7 Things to Know When You're Stranded in the Wild
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7 Things to Know When You're Stranded in the Wild

Personal Trainer Kimberly Wise shares the survival skills she learned during the ultimate endurance challenge in the Alaskan wilderness.

Surviving the Alaskan Wilderness

You may think you'd rather die than eat eyeballs, but that's what Kimberly Wise, 25, a personal trainer from San Diego, thought too -- until she was in the Alaskan bush, actually facing those two options. "They're good when you're starving because organs cook fast and aren't tough to chew like meat can be," she says. Wise acquired the survival skill while filming the Discovery Channel's Out of the Wild: The Alaska Experiment, a new reality series where nine volunteers must fend for themselves under the most extreme of conditions including below-freezing temperatures (airs on Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT from now until June 9). Check out the other cold-comfort tips Wise picked up during the bone-chilling (and stomach-turning) challenge.

How not to freeze to death when you're awake

"Don't sit for more than five minutes. Always be on the move. If you're not walking or doing something like gathering wood, do push-ups, squats, or march in place."

How not to freeze to death when you're sleeping

"At night it went down to 5 degrees F. We heated rocks by the fire, let them cool off a little, and then put them in our sleeping bags. Or you can fill a Neoprene water bottle with boiling water. I also pulled my sleeping bag over my head to keep my warm breath inside it."

How to stay clean

"In conditions where hypothermia is a real risk, you have to settle for just the feeling of being clean. One thing that helped was scraping my teeth every day with a small piece of wood."

How to cook a porcupine

"You have to skin it first and then gut it, being careful not to burst the bladder or intestine, which can contaminate the meat. To get the most out of the meal, we chopped up the porcupine and made a stew so that nothing went to waste."

How to cross a river that has white water

"We did it in groups of three, where the strongest and tallest person stood in the middle. You then lock arms and walk in sync -- right, left, right -- always upstream or into any rushing water."

How not to get lost in a blizzard

"You should know how many steps you take in a mile -- I take 1,000 for example. So then when you're hiking -- in the snow or not -- you can count out the distance when you can't use geographic markers to tell you where you are. In the snow, though, you do need to take into account that you're probably taking smaller steps. You should also check your compass a lot."

How to make the hurt go away at the end of the day

"Massage parties! At night, two other people and I would sit in a circle and work out each other's knots. It was the best time."


Originally published on FitnessMagazine.com, May 2009.