On Discovering Self

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

Friday, April 26, 2013

Even More Adventure In The Richard J. Dorer Memorial Hardwood State Forest

   As mentioned in the previous blog post, my friend Sticker and I had a good long day of it, exploring that portion of the state forest. We were having so much fun, that time just flew by. It would have been even more fun, had there been some other Minnesota or Wisconsin or even Iowa BushcraftUSA members there to join in. It was a near perfect day for getting out.
   We had the chance to meet a few people who were out on the trails getting in some hiking and walking their dogs. The first of the people we met were two women and their dog, whose name escapes me at the moment, but they were making the long trek up the hill to get to their vehicle and it was at that point that Sticker and I realized there would have been an easier way up to the look-out, but probably not as fun. They asked us about wild edibles and other signs of nature and we made them a quick walking staff to help in their climb and we wished them well.
   Later we met another hiker, a man our with his short hair dog and he seemed a nice fellow and we talked a long time about the forest and about bushcraft and primitive skills and how we were collecting resources for friction fire and for using improvised flint and steel. He told us that the mosquitoes get pretty bad in that area and he did not understand why that is. He was a local native and we listen intently.
  Finally we met one last hike and his dog, as we were headed back to the nature center. We talked for awhile about bushcraft and he mentioned that he had seen and heard of BushcraftUSA and that he was a knife collector. He showed us his new Bark River knife that was a little smaller then my Aurora but a little bigger then the Little Creek model. I was not sure what model it was, but I liked it and was going to have to look that one up after I got home.
   So here is part two of our adventure and it is a little longer, but shows we had a lot of fun and practiced a few good skills.

   I am so looking forward to going back one day and hopefully doing it with a larger group of bushcrafters. As I posted up this same report to the BushcraftUSA forum site, I mentioned that I hoped it would make a lot of the Minnesota guys jealous that they did not go. Some of them were jealous, so my plan worked.
   I hope my friends that you enjoyed the video and the story line and I look forward to bringing you the next adventure. It's going to be a great summer. Until next time, Happy Exploring.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A Recon Of The Richard J. Dorer Memorial Hardwood State Forest

   Well as promised, I finally made it to the RJD Memorial Hardwood State Forest and had the chance to spend a good nine hours playing in the woods. In that time, my friend Sticker and I covered a lot of ground, including both over land and the landscape that is bushcraft and some of the required skills sets. Here is a list of nearly all the activities we touched on in our time at the woods.
    We worked on navigation with our topo maps and compass, gathered tinders, found chert for improvised strikers for improvised steels, practiced with magnifying lens and chaga, gathered false tinder fungus, and gathered pine needles for tea. Then we gathered basswood and ash for bow drill and spindle parts, looked for water sources, practiced tree identification, looked for wild edibles (found some near ready fiddle heads), worked some knifecraft with batoning and carving, practiced shadow stick method for direction, played with making natural cordage made from basswood inner bark (not in the video), used flint and steel to start fire, and finally made some pine needle tea and relaxed.
   The established campground was on a hill nearby and had plenty of trees to hang hammocks, open areas for tents and fire rings and vault toilets. There was also a hand powered pump that worked for water.
   We got there at 9AM and stayed until 6PM. The weather was perfect for an outing, with sunny skies, temperature high near 40°F and little to no wind.
   As Sticker put it when we got there, "We needed to get out of our comfort zone." and he was right, we had gotten really familiar with things back in our usual stomping grounds.
   But we discovered as always, that bushcraft and bushcraft skills travel with you, and before long we were comfortable here in this new place, and we were soon gathering resources and having fun like a couple of boys playing in the woods.
   So here is Part One of our great adventure.

   Later, I will post up Part Two showing even more of the fun and I know I will be looking forward to doing even more adventures in bushcraft this year and meeting up with some really fine people. Until next time, Happy Exploring.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Most Recent Bushcraft Adventures And A Planned Recon Of State Forest

   Well, it has finally arrived and by that I don't mean Spring or some new piece of gear or even the myriad number of robins that have populated our yards and woodlands. What I mean is that it is Tax Day 2013. April 15th, some of us dread it and some, well let's just say they probably have their refund already and have already bought their new knives and other gear for the coming spring and summer adventures.
   I realized too that it is the 15th of April and I have yet to post anything in my blog for this month. Where has all the time gone? It's not like I haven't been busy enjoying several bushcraft adventures.
   The following Sunday after my last posting on the "Sights and Sounds of Spring," I met up with my buddy Sticker and we headed out for a long hike to explore some of the places that he had not seen in our area before.
   Along the way we discussed ways of finding directions without a compass and how to tell approximately which direction was "south" by looking at which side of a tree has the most branches, we looked for any large ant hills that might have been built, usually on the south side of a tree, we examined the growth patterns of moss on the usual north side of a tree in the deeper woods, and later we used the shadow stick method to really nail down the east west line and determine north and south, once the sun came out. Sticker had never seen that done before and was very impressed.
   We also practiced some tracking skills, examined mullein stalks as possible sources for a hand drill spindle, looked at several types of scat, found a deer carcass, bushwacked thru some thick brush, and in the end made a small dead fall trap using a promontory peg trigger. I could tell that my friend Sticker was having a good time.
  In the end, we had hike 4.5 miles or so and spent about 6 hours in the woodland soaking up what turned out to be a great day. It was a lot of fun and I didn't take a single minute of video. Sometimes you just have to let it go and be more in the moment.
   Part of our conversation that day was on making plans to recon the Richard J. Dorer State Forest here in southeastern Minnesota for an upcoming three day meetup with several other interested bushcrafters in our area.
   We decided to make the recon a Day Trip and are planning on meeting in the Easy Wheeling Nature Area which is part of the Kruger Forest Management Unit.  We are planning on spending about 9 hours in the area exploring, practicing bushcraft skills and getting the most out of what should be a great day. Here is a link to a map of the area. Easy Wheeling Nature Area
   Hopefully soon, I will complete the video I am working on, on how to make an Ottomani Sun Compass and I will post up my report on the day trip to the Richard J. Dorer State Forest and our day of recon and bushcraft adventure. Until next time, Happy Exploring.