I am super excited about the base camp segment, and learning to "process" (i.e. kill and eat) a sheep.
The killing of an animal can be an overwhelming experience for people who have never lived on a farm. Therefore, the instructors begin by explaining much of what we've said here to the students: how, traditionally, vegetarianism was not a reality and that ultimately the human body needs proteins and fats to survive. (At this point in the course, the students are feeling this reality for themselves, as their bodies have been practically fat- and protein-deprived for several days or weeks before the animal arrives.)
The animal is then brought into the group and the students are given time to do whatever process they feel is appropriate to say "good bye" or "thank you." Some talk to it, some silently pat its head, some offer personal prayers or thanks — it's up to each person to do whatever he or she feels is appropriate.If the group feels they want to release the animal and allow it to live, they can. Most groups decide colectively to continue the lesson, but if you personally want to completely disappear and come back later, that's fine. No one is forced to participate in the upcoming act, although many vegetarians and vegans specifically choose to be involved in this phase since it gives them a chance to be completely connected to the animal's death.
Once the students are ready and the animal has been properly respected, several students hold the animal against the ground while one student cuts its throat quickly with a very sharp knife. Death is instantaneous.
I am nervous and excited about the longer (up to 3 day) solo. I really enjoyed my 24-hour solo, especially lying under a tree with a breeze, writing in my journal. I hope I will also enjoy this longer solo.
I need to start preparing now to get into sufficient shape. Last time I barely had enough stamina for the 7-day course. I was lucky that it never rained. Even with the fortunate weather, I was one of the slowest members of the team. This year I'm going two months earlier (to schedule for a less busy time of year for work), so it will be colder and will rain more.
My goal is to be able to run 6 miles in one hour, by the time I go. Last time I could run 2 miles in 20.5 minutes, 3 miles in 33 minutes.