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Snow Day

March 04, 2021

The Wilderness Survival ECS spent their third day on the Gaul/Gray property. Expecting a large amount of snow we started the day by making a large fire and collecting a bountiful ration of firewood. Next, our two instructors, Jason and Ruben, began giving us instructions on how to tie knots that could prove helpful in a survival situation. One of these knots was the Canadian Slipknot, which was very similar to a sliding noose. We also learned how to tie this knot with just one hand in case there was ever a time in which we had our hands full, but needed to tie something off. The clove hitch, another knot we learned, can act as a substitute for either form of the Canadian Slipknot. Another knot was the Fisherman’s Knot, which is a very handy way to combine two sets of different ropes. All of these knots would prove useful later in the day when erecting our shelters. By the end of our lesson with knots, a storm had hit, dusting everything in sight with a new layer of snow and leaving a large portion of the group cold.

With our newfound knowledge of knots we all trudged into the woods to apply our skills to the art of shelter construction. At this point of the day we broke into two groups, one of which was led by Ruben, while the other was led by Jason. Our task was to create a lean-to shelter using only rope, saws, knives, and materials provided by nature. The first step was to find two trees a few feet apart and place a log in between them to create the lean-to which was done by using rope and the knots we had just learned to tie it to the trees. We then began to completely cover one side of the log with dead trees by leaning them against the log and covering them with pine needle branches for extra protection. Lastly, we created a fire just outside the entrance of our makeshift shelter using ferro rods and wood we sawed from the dead trees. Once finished we were able to rest under our lean-to on a nice bedding of pine needles and soak in the warmth of our fire. During this entire process, we were in the middle of a snowstorm that was coating us and the forest in a thick layer of snow. Due to the intensity of the storm we decided to cut the day short and head home early right after lunch. Even though the day was not as long as we anticipated, we were still able to learn valuable skills that would be vital in an emergency situation, such as tying knots and building shelters. The snowstorm just added to the authenticity of the experience!