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Duo ready to set out on 125-mile 'Hike for Survival'

September 13, 2010 |  7:30 am

Thomas Coyne and Ky Furneaux prepare to start a fire.

Wilderness survival expert Thomas Coyne and international stuntwoman Ky Furneaux won't be sitting down to watch the season premiere of "Survivor: Nicaragua" Wednesday on CBS.

Instead, they are scheduled to be setting out on a survival adventure of their own, tackling approximately 125 miles of wilderness from the Sierra Nevada in central California to the Mojave Desert carrying little more than pocket knives and packs filled with cameras and other technical gear.

"From the moment we wake up till the moment we go to sleep, we will be focused on obtaining fire, water, food, medicine and shelter," said Coyne, founder of the Survival Training School of California. "We will do this while hiking from one point to another."

Coyne and Furneaux are planning to each carry small point-of-view cameras as well as high-definition hand-held video cameras to capture every step of their "Hike for Survival" expedition.

"In my line of work, I face extreme challenges every day," Furneaux said. "But this is different. It is about endurance and the power of both the mind and body. It will be one of the hardest things I've ever done." Furneaux, an international stuntwoman based in Hollywood, will next appear in the feature films "Thor" and "Tron: Legacy" and is working on "Pirates of the Caribbean 4: On Stranger Tides."

The actual list of what they are to be carrying is a bit more extensive than a pocket knife, but not by much, and doesn't include anything to eat or drink.

The backpacks are to be mainly stocked with technical items to assist in filming rather than items related to survival:

Solar roll for charging electronics
Two hand-held high-definition cameras
Two helmet cameras
Spare batteries and spare memory chips
A stills camera
GPS equipment for transmitting blog updates and for emergency location

The things each is to be carrying for survival are:

Pocket knife
Water filter
A Gore-tex jacket and pants
A down jacket
A first-aid kit
An emergency blanket (to be used in an extreme emergency only)
A toothbrush and toothpaste (the sole non-essential items)

With such minimal supplies, finding food, water and shelter will be the most difficult part of the challenge and will likely affect the range the duo will be able to travel in a day. Both the distance of the journey and the terrain they are covering will require a large amount of calories burned, and if those lost calories are not replenished daily, eventually they will not have the energy to be able to finish the hike.

The team's progress can be followed on their website field journal via state-of-the-art GPS units, which will enable Furneaux and Coyne to text updates from anywhere in the wilderness and pinpoint their exact location to keep fans apprised of their trek.

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo: Thomas Coyne and Ky Furneaux prepare to start a fire. Credit: Hikeforsurvival.com