Ever since some pal a few hundred thousand years ago first rubbed a couple sticks together, perhaps as some kind of sexual or religious act, and discovered that that makes them explode, humankind’s relationship with fire has been… tentative. The same fire which the busker juggles for his living also inevitably burns down his apartment. So when the time came for our group to take the first step towards civilization, I didn’t know what to expect. I knew that the groups to attempt this promethean act before us had struggled, and we had an hour less to accomplish our goal: Scavenge materials in town, and then go into the woods to make a fire. We had one more challenge too: it was snowing.
The objects we were not allowed to use were a lighter, matches, or a flint and steel. Of these, we completely shunned the lighter, eschewed the matches, and only used the flint and steel for the actual fire starting. The trick to breaking rules, as we discovered, was leverage. We walked back into the hostel after our hour of scavenging with both a flint-based torch lighter and a bottle of Mac’s Premium Starting Fluid. The prior was not an approved item, but the latter was. However, Ari, the challenge leader, agreed to let us use the flint and leave the more-explosive-than-gasoline liquid behind, for some reason.
After a *cough* pleasant hike up to the hill we would be making our pyric sacrifice to the gods of unschool adventures upon, we went to work. Or, more specifically, bickered with each other for an hour, and then got to work. Once that was out of the way though, we quickly built a toasty fire to warm our feet upon. One head injury, three pairs of socks, half of Eric’s eyebrows, and an epic snowball fight later, I’m sitting back in the hostel. We’ve earned our dinner.