My soon to be wife and I have found ourselves with a week off of work and having been talking for weeks about what we would do or where we would go.
Obviously, she wan'ts to get plane tickets and spend her time on the beach sipping cocktails and revel in the fact she has a reason to wear one of
her 400 pairs of shoes at night clubs but after much debate, being called names, cut off from sex and a couple sleepless nights on the couch I can
proudly say, we are going to the Shawnee National Forrest in southern Illinois.
I can only thank those members on ATS that disagree with everything I say for helping me to hone my debate skills and giving me the tools I needed to
wear her down out of shear exhaustion!
My thought and what I tried to explain to her is I think with all that is going on in the world right now, it would be amazing for us to spend 5 days
alone in the forest with nothing to do but reconnect with nature and each other on a level that is impossible when you are dealing with every day life
in the "real world".
We have both decided that if we are going to do this, that we are going to do it right to get the full experience and in that direction we are
bringing on the bare minimum we feel we can take to survive. The idea is that by exposing ourselves to danger, to the unknown and willingly putting
ourselves in a position of survival, it will serve to bring us closer together and help us to recognize the most important thing we take for granted
every day........ Life.
Don't get me wrong, we are not on a suicide mission here! I have purchased a very solid cold weather tent. We have two sleeping bags rated for
freezing weather, two waterproof tarps, a fiskars 14" axe and a really expensive hiking backpack filled with all sorts of waterproof wizardry but
nothing mechanical. I tried to argue to not bring the tent but after repeated discussion I realized that if I failed to build an adequate shelter the
first night out, it would be a very, very long "vacation" lol so I gave in on that.
As far as the food goes, I wanted to bring nothing and hunt for our own food. I do not own a gun but I do have a crossbow but I am not sure of the
legality of that in Shawnee so I thought it best if I didn't bring it and also, the weight and size of it seemed unmanageable anyway. I elected
instead to bring a slingshot with fiber optic sights and a wrist guard that is foldable, light weight and easily stored. My plan is to try to hunt
small game such as squirrels and birds and I don't think we would need more than one or two to get by. That said, I have agreed to bring an 18oz bag
of trail mix. 4 granola bars and 2 bags of beef jerky just in case!
I have never hunted or killed an animal and while I think I could do it, there is always the chance that once I am out there and have the little guy
in my sights...... I just couldn't do it. Probably not but I don't know quite yet and couldn't until that time came so we will have to see how that
works out. I have however, watched multiple instructional videos online on how to clean and process the meat. It seems gruesome but that is nature I
I have dreamed of doing this for quite some time and I can't wait to experience what the woods and primitive camping and survival have to offer us in
the way of personal growth and experience. I know it's not all fun and games but I think no matter what happens we will come out of the tree line
better people for it and more in love for sharing the experience.
The best thing and something I have not told my special lady is that we are in fact only spending 3 days in the bush and I have reserved a cabin
rental complete wit skylights, a hot tub, fireplace and bearskin rugs for our last 2 days out. I plan to camp around 3 miles from the cabin and slowly
work there a mile a day while we are out until the last day when we arrive and I surprise her with the check in. She has no idea and I think she will
love it and this is where I plan to ask her to marry me.
Wish me luck ATS and any advice will be greatly appreciated!