On the last expedition, my classmates and I were taught how to build a survival shelter capable of withstanding a variety of conditions and keeping its occupants dry in a rainstorm. Then we were instructed to build one.

My tent partner, Austin, and I begin by gathering sticks to make a frame. The frame was basically a pile of sticks and logs leaning against one another in what we called an organized fashion. The next part of our quest was to put all of the leaves in the forest awkwardly on top of our shelter. Foolishly thinking that we were done, we congratulated ourselves and began looking for a door for the shelter. An old man once said to me, “Josh, doors are easy to find in the forest.” How wrong he was. Much of our time was given to finding the perfect door, before we settled on less than perfect. The door ended up being pieces of bark stacked on top of each other, and now finished, our shelter looked like an Ewok hut from Star Wars.

The next part of our journey was to actually sleep in it. As both Austin and I predicted, I was cold. It was also cramped, and we ending up sleeping on our super fudge. We still had a good fire when we finally woke up, and somehow (I don’t know how) the air was actually colder. Intrigued by the fact that it could get that cold anywhere in the world at all, we crawled out of our shelter into the morning.

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