I survived my survival course

I knew within 5 minutes of arriving at the Boy Scouts Reservation in the Santa Cruz Mountains that my survival course was going to be a challenge.

Because I was cold.

Yes, I came to a survival course unprepared for cold weather in December (shocking, I know)!

I forgot my hat and gloves.

And while I was wearing a waterproof jacket, I had only a long sleeved shirt on under it and thus I found myself shivering pretty good.

It was going to be a long 5 hours, I could just tell.

I used the “luxury” bathroom before trekking to the campsite. This, is the “luxury” loo, fyi.

Our instructor Jack talked to us about the priorities of survival in the wild:

  1. Shelter
  2. Water
  3. Fire
  4. Food

He impressed upon us the importance of creating a native shelter when you’re survival is at hand, so we spent a lot of time checking out a “sample” native shelter he called a debris shelter.

I call it an above ground coffin made from shit you find on the ground.

It was awful. But at least if I’m ever lost in the wilderness, I’ll know how to build one.

I teamed up with several classmates and we built out own native debris shelter.

Ta da!

 

 

Cozy, eh?

Two of my teammates slipped into it.

 

Our next activity was learning how to build a fire with pieces of wood and a shoe string bow aka the bow drill method.

Ugh. Can I even tell you how badly I sucked at this?

I burned a dimple into my wood, but that was about it. No fire.

Good to know I’d freeze to death in the wilderness with no fire to warm me, purify my water, or feed me.

Here are the tools I was given to start a fire.

But first I had to whittle my wood into a spindle.

Lastly, we learned about purifying water with rocks from the fire and we learned about how nutritionally sound bug are – though they may be a bit crunchy going down. Pretty gross, but if you need food, I imagine you’ll eat anything.

I can personally vouch that ants are pretty damn tasty. Taste like peppery caviar.

And thus my day ended, with me huddled around the heater in my car, desperate to warm up and feeling like I knew for certain…

…I would never be warm again.

Wilderness Survival

A year ago I took a class called “Wilderness Survival.”

I learned that if you’re lost in the woods, you are MOST likely to die from exposure, first, dehydration second, and starvation third.

The majority of our time was focused on learning what we could do to keep our core body temperature at a stable level.

And so I learned to build a debris shelter.

Basically, you use a long piece of wood for a “spine” and smaller pieces of wood for “ribs” and you build yourself a little nest made of – you got it – debris!

You scoop up the leaf litter that’s lying on the ground and you pile it 24 – 48 inches thick on top of the frame you’ve built.

Despite the face that this looks like an above-ground coffin, this will keep you warm at night.

All I could think about as I was scooping leaf litter was “There better be no spiders in this.”

I am sure however, that if I was in the middle of a crisis, I would probably worry less about the spiders and more about my predicament.

The reason why I am telling you this is that I happened to mention to a few of my Tinder friends that I’ve taken a survival course and they think it’s wildly sexy.

You’d think that it would be my beer brewing classes that they’d find appealing.

But no, it’s the survival class.

Lately, the coffers have been filled with firemen, Air Force and Navy pilots, and Fire and Rescue members.

So it makes sense that they might value survival skills over my ability to brew beer.

The coolest guy I ever dated was an Australian wilderness expert.

For fun, he’d get dropped off in the Outback and have to find his way home with nothing but a powerbar and a liter of water.

Or something like that.

It sounds like I’m searching for my own Crocodile Dundee!

I Survived My Survival Course, barely

I knew within 5 minutes of arriving at the Boy Scouts Reservation in the Santa Cruz Mountains that my survival course was going to be a challenge.

Because I was cold.

Yes, I came to a survival course unprepared for cold weather in December (shocking, I know)!

I forgot my hat and gloves.

And while I was wearing a waterproof jacket, I had only a long sleeved shirt on under it and thus I found myself shivering pretty good.

It was going to be a long 5 hours, I could just tell.

I used the “luxury” bathroom before trekking to the campsite. This, is the “luxury” loo, fyi.

Our instructor Jack talked to us about the priorities of survival in the wild:

  1. Shelter
  2. Water
  3. Fire
  4. Food

He impressed upon us the importance of creating a native shelter when you’re survival is at hand, so we spent a lot of time checking out a “sample” native shelter he called a debris shelter.

I call it an above ground coffin made from shit you find on the ground.

It was awful. But at least if I’m ever lost in the wilderness, I’ll know how to build one.

I teamed up with several classmates and we built out own native debris shelter.

Ta da!

 

 

Cozy, eh?

Two of my teammates slipped into it.

 

Our next activity was learning how to build a fire with pieces of wood and a shoe string bow aka the bow drill method.

Ugh. Can I even tell you how badly I sucked at this?

I burned a dimple into my wood, but that was about it. No fire.

Good to know I’d freeze to death in the wilderness with no fire to warm me, purify my water, or feed me.

Here are the tools I was given to start a fire.

But first I had to whittle my wood into a spindle.

Lastly, we learned about purifying water with rocks from the fire and we learned about how nutritionally sound bug are – though they may be a bit crunchy going down. Pretty gross, but if you need food, I imagine you’ll eat anything.

I can personally vouch that ants are pretty damn tasty. Taste like peppery caviar.

And thus my day ended, with me huddled around the heater in my car, desperate to warm up and feeling like I knew for certain…

…I would never be warm again.