On Discovering Self

"Walk in Peace... Learn from Nature... Find Yourself...

Monday, July 4, 2011

Minnesota Closed it Doors

   On July 1st, 2011, the State of Minnesota closed it's doors and stopped doing business. This was a historic event that has had far reaching effects, all brought on by this shutdown. Most of it you can read about in the news or online. The most immediate affect was the furloughing of over 20,000 state workers.

   Now you may be asking, what or rather how does this affect anyone interested in spending anytime in the wilderness? How does this effect the practice of bushcraft? I discovered my beloved Minneopa State Park is now closed, as are all the state parks. The thousands of acres of woodland and wilderness that are part of the park systems will of course continue as normal, the animals and habitat and wilderness just growing and changing as it has for thousands of years. There will be very few people there to enjoy it. I am determined to be one of those people.
   I know what you are thinking, is it breaking the rules? Is it even trespassing? To be honest, I don't really know for sure. None of my activities in the park consume any of it's resources, I never use the camp sites, toilets, firewood, water or any of the shelters or even the trash bins. In fact I am usually so far off the beaten trail, so far in the bush, I hardly ever see another soul. I do approach the park from the "back side" by way of another adjacent county park. I doubt that anyone will even notice me.
   This did raise a few questions in my mind. Because I now realized that if I do suffer some mechanical injury out there, and I should lose cell phone coverage, I would be in a world of hurt and would need to affect self-rescue. It really gets you thinking about what's in your kit. I've traveled with the same things for years, and have always felt it quite adequate, but things change, the wilderness changes, the climate changes, I've changed. I've gotten older. I think I've gotten smarter. Certainly bushcraft teaches you that you can even do with carrying a lot less, after all it is about the knowledge and wisdom you gain from knowing the landscape and having that kinship with it.
   But the truth is, you need to always be adapting and changing and prepared. You need to be always looking at your kit and asking the question, is this right? is this just enough? Hopefully this has become automatic for you. If you have practiced bushcraft long enough, some things are just obvious and you never go without. But does your perception of what was adequate for you as bushcrafter say five years ago match who you are today? Do those nagging aches and pains in the morning tell you that you need to consider something more for your experience? Maybe there are medications to be considered? Maybe it is time to consider a walking stick? There can be so many things to consider, but don't let them prevent you from having your adventure. Just be sure to listen to what your body is telling you and let that help you to fill out your kit for the adventure at hand.
   Yes, I will continue to visit my state parks, one way or the other, and hope the State of Minnesota re-opens them. And I will continue to let bushcraft be my guide. For it is the bushcraft that is inside of you, that drives you forward to the wilderness, to the woodlands and to the vast expanse that is in our hearts, our minds and in our muscles. Happy exploring...

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