KSL Outdoors: Could you survive a week in the deserts of southern Utah?

(Adam) Welcome to KSL Outdoors, I’m Adam Eakle. Last week we began our epic seven day adventure to survive the deserts of Southern Utah. Tonight part two of our struggle to survive.”

Hot and formidable in the daytime….

Cold and spooky at night….Could you survive a week in the deserts of southern Utah?

Last week we introduced you to BOSS or the Boulder Outdoor Survival School. Our seven day field course is the backbone of BOSS. My buddies and I have joined nine other strangers from across the world to experience the highs and lows of learning to survive with just the primitive gear on our backs.

(Steve Dessinger, BOSS Program Dir.) “In a survival situation you may not know where you are going to find water, what the weather is going to be like that night, if you are going to be cold.”

(Steve) You don’t know what is going to happen. So we purposely have things that come up that you are not going to be expecting. So that you can go through those experiences.”

In the first 30 hours of our course we hiked over 20 miles with no food. It was one of the most physical and mentally draining things I’ve ever done. Tonight we want to show you some of the skills we learned. Introduce you to our group and give you insight on whether BOSS… is for you.

(Perry) “we don’t have toilet paper out here so there are a few things you can use, sagebrush is great, it’s nice and soft, it’s anti-bacterial.”

Our guides give us a lesson on personal hygiene. Rocks, spruce cones and sticks will have to suffice.

(Jesse) “and this is why we use small pieces of wood because it makes it that much easier and that much quicker to crush the coals.”

We’re taught to have a positive impact on the environment. This means we’ll crush our coals from our fires and disperse the nutrients back into the bushes and trees.

(Jesse) we are trying to provide a greater awareness of what is out there. What the earth really is and how we as a culture lived at one time and trying to help people go back to that and see essentially their roots.

(Perry) Your knife out here is like your purse, your wallet, your car keys.”

We know that soon, our instructors will send us out alone for a 24 hour solo test. The skills we learn now, we’ll need then.

(Perry) “A good spindle is straight and about as long as your thumb to your pinky finger.”

We’re shown what type of sage wood to collect to build a bow drill, so we’ll be able to make a fire.

In a silent demonstration, our guides show us how to make a spindle, a hearth, a bow and how to use them. Now it’s up to us.

(Ashlie) “if I can’t do it, then I’m going to eat gorp. So I’m hoping that I can accomplish this.”

Everyone is intent on getting fire, no fire, no hot meal, no warmth, maybe no survival.

(Brian) “and we lost it.”

(Brian sighs) “i’m glad they made matches. They are so much quick you go and you’ve got flame.”

(adam) “there you go!” (ashlie) “yeah!” (dan) “holy BLEEP.”

(Dan) “i’m about to cry, that was amazing.”

Our next primitive skill…

(Jesse) “i would actually have my bait tied on the back right here.”

is learning how to construct what is called a figure four deadfall trap.

(Jesse) “Couple of things you want to think about when planning on trapping is obviously where and what kind of game are you going for. so where is that game living and what type of things may it want to eat.”

(jesse) “little animal comes in, starts chewing on this and…(trap goes off) “gets squished.” (brian) “oh dinner.”

A mouse might sound disgusting, but after living off of lentils, rice, flour and oatmeal, a little meat would be down right delectable…speaking of food.

(tobias) “so this is lemonade berry.”

Tobias shows us what plants we’re able to consume. We’ve been living off of about twelve hundred calories a day. Anything edible has our attention.

(Tobias) “they were real popular amongst native peoples as a food source, added in as a beverage, also added into food.”

(tobias) “yeah you can put them in water or just suck on them and spit out the seeds.”

(kris) “kind of good.”

(kris) So if I can get through this, I feel like I can go through anything and I think I did, I think I’m going to make it through.”

(TAG) (adam) “Everybody is finishing up their bow drills making sure they know how to make friction fire. My gut tells me we are going to need these skills pretty soon. We’ll find out here in just a second, but first tonights quiz question.”


(Jesse) “Alright Adam this is your downstream boundary, nothing below that, enjoy yourselves, you’ve got wall to wall. (shawn) “bye Adam.”

(Jesse) Little bit alone time, time with your thoughts and out in beautiful nature.

(Adam to camera) “I guess it’s just you and me for the next day, pretty exciting. Let’s see if we can find us a place to sleep.

(Adam) “I picked my camp above the river. I think it will be warmer up here tonight and to make things better. I put some duff, some oak leaves in the bottom, I’m building a small tent out of my poncho. It should be warm, I’m confident about that, next step is fire.”

(Adam) “I was successful a few nights ago, but I tried again with my bow and drill and wasn’t successful. I won’t lie I don’t want to eat cold food tonight. I’ve got to figure this out and make sure I get it done. Sun is going down quick so I’ve got to hurry.”

(making fire) “awe success!”

(Adam) Well I’ll tell you what that is a big relief to get a fire going. Now I can concentrate on food.”

While I’m working on my dinner.

(Brian) Ok my trap is set, take a look at what I’ve got here.”

My buddy Brian is trying to catch his.

(Brian) “I’m hoping the mouse comes in right here bumps that snaps that, the rock falls, hopefully when i come back tomorrow there will be a mouse right here. If theres a mouse I get some meat some protein tomorrow and I need it.”

(Brian) “morning number four. I’m currently on the solo portion of the trip, just woke up.”

(Brian) “I have all day to do nothing. Just kind of laying here thinking.”

Everyone seemed to get something different from this course. On the solo, I was able to find an alcove, reflect on my family, my life and where it’s headed. KSL Outdoors producer Rick was able to rest his feet, write in his journal and get mentally prepared for our final three days. Brian was able to reflect on the changes he’s had in his life and had some advice I think all of us could use.

(Brian) My wife passed away a little more than a year ago, since then I kind of realized that life can be taken from you anytime and you better live it up while you can.

(Brian) Enjoy life cause I know she and I we said for a lot of years lets we’ll do this someday, that someday, next thing you know she couldn’t do it. So it’s a real bummer and at this point in my life I feel that I’m living for both of us. So I’m going to live it up as much as I can.”

(Dave and Deb high five) “it was warm last night wasn’t it.” (adam) “good job guys.”

Just before dark, we met back up with our fellow survivors.

(Ashlie) “I learned that I can stay in the woods by myself, that was huge, I was terrified of that solo portion. That was a big deal and I wasn’t scared, so that was kind of a surprise.”

(Adam tag) “Well the solo portion of expedition is over and time for a new and exciting phase, we’ll have that in just a minute, but first.”

(adam audio only) “back to Mickey and the guys for tonights Fish Tech Fish Report.”


(Adam) “welcome back to KSL Outdoors, I’m Adam Eakle. Well the group just got the news, the guides are leaving us. So that means we have to use all of the skills we’ve learned over the last five days to try and save ourselves. They’ve drawn on a map, showed us where we need to go, just time for us to perform.”

(tobias) “be careful out there.” (jesse) “see you have fun.”

(Adam) “where did they go? (shannon) “I have no idea, probably went to Pizza Hut.”

Early the next day, we awake, break camp.

(Dan) “We need to appoint leaders and we need to listen to those people.”

Then head out for what turns out to be a nineteen mile hike through the gulch.

(Kris) “we have quite a group of people here. There is talented people on this trip and I am so impressed and honored to be a part of it.”

(Dave) “Considering what we’ve been facing we’ve improved a lot since the first day. You see the difference people are up to anything now.”

About mid-way into our journey, Dean, the doctor, aggravates an old Achilles injury and our pace slows to a crawl.

(dean) “I tripped somehow and pulled my calf muscle and my Achilles.”

Dan may have been slow, but he completed the hike and gained all of our respect.

(Dan) “There were so many times where I was hoping he was like yes can i sit down, because I wanted to sit down, it was good, I really give him a lot of credit for doing that.”

(Adam) “would you recommend this course to anybody…(bea) ..Uh, depends on who. Initially I’d say no.”

(Kris) “absolutely, absolutely. I would say get in the best shape of your life, then come out here.”

(Debbie) This is not something you can go recommending to just anybody.”

(Deb) it’s extremely challenging, more than that, it puts you to your brink and I think it takes a certain type of person to go to that place.”

(adam) “are you happy you did it? (shannon) “i’m happy now that it’s over, but i would never do it again, for sure. (Adam) it was tough. (shannon) Yes,
“emotionally, it’s mentally and physically the most draining thing that will ever do in your entire life.”

(Dean) “maybe tomorrow or the next day after I’ve thought about some stuff I’ll be happy I did it.”

In seven days we’ve conquered 50 miles with very little food. We’ve endured bitter cold, scorching heat, we’ve been hungary, dirty, ornery, even scared. But all 12 of us finished. We survived with no cell phones, no computers, no high tech camping gear and we learned to forget our problems and focus on each other and ourselves.

(Ashlie) “it solidified for me that Dan is definitely the man I want to marry…so.”

(Shannon) “It made me a stronger person, it made me see that there is more important things in life than a bad breakup and life goes on and I feel much stronger going back emotionally”

(Debbie) I think anytime that you can go through a challenge and a struggle like this and get back to the basics, this reminds you and puts things into perspective of what’s important and what is not important and It’s humbling and I think we all need that. Not just once in our lives, I think we need to revisit these types of thing over and over again because we are human.

(Dean) the knowledge is very helpful, but it’s the mental stuff to persevere. (adam) you guys definitely did that, it was my pleasure meeting you guys. (dean) “pleasure meeting you, I really enjoyed meeting you. (adam) That was fun, I appreciate it. Hey we’ve got more coming up on KSL Outdoors, our adventure ends, but first tonights Utah Field Guide.”

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