Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Terrain Training Tuesday: The Jungle Part 5

Oh yeah, time to pull out the machete!!!

It is nearly impossible to travel through the jungle in a straight line. You will have to make your way through streams and rivers, game trails, dry watercourses and ridges. Cutting through thick foliage is both time consuming and tiring, so make use of native trails when you find them and save the machete for when other peple can see you at your survival best. However if you do this ensure that you are fully alert as potential enemies may also be using them (the trails that is, not a machete). Another point to make is that dangerous jungle animals, like the ones below, will also use them at night so best to stick to day time hours unless you want a rumble on your hands when you will be least prepared...

Don't be fooled by the innocent stares, these animals are trained killers....

Movement in jungles can be very tiring, dense undergrowth can make it nearly impossible to cut a path through and is generally very exhausting. Many sharp leaved plants can cut clothing or unprotected hands and the slightest cut can quickly become hideously infected in such humid conditions. Navigation is particularly difficult as a clear view of your surrounding is often impossible, so normal techniques of compass navigation such as taking bearings off terrain features are useless as the dense undergrowth prevents line of sight. Modern technology can help with the use of a GPS, bear in mind these are for the weak who deserve to be ridiculed for their lack of survival skills. Although such systems can help provide accurate navigation in a jungle environment they are not with some major drawbacks. Firstly deep jungle valleys and dense canopy can actually block the system from getting a signal from enough satellites to pin point your position, and secondly most systems rely on batteries, which have a limited life span, which is further reduced in the hot, humid conditions. However trying to obtain the correct batteries from a jungle village would most likely provide the locals with a source of amusement and hopefully a meal of protein rich insects and maybe a way out of the Jungle, so it may be worth it.

Now as I have mentioned a million times before, the Jungle is very wet with many rivers which can be fast flowing and contain harmful parasites or dangerous crocodiles, snakes and poisonous fish (but as we know all HiiRagi minions will laugh in the face of danger!). Bridges are rare and prone to being washed away in flash floods. Heavy rain can produce rapid bank erosion and white water rapids or heavy vegetation can block and slow rivers producing swamps. Most native peoples make use of shallow canoes and use the rivers as the natural highways. When in search of rescue or aid remaining close to a clearly navigable river can be a wise course of action, especially as most settlements will be near such waterways.

Psychologically the jungles constant wall of green and low light levels beneath the canopy can seriously affect motivation and the sounds of the nocturnal animals can also be disturbing for those not used to them. All this said many native peoples around the world have learned to adapt and even thrive in such conditions; the jungle is neutral as the title of one famous book states, meaning that it is not your enemy unless you make it so by battling against it.

So remember don’t fight the Jungle, go with it.

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