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Columns

June 23, 2007

Call of the wild can be mild

There are these two guys on separate TV networks who make a big deal out of finding ways to survive the most horrendous conditions nature can throw at them.



I’m fascinated by these shows because one never knows when one might find oneself lost in a Costa Rican rain forest without a machete.



The fellow on the Discovery Channel is an Englishman named Bear Grylls.



I am not making that up.



If you’re in Africa, real, real thirsty and drinking the fluids from elephant dung is your idea of a refreshing beverage, then Mr. Grylls is your boy.



Believe me, it takes a lot to gross this lad out. If your bandana (made, of course, from tearing up your T-shirt) gets a bit warm in the desert, he recommends taking it off, peeing on it and then putting it back on.



Mr. Grylls is quite adept at pulling himself out of quicksand and finding just the right vines to use in making a raft.



But Grylls always takes along a film crew. That means if things get too rough, somebody carrying a camera can always hand him a sandwich and a beer.



The Science Channel’s Les Stroud _ or as he prefers to be known, "Survivorman" _ makes Grylls look like a momma’s boy.



Stroud not only has to survive for a week without supplies in swamps, deserts and arctic ice floes, but he lugs his own cameras around ... all alone.



It takes a real man to schlep 50 pounds of camera equipment around the Sahara with nobody there to suck out the venom if you get bitten by a cobra or something.



I, of course, can relate to roughing it without benefit of a camera crew.



I know the exhilaration of being one with nature, of abandoning creature comforts, of straining every sinew while pitting my wily survival instincts against whatever flora or fauna I might encounter.

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