It all began with one very simple piece of instruction: Run.
Welcome to Lanzarote, a small Spanish island 78 miles off the coast of Africa. Lanzarote is home to volcanic mountain ranges, dangerously scorching temperatures, and a vast stretch of seemingly never ending desert - the perfect place to replicate "The Scorch."
Modeled after the life or death perils of the characters of “The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials,” FOX 32 Jake Hamilton was equipped with basic desert skills as he trekked across the terrain in an obstacle course of survival.
My adventure began in an abandoned hotel.
Located on the island’s coast, it was left unfinished in the late 1970s after officials discovered it was being constructed without permission.
Nearly four decades later, this haunting structure stands as a dangerous testament to thin line between the island’s natural beauty and it’s deadly potential.
Jake's first real test was to construct a shelter. In the desert, the sun is your most dangerous enemy, so escaping should be your top priority. You want to gather as many black rocks as possible, as they absorb heat during the day to keep you cool and release it at night to keep you warm. After constructing small walls to block the wind, you want to burrow into the sand to avoid the heat and use any piece of cloth you have to cover yourself.
When it comes to fire, your best bet is the bow drill, as it requires items you’re most likely to find or already have. Using a bow shaped stick, a shoe string and something strong and sturdy for a spindle, the smooth back-and-forth motions create a friction that, if done consistently and vigorously, will create heat and, over time, a fire.
But eventually, you’re going to want to put something on that fire, so you’re going to have to set a trap. Jake used a deadfall trap, used to catch a variety of animals depending on how big you can build it. Using nothing more than some rocks, a shoe string and a few sticks, the animal trips the trigger and is crushed under the weight of the largest rock.
However, animals are few and far between out in the deser -- which means your dreams of a well roasted pigeon will likely evolve into the reality of eating whatever you can find -- like crickets.
Desert survival is as much a trial of the mind as it is the body. While Jake was never in any real danger, the scorched earth of Lanzarote provided a deadly board upon which to play the game of survival.
But in the end, you just have to keep moving. Because that’s the thing about life, you want to be running when the sand runs out.