So now we've got how to generate an encounter, and you're always going to have an encounter to deal with. But I did at one point mention ignoring an encounter. Why would you ever want to do that? Because sometimes you just gotta. If you're really ground down, you might not have the juice required to soldier on. You might be out of ammo, or worse, out of food. Someone might be violently ill, while someone else is nursing a terrible gash in his leg which you just know is going to get infected.
And then, worst of all, all these injuries are going to reduce the party's carrying capacity and you're going to have to start leaving gear behind.
Each day, every player gets one action. Dealing with an encounter is an action. But sometimes fate will smile on you and you'll pull a low number. One or two members of the party can probably handle that. That leaves the rest with a free action to do something else. What could they possibly do?
They can scrounge for gear, hunt for food, tend to the wounded, rest for their own recovery, and even try some field maintenance on their erroding stuff.
How's that work? Pretty similarly to rolling against an encounter. You roll the appropriate skill, except in this case there's rarely a difficulty number (occassionally there will be). Your margin of success gives you what you're looking for. Want food? Your roll tells you how many days worth you brought back. Looking to repair something? Your result restores that many points of wear to the thing. Etc.
The thing is, if you're doing that, you're not dealing with the encounter, so make the most of your downtime, because tomorrow you might draw that Jack King 10 encounter.