A terrible creaking sound woke me this morning. At first I didn't know what it was and then I felt piecesof plaster falling on me. I grabbed my boots in one hand and my equipment belt in my other hand and Iran into the street to safety. As the dust settled I looked back at the office building where I had spent thenight. The upper floors of the building had totally collapsed into one big heap on the ground. My sleeping blanket, my backpack, and my weapon were under a pile of rubble about ten feet high. The futility of trying to recover my lost belongings was obvious to me.
It was time to take inventory. My civilian clothes had become rags some time ago and I now wear whatever I can find that will fit me and not be too tight. I don't mind if my clothes are a little loose but Ican't tolerate clothes that are too tight. A few weeks ago I found some hunting camouflage clothes in anattic in a partially destroyed home. The camouflage pattern is great when I am in the woods but terriblewhen I am inside a town.
I also have a medium-size waist pack that contains seven military food ration bars, about four ounces of salt, a compass, a flint and a piece of steel, a fork and spoon, a steel drinking cup, a military can-opener, afingernail clipper, a toothbrush, eight thin snare wires, twenty feet of strong nylon twine, twelve feet of fishing line and several fish hooks, and a road map of this state.
I have a very nice hunting knife that has one advantage that is also its main disadvantage. It has a hollowhandle with a screw on cap. Inside the handle I have my three remaining matches, a sharpening stone, andsix aspirin tablets, all individually wrapped in clear plastic wrap. When the cap is screwed on tight, thehandle is waterproof. But because the handle is hollow, I know I cannot use the knife as a hacking tool or the blade will break off from the handle. Therefore I have always been careful when I use my knife since Iam aware of this weakness. If I find a good hunting knife without a hollow handle, I will probablyexchange my knife for it.
I also have a 30-ounce belt canteen and it is about one-third full of water. I keep a thin clean cloth in the bottom of my canteen pouch. All of the above items are attached to my equipment belt. Before the ceilingcollapsed I also had a backpack that contained several other useful items but nothing that is worth diggingthrough ten feet of rubble to recover. Therefore I made the decision to abandon my backpack and my primary weapon of self-defense. I will have to rely on my knife and my wits to keep me alive until I canfind a replacement weapon.
I need to say a little more about my salt. In my opinion, salt was the best kept secret in the United States prior to the war. Every doctor and magazine article stressed the fact that we needed to reduce our saltintake. "Don't add salt to your food at the table. Commercially processed foods contain all the salt your body needs." And that was true. However, naturally grown foods don't contain any salt. And you can'tfind salt in the woods. But our bodies need salt to function properly. The bottom line is that salt is as precious right now as silver or gold. That's why I always keep what little salt I might have in my waist pack. My life and my health depends on it.
My boots are probably my most valuable asset. Without them, travel would be painful, difficult, or maybeeven impossible. I have always been very particular about my footwear. For the past few years I havealways worn ankle-high lace-up hiking boots with grooved soles. I would only buy boots that felt good onmy feet when I first put them on. I am not one of those people who believe you have to break in your shoes for them to be comfortable.
After the loss of my weapon, my next most important concern is that I only have the one pair of socks Iam wearing. They are in okay condition but they will not last more than another ten or fifteen days before