I am really relieved at the outcome of this two night survival story. This 17 year old boy amazed the authorities by surviving two nights on the side of Sugarloaf Mountain in 20 degree temperatures, along with 8 inches of fresh snow, freezing rain, and at times with a visibility of only 30 feet. The young man was found at the base of Sugarloaf off the Caribou Pond Road, where he constructed a shelter of branches and drank water from snow and Carrabasset Stream. This is an area familiar to Appalachian Trail backpackers. Nick Joy told authorities that he learned the techniques that saw him live through what normally kills people here in Maine from watching survival shows on television.
Joy eventually heard a snowmobile coming up the trail, climbed out of the shelter, walk over, hopped on and was taken out in decent shape.
This outcome drives home the point that one needs to be prepared when going out to the Maine wilderness. I strongly encourage those of us (including myself) to take along a charged cell phone, and now a lighter, on day trips into the deep forest, although it is questionable whether Joy would have had reception down that low in the valley.
I’m confient that if Joy had a means to spark a fire, he would have done so, and the rescue would not have been such a big deal for the hundred plus Navy Seals, border patrol agents, wardens, and mountain rescue individuals who looked for Nick.
I feel a bit less guilty about lying on the couch Monday night as I watched Les Stroud (Survivorman) instruct me on how to build such a shelter, along with what not to do- wander around, get wet, and succumb to hypothermia.