Yearly Outings

Every year as a child and teenager we took a trip upstate New York to the woods and learned how to survive in the wilderness.  It was a two week long trip at every level. When we were but wee ones they would start us learning how to make fires, hunt for berries and things.  As we grew older we started learning how to hunt and how to track in nature.

It was probably one of the best times I remember in school.  I didn’t have many but this is what a hunter does most of their life and that I loved.  We were learning to be hunters.

By our last four years of school they started doing survival nights and days.  The first year we spent 1 day and 1 night dropped of in the middle of no where and had to survive that day without injury etc.   It was a boring day really.  I remember catching a rabbit, but I used my ability which I hadn’t been able to before.  I got away with a lot more when I was alone in those woods.  Jace got caught smoking weed his first year alone.

The second year they put you out in the middle of no where blindfolded so you didn’t know where you were without GPS and only your wits, a map and a compass and whatever supplies you were given for the day and you had to hike back to camp.  It was supposed to be no more than a day’s trek.  But some kids got lost and were alone in the woods for like three days.  They were a little worse for wear but they had found water and survived easily.

The third year they do the same thing except you dropped in a spot with a two day hike ahead of you to find camp.  I knew one kid who tried to do the whole thing in one day and failed miserably.  He was so close but he dropped from pure exhaustion and lack of nourishment about three miles south of camp.

The last year is your final test in survival.  They drop you in the woods in pairs and you are supposed to survive for the whole two weeks you are out on the trip.  You are graded on how much you move around, what you did etc.  It’s so much more than camping for two weeks and living off the land.  You are required to track and find another group.  I got stuck with Ross, one of my roommates.  He’s a decent guy when he’s alone with me, but put him with anyone else especially Aaron (another roommate of ours) then he’s a royal dick.

Ross came from a long line of hunters so he was in hog heaven.  We found all 7 other groups, we killed a mountain lion that was trying to steal the deer we’d shot the day before and were in the process of gutting.  But our biggest accomplishment didn’t have anything to do at all with the class – we didn’t fight once.  We had a few disagreements about things but that’s normal when you get to know-it-alls together and think they know best.

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