Headcracker Suite

Walking on ice is hard, but to me it's always going to be easier than skating. Once you get the hang of walking you can control where you go very easily, and stop whenever and wherever you want to. You can even learn to keep yourself from falling. You seem to develop a keener sense of balance from prolonged experience. I spent most of my youth in an area that had ice all through the winter, and before I moved to a warmer climate I was a very proficient ice-walker. I can't count how many times I've almost slipped but managed to put my foot in the right place in time to stay upright. It's almost as many as the number of times I fell right to the ground without warning, but most of the former were in later years and the latter in earlier ones.
Zombies will not have that much skill, and certainly not the adaptability. Maybe if a zombie knew how to do it before death, some of that skill will survive. I don't think it will be much, if any at all. No, ice is not a friend to zombies.
But remember, it's not exactly an ally of yours, either.

I mentioned this previously, but I'll mention it again anyway. You can't count on winter to kill your zombies for you. They're already dead, so hypothermia and exposure won't do a damn thing to them. They might freeze, just a limb or two or their whole body; the ice might cause some brain damage, but I don't expect it to actually kill the zombie. There may eventually be some collective damage over several years that might do it, but that's nothing certain either.

It doesn't necessarily make it any easier for you to kill them yourself, either. They can slip on ice and become vulnerable, but so can you; the advantage falls to whoever is still standing, so try to make sure it's you. You can set a different sort of trap on icy ground, one that doesn't need to completely trip the zombie but only upset its balance enough for it to fall on its own. Any zombies you trip will take longer to stand back up, and may end up falling again; this can make it easier for you, if you have secure footing (such as special boots or shoe attachments) to go back and kill the thing or just get away.

If you have a hideout already, I recommend the "kill the thing" option; traveling in winter is hard. This is a concept you're already familiar with; even with comfortable, warm cars, it's a lot harder to get from one place to another in winter. Ice on the roads, snow storms, generally cold temperatures. These are an inconvenience today. Imagine then what it will be like later. Yeah, if you have a car it's going to be just as bad, maybe only a little worse... but you probably won't have a car, at least not for very long. So think about snow shoes and warm coats. And gloves - gloves and boots, they're very important. Frostbite might be a real possibility, and it's something you really need to protect yourself form.

Of course, it all depends on you and where you are. If you're in, say, Oklahoma, things won't be so bad. Maybe some ice, maybe not. Colorado, on the other hand, makes for a very different story. And I haven't seen a Montana winter, but I've heard some very impressive things. It's a weather issue, remember, so it's going to be variable and unpredictable, but you know what winter is like where you live. Just remember this important fact: the city no longer pays to have the roads plowed or salted.

There's areas and situations where you have to be prepared and willing to just stay inside for the winter. The good news, if you're snowed in, is that the zombies are also snowed out. The bad news is that you're snowed in. It's a trade off, I suppose, but under any circumstances I can see how that's a trade many folks would be willing to make.

If you're not completely snowed in, but you have a good bit of snow, you'll want to grab your snow shovel. To clear a path for visitors? Ha! Not likely. No, you're going to do in a very serious way what you might have played at as a child. You're building a snow fort!
In this case, you're building up a snow wall around your house or hideout, not just a circle of big snowballs. Build it high enough that you can't really see over it, if you can - but use whatever snow you have at your disposal to build a wall as high as you can manage (without it falling over from its own weight). Bring in snow any time you have a chance - use up whatever is near at hand, then bring more with you any time you have to go out to scavenge. Building up that wall will be almost as important as keeping food in your belly, because it will help keep you out of a zombie. The wall works two important ways:
1: It blocks the zombie's view (hide)
2: It blocks the zombie's path (fortify)
If the zombie can't see you, the zombie can't chase you. If the zombie can't chase you, the zombie can't kill you. Obviously, a wall of snow is not as secure as others. Kicking in your foot makes a toehold, and that seems to me like something a zombie might be able to do accidentally. And there's always the way you yourself use to go in and out; you may make some natural stairs, just as useful to a zombie as to you. The real value of the snow wall is that it blocks the line of sight. Snow also offers some sound-dampening effects, which will help you as well.

If you are able to travel in the winter, and want to, there's some special arrangements you want to consider. You'll use more energy keeping yourself warm, so you'll want more food. Better, though, to use less energy to keep warm. Layers of clothing, then, pants too - if you can find those long wool underwear, that's a great option. You probably can't, but any kind of pajama pants could probably work, provided you can fit your other pants over them. Good news though, you'll be losing weight after the Apocalypse, so doing up that button isn't going to be much of a problem.

Give serious thought to your footwear - boots are good, or galoshes if you're looking at wet, slushy weather. As for socks, one sock or three socks is OK, but two socks might not work. See, with two socks, you foot will get warm enough at first to sweat a little, but through just two socks, the sweat will get through to the outside air. If that air is freezing cold, the sweat will freeze. Three socks gives you enough of a buffer that any sweat that does freeze is far enough from your skin that you're still warm. This has happened to me before; I wore two pairs of socks to get a Christmas tree, and ended up being warmer with just one pair. Sounds like BS - I thought it was too, but this one time you can actually trust me. Three pairs of socks, never two. Unless you're already warm and just want to be warmer. That's not relevant to winter survival, though.

Follow this advice to test your winter-survival readiness. Get everything you need (long underwear, lots of socks, t-shirts, undershirts, sweaters, and blankets), then turn off your heat. Turn it off! All the way off! If you can live that way for a month without getting sick, you are READY! Congratulations! And if you get sick, that's your fault, you know? I make recommendations, I do not compel compliance. Obey, or ignore, at your own risk.
Next week we'll talk about other things.

1 comment:

  1. Hmm I think you missed a key point about the socks...they should be wool. Wool retains warmth even when wet! Wool jackets are an excellent idea as well, too bad they don't make lightweight Kevlar lined wool jackets. The advertisement for such a product: "Useful for repelling water and zombie teeth, buy yours today to prevent infection tomorrow!"