Survival Journal Personal Recount Text Day 1 – June 5 Unbelievable! Absolutely unbelievable! I am writing these words Recount with trembling hands after a long and adventurous day. I still cannot Beginning believe that I have survived the events of this past day. When: today, starting at 5:00 The day started very early at 5:00 a.m. A group of 5 of us boarded a small plane in Beijing, the capital city of China. We were heading Where: Beijing to towards Ulan Bator, the capital city of Mongolia in order to do a tour Ulan Bator / Gobi of the plains and hills of Mongolia. Little did we know that we would Desert, near Jining never make it! Who: a group of About 90 minutes after take-off, our pilot noticed that one of the 5 people, engines on the plane had failed. Our plane started to lose altitude very including me quickly and, before any of us had time to prepare, we crashed in the What: a 5-day middle of the Gobi Desert, about 140 kilometres northwest of a small hike Chinese town called Jining. Thankfully, no one had injuries worse than a few bumps and bruises. In the crash, the plane’s radio and GPS Why: to survive were completely destroyed. We were on our own and we quickly realized that the only way out of the desert was by hiking about 5 days to Jining. If we stayed at the plane, we would have no chance of Geo Theme – surviving. Place / Location: Luckily for us, the plane was carrying a number of items that we were in the Gobi Desert; 140 km going to use on our tour of Mongolia. As a group, we talked about northwest of everything we knew about the Gobi Desert in order to decide which Jining, China items would be absolutely necessary for our survival in this part of the world. Since we would be hiking for so many days, we narrowed Geo Theme – down our list to 10 essential survival items. Then, we put on our Movement: hiking boots and our thick socks and started our long and difficult trek hiking towards Jining. We considered travelling by mountain bike, but the ground is far too rough. There were also some skis and snowshoes on Geo Theme – the plane, but we left them. The desert is covered with rocks, so skis Interaction: items – hiking and snowshoes would be useless. Hiking out is really the only way. boots (1), thick socks (2) We have been walking for about 6 hours and have just stopped to prepare some food and to make camp for the night. I am completely exhausted. We will see what tomorrow brings. Day 2 – June 6 Geo Theme – This morning when we woke up, we were surprised by how cold it Region / was. The temperature dropped to about 4ºC overnight. What a Environment: climate, difference to yesterday afternoon, when we were sweating as we hiked temperature in temperatures of about 30ºC. I was really glad that we decided to bring the tent and the sleeping bags from the plane. We would have Geo Theme – frozen overnight! Interaction: items – tent (3), We had a quick and simple breakfast before starting our hike today. sleeping bags (4) We knew that we were not going to find many streams or rivers in the desert, so we decided to bring plenty of bottled water from the plane. Geo Theme – We also brought canned food along with us; we can just open the cans Interaction: items – bottled (with the hunting knife) and eat the food immediately. water (5), canned food (6), Although the hike was very long today, it was not terribly difficult. hunting knife (7) The landscape is actually pretty boring. The land here is very flat and hard. It is not hilly and the desert does not have any sand dunes, so we Geo Theme – were able to cover a good number of kilometres. Region / Environment: Thankfully, we have a map and a compass to help us to stay on track. I landforms – flat, rocky, few know that we would get totally lost without the compass because the streams or rivers landscape all looks exactly the same – rocks, rocks, and more rocks. The compass has helped us as we continue heading southeast towards Geo Theme – Jining. Interaction: items – map (8), We hiked for about 7 hours today, and again I am exhausted. After I compass (9) finish my meal of canned food, I will crawl into my sleeping bag and fall asleep. Recount Middle Day 3 – June 7 Events in chronological Well, we have crossed the half-way point to Jining. I think that we are order going to make it! Among the rocks of this part of the desert, the vegetation is very Geo Theme – limited. In places, we saw some patches of grass and a few small Region / Environment: shrubs called “saxaul”, but not much more grows in this part of the vegetation – desert. The saxaul shrub is a very useful plant because its bark actually grass, saxaul holds water. If we run out of bottled water in the next few days, we shrubs can rely on this plant. Today, we saw a few animals that live in the Gobi Desert. Although we know that there are some bears and wolves that live in some parts of the desert, we have not seen any. The animals that we saw are completely harmless, so we were never worried about our safety. We Geo Theme – saw a couple of large animals that eat the grass and the shrubs Region / including some wild camels and wild horses called “takhi”. We also Environment: noticed some smaller animals too, including a number of small lizards animals – bears, wolves, camels, and some very tiny mice called “jerboa”. The jerboa mice come out horses, lizards, mostly at night. mice I will write again tomorrow, but I can barely keep my eyes open now. We will hope for good trekking weather again tomorrow. Recount Middle Day 4 – June 8 Events in chronological order What a day! The weather changed very quickly and very dramatically this afternoon and made for a miserable few hours. The Gobi Desert has very, very little precipitation, and it usually happens in the winter Geo Theme – anyway. So, we have not needed to worry about rain for the past few Region / days. Today, however, we learned that the weather in the Gobi Desert Environment: can go from one extreme to another almost instantly. At about 2:00 climate, this afternoon, we were baking in temperatures in the low 30ºC. temperature – heat, wind, Suddenly, a strong wind began to blow, picking up dust and small sudden changes pebbles and driving them across the flat, rocky landscape. Our faces in weather were stinging from the blowing dirt and we had to find shelter from the powerful wind behind a large rock. Then, to make matters worse, the Geo Theme – temperature quickly dropped about 15 or 20ºC and we were left Region / shivering in our sweaty clothes. Luckily, the wind stopped after about Environment: an hour, so we could leave our shelter and continue our hike towards landforms – flat, Jining. rocky Geo Theme – This evening, to try to warm up, we collected some dried grasses and Region / cut some branches from shrubs using the hunting knife in order to Environment: make a fire. Thankfully, we brought the matches along with us from vegetation – the plane. The fire also served to keep wild animals away, because one grass, shrubs member of our group thinks that he may have seen the tracks of Gobi wolves in the area where we were hiking. Geo Theme – Region / Our supply of bottled water is getting lower, but I think that we will Environment: have enough to last for at least another day. If all goes well, we should animals – wolves arrive in Jining at some point tomorrow. Right now, I need to sleep! Geo Theme – Interaction: items – hunting knife (7), matches (10), bottled water (5) Day 5 – June 9 At last we made it! We arrived in Jining this evening at about 5:30 p.m. after hiking for 7 hours today. Along the way, we noticed that the Geo Theme – vegetation had changed a little: there were definitely more grass, Region / shrubs, and small trees as we got closer to Jining. I suppose that Environment: vegetation – villages, towns, and cities are developed in places where there is grass, shrubs, enough water. That explains why there were more plants growing. trees We found the main highway leading into the town and waved down a passing truck, which stopped to give us a ride. We made our way to Verbs in the past the local police station and told our story. From there, we were taken tense to the hospital where the doctors checked our physical condition. Incredibly, we were all in very good shape, aside from our general feeling of exhaustion. Although my feet are blistered, my muscles are aching, and my back is Recount stiff and sore from sleeping on the cold rocky ground for the past four End nights, I have to admit that I have learned a lot about the climate, Summary landforms, animals, and vegetation of this amazing place called the Gobi Desert. I was also surprised to see how we, as humans, can adapt to and survive in almost any environment if we make the right decisions. The Gobi Desert, like all regions, is an extremely important part of our Final thought home planet. I would definitely love to come back to the Gobi Desert to explore more of this region. Although, next time, I think that I will do it without getting into an airplane crash!
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