This past weekend we set off on our second overnight camping trip. After an entire week of nothing but each other we had one day to ourselves to recuperate before we all got back together again bright and early Saturday morning. We hiked down the trail only a short, lame mile before we found the perfect campsite. I would have preferred to continue down the trail a ways after we took off our packs, but it was the consensus of the group to set up camp. Everyone ate some quick snacks and we set up camp after doing a sit spot. For a while people tried out their bow drills again and other methods of making fire, and Ford also introduced the clothes pin game.
Around mid afternoon our packs were savagely torn and ripped apart by a bear and Dorian had wisely slipped and broken his ankle. The group had to STOP and survey the situation. We split into teams, some people tended to the fire problem while others got started on a shelter. Someone also stayed to tend to Dorian’s leg. We successfully created fire using a magnifying glass and pulled together a kick ass shelter big enough to fit all seven of us. As the tasks were completed (or at least enough for the time being) our things miraculously repaired themselves and our food was returned to as it had been. People got out stoves and we all sat around the campfire to eat dinner and roast marshmallows. After dinner we hung our food and I told everyone about the winter constellations in the stars. We ended the night with songs on the guitar before everyone retired to their tents, shelters, and tarps.
The next morning everyone awoke to a clear, sunny day and we debriefed the survival situation of the previous day over breakfast. We learned how to make burn spoons and cordage out of yucca. Then, half the group, including myself, hiked to the end of the trail before we began to break up camp. It was very sad to see our beautiful shelter get destroyed, but everyone did an awesome job of scattering the remains. After a final sit spot we hiked back up the trail and piled into cars/trucks for the long ride down the mountain.
I can take a lot out of this trip. If the survival situation would have been more realistic or better enacted I think I would have gotten more experience with it, but now I know what I would do differently in a real situation. I still didn’t succeed in creating a friction fire (I will definitely practice more) but I got more practice making debris shelters and this time I even got to sleep in it. I learned just how hard it is to be aware of every part of your body all the time, and how to be stealthy enough to catch other people off guard. I also learned how to make a burn spoon and cordage out of yucca. And, some new riddles to frustrate people with among much, much more.
I can use every skill I learned on this trip in my life out side of class. I hope to practice all of them again, not to mention they will come in very handy if I ever find myself in a real survival situation. On my next camping expedition I will try to finish my burn spoon. The weekend overnights have also taught me how to be more aware of my environment wherever I am, and notice different noises and things around me. Oh yeah, and one last thing, is how to use a compass to orient a map to be exactly what we are looking at in the real world. Over all I had a blast! Thanks Ford!