We starting the day by meeting our amazing guides from a primitive skills program in Maine. Mike and Jim know their stuff!! We ditched our phones to disconnect from our tech-lives and walked
into the woods surrounding campus. A theme of awareness of ourselves and our surroundings
was part of all we did. We did a lot today. The hows, wheres, and whys of how to walk through the land, basic shelter building, fires, navigation, what the trees tell us, teamwork, comfort with our surroundings, blind string stalking, and more....so much.
We opened our senses to wide angle vision, listened to what the landscape was telling us.
We moved toward the edge of our knowledge.
Finding our senses and connecting with how we move through our natural world.
String stalking-replicating how native children learn to walk quietly and deliberately through their surroundings. Some of us even went barefoot to be further connected and more balanced as we followed the string up, down, and all around the trees and shrubs while blindfolded. Taking our journey at our own pace as we blindly navigated what the earth put in front of us, some paused and reassessed their body position, some felt panic, some helped each other, some crawled, others bumped or tripped before they learned to slow down. Everyone finished.
We were given some basics to build a shelter and given a team challenge to make lean-to shelters (not pictured) with tarps. Sun, dryness, watershed, bedding, elevation, and exposure were all things to consider...No clear winner, though no loser, all had good ideas !!
There was also a fire building challenge after learning what made good tender, hot fire, and good fuel: Build a one match fire and burn the string in 20 minutes. Faculty won!! All finished on time!!
We settled in towards the end of the afternoon to learn about he trees around us. We learned more about what "our edge of knowledge" is than about the trees...a more important piece of the puzzle to survive ...know what you don't know and collective knowledge is key. As the moon rose and the clouds rolled in the students were back to their dorms, bellies full from the dinning hall, wifi fired up, hands and feet warm under their covers.
Whether we are surviving the apocalypse or just smiling with our buddies while otter sliding on a patch of ice during a little down time, outdoors is a place to get balanced, it gives us everything we need. Anytime a group of teenagers can find a connection to the earth and have moments of comfort, fun, and learning it is a win!!
Tomorrow we take our skills to Burleigh Mt.
scouting family shelter sites, fire pits, the basics of tracking...and more.