Work in Progress

December 7, 2001, 4 a.m.: I wake up with two strangers in my room. "Get up. Time to go." My mother comes in. "Adam... I'm sending you to a program in Utah. I'll come visit." Her voice cracks. She leans over my bed to kiss me, cupping my head in her hands. I pull away, and try to go back to sleep. I don't know why I thought they would let me go back to sleep, but maybe it's because I was stoned. The two big men put me in a car, and escort me onto a plane at the Little Rock airport. By 1 p.m. I was getting strip searched and blood tested behind a fenced juvenile facility in St. George, Utah. Two weeks later I left the facility, blindfolded in the back of a Dodge, driving me into the desert.

Based on my experiences living in the Great Basin Desert. And for the inquisitive, this was a juvenile social reintroduction program. In other words I fucked up and was escorted there by force.


  • Bowdrill Set -
    Bow - Curved bough or branch approx. the size of your arm.
    Fireboard - A thick piece of wood split or whole. This wood must be of the same consistancy as the spindles.
    Spindles - A sharpened, straight, cylindrical stick shaved and about 3-4 inches. Sizes differ according to preference.
    Palm Rock - Used to hold spindle in place. Fits in the palm of the hand, and has a round hole ground into it.

  • Large Tarp -
    Used for shelter, and packing.

  • Knife -

  • Water Bottles -

  • Metal Cup - Cook food, balance in traps, even as a palmrock.

  • Cordage - Used to set traps, secure shelter, string your bow, etc.

  • Trash Bag - Used to trap water.

    Now, as I continue to take more time on this I will append the list of items, and go into depth of techniques.

    The Bowdrill Set - You take the bow and attach some cord to each end. You want to make it tight, but not too tense. You then take the knife and dig a small hole in the fireboard. Twist the spindle into the bow, place the sharpened point of the spindle in hole in the fireboard, and the palm rock on top of the spindle. From here you stroke the bow back and forth with long, even strokes. After an undetermined amount of time a small coal(cherry, ember) will form. Let it set for a few seconds to grow and spread. A pile of black or brown dust should be gathered around it. This dust come from the friction between the board and the spindle. It acts as fuel for the coal. You should have a tinder bundle ready, which is small, fine fibers of dry, flammible matter. From there you place the coal in the bundle, fold the bundle together so the coal has a lot of tinder around(but still has Oxygen), and blow lightly. As the coal spreads, increase how hard you are blowing. It should start a flame, and from there you place it in the fire pit with other firewood or "fuel" and blow into a fire.


    Living in the desert is a miserable affair. I never knew the meaning of cold, or tired, or hungry until then. It's even more than that. It's a spiritual energy that permeates everything. You can feel it, like static in the wind. It crackles and leaves the hair on your neck at attention. It's so quiet, and at night when the wind blows like it hates you, and the desert seems to come alive and turn cruel, the stars are your only consolation.

  • Christmas Day - At a camp called the Naming Caves. A sandstone monolith jutting from the sand raised about 200 ft. high. A sloping sand hill with thick, dry, hearty trees and rabbitbrush slides cleanly away from the base. The base is littered with bones, cactii, and dead wood. A young girl named Katie was exploring the upper reaches of the rock. The Naming Caves are located in the middle of a valley rich with history, and is the highest point in the valley. The caves themselves are decorated with carvings in the rock of animals and rituals not yet identified. Katie puts one knee on a boulder that leads to a cliff the takes you to the top. Beneath the boulder is a tiny crack in the rock. Katie's knee slips, and she hits her nose, stunning her and allowing her to slip freakishly into this crack. She falls 70 ft., landing face first. As me and my companions sat around the campfire and they loaded Katie into the chopper to evac her to Vegas, she began to scream. It was deadly quiet, and her screams echoed off the rock and bounced back like the enraged warcries of a people long extinct. But that might be philosophical bullshit.

  • Hell's Canyon - A long, sometimes nearly vertical, winding, miserable, rocky, cruel trail up through and over a small mountain. At the time we had a two-wheeled wagon to help carry our gear. By the time we got to the top large pieces of the skin on my palm were sliding open, and the pain was incredible. We made the trip in 18 minutes. A record, I was told. The first part is a rocky trail about 10 ft. wide up into a dale. The walls are lined with lichens and cactus, and the ground is all rock and dirt. About a quarter mile up a small creek flows past, and the rock wall comes up on both sides. From there the path turns nearly 180 degrees, and up. There is no vegitation but rabbit brush and the occasional shrub after this. The path takes another 180 degree turn after about 100 yards, and curves up and to the right for nearly a mile. Try pushing and pulling a 700 pound cart up that, through the dirt, on a diet of rice, oats, and gatorade. Once you reach the top the path curves left, and straight it drops off and you see the path you just took and a valley about 2-300 feet down. Across the way, over the other side of the mountain, the top of the Naming Caves peek out. The whole scene is dotted with natural caves. That was one hell of a feeling of accomplishment.

    Fellow Students

  • Brian, Texas - Graduated July. Doing well.
  • Travis, South Carolina - Graduated recently. Relapsed, hits his mother again.
  • Morgan, Alaska - Back in jail.
  • Courtney, North Carolina - Back in another program.
  • Chris, California - Doing very good.
  • Katie, Virginia(?) - Deceased, December 25, 2001.
  • Jared, California - Not known.
  • Frankie, California - Not known.
  • Abby, Florida - Not known.
  • Marrissa, Utah - Back with the same boyfriend that turned her in. Not known.
  • Kaitlyn, New York - Not known. Left Utah program for one in New York.
  • Des'Iree, Virginia - Not known.
  • Kelly, ? - Not known.
  • Nick, California - Not known.

    There are a bunch of others that graduated before me that I can't remember.

    All material contained in this node was written solely by me. It certainly teaches you stoicism.

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