Sunday, August 21, 2011

Survival school journal: Friday

Guides left us just before dusk yesterday. We are on our own for 24 hours. [The guides gave us maps with instructions to navigate ourselves to a canyon 12 miles away.] The group really bonded. This morning, we were all talking about romantic lives. Three of the group are divorced.

The guys are very gentlemanly. They have a chivalrous attitude, and a desire to protect and respect the women.

Ate all the rest of my oats this morning.

I am getting really focused on the here-and-now. It is nice.


Shana led us during Student Expedition today. We were in high spirits, laughing and doing the prohibited actions (cursing and quoting movies). An hour in, suddenly our guides Steve and Nick appeared breathlessly. They informed us that we've been going east instead of south for 25 minutes. We turned around, and then the group mood became more stressed. I was still not worried, because I knew this was the only tough part of the navigation all day, but others were tense. I ended up exchanging angry words with T, because she was pushing us to go fast, and I felt that brute-forcing speed would lead to more mistakes, which would eventualy slow us down overall.

After the argument, I felt like now I'd be ostracized for getting so mad. I started mentally preparing for this, and thinking about how this new set of friendships is ruined. But Mike stuck right behind me and made smalltalk about the reeds, the weather, the path. After a few minutes, I thought that perhaps I wouldn't be ostracized. He really did the exact right thing.

We carried on, and people talked about where to get water and when to purify it. We made good progress with Mike leading, and everyone started to relax.

Around 6pm, we reached the caves. I hadn't eaten all day except oats shortly after dawn. I should've left my GORP out, but had packed it and assumed my body could get by without it. It was a hot day and we did 12-13 miles up and down rocks with no shade cover. I was exhausted when we reached the caves. I sat unmoving for 20 minutes.

The guides found us shortly after our arrival. They congratulated us and said some groups get lost and wander all night until dawn.

James used his drill set to make a fire (we call him "Firearms" because he is so fast at it). We cooked the lentil stew and put in all the rest of our vegetables. Shana was trained as a professional chef, and taught me how to knead the dough better for ash cakes.

We slept under the cave overhang.

This is why we called him "Firearms".

Shana channeling her inner James Franco.

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