Welcome to Jercol's Back to the Basics. This is where I will post useful information, tips, and gear reviews about what I learn about Outdoor Survival, Activities, and Disaster Preparation. My only goal is to be informative, realistic, and at least a little entertaining.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

550 Cord Bracelet Story

This is a photo of three varieties of 550 Bracelets I've made.

550 Cord Bracelets have become popular over the past couple years for Outdoors men, Military, and the general public.  I'm not sure who invented them but it's an easy way to have 8-10 feet of very strong cordage where ever you go.  They're fun to make and not too difficult, YouTube has dozens of videos that will walk you through the steps if you are interested.

For those of you wondering about the usefulness of something like a 550 cord bracelet, or having other supplies at hand, I've got a quick story for you.

Last year I took my daughter out Geocaching.  For those that don't know, Geocaching is like modern treasure hunting.  A person will hide a cache and post the GPS coordinates online, sometimes with clues or word games.  They are usually little trinkets and you're supposed to take an item from the cache, log your visit in the log book, and put some tricket in for the next visitor.  It's cheap, easy, and fun.  There are levels of difficulty which means it can be a good activity for families, a fun way to spend time outdoors.

So, I chose an 'easy' cache for me and my daughter and we set out.  It wasn't our first treasure hunt and we were pretty confident as we set out on the trail.

Unfortunately, when we got close we realized the coordinates led to the top of a very large hill.  We had to go off trail climb a long, steep incline.  Half way up the ground got unstable and it got treacherous.  My daughter found a tiny little opening through shrubbery and scampered ahead.

Going back down the hill seemed as treacherous as continuing on, I hoped when we got to the top we could see an easier way back down.

When we reached the top we saw a switch back trail leading back down.  Unfortunately it was still very steep and incredibly muddy.  I sat there and scratched my head for a good 20 minutes.  If I went down first, I would have to walk backwards down the steep, slippery hill.  If I went second, or walked forward in front of her, I couldn't help my six year old daughter if she slipped.

How was I going to get the two of us down safely?  And quickly, we only had two hours until it started getting dark and we were still a good five miles out on the trail away from the car.  We thought this would be a quick, easy cache (like the internet never lies?), so I had brought very little with me.

Then I looked down and noticed the 550 cord bracelet on my wrist.  For fun, I'd been making them for a while and was wearing it only by happenstance. 

I untied the bracelet and made a make-shift harness for my daughter and a short line that I tied to my belt.  This way she could go down first and if she slipped I could just dig in my heels to keep her from falling down the hill.  

It wasn't a perfect solution but we made it safely down.  If I hadn't had that ten feet of cord I'm not sure what we would have done.

Something to keep in mind about having a few supplies around, even just for those little emergencies that pop up on a day to day basis.  Having something as convenient as a bracelet might not be a bad idea.

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