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Sunday, June 24, 2018

Catskill Mountains are ready for Zac Efron's adventure

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Zac Efron wakes up a bit dazed on a bench. He is ready to go on this adventure with Bear Grylls. Grylls is sitting on a helicopter and talking about how Zac Efron is a holiday heartthrob, who is known for his singing, dancing and good physique, and he wants to push Efron's limits and see what more he can do.


This is the very first aired episode of the show Running Wild. It is Season 1 and it premiered on July 28th, 2014. I believe the choice to start the show with Efron was a good one because he is a physically fit and attractive young man who at the time was 26.


Efron came last year in the movie Baywatch (2017) and we did see him do some heavy freestyle climbing and swinging. So, it seems that his time with Grylls was also a good warmup for a future film. They are going on their adventure in the Catskill Mountains, which is one of the mountainous and forest regions of the East Coast in the US. Grylls says it is known for its sunking river ways and cliffs.

Bear grins mischievously as he is about to get Zac saying that usually Zac is used to screaming fans but now it is for him to do the screaming. Efron waits for him and sees a beaver in the water and jokes Bear and him missed catching their meal. Then Grylls comes and picks Efron up with a helicopter. They have to freefall down from the helicopter and then use their parachutes to glide down.

Grylls explains the procedure and though Zac is a bit nervous he goes out of the copter with Bear right behind him. They successfully open their parachutes and Efron comments on the adrenalin rush and Grylls congratulates him on his good timing. They are aiming for a clearing to continue onwards. Bear explains they have about40 miles to track and it is mostly forest, gullies and big rivers and he will explain more on the way. Bear then gives viewers a summary of their journey; they will follow the forest via a big river basin to an overnight camp. On the second day they have to traverse a gigantic slab of sheer rock and get to their extraction point.

While they are walking they have a friendly conversation. Zac tells Bear he is a genuine fan and that when his family could afford TiVo the only thing he would record were Bear Grylls shows. Bear is really honored about this. Also, Zac mentions he did go camping when he was younger but they usually did not do extreme things such as this. Zac says he wants to prove to his father that he can handle survival situations and is ecstatic to be on the show with Bear Grylls.

They then approach a river bank they have to traverse down. They have rope but no harness. Bear shows how to tie the rope to some trees and also tie it to one's oneself to carefully propel down. He stresses that this procedure may hurt but NEVER to let go of the rope and even mimics slipping but holding onto the rope. Bear goes down first and then watches carefully as Zac also cautiously goes down the same way. As he succeeds, they high-five each other.

Bear then says it is time to eat and Zac seems happy. Bear gives Zac some jerky and buts and says they will mostly eat from the land but they also have some supplements. They talk about Efron's career and yes he did start singing and dancing from a young age. He says with a grin that when he was 13 he had college age girls teaching him how to dance and who could say no to that.

Bear said he would as he would be really embarrassed and he can't dance. Zac says he is lucky to be this successful and Bear is also proud of him and says to fight for things they want. They arrive at a beautiful waterfall and Grylls spies that tucked within its rocks is a carcass. Grylls is pleased and states to the audience that being a good survivalist is being a good opportunist. So, he says he will tie Zac with a sturdy rope so he can go a bit down and get the carcass. Zac gets the carcass and it looks to be a rabbit.

Bear then positions a knife and tells Zac to cut into the rabbit and if the smell is awful they know they can't consume the meat. Zac cuts into the flesh and Bear makes him smell the inside. Zac's faces convulse in pure disgust and Bear takes the knife from him and he coughs and spits. Grylls states that the meat cannot be consumed. Zac feels that was just awful.

They wash their hands but the smell doesn't come off easily so Bear shows a good way to remove such smells is to rub one's hands in moss and mud and they do just that. On the way, Zac also climbs up a tree as Bear keenly spots a bird's night. They gather the eggs and some worms (Zac eats a worm) and they go to a cave like slab to make a fire. Zac is amazed that they can make fire from batteries and chewing gum foil. Connect the foil to the battery terminal and soon there will be a fire. They make the fire and Zac is really impressed and excited.

They make a worm omelette and Zac eats it with Bear. Bear appreciates Zac's honesty as he had confessed he had gone to rehab. Zac says the work was not a challenge but the pressures of celebrity life were getting to him. Everywhere he went, even if it was a casual outing, press would be there and this shadowing started to affect him. Bear is still proud of Zac overcoming his struggles especially as he experienced them at a young age. They camp for the night. Bear makes fern tea in the morning and tells Zac to wake up as they have to push forward.

They come to a very difficult part of the journey and even Bear is nervous. There is a ravine-like gap and Bear and Zac have to traverse it on a rope. Bear shows the way by saying to position the rope on your belly and have one leg propped up and one leg trailing and gently pull with your hands. After Bear moves across, it is Zac's turn. It was tense but Zac manages it and Zac and Bear are proud. Bear says Zac he has a good control of his fear. Zac says that theatre auditions prepped him for this and his parents told him to break through the way of fear. So, Zac is up for the challenge.

They come to the final stretch of their journey and it is about 120 ft drop of a waterfall. Bear says they must take their shirts off put them in their backpacks so that they waterproof them and have something dry to wear on the other side. They have to traverse down together for safety. They slowly start their descent. The rope ends a bit on top of the water so they let go and are in the water. The water is not deep and Zac did mention while descending he can't swim.

As they get to their extraction point safely Bear says that it is his job to keep Zac safe. Efron is amazed by this experience. He says its tests endurance, willpower and your limits. He is happy to do this and he likes being challenged.


The writer is working with The Asian Age

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