Now that she was calmer and accepted the situation things went smoothly. He helped her go through her equipment and made sure she was wearing her med-alert bracelet. He explained about sanctuary, how the food and water were safe to drink but really nasty tasting and how everything was calculated to encourage people to leave as soon as possible.
Tobal showed her the compass and map and which items were more important than others. He advised her to grab a couple extra blankets off the beds and showed how to pack everything tightly into a pack that she could carry.
He decided to wait out the rain. There was no sense traveling in such bad weather and he spent one more day at sanctuary getting to know Melanie and teaching her how to use the supplies. He explained about the maps and compass and how to read them. On the morning of the 2nd day the rain had stopped and it promised to be mild and clear. The sun was shining, the air was fresh and clear. It was a perfect day for traveling and he started by having her triangulate their location and finding it on the map.
In high spirits they headed straight for the lake cross country to the South East where his main camp was. Melanie was leading the way and tying knots in her cord every ½ mile. Since her steps were shorter than Tobal's she used a higher number of steps before tying the knot but the principle was the same.
Things didn't go as smoothly as they had when training with Rafe, especially since he had lost most of his emergency supplies in the flash flood. They did not have much food in reserve and at first needed to rely heavily on the nasty tasting stuff they brought with them from sanctuary.
Melanie proved a quick student with an animal instinct toward self preservation and survival. Tobal made a walking stick for her and showed her how to use it. As they traveled toward the lake he taught her many of the things Rafe had taught him. He taught about testing food to see if it was edible and collecting herbs as they went along. She caught on to snares with an uncanny sense of how animals thought and where they made their trails.
More times than not it was Melanie's snare or trap that held the rabbit or quail and not Tobal's. She turned out to be a much better trapper than he was. He comforted himself with the thought they had plenty of meat and spent a few days smoking jerky and building up their emergency food supply.
Melanie proved to be a natural with a sling and said she played a lot of baseball as a kid. She was already skilled in archery which she learned in high school. She had been on the school archery team.
There were less than 24 days until the next gathering and Tobal wondered if Melanie would be ready. He suspected she would given how fast she caught on to things. He would know for sure by the gathering and pushed the thought out of his mind.
As they drew near base camp his spirits rose and he began describing the beautiful place he had found. She was a good listener and never seemed to tire of his stories and descriptions.