There was a time, he says, when he was cocky. He'd guarantee a fish every time out. He's since quit doing that.

Oh, well. Looks like canned chili beans tonight.
In an instant, Lundin flinches and springs from the water with what looks to be a flailing wet sock in his hand.

"Yeah," Bartholemew says.
Lundin grabs the carp by the tail, then whips it hard on the rocks, enough to stun it. Bartholemew gives him a boulder to finish off the job. It is ten minutes after seven o'clock.

"He got in an area where he couldn't get out," Lundin says, his breathing hard, "so I got in his way."

He holds his prize aloft. It's a chub, he says, a native fish of the Verde.

"I knew this one was food," he says, "so I basically showed it no mercy."

Lundin does not advocate that everyone go abo. If we did, he says, we'd eat the planet in a day.

The primitive skills he teaches probably wouldn't keep anyone going for more than a couple of months of wilderness living anyway, which is still a good deal longer than survival courses figure you're going to be out there. Today's human bodies are accustomed to meat and fat, items not easily obtained in the wild, at least not in proportion to the energy it takes to get them on a regular basis.

Stone Age hunter-gatherers managed all right, but they had a few thousand years to practice. That's what he wants people to realize.

"It's more than just learning skills," Bartholemew says later, after it is all over. "It was good for people to realize how hard it was."

Something happens to people out in the wild, Lundin says: They begin to consider it a less scary place. They become of the Earth, and not just on it, which is his touchy-feely way of saying that it really does make a difference when people learn to be responsible for their own heat, shelter and sustenance.

Those are things easy to take for granted in the fast-food, Beanie Weenie world of the 1990s. There's no reason not to take them for granted--no reason, really, even to think about keeping a "survival kit" in the car when your moving around takes place in a thriving metropolis. For a lot of people in the big city, a survival kit consists of a credit card, a gun and a cellular phone.

But Lundin hopes to inspire people to see the world around them in a new light--one cast by the Dawn of Man. He thinks seeing that light can be an empowering and humbling thing.

Sunday morning was spent taste-testing plant life. The afternoon hours were whittled away building animal traps that are illegal--but why wait until you're drowning to learn how to swim? Now, the campfire and fish are gone and disposed of. It's time to return to the world of appointments and cable TV.

The members of the group load up and head back up the trail. They profess to see the world through new lenses; they certainly consider the money they paid Lundin to be well-spent. Lundin lets the students set the course this time and follows close behind. Through the creek, along the rocky ledges.

On the way up, Bartholemew, who is in the lead position, comes to the Icee cup that lays thrashed in the dirt. She stops, barely long enough to pluck it from the ground and, without missing a step, erases it from the landscape.

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