The Hills Have Arghs


Chris Wright, Ink’s lean mean US editor, joined the Bear Grylls Survival Academy in the Catskill Mountains, New York 

There can be few people less suited to a week-long Bear Grylls survival course than old Stella-boy here. But then that was precisely the point. When setting out to report the Hemispheres feature for October, I had i n mind one of those out-of-your-element first-person pieces, the kind that glean comedy from hardship and humiliation. Hey, look at the blobby middle-aged guy rappelling down a cliff! Ha ha!

That was the idea.

I did indeed get a chance to rappel down a cliff, right next to a 75-foot waterfall, into which I got sucked. I honestly thought I was done for—a lifetime of lager-drinking and pie-eating flashed before my eyes. In addition to the waterfall thing, I slept beside a bear trail, ate a live earthworm, wheezed my way up mountainsides and ankle-sprained my way down. It was absolutely bloody horrible.  

On the plus side, I emerged from the experience a stronger and wiser person. For the first time in my life, I really feel like I know who I am, and where I fit in the world. I feel whole. Actually, none of that is true, but I did at least get to describe, in print, the moment when a female survivalist found me pooing next to a tree. 

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