I didn't realize it at the time but back on June 9th I was tagged by Ross over at Wood Trekker with the Liebster Award. Reading that post I realized what the award was as I was not familiar with it. As Ross puts it;
"The award is bestowed by bloggers on other bloggers and intended to allow people to learn more about each blogger and lead people to new content. Each person can ask eleven questions to eleven other bloggers, and so on. In effect, it is a tagging game designed to spread awareness of different blogs within a field."Ross did a great job answering the questions from his tag. Thanks Ross, for putting me in your list. These are the questions he pushed along when he tagged the Grouch.
Who are some of the people in the outdoor community, either past or present who you either consider mentors, or from whom you have gained knowledge about the outdoors, or inspiration to get out there?It happened in phases really. For the first several years of my life I lived on a rural farm in Virginia with no electricity or running water save the creek out front. It was a wonderland for a young boy who pushed his fingers into snake holes of the creek banks, chased crayfish and butterflies. I think that early exposure laid a foundation for love of the wild places, as the years rolled on I had an interest that I fed through books mostly and running the woods at every opportunity.
Literary figures had big impacts, most of these in my younger years were of fictional origins, later I would read Whelen, Angier, Nessmuk, Kephart, Rutstrum, Kochanski and others. Through this though there was a love of hunting that was the root of my affinity for the wild places. I read voraciously of this genre, from Hemingway to Jay Massey, Gasset to Thomas to Conrads, tales of the hunt and the wild and the camaraderie and the isolation. I've now concluded that this is the result of wanting to be, needing to be a part of the cycle of life and not just an observer but a participant. In the end I want to be in the wild, a part of it, I find it much preferred to our modern world in that I feel at peace and at home in the wild places much more so than not.
Of the current people in the outdoor community, I read and watch much of what is out there. Of late I've spent a lot of time on the Nativesurvival youtube channel, Mitch covers some ground in a practical manner and find the videos enjoyable.
What is the typical duration of one of your trips, and how much distance do you tend to cover on such trips?In a month's time I'll typically get out on a total four 'day trips', between 10 and 15 miles on average, and at least one if not two overnight trips and as far as distance on these it varies. Sometimes it's on foot and others it is via canoe. On foot for a typical three day around thirty miles.
What is your favorite instructional book about the outdoors?It comes down to three books, I can't narrow it to one. On Your Own in the Wilderness by Townsend Whelen and Bradford Angier, Mors Kochanski's Bushcraft, and Calvin Rutstrum's The New Way of the Wilderness. I think perhaps these are my favorite not for their instructional nature but for the way the material is presented. Particularly the philosophical perspectives from Whelen and Rutstrum as their views mirror my own. Of note, the New Way of the Wilderness forward was written by Whelen.
What is your vision of the woodsman, or the outdoorsman, at least as related to you and what you hope to achieve?I personally believe we're overly caught up in definitions and deciphering what things mean to one person as opposed to another. The rage for a while was 'define bushcraft' which was frankly ridiculous. Bushcraft is nothing more than a skill set type in my own opinion, just a series of skills of a certain nature.
As far as my vision of the woodsman, well for me it's being competent in the wild places, competent to be comfortable in adversity be it weather or terrain and so on. Skilled enough to enjoy the wild without fear, having 'skill based confidence'. I don't know if I could define what I hope to achieve other than to recharge the soul with what I find recharges it best, being in the wild places, immersed within the immeasurable of the wilderness, insulated and isolated from our modernized chaotic contrivances that we think make life better, but don't.
Do you hunt, and if so, how do you incorporate that into your trips? If not, is there a specific reason?Yes and yes. No matter the time of year the Hunter's Heart is always with me and I am always looking for sign and opportunities for the fall. Each outing regardless of primary intent always has an underlying reason related to hunting. My most recent foray was traveling the Pow Wow trail in the Boundary Waters. This area was completely destroyed three years ago in a wildfire. My primary reason for going was to see how bad the trail was, if it was still possible to run it as a loop, to identify for the Forest Service any seriously bad areas. Beneath that I wanted to see what life had returned. After a wildfire there's often more browse and food for ungulates as the years pass, this is the 3rd year since the Pagami Creek fire. I wanted to see if whitetail populations were making a come back so that I could plan a week long backpack hunting trip to that area of the wilderness. Turns out they are not but moose, bear, and wolf sign was heavy.
On any given outing, even the short ones I'm looking for sign, trying to understand my quarry not only during hunting season but at all times.
How much was your pack base weight on your last overnight trip?I've read and seen this breakdown before but I don't believe in discounting weight as base or not. You're going to carry the whole thing regardless. My last outing was three nights and four days, 32 miles of rugged wilderness. Pack weight at the time of departure complete with food and 100 ounces of water to start was 39.9 pounds.
I came to the conclusion some time ago that there is no 'one' piece of anything that suits me across all endeavor types. Short range foraging excursions I prefer more traditional types of gear. Longer range multiple day forays afield and I prefer a different type of gear. I see no reason to be pigeon holed into type or single pieces. I've found that fixating too much on weight for example, led to less enjoyable outings. Pack might have been lighter but I didn't enjoy the outing near as much.
Weight is a trade off, finding a happy balance based on personal enjoyment, physical comfort, and practicality of use under hard conditions all play a factor for me.
Have you been offered the opportunity to film any TV shows related to your outdoor pursuits? If yes, have you thought of accepting them? If no, would you be interested in such an offer?Yes and so far I've not been inclined to accept but that doesn't mean I never would.
What is your preferred shelter system for winter trips?Tarps and modified tarps.
Are you a member of any outdoor organizations whether they be hunting, backpacking, etc?Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, to name two.
Have you ever found yourself in a survival or emergency situation while in the woods, and if so, how did you cope?I've avoided significant 'survival situations' through foresight and being careful for the most part. There have been a couple occurrences though, that would qualify. Falling through the ice into cold water, choice of clothing helped me here as I was warm enough to make the miles back to camp to get dry. Hypothermia, or at least the threat of it, hiking several miles with temps in the mid 40s and constant rain with winds, recipe for disaster. Choice of materials helped again and access to dry core clothing stored in a dry bag in my pack.
I've spent some unexpected nights in the woods largely because my legs carried me much farther on the track of an animal than I should have. I despise navigating the woods at night, especially long distances (two or more miles) and usually just spend the night where I stand when the sun dips below the horizon. Because I have a habit of this I carry what I need to make those stays not just a miserable night in the woods but a comfortable and enjoyable one.
Why do you blog?It started more as an electronic journal than anything else. I find it is an excellent means to document both thoughts and sights, the combination of word and photography being the best means possible to convey emotion and experience. That it is shared with others of similar interests is icy on the cake so to speak. I enjoy logging my experiences and I enjoy hearing from others, suggestions, questions, interpretations and differing perspectives. While I prefer to be alone in the wilderness, oddly enough I enjoy sharing the experience after the fact with others.
One of the interesting things to note is Ross also tagged pretty much everyone I'd tag so I'll watch for their posts on the matter.
Here are the blogs that Ross tagged;
- American Grouch
- Backpacking North
- Bedrock & Paradox
- Outdoor Envy
- Rocky Mountain Bushcraft
- The Weekend Woodsman
- The Trying Woodsman
- Section Hiker
- Survival Logic
- Master Woodsman
Thanks again Ross.