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The Voice of the Tyrone Area High School

Tyrone Eagle Eye News

The Voice of the Tyrone Area High School

Tyrone Eagle Eye News

Local Scout Wins Wilderness Survival Competition

Photo courtesy of Dylan Eckenrode
Eckenrode was able to create a shelter out of found material and a small tarp that was part of the survival kit given to contestants.

Cable TV shows like Alone on the History Channel are giving wilderness survival skills a moment in popular culture. These shows highlight the skills necessary to survive in the wilderness.

While Tyrone sophomore Dylan Eckenrode didn’t get to spend weeks alone in the Alaskan bush, he was able to prove wilderness survival skills by winning a local Boy Scout challenge this fall.

In September Eckenrode and other local scouts competed in as part of a Wilderness Survival Merit Badge Challenge.

There were five contestants in the challenge. Each was allowed to bring only a few supplies – everything fit into a small one-gallon can.

Eckenrode caught trout without a rod and built a fire for heat and cooking. (Photo courtesy of Dylan Eckenrode)

The supplies included a lighter wrapped in tape, a parachute cord, an 8×12 ft drop-cloth for shelter, dryer lint for fire starting, fishing line, fly-fishing flies, wire, two energy bars, two packs of peanuts, and a flashlight.

Around 6:30 pm, Eckenrode started hiking in for his drop. He arrived at his camp location around 7 pm and got food in a bear basket for safety and protection. He then continued by building his shelter in the dark.

“Another contestant showed up around 10:45 pm and started building his shelter about 75 yards from me. I slept for about two hours and the fire started around 1 am. That kid was not there when I woke up, so I thought I won,” Eckenrode said.

Even though he wouldn’t be there long enough to face starvation, it was important to Eckenrode to prove to himself that he could find food without a weapon.

He made a rod and a net out of sticks and chicken wire, and was able to catch two brook trout.

By lunchtime, he had made an old fire pit into a stone furnace to cook up his catch and keep warm for the night.

Just to add to the challenge, Mother Nature decided to make things a little tougher.

“It poured down rain that night for about two hours,” said Eckenrode, who prepared by making a shelter out of the 8×12 tarp that was included in his gear.

The next morning, Eckenrode woke up at 2:30 am to his final competitor walking down the trail. He had spent a total of 32 hours in the woods to win the competition.

He said being bored was probably the most difficult part of the experience. “I [tried] to fight it by making things out of what I could find in the woods, plus what I brought in the can,” Eckenrode said.

Asked if he would ever consider trying out for a survival competition, Eckenrode said “I would consider doing the show Alone, it seems to be a neat experience.”

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About the Contributor
Olivia McMonagle, Staff Writer
Olivia is a junior at Tyrone Area High School. This is her first year in Tyrone Eagle Eye. Olivia also is in Yearbook, National Honor Society, and Golden Revolution. In her free time, she enjoys coaching for a tiny team at Volition Cheer All-Stars along with being on a dance team there. Olivia's favorite subject is English because she gets to write. She loves hanging out with friends and spending quality time with her family. She plans to write stories about what's going on in the school and local places. Olivia plans to attend college after high school for something related to media and journalism.

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