On Sunday, June 9th I made my way north to the city of Bloomington, MN and to the Hyland Park Reserve for a "meet and greet" with fellow BushcraftUSA member "Shonuffisthemaster."
Sho' and I had never met before this, except for exchanging some brief info on the BushcraftUSA forum site. Here is a link to that growing conversation thread, started by Sho' and a carried on by a few others who wanted to get this going. A Regular Meeting In The Twin Cities
He has been interested for some time in getting a regular meeting going for local bushcraft enthusiasts, just like I've been trying to do here in southern Minnesota for the past year or more.
I decided to meet with him, and offer my encouragement and to spend some time getting to know my fellow bushcrafter and together maybe practice some skills and pass on some ideas for up coming meetups.
Here is my trip report as I posted it on the BushcraftUSA forum "Minnesota Section" site.
"First off, I would like to give a big thank you to Sho' for putting out
the invitation and for taking the time and coming out to meet me and
show me around his great park reserve. Hyland is a big place with lots
of good resources and places to explore. I know we will all have a lot
of fun out there in the future.
For those of you who could not make it, you missed a great time. As it
was just Sho' and myself, we pretty much followed our whimsy when it
came to exploring and followed a lot of the trails looking for things of
Here is a list of the things we did, or practiced, or studied or just
plain shared for show and tell and the learning and the joy of
• We worked on Tree ID which included the basswood, cottonwood, aspen, willow, green ash and elm and assorted oaks.
• Practiced natural cordage with harvested basswood inner bark.
• Searched for local wild edibles and ate some basswood leaves. Found
basswood, burdock, dandelions, some cattails, out of season raspberry
bushes, some wood sorrel and violets.
• Practiced some animal tracking with found deer tracks.
• Observed animals in habitat- wood ducks.
• Observed local fisherman catching pan fish. (food source)
• Harvested dead standing basswood for bow drill spindles and hearth board.
• Calculated pace for 100 meters for use with pace beads and map making practice.
• Practiced with compass and map making, pace count and pace beads, and estimated distances and use of triangulation.
• Made basswood spindles and hearth board and succeeded with making bow drill fire for each of us.
• Discussed kit components, (show and tell)
• I showed him my Ottomani Sun Compass constructed on a previous outing, as an idea for another Saturday meetup.
• I showed him an improvised steel and a flint and he tried his hand at getting an ember in some charred cloth.
• And finally there was a great demonstration by Sho' of field expedient
sharpening of knives to hair popping sharpness. It was funny to see all
that arm hair piling up on the edge of his knife. (It was amazing and I
learned a lot and want to learn more. He has some excellent ideas and
some mad knife sharpening skills.)
I arrived at 4pm and left around 8:30pm and it was a great 4.5 hours of
bushcraft fun and skills practice and I am sure we could have continued
sharing more time and experience.
I hope you are all jealous and now wondering why you did not make it.
I will definitely try to make the next meetup and it will be even better if more will show up. There is so much we can do.
Through the whole time, I gained a new brother in bushcraft and made a
new friend and all of that thru the kindredness that is found in the joy
and practice of bushcraft."
I have to say, it was a very fun trip and well worth my time traveling the hour or so to get there. I will definitely go again and hopefully meet a few more members of BushcraftUSA from the Twin Cities area.
I hope Sho' and his friends are able to get something regular going. I hope that it grows and flourishes and that many more like minded people will join in the fun. I hope that I can be a part of it on many occasions and look forward to getting a grand Minnesota meetup together with a few overnights to share with so many who call themselves "Bushcrafters." Until next time, Happy Exploring.