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Well, my week long adventure has come to a close, and what an adventure it was.

Back to the fast paced, hectic, urban world I call home. Will I miss the forest? I haven’t exactly decided yet.

I brought my iPod with me, because it goes everywhere I go and besides my Blackberry and laptop I needed to feel connected to the urban world.

Going to bed at night sometimes was difficult- I was fighting off bad thoughts of the Blair Witch Project, and what better way to do that than with a little Pat Benatar? But I opted to not turn on the iPod. One chilly night, I reached to get it, when something in me said to just listen to the silence instead. It was a silence I had never experienced before. Completely still! All the animals, creatures and critters that call the forest home were quite. Not even rustling of leaves. Total relaxation-except for the twigs that were digging into my back under the floor of my nylon tent.

I will miss that complete silence only available in the middle of nowhere. I will also miss the “dawn chours.” This is the time of day, early in the morning when all the birds in the forest seem to sing song in honor of the day ahead.

What a great sound to wake up to.

-Sarah Haase

I made it through what felt like arctic temperatures the other night, and surprisingly was able to keep a positive mentality.

The next day I carved my own bow drill kit–the tools necessary to create fire. It took the better part of the morning to make, and after our lunch break of vegetable soup and bread I set my sights on making fire.

A dozen tries later I was getting frustrated and pissed off. Apparently the fire knows when you are acting this way and will do all in its power to prevent you from getting flame.

So I calmed down, took my shoes and socks off and concentrated. The smoke started off light, but soon got thicker and whiter, the dust was gathering nicely, and soon I had a beautiful baby coal.

I added the coal to my tinder bundle, a collection of dry, flammable leaves and grass, gave it some TLC and before I knew it, I was holding fire I created in my own hands

–Sarah Haase

This is some seriously intense stuff.

Day two has come and quickly passed. We built a debris hut ALL day long. Tonight, my partner Jerry will sleep there-tomorrow, it’s all me. It’s a hut made from twigs and branches and leaves. Ours actually is amazing to look at it. It is supposed to keep you warmer than a tent and sleeping bag, but I am a little wary.

Tonight there is a frost warning! The instructors lent me a few wool blankets for the night.

For battery’s sake, cutting this entry short. If I don’t freeze tonight, more to come tomorrow!

Well, almost a 7 hour drive later I safely made it to Roots camp in Vermont. I travelled through Lake George, Killington, Bethal. Followed a winding dirt road up into the mountains and here I am:

Lesson #1- know how to assemble tent before leaving. Don’t assume someone will be around to help.

Lesson #2- accept peeing in the woods I can’t wait to discover more lesson.

Dinner and orientation at 6. Two other students plus me are here already. This should be one interesting week!

Vermont’s wilderness here I come.

Today’s the day I leave for my exciting week long, primitive skills class, in East Calais, Vermont. I think I have everything I need to make it through…tent, sleeping bag, ground pad, and knife thanks to Jen Ward and Mark Barber. What life savers. I’d be sleeping under the stars otherwise.

I’m excited to get  into the woods. Not sure exactly how long the excitement will last before it turns into regret, but for the time being I’m looking forward to getting back in touch with the natural world.

I’ve been camping, but nothing this intense before. And never for this long-six nights. Years ago in Girl Scouts we “camped” for the weekend, but our leaders thought it a better idea to stay on the floor of a lodge with a fire place, full kitchen, running water and working plumbing.  Really roughing it.

Next came camp outs in my backyard. They were great. We’d stay in the tent until we heard a chipmunk or felt too strong a breeze around the tent. Into the house we’d run and make a fort in living room with warm blankets and comfy pillow.

When I got a Jeep Wrangler, the backyard camping trips turned into off-roading weekends. And they still weren’t really roughing it. All we did was sleep in a tent. During the day we had the luxury of a car, an off-roading venue that was ready and willing to  serve us already dead, cooked food and purified water. Soda if we wanted.

This only seems the next logical step though, in my camping timeline. I’ve conquered everything else. So bring on the bear boxes, and moose, the spearheads  to kill our food, the shelter of leaves and mud.

Only problem I have right now-I can’t seem to fit my hair straightener.

-Sarah