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Briar Patch Outdoors

A Student's Experience

by Courtney Farrington

[Courtney Farrington was a student at Atlantis Alternative High School during the 2007-2008 school year. She was a participant in the Wilderness Survival class taught by George Hedgepeth. This is her reflection on that class, six months afterwards.]

The beautiful outdoors, how do you even begin to describe its majestic and glorious wonders? It holds so many mysteries and histories that itís almost impossible to sum up in any amount of words. So many legends have walked this earth and so many historical events have taken place on its surface, it almost makes you feel a part of all its history when you step out into the great unknown.

I am not a genius or know-it-all by any means when it comes to such a topic like this. But even though Iím not I had the opportunity to take part in the best wilderness get-away I have ever experienced. Last year (my senior year of high school) I took a class called survival skills at Atlantis High School. The class was all about learning how to survive in the wilderness as well as learning how to identify and gather what the great outdoors has to offer for bare necessities such as food and shelter.

Although the class was thorough and in depth about outdoor education, it in no way compared to the experience that I got out final exam weekend trip. Our final exam took place in an absolutely gorgeous and peaceful state owned piece of land. Outside of just surviving, there a few things we had to do to pass the class. First off, we were not allowed to bring any food from home or any lighters or matches for making fires. We had to gather our food from what the woods had to offer and to make fires we had to use spark sticks (Boy Scout issue ferrocerrium rods). I know that this probably sounds extreme and unpleasant, but it was indeed the exact opposite. I found such joy in searching for food and medicine plants and it was really neat to start a fire outside of what I was used too. It made me feel like a wilderness warrior, and I found the food delightful and filling, which was quite the opposite of what I expected. Some of the other requirements for passing were building a shelter, making our own tools and traps, creating a successful cooking station from which we fed ourselves.

From this experience, I took more than just a passing grade. On the last night of our trip, our whole class and our teachers had a bonfire. We made smores, shared stories, and one of our fellow students brought along his guitar to share songs around the campfire. But just telling you this doesnít really explain the feeling we all felt that night around the campfire. Something in the air of the night or perhaps the peace we felt in our hearts brought us together in a way that the city or just hanging out in general never could. We became more than just a class or fellow students. We became friends who all felt that this was one night that was more than just a trip or exam. It was more like a very rare gift that we all got to experience together and take with us for the rest of our lives, no matter where our lives took us. It was like a secret that only we shared that would hold us together forever and in a way we would always some how have this special bond that no one else could ever experience in the same way we did.

Although I have explained to you to the best of my ability what each and every one of us took from this experience, it in no way compares to living the experience your self. I could sit here and try to explain for hours what it was like but words will never compare to actually living it or feeling it for real. So if ever you have the chance to experience something like this in your own life, I recommend very strongly that you take that chance even if your not an outdoors person, because Iím certain that opportunities like this do not come around like this very often in ones lifetime and nothing else in the world could ever compare to it. But if ever you have the rare opportunity of experiencing something as wonderful as I did on that unforgettable weekend, it is entirely up to you on whether or not you take advantage of it. Just know that if you donít than youíre missing out on of the most absolutely amazing memories you could ever create in your entire lifetime.



- Woodsrunner Tips -


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Durand MI 48429
(989) 288-0168

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