Woodsman, p.1
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       Woodsman, p.1

           Nathan Benoit
t out of here as fast as you can!" Dad yelled as a tree fell down. I sprinted out of the path of the tree just before it hit the ground. Bang! Dust flew up all around me. When the dust cleared I saw Dad hacking away at the tree with his axe.

  "What's wrong with you?" I screamed at my father, "I could have gotten smashed and all you care about his chopping the wood! Not even an 'Are you okay, Jack?' no nothin'!"

  "You shouldn’t have been in the way of the tree, how many times have I told you?" Dad remarked.

  "How do I know what way it’s going to fall?" I asked.

  "Pay closer attention!"

  "That’s not fair!"

  "Fine, do it yourself next time!"

  "Fine, I will. I will do a whole lot better of a job than you!" I said. I grabbed the axe and stormed off.

  "Just remember, if you ain't got wood by dusk, you ain't got food 'til mornin'!"

  "Maybe I won't come home! It would be easier living in the woods anyway. I wouldn't have to help you cut down trees for your job just so we can get a loaf of bread! Yeah, I would be richer in the woods by myself than with you and Mama at home!"

  "You know your mama and I work very hard to feed you," Dad replied.

  "Whatever, Mr. 'If you ain't got wood by dusk, you ain't got food 'til mornin'!'" I yelled mimicking my father.

  "Pike National Park is pretty big, I don’t think you can handle it," my father replied changing the subject.

  "Yeah, well Colorado is big compared to Tennessee. I got over it when we moved here, I'll get over that," I said thinking of my old home.

  "Fine," Dad said and walked away, just like that. Not another word. He just left me there, standing in the middle of Pike National Park, Colorado.

  "This is it, Jack," I said to myself, "you've always wanted to camp out in the woods, you got your wish. Now, what did Mr. Bernard say you always needed to survive no matter what?" I asked myself thinking of my science class last year in seventh grade. Water, I realized, of course. So I set off to find some water.

  I found a stream a little ways away from where Dad left me. "Is it safe to drink?" I asked myself. I walked up the stream to see where it was coming from. In a few moments I came upon a hole. The hole was spitting water from it. "Whoa, an artesian well," I said amazed. An artesian well is ground water spitting through a hole in the ground, causing a spring or a stream to form. "It's safe to drink," I confirmed as I dropped the axe, bent down, and drank water straight from the artesian well.

  "The next step to surviving in the woods is to create a shelter," I told myself. I sprinted back to the tree Dad chopped down. I started chopping the tree into smaller pieces that I could carry.

  I carried about twenty pounds of wood at a time back to where I was going to make my shelter. In total I carried about one hundred pounds of wood back to the stream. When I had all of my wood, I chopped four of the five small logs into five planks each. I stacked them on top of each other. In all, I had twenty planks to make my shelter.

  I made a doghouse type of shelter. I made three walls and a ceiling. I left one side open for the door. It took me about one hour to cut the wood and build the shelter.

  I still had one log of wood left over. I decided to use that to make a bow and arrows. I made one bow and three arrows out of that one log. To make the bow and arrows I used my pocket knife that my Dad gave me when he told me I had to start working. I always keep it with me. I used my shoelace for the string for the bow.

  Judging by the sun, it was about 7:15 am! I was up all night making my bow and arrows! "I'm starving," I said to myself. So I went out to hunt.

  Hunting is a lot harder than it looks. I was out hunting all day and all I got was a rabbit. At least I know how to skin a rabbit though. Dad always hunts and I always skin. I kept the hide for later.

  Winter is almost here and it gets cold in the Colorado Mountains. Pike National Park is on top of the mountains. "It’s getting cold,” I told myself, “and how do I make a fire?" I thought back to Mr. Bernard again.

  "Flint and steel makes fire the same as a match."

  That’s it! Flint and steel! I just need to find some flint. I walked up and down the stream to find a rock made of flint. I couldn't find anything. I kept walking further away from my shelter until a come across a rocky ledge. I looked down thinking it was just a five foot drop. I was wrong. "Whoa!" It was a one hundred foot cliff. At the bottom was a raging river.

  "That was close, hey here's some flint." I bent down and picked up the rock. That was a mistake. A stone moved beneath my feet.

  "Ah!" I yelled jumping back. The stone fell all the way down the cliff and into the river. Splash! I ran back to my shelter. I picked up some twigs around my shelter for a fire. I set them up in a pile away from the shelter in case bad things happened. I took the hatchet Mama gave me on my tenth birthday from my belt. The hatchet was made of steel. I struck the flint and sparks flew off. They caught on the twigs, sputtered, and went out. What did Mr. Bernard always say about fire?

  "Water puts out fire, air evaporates water, and air makes fire burn."

  "That’s it!" I yelled, "I have to blow on the fire!" I took my hatchet and struck the flint rock again. Sparks flew and hit the twigs. I started blowing gently and one of the sparks caught on fire. "Fire!" I yelled, "I made fire." I jumped up and down. By now it was almost dark and it was getting cold. I was made fire just in time for winter.

  It has been a week in the woods. So far I've killed two rabbits, one raccoon, and ten good sized fish. I used the rabbit skins for new shoes and the raccoon skin for a hat. "I need to step it up," I said to myself. I went out to hunt all day. I was out in the woods for an hour when I saw him. It was a full-grown, male deer. I quickly hid behind the closest tree. It looked up. I prayed that it didn't see me.

  After a few seconds it put its head back down. I let out a breath. I bit my lip, hoping it wouldn't see me. I crouched on the ground and looked out from the tree. The deer was eating what was left of the grass that wasn't snowed on yet. I took an arrow from my quiver, set it up in my bow, took aim, and I fired.

  The arrow hit the deer right in the heart. The deer fell over in pain, whining. I ran over to the deer, another arrow already in the bow in case I needed to shoot it again.

  I had about fifteen arrows. Every night I make three arrows. I always try to recover an arrow after I shoot it, but sometimes they just get too bloody or they break.

  I looked the deer over slowly, checking every part of its body for any sign of movement. After a few minutes I decided the deer was dead. I took my pocket knife from my pocket and started to skin it, right then and there.

  It took about two hours to skin the deer. I cut off all of the parts that I wouldn't need and cut the rest of the parts into pieces that I could carry. In all it took about three and a half hours to finish skinning and bringing the parts back to my shelter. I through all the parts that I didn't need off of the cliff into the river. I didn't want any unwanted, hungry visitors at night.

  Now I had to clean the meat. I took it a little down the stream until the stream was deep enough to come up to my ankles. I washed all the meat and brought it back to my shelter.

  "I'm going to have a feast tonight," I said to myself proudly. I went back down the stream to wash up. I had a hard day and I wanted to be clean for once that week. I took my time washing. There was no hurry, nowhere to go, nothing to do, nothing.

  When I was done bathing, I went back to my shelter. I didn't carry my bow and arrows because I didn't think I wou
ld need them. I was wrong. I heard something rustling in the bushes right behind my shelter. It was something furry.

  It was a bear. The bear was about three hundred pounds. It was a brown bear. The bear growled at me. It started to come around my shelter.

  My bow was inside of my shelter. I lunged inside of my shelter. The bear jumped over my shelter. I grabbed my bow and quiver of arrows. The bear put its head through the door of the shelter. It couldn't fit all the way in. I grabbed an arrow, put it in the bow, and shot the bear.

  The arrow hit the bear right on the nose. Blood squirted everywhere. The bear lunged back in pain. That was my plan. I dropped the bow and arrows and darted from the shelter and started heading down stream. The bear followed me.

  I came to the cliff. The stream ran off the cliff in a waterfall all the way down to the river. I stopped when I got to the edge of the cliff and turned around. The bear was barreling towards me. I looked down at the river, closed my eyes, and jumped.

  I thought that I would just jump into the river and get out on the bank. I didn't think of how fast the river was moving though or that the fall probably would kill me. It is a good thing I landed on the ledge. There was a ledge about five feet from the top of the cliff.

  I climbed up the short distance to the top of the cliff, laid on the ground, and laughed.

  "That," I said, "was way to close."

  "I would say so," a voice said back at me. I turned around.

  "Dad?" I asked him.

  "I'm sorry, Jack," he said to me.

  "I'm sorry, too," I got up and hugged my father.

  "I guess I was wrong," he told me.

  "About what?" I asked.

  "'Bout you surviving in the woods by yourself."

  "Oh, it was nothing," I told him.

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