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:
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.
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.