My good friend and I decided to go “surviving” this past weekend. This is a term I use to describe trekking out into the Colorado woods with nothing but warm clothes, a knife, tinder and flint, and a rope. Food? Nope. Water? We brought a pot to boil any water we found. A tent? No chance.
After parking the car on the side of a bumpy dirt road we decided to get to high ground and scope out any areas we thought could provide water. In the distance the slight shimmer of a small lake caught our eye. We hiked through a forest of fallen trees and shrubs for the next hour and a half and finally stumbled upon a small stream. Screw the lake, it was time to make a shelter. We pieced together a basic lean-to structure with an entrance that opened up to a small fire ring. Soon we had a fire and began to boil water. A dash of pine needles made for a faint taste of tea. Heck, we were living in the lap of luxury here.
Just before dusk we decided to explore the area and make sure we weren’t on private property. Earlier that day we had seen keep out signs and headed in the opposite direction. Unfortunately the evidence was clear: Salt licks, a chained up picnic table, and quite a bit of untouched firewood not 3 minutes from where we had set up camp. My hopes sank as I realized we had to high tail it out of there. To get busted for trespassing let alone making a fire on private property is serious business. We quietly packed up what little we had and bid farewell to our shelter.
By this time the sun was well below the rim of mountains around us. The moon provided little light but not enough for us to see very far. We headed for the first ridge back to where we had come. An hour and we would be back to our parked car. Stars poked their way through the blackness around us and the moon fabricated shapes with which to navigate. After the first ridge we headed towards the next. And the next. Before long the shadows blurred and the ridges loomed. The car surely was just over the next crest. Time seemed to slow. It had now been three hours since we left the shelter. Jordan and I were exhausted. No sooner had we stopped to rethink our navigation when a light illuminated the darkness. We had found the road.
There was a point in the hike where fear wormed it’s way into my head. Would we make it back, or spend the whole night in the cold without a shelter? We both wanted to give up. But we kept hiking and finally made it back to the car. We could have just sat there in denial and let the night take hold but we suppressed the temptation and soon found our way back. In what situations do you feel like giving up? How can you overcome that temptation?