For the entire month of August, every weekend and even for the first full week, I got to spend a ton of time with my father. He is still quick with a story, full of woodsman-like wisdom and still a boy scout at 81 years of age. It was absolutely the greatest to spend all that time with him. I really did want to write something up for the blog, but every moment just seemed so precious. So here I am finally to tell the tale.
|Dad and I Visiting the Garrison, MN Walleye|
He told me stories of working his trap line as a kid going for mink and weasel and rabbit and about getting geared up to go fishing with his dad in the wee hours of the morning as his dad was getting off the night shift and about how he and his buddies use to just go out camping and spending time out in the woods, just for the fun of it. They were bushcrafting long before it would be called bushcraft. We recalled together a great number of boy scout camporees we had done together, and spoke of various canoe trips and hiking adventures.
I even shared with him a number of videos of my most recent adventures in bushcraft. He was very eager to get back to Cheyenne and share them with his old boy scout buddies. They meet a few times a month to share and talk about scouting and he was sure that they would like to see what it was that I was doing. (blush)
Now I really will have to work at making even better videos because I will have an even wider audience then I would imagine.
Before he left to return home to his place in Wyoming, we worked to put together a good improvised "Flint and Steel" kit for him in an Altoids tin. We also put together a bow drill set, consisting of a basswood hearth board and spindle, paracord and a specially made bearing block handhold with built in bearing scrounged from a set of roller blades we got for $1.50 at a thrift store. I can only imagine what that might have looked like on the x-ray monitor at the airport when he checked in for the flight, with that in his carry-on.
While we were spending time together, he tried getting an ember with the bow drill set. He came very close to succeeding. He had lots of smoke and lots of dust, but because he was still working on the mechanics of it all, just ran out of energy towards the end and could not get the final push of speed towards the end. But he is going to continue to practice and I know he will get it. He practiced several times and was getting down the body mechanics quite well the last time he practiced. Not bad for an 81 year old.
He was also able to, on three occasions, to get a spark onto some charred cloth and then fold it into a tinder bundle of jute twine and bring it to flame. Awesome. He even made some charred cloth in his altoids tin from some denim cloth I provided him.
We also worked on natural cordage and carvings and even a wooden spoon. We took a few short hikes and did some exploring and it was just good to feel the presence of my dad and to be a kid again.
The best part was to be able to tell him how much I appreciated him teaching me all the bushcraft skills and things that he knew, as I was growing up. That I had become the woodsman that I am today because of him. That he had a legacy in me and that I was going to pass it on, and keep it alive by teaching my kids. I know he is proud of me.
I am pretty proud of him. For one incredible month, I got to be a kid, a student, a mentor and most of all, a son. I had time with my dad. We had time to get aquainted again. We had time to do together, the things we both loved doing. We had time for bushcraft. I love you Dad!
Happy Exploring my friends...