Dec
06
2009
2

When I went blind in the woods

I spent a week camping in the woods as part of a course in survival skills recently, which found me crawling through the forest, blindfolded, at night. Along the way I lost my glasses.

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Yup that’s right. That woody, twiggy, leafy woods swallowed my spectacles whole. We were doing an exercise in which we were to find our way back to the campfire at night navigating by the sound of a drum. I took my glasses off in order to tie my blindfold tighter round my head. It was only when I got back to the fire and that I realised my glasses were no longer in my pocket.

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The next day a bunch of us returned to our starting spot and rewalked the route, scanning the ground for my glasses. (Thankfully I had some contact lenses with me which I wore instead). It was difficult to know where to look, because I didn’t know which way I had walked/crawled when I was blindfolded and disoriented. The one potential clue to location was that I was probably doubled over at the time, since if I’d been standing up straight they couldn’t have fallen out of my deep pockets. So we looked around areas where there were low level branches and twigs. That didn’t narrow it down much.

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It also didn’t help that my glasses are brown and blue and silver. Kind of like the colour of the birch tree twigs littering the woodland floor. After a couple of unsuccessful day time searches, Dan – also a glasses wearer, who made it his mission to help me find mine – joined me on a night time search.

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We hoped that perhaps I could manage to retrace the path I took by recreating the disorientation I felt at the time and that the torch light might reflect off the glass/metal parts. As Dan paced behind me shining the torch about, I stumbled, half crawling, through the woods. And look what we found.

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They were a couple feet away from a spot we had stood in earlier in the day, where Dan had noticed a small branch that was broken in 2 places – indicating that this path had been trodden more than once. Luckily, no one trod on my glasses.

(Thanks Dan – I couldn’t have done it without you!)

Written by emily* in: miscellany, nature |

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