posted on Sep, 29 2016 @ 11:42 AM
When I was 16, parents gave me a choice: emancipation or what they called "boy scout camp". Of course, I chose camp. When I got off the airplane in
Salt Lake City Utah, I knew something was wrong- I was grabbed by a huge man that looked like Grizzly Adams and then thrown in the back of a
windowless van with 3 other guys about my same age. None of us knew what was up as we had all been told different stories or nothing at all. We
drove for more than 8 hours without any idea what was happening and then suddenly stopped. When we got out of the van I saw that we were in the
middle of the desert (some very harsh country in Southern Utah called Escalante Canyon). We were then given our "last meal" of sandwiches and
potato-chips, and then strip-searched. I'll never forget one of the guys, Marty, tried to stash a water-pipe in the potato chip bag before being
searched, and then asked for the bag back and the Grizzly guy actually searched the chips and found it!
So, you have probably heard of this sort of thing before... It was called Outward Bound, or School of Urban Wilderness Survival- supposedly a way to
help troubled teens. They gave us a blanket and a pocket-knife and marched us into the desert without any sort of explanation other than to tell us
that if we ran off we would either die from exposure or get shot by a rancher. We had no food or water and it was basically torture. I hated my
parents and could only think about food and beverages after the first day without.
To make a long story short: we learned to live like Native Americans, make fire with tinder/knife/bow, make dead-fall traps, coal-beds, etc. If we
caught something, we could eat it. I remember hearing the other guys say they would NEVER eat a lizard or mouse- but we all did after 3 or 4 days on
empty stomachs. We froze, burnt, blistered, starved, and were exhausted by marching for hours upon hours with little or no communication allowed.
Towards the end we were isolated and had to survive by ourselves for 3 days (under hidden observation). It was absolutely crazy but they are some of
the most valuable lessons I ever learned and the memories are etched into my brain (for now).
I guess my point is, Humans will do pretty much anything to survive, even if they don't believe they could ever do such a thing. There are many
documented cases of cannibalism and other extreme means of survival like the guy from the movie/book Aron Ralston who cut off his own arm after being
trapped by a falling boulder (very close to the area where my teen adventure took place). As I said, I hated my parents for sending me on this thing,
but that was then. Now I am thankful that they sent me (or that I chose that over emancipation). The experience was more than just learning how to
survive, it was about learning how to put your mind to something that you once thought was impossible. Being pushed to the limits can be a rewarding
(and surprising) experience if you survive!