New Mexico Living off the Land Expedition Itinerary


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Day 1 - Arrival in the Gila Wilderness, New Mexico

Arrive in the morning at the Gila Wilderness and be welcomed by our instructors and support staff who will show you around the base camp area.  You will setup your tent and campsite, where you will be based for the next several days during the instructional part of the event.  After getting settled in, our instructors will go over the itinerary and what to expect during the next ten days.  We will break for lunch and then during the afternoon the instructors will give an overview of the basics of survival and answer any questions you might have about various topics.  In the evening we will gather around a group campfire to cook our meal and unwind for the day.


Accommodations:  Tent Camping

Meals Included:  Lunch, Dinner


Days 2-5 – Phase 1, Learning Survival Skills

Wake up early to a campfire with breakfast and then get ready to begin the first phase of the expedition:  learning essential survival skills.  We will break the day up into several segments, and during each one our instructors will select a survival topic and start by explaining that topic in depth and all the things you need to think about to be successful.  Then they will perform the particular skill and demonstrate the important techniques you need to learn in order to master it. 


Next, you will attempt the skill yourself and continue practicing it during the rest of the allotted time so that you reach an acceptable level of proficiency (you can also continue working on it over the next few days during your free time).  We will repeat this step-by-step process with each basic survival skill over the course of the next several days until we have covered all of them.  The following is the list of skills that will be taught: 


  • Primitive shelter construction

  • Creating friction fire using various primitive methods

  • Locating, capturing and purifying water

  • Making survival bows, rabbit sticks, and spears

  • Setting snares and traps to catch small game

  • Animal processing and preparing food using primitive methods

  • Making and using primitive fishing implements

  • Identifying and foraging for edible and medicinal plants

  • Making cordage and other useful tools out of local plants

  • Observing cloud formations and predicting future weather events

  • Navigating across unknown landscapes without a compass/map


During the evenings, we will gather around a group campfire to cook our meal and unwind for the day.


Accommodations:  Tent Camping

Meals Included:  Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


Days 6-9 - Phase 2, Living off the Land Survival Scenario

Now that you have learned the basic survival skills, phase two will commence where you will be sent into the “bush” for the next five days to live off the land as if you were in a real survival situation.  You must put into practice what you have learned thus far, and use these newfound skills to take care of your basic needs including food, water, shelter, fire, exposure, etc.  You will only be allowed to take with you the clothes on your back and one instructor approved survival implement of your choice (e.g. knife).


This will be a challenging experience and will test your fortitude and your ability to organize your tasks, handle adversity, and to think quickly on your feet especially when you are tired, cold, hungry and/or thirsty.  Your instructors will be close by to monitor your progress and lend assistance in case you run into any mishaps or emergencies (injuries, severe weather, etc), but otherwise will not be helping you with any of your efforts.  As long as you adhere to what you have been taught during the first five days of the expedition, you will be able to get through this challenge and pass with flying colors!


Accommodations:  Primitive Shelters

Meals Included: None


Day 10 – Depart from the Gila Wilderness

This is the last day of the expedition so congratulations, you have made it!  After you wake up in the morning and complete your remaining tasks (safely putting out your fire, etc) you will walk back to the campsite and convene with the rest of the group for one last time around the campfire.  We will have a nice breakfast waiting for you along with refreshing beverages, so you can regain your strength before you depart.  Once you warm up, get some food, and regain your energy, you will pack your tent and campsite and then depart for your journey back home, taking with you many great memories of your experiences in the wild and the confidence that you now have what it takes to survive in a rugged landscape, just as our human ancestors did for many millennia!


Accommodations:  Primitive Shelters

Meals Included:  Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner


End of Trip

New Mexico Living off the Land Survival Expedition!