Bearded William M. LaFever was found last Thursday sitting in shallow river bed in the South Utah dessert. He was rescued by a helicopter that spied him after his month long ordeal being lost, dropping 50 pounds, eating frogs and roots to stay alive.
Some might recall Aron Ralston who also became lost in the Utah dessert as well in 2003. His ordeal was documented in the movie dramatization 127 Hours. While the details of LaFever’s bout in the Utah dessert is yet to be revealed, Ralston gained notoriety because to survive he had to amputate is own right arm with dull tool in order to free himself from a boulder pinning in a narrow canyon. Ralston’s autobiography Between a Rock and Hard Place recounts his amazing survival and rescue.
While the details of LaFever’s month long odyssey is yet to be revealed, survivalists will be anxious to hear how he managed to stay alive.
By an aborigine from Australian, LaFever’s adventure would be called a “Walkabout,” but LaFever’s walk from Utah City to Page, Arizona, was more of a page taken from the TV reality show “Survivor,” as he encountered hunger, thirst and exposure for which he was ill prepared.
"We came around the corner and we were pretty amazed to see him alive and sitting up," Shane Oldfield, a Utah Highway Patrol helicopter pilot assisting the Garfield County Sheriff's Office, told CNN Friday.
Desert Survival—This might not be what you expect
The aborigines have known for centuries what modern ecologists and survival experts are discovering: the human race was cradled in arid lands and people are well adapted to survive in deserts.
The prevailing philosophy is to become part of its ecosystem with some intelligent preparation like proper clothing, wide brim hat, loose fitting long pants and shirt.
Sunglasses that exclude ultra-violet light are a good idea, and some studies claim they can help prevent cataracts later. Other areas of preparation include proper vehicle maintenance, carrying sufficient water, first aid and survival kits for desert environments, a sturdy, sharp knife and some useful survival knowledge.
A: Accept the situation. Do not blame yourself or others. Do not waste time contemplating "What if I had..."
B: Brew up a cup of tea. This is a typical Aussie approach to the solution of everything. What you are actually doing is starting a fire, which is needed, and completing a familiar, calming chore. You can brew coffee or just build a fire.
C: Consider your options. Take stock of items at hand, such as water reserves, survival kits, etc.
D: Decide on a plan. Taking into account of your options, decide on a plan that best ensures your health and safety. Thoughts such as "I have to be at work tomorrow," are not considered.
E. Execute the plan and stick with it unless new conditions warrant.
For a complete guide to dessert survival for water, fire, shelter, signals and food view David Alloway’s article here.
Further he advises, “the basics of desert survival? Prepare for the worst. Control panic. Use your brain. Use energy and water wisely. Be ready to signal. Don't listen to your stomach. Most of all, do not fear the desert. For many of us, it is home.”