellence, Mr. Greg Davenport. Of course you can find out more about him at You can also long on to and we’ll go ahead and hook you up with all the contact information for Greg Davenport. He’s an author. He has his Master’s Degree in physician assistant studies with an emphasis in wilderness and emergency medicine – pretty big deal. He’s an author. You’ve seen him all over television. He’s a motivational speaker. A pretty round, all the way cool kind of guy. Bill, I know we want to go ahead and toss it to Greg. You have a couple of different scenarios. You even sent me the picture of the one I’m going to kind of, about the moose. Go ahead and share those with Greg, and I’d like to see if you handled it the right way.

Bill: Really, Greg, it’s kind of a tale of two trails. One situation, I was hiking in Glacier about five miles up in the high country. Decided I wanted to get a good picture of a female moose. Snuck down the river, quite a ways off the trail and took the picture. Realized a little bit later that she must have had a calf hidden someplace. She took exception to my presence and chased me around for about an hour and 45 minutes. I had my dad – who’s in his 70s, and I had my son – a young man – and like a fool, I took that moose back to them. She’s chasing me all over and they’re yelling at me from up on top of the trail. I just drug her back to them and put their lives in jeopardy as well. That’s one kind of fear. But the other kind of fear, on a different trail, it was myself and I had two of my grandkids and my wife Kim, and I got lost. The point I wanted to make was there’s two different kinds of fear. I had a fear of being chased by that moose and as terrifying as it was, I could deal with that and did, and we made it through it. But the other kind, where I got lost and couldn’t figure out – I was in a national park on a different trail – and couldn’t figure out where I was. At some point it just hit me – you’re lost. You know what? I started to panic. No one noticed. I never freaked out in front of everybody, but I genuinely panicked. And if I had my choice? I’d take the moose over the second fear. What’s the best way to deal with that kind of fear?

Greg: Fear is an interesting thing. I’d like to address two things before I go into that, real quick. One was, you said you snuck up on the moose?

Bill: I didn’t do it … she knew that I was coming …

Greg: You need to practice that skill. [laughs]

Bill: She knew that I was coming down there and then she started – first, Greg, it was a trot. The other thing that I discovered is, what’s five foot bramble to me is a big hassle. But to her? It came up to her shoulder and it was like me walking through an alfalfa field.

Greg: For her it was just a back scratcher.

Bill: It was just nothing.

Brian: Polished her hooves.


Bill: Believe me, we’re laughing about it, but I was totally afraid that I was going to die. I thought I was going to die.

Greg: Yeah, you should have been afraid.

Bill: Because every time I looked back, I saw her face. And I dreamt about it for six months after it happened. People think that’s a joke – it was not a joke to me. It was terrible.

Greg: A little Xanax and psychotherapy – you might get over that.


Greg: On the other one you said you were lost and you couldn’t figure out where you were?

Bill: Yes.

Greg: That’s what being lost is, I think, right? Now I’m giving you a bad time. [laughs]

Bill: I was lost and …

Greg: You couldn’t figure out where you were which means I want to address that real quick. You broke a rule. If you couldn’t figure out where you were, you were probably wandering around looking for a familiar road, a familiar rock, a familiar trail or something that was going to get you out of that situation. I want to point that out real quick. When people are lost they’re lost and they should stop and stay put because when search and rescue comes looking for you, they’re going to look in your last known location. If you continue to wander around looking for that familiar thing to get you out of that situation, you’re usually moving further and further out of that search pattern, which means you’re going to spend that much more time in your survival scenario. So I would like to address that real quick. But going on to the fear. Fear is so overwhelming. Any of us who have experienced it, whether it be the fear of losing somebody we love or whether it be the fear of a survival scenario, it’s an overwhelming sensation that can really cloud our thought. When something clouds our thought, we tend to make irrational decisions. Those irrational decisions in a survival scenario could be the difference between life and death. There’s a lot of us that spit out this figure of 80 percent will – a lot of us believe that survival really revolves around a person’s will or desire to stay alive or to get back home. That’s what helps them to think clearly and to overcome these preconceived limits that seem so insurmountable. But in order to have that will to survive, you have to harness that fear. I think fear is a powerful thing. I think it’s how we allow it to take control or to motivate. If it’s so overwhelming that it takes control and we become so fearful that we fail to act, then we’re in a world of hurt. But if we take that fear and we use it as a motivating factor, as something that helps motivate us to get out of the situation, then that is a powerful tool. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been scared and that fear has allowed me to do (1) come back to the basic foundation of who I am, come back to my Christian faith and to look to God and say “I need your help. I’m very scared right now.” By doing that, it’s almost like meditating and coming back to what’s important. Once I can harness that, then I can begin to create my recipe and put things in perspective and move forward in a way that’s going to bring me out of that situation. For example – and by no means am I picking on you. I don’t want to be chased by a moose. Those things are terrible. But your fear had led you to move, to get out of the situation, but the fear was at a point where you hadn’t thought about the fact at that moment that in moving in that route you were going to bring that animal in touch with somebody who might not be able to move as well as you – your dad. If you had been able to step back a minute and processed the thought, which is very hard to do when something that big is moving after you, you may have decided to go a different route. That, of course, creates other risks that you have to think about – am I going to move in a way that I’m going to get lost? Am I going to move downhill, which is going to put me into an area of slash, more moisture, a creek where I’m going to get wet – have more potential of hypothermia, et cetera. There’s things that we have to think about in the process of making a decision on which way to go. But yes, fear is a powerful, powerful tool in every aspect of our lives. It should be a powerful tool and it should motivate us, not overwhelm us in the respect that we sit and crawl in a hole and become tearful and die.

Bill: So step one, what you’re saying – both Brian and I are nodding in approval – step one is getting in touch with a true metaphysic – who am I? What’s the true nature of the universe? And trying to say I’m this creature created by God and it’s God’s providence I find myself in this situation. However, I’m not alone. It’s basically, you’re going back to the Psalms. You’re going back to David. That’s what your step one is, if I’m hearing you properly.

Greg: Oh yeah. Yeah. It’s always that. Any time I get … when I used to be in the military and I’d get on a helicopter and see that hydraulic fluid and I’d say “oh crap, not again …” [laughter] I’d always go back to base one. I was on a trip and I’d lose 25 pounds in 20 days or go several nights without sleep or a couple of weeks without food, it was always about that inner strength. That inner strength – I couldn’t do it. I had to look for a higher power and that to me that’s my God. I would have to seek out that calming presence, that whisper in my ear, that would keep me moving forward and help me clear my thoughts and harness that fear and use it to my benefit as opposed to my detriment.

Brian: Greg, we’re going to have to run to a commercial break here real quick, but I’d like our listeners to think about this as we do, then when you come back maybe you can comment on it. I’ve always taken that and said that there’s a fork in the road. The chemicals that you’re going to be experiencing in an emergency situation – you can either decide, as you say, to harness those chemicals, or you can decide to let those chemicals hijack you. So you can either decide to use that energy in a smart way, or I’ve seen people run towards the grizzly bear. I’ve seen them actually run towards the threat, because the chemical said just get up and move, but they weren’t paying attention to where they were moving to. So I’d like to go back to that still, small voice – or that inner voice, as you say. I’d like to talk about the difference between harnessing the chemicals or having those chemicals hijack you. Ladies and gentlemen, we’ll be back after this break. Wilderness medicine and survival expert, Mr. Greg Davenport, right after this short break.

[0:24:23 – 0:28:40 break]

Brian: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome back to Off the Grid News – the radio version of Every time I hear that it sounds like a laser light or something – when Jeremy hits that intro, Bill, and it comes right in. It feels like something’s shooting through me.

Bill: You’re like Chewbacca getting hit by some kind of …

Brian: Exactly! Like a light saber from Star Wars. Speaking about a Jedi – that’s a great segue, Bill – speaking of a Jedi master, we today have our version of a Jedi master – no, not Obi-Wan Kenobi but wilderness medicine and survival expert extraordinaire, Mr. Greg Davenport. Greg, I’ve got to tell our audience, during the break we were yucking it up and talking about different aspects and the like, and I got so into listening to you I had to look over to our producer, Jeremy, and go “are we in the segment or are we still in the commercial break?” You are a wealth of knowledge. In addition to being a speaker, a television personality, you’ve written a half a dozen great books. Ladies and gentlemen, we’re back with Mr. Greg Davenport.

Greg: Well here’s the contrast between you listening to me and my wife listening to me, you didn’t tell me to shut up.


Brian: I’m sorry, Greg, were you talking to me? [laughs] Alright, Obi-Wan, take it away. We were talking about the difference of harnessing that energy or I use the word hijacking – have that energy hijack you. Tell us about in that moment, that fork in the road, how can you help our listeners – whether you’re out on a wilderness path or you’re stuck in your kitchen during a power outage that you weren’t prepared for. How do you focus – and you said mediation earlier – how do you focus, in that moment, and know exactly which of those two forks to take?

Greg: It’s really interesting. If you choose the wrong one, it can be the difference between life and death. But, you know, we were talking earlier about Katrina and what happened in that situation. It’s amazing to me that some of the people made the choices that they did and they perished. Others made good decisions and some it was by the grace of God that they came out of those scenarios. As we were talking, it doesn’t matter if you’re in Katrina or if you’re backpacking. If you have a crisis, you’re going to have to think on your feet. You’re going to have to recognize – for example, in Katrina it was cold and it was wet – you have to recognize that you’re going to have to protect yourself from those elements. We realized that part of that is going to be around personal protection, that’s clothing and shelter. So if you’re in your house, that’s great, you’re protected from the wind, you’re protected from moisture coming down. But if you’re heater is down, you’ve got a dresser drawer full of clothes, why can’t you put on more layers of clothing? Why can’t you put on a hat and a couple of pairs of socks over your hands and get on some good socks on those feet? Help those layers keep you warm. Why can’t you burn that expensive furniture, or that library you have? Why can’t you pull those books down and create a fire? Don’t burn down the house, of course, try to do it in a way that’s going to keep you warm and maybe even put it out on the porch so it can be seen as a signal. People can see activity. There’s things that you have to think beyond the norm – so I don’t have my electricity, so what? So I don’t have water coming out of the faucet, so what? In Katrina, again, go to the gutters; go to areas where water might pool and get your water in that way. You built a fire with that fancy furniture now you can boil the water and make it healthy to drink, right? We’ve just got to think outside the box. As far as food goes, you can live a long time without food. In most scenarios, we could talk about food for long-term survival, but most short-term survival scenarios we don’t need food. As much as I like to think I’m healthy and in good shape, I could lose 20-30 pounds and probably easily still survive another two to three weeks.

Brian: Earlier, when you said you were going to go on a 20-day hike and lose 20 pounds, I go “Jeremy, get his address. When he leaves I could go on that hike with him.” I could use a 20-day hike to come back 20 pounds lighter.

Greg: [laughs] That’s in about 10-15 feet of snow.

Brian: I’ve got snowshoes. I’ll join you. That’ll work for me.

Greg: With very little food. Those are great weight loss plans. But I think the key in harnessing that fear is if we recognize the will to survive is 80 percent, and we’re relying on ourselves, sometimes it’s very difficult to move forward because we’re not able to recognize that there’s – in my beliefs – there’s a higher power involved. So I do turn to that. I have no problem – no problem at all – in taking possessions, which mean nothing to me, and tearing them up to meet my personal protection needs, to meet my sustenance needs, to meet my health needs, to signal for help to get out of that situation. I did a show for a TV station a couple of years ago and we were doing car survival. You’re driving over the mountains and your car breaks down. What do you do? I pulled out my knife and I got ready to cut the guy’s car seat up – his Audi or whatever it was – he didn’t like that very much, but the reality is that car means nothing. It means nothing. Look at James Kim, who unfortunately perished several years ago in a survival scenario. We could talk for days about that situation. I’m probably one of the few experts who disagree with everyone else on it, but that’s another subject. We look at him, for example, he took the tire and he burnt the tire for both heat and hopefully to make a signal to get rescued. He thought outside the box in that respect. That’s what we have to do as a survivor, whether it’s James Kim up in the mountains, whether it’s the Uruguayan rugby team in the Andes, whether it’s James Riley who was taken captive in the Sahara Desert in the 1860s, or Steven Callahan adrift at sea for many, many days. It doesn’t matter. Our survival needs remain the same. We have to harness our fear. We have to think straight, recognize those needs, prioritize them in order of importance and then improvise using both man-made and natural materials to meet those needs. If we can do that, day-by-day, life will go on. It may change. If we have a big disaster in the United States, we may never have electricity in our house again. We have to go back to the days where we might be using cow dung – dried cow dung – to provide heat.

Brian: We talk all the time at Off the Grid News and most certainly at Solutions from Science, Greg, is that if you end up going back to the 1800s, thinking Michael Landon on Little House on the Prairie – he seemed to get along OK without the plasma 3D 52-inch TV.

Greg: Yeah, but I couldn’t have watched the show if I didn’t have it.

Brian: [laughs] You know what I mean? He seemed to be doing OK. He didn’t have an electric garage door opener. Golly, I can remember the first microwave.

Bill: You can read the books. It doesn’t take much electricity.

Brian: I think people think “how would I survive without a microwave?”

Greg: “How do I get to the stores upstairs if I don’t have an elevator or an escalator?” we are lazy as a society. We have a population health issue of obesity, smoking addiction, alcohol addiction. It’s across the board. We have become lazy and if we do have a collapse of some type, God forbid, we’re going to have a problem. We’re going to have a serious problem because people that have not developed skills or don’t even understand what their needs are – it’s going to be anarchy, I believe. We’ve got to recognize what our needs are to stop that anarchy process from occurring. As individuals we can do that, but when we start to look at the population, there could be a serious conflict in how people are meeting their needs if the population doesn’t recognize the crisis.

Brian: That’s the inverse, Greg – Bill and I talk about quite a bit – that’s the inverse of looking to an outside power. That’s the difference when you turn to a deity or you turn to the government. Most of the people that I saw in a bad way after Hurricane Katrina kept waiting for someone on a white horse to ride in and save them. The people that were waiting for someone else to tell them what to do, to do it for them, to do all those other things – those were a part of the 1800 unfortunately that didn’t make it because they … backed the wrong horse. They picked the wrong higher power. At least that’s my estimation.

Bill: That’s a great way to say it, Brian, the wrong higher power. I like that.

Brian: They picked the wrong higher power.

Greg: You know, in that thought process, I’ve got a lot of survival stories in that thought process where people actually have faith and they’re praying and they write in their diary that God will deliver me. But yet some that perished, one guy in particular – I don’t want to mention his name for respect of his family – but one guy in particular who perished was in a camper trailer and he was snowbound and he sat there for nine weeks writing in his diary every day that God would deliver him. But the way I look at – and he died – but the way I look at that story is God had already delivered him because God had given him everything he needed to create his own survival, but he didn’t act. So even though we can believe in God and believe that God is going to help us, we still have to take that first step and we have to accept that grace and the gifts that are given to us and take that first step and act on it. I think it goes beyond just looking to God. We have to accept God’s grace in the process. We have to take action.

Bill: There’s a nice, compatibilism – theological compatibilism, Greg, we like to talk about here – it’s Stonewall Jackson’s and it’s “duty is ours; consequences are God’s.” What a beautiful harmonization of what our human volition and yet somehow we’re acting inside of God’s providences. I think that’s the perfect survival metaphor. We have the responsibility, the requirements, to act, especially when it comes to our family. But somehow, some way, it’s in God’s greater providence. I think the latter part of that gives you the freedom to act in a way that you probably wouldn’t act if you just thought you were the sole, autonomous being, captain of your own ship on an island by yourself. If you’re on an island by yourself you’re going to get surrounded by Somali pirates, that’s what I tell everybody.


Bill: So you better have community and you better have something else.

Brian: Alright, ladies and gentlemen, Greg – we’re going to run to a quick commercial break and then coming back for the fourth and final segment this hour – wilderness medicine and survival expert, Mr. Greg Davenport, right after this short break.

[0:38:37 – 0:42:50 break]

Brian: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome back to – the radio version of our website and show. Here today with wilderness medicine and survival expert, Greg Davenport. Of course I’m Brian Brawdy, as always here with Mr. Bill Heid. Bill, yet again another segment going to commercial where you, Greg and I are just …

Bill: Too chatty … there’s too much to talk about. One of the things we were talking about is this headline – I know we have some other things that we want to cover but in everyone’s minds this idea of these riots going on. That doesn’t look like a wilderness scenario but it kind of is a wilderness scenario. Then I brought to your attention, and Greg’s as well, headline today I’m reading in a blog – it’s actually a website called “Business Insider Politix Wisconsin??” website. “Wisconsin National Guard preps for worker unrest after governor unveils emergency budget.” So this isn’t Bill and Brian and Greg telling you “there’s going to be trouble in the world,” this is the government telling you that they’re getting ready for the trouble that they think is going to happen. They’re prepping for it.

Brian: Greg, I say all the time whether it’s a grizzly bear attack or an overbearing government, survival’s survival. Go ahead and comment on not just that – and we also want to get back to Mr. Kim because I might very well have bumped into a survival expert …

Bill: No, Brian, Kim is a great metaphor for “should I stay or should I go?” Right? The old Clash song. We can metaphor that off into the Egyptian and what happens when Egypt comes here.

Brian: Or what happens in Wisconsin when the National Guard moves in to do worker unrest – do you stay or do you go? To me I see …

Bill: So let’s talk about Kim.

Brian: Groovy. Greg? Take it. If you don’t mind, as you say, you are one of the few survival experts that said he should have left – as I did – should have left early on.

Bill: Does everybody know who he is?

Brian: Yeah, Greg, go ahead and give us the catch-up.

Greg: James Kim – I think he worked for CNET, I can’t remember exactly. This happened seven years ago or something like that. I can’t remember exactly – don’t quote me on that. Nice man, nice family – they were up in Washington state vacationing and they decided to drive down towards Oregon and then over to the Oregon coast. They missed their turnoff so they ended up looking at the map and taking another road that went over the pass. Unfortunately, this old road that they took – they went up and it started snowing and they got snowbound. It was on a side road that people didn’t travel. So James Kim stayed with the car for six days and then he took a few extra clothes and headed down the road that they had traveled into. Unfortunately, his family was found on day nine and he was found perished, or he had died down a creek that went down to a river. I was actually climbing Shasta when this all came to a head. When I got down from Shasta of course my answering machine was full, everybody wanted to talk to me. I ended up at the tail end of the conversation – and every survival expert that had discussed this said James Kim should have stayed with the car because of course on day nine he would have been rescued like his family. What everyone else had failed to say was nobody had ever had a successful rescue in that area before. In fact, a family died there in the 80s as he sat with his vehicle and waited for rescue for nine weeks. Then another two couples set in their camper watching the news until they saw the rescue had been called off and then they hiked out and ran into a county worker and they were rescued. But nobody has been rescued by a search and rescue team in that area. Nevertheless, here’s the thing. He wasn’t lost. He wasn’t lost. Why should he sit with a car when he wasn’t lost? Think about this – his wife’s breastfeeding not only a six year old, but also a baby. His wife has to have hydration to stay in milk. She’s not getting good hydration. They don’t have any water. They’re using snow. She’s not getting good hydration. Her breasts are going to dry up. Those children are going to die if they’re not fed.

Bill: Why is melted snow not good hydration?

Greg: Melted snow is good but how much are you going to get? Is she going to get the required couple quarts a day? Is she going to keep her breasts engorged necessary to provide the milk for both a six year old and a baby? She’s not. They don’t have food or anything so this is going to be a big problem. They could wait for rescue, however he knew where he was. He wasn’t lost. He drove in the road. He drove in the road. It’s not like he parachuted in and he didn’t know where he was at. He knew exactly where he was at. He had a trunkload full of clothes because they were on vacation. My thoughts were, somebody who’d had survival training, in that scenario they should have set up – that family – that night and talked about what they were going to do. Set up some shelters for them. Set up some firewood for her and said “look, baby, I know I’ve got to go down this road. We came in on this road.” And leave first thing in the morning and head down that road. Have them put on layers of clothing and have her stay with the car no matter what. He headed down that road – it’s about 33 miles, I believe, to where he’s going to run into civilization. The problem with James Kim isn’t that he left the car, the problem is that he got off the road.

Brian: Right. Didn’t they say, Greg, that they found him within a mile? He had traveled – if I remember – probably nine, ten, 11 miles they surmised – he had traveled in a circle and they found him less than a mile from the car. Is my memory correct on that?

Greg: The road/creek intersection, from my information – I don’t know if it’s changed – but the road/creek intersection was about 11 miles from where the car was. When he hit that road/creek intersection, he took a left and went down the creek. They found him in the water. I don’t know how close the water area where he was where they found him where he had perished. The thing with James Kim was, I believe that he had walked 11 miles. He wasn’t familiar with walking on roads in unfamiliar territory or even in the wilderness and 11 miles can seem like 100 miles. I believe that the wilderness industry actually killed James Kim because we watch TV shows and there’s certain people that say things like “if you’re lost, follow a creek downstream, it’ll lead you to civilization.” I believe James Kim felt he wasn’t on the right road after 11 miles. He doubted the fact that he had driven in that road. This is just my belief, I can’t verify this. He ran into that creek and he said “you know what? I’m going to follow that creek downstream because it’s going to lead to civilization.” That’s where the failure occurred, as he got off the road that he drove in on. He was never lost. He had rescue down that road and he got off the road. I would have left the next morning that I got stuck and I would have been down that road and I would have made it out by night. I would have had my family rescued on day three on the latest, if not night of day two. His failure was getting off the road. That’s the problem with our industry. The survival industry – we read stuff, we read it, we read it, we read it, and we believe it’s gospel when it’s not been proven. Unfortunately, a lot of survival experts – all they do is rewrite stuff that was written a hundred years ago without ever having experimenting to see if it truly has value. Moss grows on the north side of trees – come on – if you’re in a shady area, moss grows in the shade.

Brian: Absolutely. Greg, how can we transport your brilliance into a situation as Bill was talking about although Wisconsin’s open for business after the new Illinois tax hike went in to effect last month, now they’re saying that the Wisconsin National Guard – according to the article that Bill was reading – is being told by the governor because of budget cuts there could be some worker unrest and I’m going to need you guys to get ready to quell that unrest. How can we extrapolate – which I think is a brilliant point on your part, that he should have left early the next morning – how can we extrapolate anything from the tragic death of Mr. Kim into a more modern day for regular folks. Maybe it happens because of martial law or whatever else the governor of Wisconsin has planned.

Greg: What are they going to do – they’re going to come in and say “you have to go to work or I’m going to shoot you?”

Bill: I think what they’re looking at, Greg, is a situation similar to Egypt where you’ve got a bunch of people throwing bottles at police officers, or whatever crazy things. What’s Gerald Celente say Brian? When people lose everything, they lose it?

Brian: They’ve got nothing to lose. Or they lose it.

Bill: Yeah. They’ve got nothing to lose, they lose it. I think they’re worried about that kind of thing and then the snowballing idea – what’s that look like when that grabs on to the next group, the next marginal group? Anybody that’s got a job’s not going to riot, but what then when they lose their job? They join the bigger group. Is there a tipping point there? I think that’s what they’re thinking about. What do you do? Do you stay? Do you go?

Greg: That’s a tough decision. Number one, I don’t believe much in vigilantism like that. If they’ve got civil unrest there’s got to be something that stands behind their behavior. There’s got to be a reason for what they’re doing and there may well be, I don’t know. I’m not going to stay in a scenario like that. I’m going to get my family out of there. Number one, I’m going to protect my family at all means available, and I’m not going to take them out in that environment. If it gets bad, I’m going to try and get out of there and I’m going to get to what’s familiar to me, which is the wilderness. During normal situations, the wilderness is a problem because I’m only allowed to shoot so many animals a year. I’m not allowed to trap. I’m not allowed to have fires sometimes. I’m only allowed to camp in an area for 23 days and then I have to move. So do I abide by those laws or not? Well if there’s such civil unrest, it doesn’t matter, I’m not going to abide by any of those laws, I’m going to take care of feeding my family and providing shelter and keeping us safe. I’m going to get out of that situation. To jump into that situation, there has to be a moral reason I’m doing it. I have to believe that there is … if I’m going to go to war, and that’s war to me, there has to be a moral reason that I’m doing it. There has to be a higher calling for me to be involved in that besides I’m just ticked off because I’m not getting paid. I’m not going to kill another man …

Bill: Well, but it starts off with you getting ticked and it quickly moves into you not being able to feed your family. If you look at what’s going around the world, most of these issues – behind the headlines – it’s soaring food prices. The Bolivian president just fled Saturday. This isn’t just happening in the Middle East. I hope the established media picks up on this. The Bolivian president just fled Saturday because there’s riots because people can’t feed their family. You’ve got your moral incident.

Greg: Is it the government’s responsibility to feed me? It is not. If I’m looking to the government to feed me, I’m making a mistake, in my opinion. I have to look to myself to feed my family. I would never go to the government and say it’s your responsibility to feed me. That’s your responsibility to protect me and you better be protecting me and you better be creating laws that are just and you better be trying people that are not abiding by the laws that we feel are just. But I look to myself. I look to within on how I’m going to put food on my table and I don’t have to work to put food on my table because I’m self-reliant. My family’s self-reliant and we have no problem in grabbing the gear in our house and heading out, whether it be on foot or whether it be in our car. That’s not an issue. I guess that’s where I would have issue with it. I believe that we need to have a voice and that we need to – I believe there’s serious problems in our government right now. I believe that we’ve got issues – no question about it. I believe everybody thinks that, whether you’re liberal or conservative, somewhere between or even further out on either side. We all believe there’s serious problems right now and we’re not sure how we’re going to deal with it because of the financial components that tie in to it. We’re bankrupting – our country’s going bankrupt – without question. How are they going to feed us? If we rely on them to feed us, that’s where the riots are going to come from, in my opinion, is we need to go back to looking to ourselves for our protection and our food on our table.

Brian: Greg, I would reframe it that it’s the different higher power. Decide which higher power you’re going to look to – the higher power that sits within or the higher power that you think is going to be the government or FEMA or someone else telling you “let’s go to the Silverdome.” You know what, Bill? Unfortunately, we’re up at the top of the hour so if it’s cool with you I’ll go ahead and invite Greg back for another show down the road. Bill’s giving a double thumbs up, Greg. We want to make mention to our listeners that you can check out all the cool things that Greg is into – the TV, the books, the public speaking, all the great knowledge at Also, if you log into we’re going to go ahead and hook you up with some contact information as well. Greg, thank you so very much for hanging out for the full hour and we wish you nothing but the best.

Greg: Same to you guys. It was great chatting with you, by the way.

Brian: Thanks so much. Ladies and gentlemen, as always, thank you for listening to Off the Grid Radio. Be sure to email us with your questions, your comments, your critiques, your suggestions at [email protected]. Of course you can find us on Facebook and suggest to your friends to hook up with us on Facebook. Our address is and as always you can follow us on Twitter @offgridnews. On behalf of Mr. Bill Heid and everyone here from Off the Grid News, thank you so very much for giving us a full hour of your time.

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