I just want to get to the dam...


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It's day 22, and I finally managed to make the bow. I started in ML, and looted the whole map, no problem. Old stomping grounds and all. I couldn't find the bunker, and even though I found lots of birch saplings, no maple saplings were to be found. I ended up having to wait until day 15 or so, when I explored Carter River to find some maple saplings, and then drying time and all.

All that is behind! Now with a bow, I'm unstoppable. After several successful hunts, including several deer + wolf combos, I decided it's time to take my surplus meat and explore more of the Carter River transition zone, as I'm not super familiar with the new maps. So, taking up my "standard" 15 kilos of gear, plus the rifle and bow, I was sitting at 22 kg. Another 5 kg of meat would give me a 2-3 day range for exploration, so I set off, taking with me some extra tools that I would like to keep at the dam as a secondary survival area.

I left super early, leaving my wolf skin coat at home (I'm currently wearing the down ski jacket, to save the 2.5 kg), with 14 hour of daylight remaining. It was cold, clear, and quiet, and I enjoyed the early morning sunshine and the chill that immediately started settling in. At -6 degree C felt temp, I had plenty of time to make it to the Dam before I got cold. The wolf on the lake was heading in the other direction, so I had a clear shot to the river, and once on the river, I swung right, to take the shortcut to the dam. The rabbits were out by the river, and as I crossed into the meadow in front of Alan's cave, more rabbits and a deer gave off I wonderful sense of tranquility in the early morning light.

I kept my guard up on the other side of the clearing, knowing that there is often at least one wolf who hunts on the river and the east bank in front of the dam. Everything looked clear as I passed the first turnoff to the river, and I was at the low point in my route, visibility restricted by the river bank, cliffs and hills around me when a wolf howl went up.

I have to admit, I froze. The howl seemed to come from the river valley, but I only have a pair of desktop speakers, so I often have a hard time locating the wolves by their sound. A couple of frantic turns in place didn't reveal any wolves rushing me, and I was about to set off towards the dam when I heard it: The galloping thuds of a deer at full speed. I watched in horror as the deer crested the river bank not 30 feet ahead of me, running across my path to the dam. I barely had time to begin backing up and yell "Nooo!" as the wolf crested the ridge behind it, and brought it down, not 10 feet away from me. I paused, trying to time the bow draw with when the wolf would pause, and then begin his charge towards me. The wolf was too close, and I underestimated the time to draw the bow. The wolf brought me down before I could even fire an arrow. A short, vicious struggle sent him running, and me frantically applying first aid to my wounds, only to realize that I hadn't replenished my personal first aid stocks after a previous wolf fight, and I was down to my last bandage.

Nevermind, I thought to myself: that's the wolf in this area, so I should be totally safe butchering this kill at 52% condition and dropping everything off at the dam. No sooner had I thought this when I heard the second set of galloping hooves!

I spun around, in time to see another wolf chasing a deer from the area in front of Alan's cave, heading right for me. I took about two steps back as the wolf brought down the deer about 20 feet away. This time I wasted no time in drawing, remember how little wolves hesitate over their kill when finding me in the area. Sure enough, he charged strait away, and with a satisfying thunk, I shot him right in the neck, his body collapsing right at my feet.

My hands shaking with the adrenaline, I retrieved my arrow, and tried to plan what to do next. A yipping howl made me spin around again - the first wolf had returned! I had already started to draw the bow when I realized it was the wrong sound - it was the sound of a wolf fleeing in terror, and I managed to relax the bow without drawing. There, not 50 feet up slope towards the dam, the first wolf had decided he was too wounded to attack me, and turned to run away towards the river. I watched in satisfaction as he howled his last just under the bridge, succumbing to his knife wounds.

I have found that wolves left with meat on them don't attract other wolves to feed from the corpses, but deer do, so I made the decision to butcher the deer and bring the meat with me up to the dam. It's only a few hundred feet away I reasoned, and I've just killed the two wolves in the area, so it should be safe!

9.5 kg of meat on the first dear encumbered me, and the time it took to butcher the kill left me cold. A soft snow had started falling, but I had already decided to butcher the second one, so I ignored the cold and how slow I was to move to the second deer, and butcher it. Another 9 ish kg of meat and another hour in the cold was a mistake I realized as soon as I finished, freezing, and down to 45% condition. No matter, I thought to myself, the dam is right there, and when I get the meat there, I can have a nice fire, and some sleep, and be good as new. About half way up the slope to the tracks, I realized that at almost 50 kg of load, I wasn't moving fast enough, as I was quickly dropping condition due to the cold. I popped open my pack, and dropped all my heavy non-essentials: A crowbar, storm lantern, hatchet, and my 2 L of water all hit the snow, bringing me down to about 40 Kg.

At least able to run, I stumbled the rest of the way to the dam. As soon as I stepped into the warmer air of the dam I stopped freezing, but vision of Fluffy tearing into my soft, wounded body made me stagger to the top of the stairs, with the rifle out this time. A few tense minutes of sighting down iron sights later, I decided that Fluffy hadn't respawned since I viciously murdered him on Day 4, and I dropped about 20 kg of meat into the lockers.

I'm both ashamed and quite proud to say that I didn't press my luck any more, but decided to make sure it was a survival story, and ate, drank some of my emergency water supply and slept for 8 hours to recover to 75% condition before heading back out for my tools and for the wolf corpses. My early start allowed me to harvest everything off all four corpses, and return to the dam for a full night's sleep.

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