Related to MAKE 18, To the Bat Cave!
MakeShift 18: Analysis, Commentary, and Winners
by Lee D. Zlotoff
October 20, 2009
First, let us apologize for being so late in posting this; I could say we were lost in a bat cave but, given how many solutions you offered for getting out, I doubt that would fly. Suffice it to say stuff happens-particualry in the summer-and we’ll do our best to be more promt on the next one. Now…to the bat cave!
We were pleased-though not surprised-to see that most of you jumped to the simplest and most certain way of extricating yourself from this tricky and potentially dangerous situation; namely look if not listen to the bats themselves.
Since following the bats got you into this situation, then following them once again can get you out. Bats always fly to and from their caves at the same general times each day, leaving en-masse near sunset, and returning at dawn. And they always use the same convenient opening to the cave for their comings and goings. You and your friend followed the bats as they returned home at dawn and entered the bat cave through the flight-entrance in the morning when the bats were home for the day. Once underground in a bat cave, even if you become lost you can always find the surface opening by just following the bats as they navigate toward the surface, since they fly as a group and always use the same exit to hunt for food at night.
Of course, being the exceedingly clever folk you are, many of you tried to come up with more inventive ways out to work your way out, involving using compasses, GPS and flags or smoke from small fires to follow the internal winds or air currents.
However, unlike mines, which generally have only a very few, and often just one opening to the surface, natural caves can have many exits to the surface, most of which could not be navigated by a human even though they allow airflow. So lighting a fire to follow escaping smoke and airflow patterns would not be a good choice, since not only might the smoke pool and contaminate the breathable air, but with many possible entrances, following an air flow pattern could get you in even deeper trouble. Using your GPS or compass would not help much either since you didn’t think of using them until you discovered you were lost. And taking a GPS reading or getting a compass heading from a point where you are totally lost is of little value.
Several of you also suggested splitting up with your friend to explore in different directions. And, while you could perhaps cover more territory in search of the exit that way, we didn’t think that was really advisable. Two heads are better than one. Two people can work to keep each other calm and focused, and if you both go off exploring in different directions, at least one of you will be headed the wrong way. And should one of you stumble into worse trouble, your problems could be considerably compounded.
Sometimes then the simple and most obvious answer is the best way to go. By conserving your flashlight batteries for when you will need them to first locate, and then to follow the bats as they leave the cave is, to our thinking, the most promising and reliable course of action. And, with hardly any luck, you and your friend should, within 24 hours-or 36 at the most-be able to find your way back to the surface.
So, fear not the bats or getting lost should you find yourself exploring one of their here-to-fore undiscoverd caves, because now you are well-armed with the knowledge you need to return to the world of the living.
We’re sure Arnie Saknussen would be impressed by you all!
Til the next challenge then….The winners of the MakeShift Vol.18 Challenge are:
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