The Men of Iron Minute

by Chad Zueck | Director of Content Creation

Frozen in Indecision

Backcountry camping is unpredictable. Trail, terrain, and temperature offer an array of challenges. My son and I have hiked our way into many jams over the years, but none more challenging than one winter while hiking the Pine Mountain Trail. After careful planning and food prep, we set out for a few days hiking amid the Georgia pines and hardwoods. While preplanning, I noticed colder weather was rolling in, so we got heavier clothes. We made memories in good time as we sang our favorite songs meandering to Brown Dog campsite. That day we hiked seven miles, and the moderate hike proved harder due to the loose pebbles underfoot. We crossed over a spring-fed creek and made a lefthand bend to the mountaintop campsite. We played football catch until dinner. After dinner, we made camp and prepped for the night. I was shocked to find the wrong sleeping bag—a rookie mistake.

The sleeping bag I brought was rated for 50 degrees, and the forecast showed an overnight low in the teens. I surveyed my options and delayed acting. It was too late to hike out, and it wasn’t a full moon, so we were stuck there. That night of misery couldn’t end soon enough. I shivered until I couldn’t stand it and had to do sit-ups to keep my core warm. I am not sure of my hypothermia threshold, but that night I felt defeated and frozen. My mistake led to my misery. That night left me frozen in more ways than one.

Frozen and ill-prepared, we waited for sunrise and a beacon of light to end our suffering. We made the hard decision and hiked out, cutting the trip short. One other thing that keeps us frozen is indecision. It’s an epidemic. We have so many options and little time, so indecision can keep us stuck in the frustrating middle. Let’s get out of the frozen middle.


Decision-making starts here:

  1. Set a schedule
  2. Set big and small deadlines
  3. Stick to them
  4. Strategically tackle easy decisions first
  5. Stand by the decision
  6. See it through


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