31 July 2014

Waiting On Winter...

As bad as ours was I can't wait to see it again.

I think about it sometimes as the seasons pass, the pale green spring, the humid sticky summer warmth, the fiery autumn colors, each with glories of their own but none the crown of winter.

The biting cold, the sideways snow, the wind when she rolls on out of the north, the serene stillness when she's not moving. The sound of cracking trees settling in for the long cold, the slowing clicking trickle in the creek as the ice sets. Frosty breath and burning cheeks, a icy white grip on the world around, yes, I want my winter back on the ground.

About the best damn 'winter' song I know, of course nothing Chris Knight writes is ever bad...

27 July 2014

All This Talk About Bushcraft- M3 Shelter Build

Since I've been talking too much about it, I got out and did some which is more important than discussing the word itself.

This is actually the follow up to the  Sargent M3 Pass Around Knife post from a few weeks ago.

Brian Sargent makes some very nice knives, no nonsense and long on capability and ease of use. The knife is very comfortable to use, even hard use over prolong periods of time. There was nothing I couldn't do with this knife, it performed all tasks exceedingly well and surprised me in some ways. There was simply nothing I asked of it that it couldn't do and do it well!

All cutting for the shelter was done exclusively with the knife, sometimes using a baton for the big stuff. Time consuming but enjoyable process and as I was finishing it up today we had a rain storm set in, Ace and I remained comfortably dry inside the shelter.

Video available in 720, some stills of the shelter and then my thoughts on the knife.
Thanks for taking a look.

26 July 2014

Follow up...another update

Second Edit and Update;

I despise having to edit things, I do believe in speech being free and unfettered and I hate having to remove comments however I was left with no choice and removed several very unsavory comments. This discussion or whatever you want to call it is supposed to about the TM of Bushcraft, what transpired either before or after, what actions are or are not being taken. It shouldn't be what some have turned it into.

No personal attacks, no threats, do not post personal information anymore, I've removed the ability to post anon comments. Register or claim your identity, don't hide behind anonymity, this community is fairly aware of most so whom you go by is generally recognized. No more anon attacks.

I believe the discussion is worth having and so I will not close it, say your piece and your belief and move on. Just stop with the personal attacks.

Edit; The prior post to which this one speaks has some rather rough language and content not appropriate for kids in the comments section, I will not edit speech however and thus you are warned about reading the comments. I would ask for civil discourse, I understand things get heated and that's fine but don't take it too far.

At this point I've read all the comments from the previous post and will not edit or delete anything that has been said. People can speak their piece as they see fit.

As far as the trademark business, apparently Bushcraft has been trademarked in the past in the UK for example. http://www.ipo.gov.uk/tmcase/Results/4/EU004712675

I am not clear on UK trademark law so who knows, oddness there but I can't figure it.

If there was outrage of this I didn't see it, check the link for yourself, if you find outrage over it source it.

What I do know is that BCUSA filed for the TM in 2012 and nothing happened after that that I can find until this stuff blew up this week.

There were accusations of cease and desist letters being issued but I've seen no proof of that, only accusations, if there were cease and desist letters out there why have they not surfaced?

As far as it being defined as a 'despicable' act, I've seen actual 'despicable' acts, this doesn't constitute. 

Whether liked or not we are in fact a nation of laws, there's nothing unlawful in going through the TM process, there's nothing unlawful about protecting interests and properties, there are some angry people out there but is the anger truly warranted? No one has offered up anything substantive, only hearsay, nothing that would meet evidential muster of intent.

As for the actions taken after, well if you poke a bear stuff happens.

I said in the original post that folks should make up their own mind. I'm not much on pomp and circumstance, I'm not going to get all loud with a bunch of faux outrage to carry anyone's agenda. 

Make up your own minds people, the simplest answer is almost always the right answer, Occam's Razor applies. If there was nefarious intent where is the proof of that intention manifest?

Last piece, if you have two competing groups, one established and one new, the new is the result of a disagreement with the old. This disagreement is nasty with some significant bad blood, enough so that the new group overtly implies and insinuates threat. Old group sees this and erects a defense, but does not engage offensively. That was the nature of this as of two weeks ago, so what changed? What set this off and why is it explosively divisive now? From whence did the angst come?

The real travesty here, in the end, is the people who care not for more than the concept of Bushcraft, being in the woods, being outside, seeking the wilderness both internal and external, people who have commonality and yet there is a set of odds now, of animosity and over what? Were all to know the true source of this, what really happened in the beginning to set it off I have a feeling there would be several who might see things in a different light.

It didn't need to happen the way it did in the beginning, but it did, and as a result BCUSA put measures in place to protect themselves, rightfully so, and justly under the law.

24 July 2014

Integrity, or the lack there of...Updated


The comments to this post, some of them, contain rather rough language and age inappropriate content. I will not however delete them, I will not be accused of editing people or their statements. You have been properly warned.

What a sad bit of business and an open advertisement of dishonesty and lack of integrity, not to mention a lack of reading comprehension.

The old saying that readers are leaders is absolutely true. When folks take another persons word for something they are placing trust in that other person and sometimes that trust is not warranted, it would behoove people in general to 'find out for themselves' to not accept completely what they are sometimes told, trust, but verify applies.

So for those who give a damn about integrity start here; Bushcraft USA Trademarks the word Bushcraft.

For those who don't know it would be hard to lay it out because it goes back a couple years. At its root it comes to egos and measuring sticks and conclusions not accepted because they're founded on opinion and incorrect assumptions based on flawed process and inapplicable 'scientific' processes. Add to that some disgruntled people who's products were not heavily sought after within the vendor section at BCUSA feeling like there was a conspiracy to keep their sales volume down, which is utter bullshit.

Suffice it to say a four year old having a tantrum because he was scolded or denied something is the equivalent.

Read the entirety of the link I posted and actually read it. Do your own research form your own conclusions but realize the truth is there, sometimes it takes some diligence to get to it.

At the end of the day people do some stupid things, they do some low down dirty things, more often than not this comes from their own lack of integrity, their inability to accept criticism, or the pointing out of their lack of knowledge or experience or both. What is shameful is that this mess happens, that something as enjoyable and clean as bushcraft or woodsmanship has this type of behavior in it.

So make up your own minds, don't take any one's word for it, research it yourself if it matters to you.

My affiliation with BCUSA is as a member and nothing more, I've seen incredible acts of generosity, and I've seen accountability. Fakes don't last, liars last half that, words without actions are empty and trying to sell yourself as an expert in something without the actual experience results in busted egos.

Incidentally that also exists somewhere else, it's called LIFE. The problems come when people who espouse themselves to be something they are not; and while the life expectancy of such a persons integrity and respectability can be prolonged in the digital cyberspace of un-verifiability they're still losers in the real world and they'll have a habit of being losers with a string of failures at all manner of levels in their past.

Unless you are versed in Trademark Law you should get educated before making a decision.

Try this first...

Overview of Trademark Law from Harvard Law.


Just in case there was some confusion look closely at the images below from 2012.

What do you see? The TM symbol of course. It's been there for years without so much as a hiccup from the Bushcraft community. It's BEEN there and nothing came of it for years.

What has transpired? BCUSA founders established the TM to protect themselves from what they are now being accused of doing.  As a wise fellow said;

Hate to see so many people getting sand in their pants before they stop to think, and then consider that this was done two years ago ! Only reason it came up now is someone started trying to to the EXACT same thing, and found out they could not, so they started an online smear campaign. 
Where was the uproar two years ago? When these knives were made? When the TM appeared on the header at BCUSA?

It is as simple as this;

Someone wanted to trademark bushcraft for their own enterprise, found out it isn't available and pitched a hissy fit. What you are seeing is the result of crying because they didn't get it first.

I would call that good strategy on our part. -Guy


21 July 2014

Review & GAW Wilder Forge Knife

Back in the later part of May I got my hands on a knife from Wilder Forge.

For those who don't know Chase (Nolan) Wilder is a seventeen year old smith who lives and works in Michigan. He's been forging since he was thirteen. You can catch up on him at his website or in the forums at bushcraftusa.com as he recently became a vendor there. Click here for his website.

He sent me a trade style bushcraft knife to try out. We agreed at the time that I would not keep the knife but would instead do a GAW in the BCUSA forums once I was done playing with it.

That time has come.

Rules are simple.

Be a BCUSA supporter and reply in this thread with I'M IN, you must be 18 and it must be legal for you to own the knife.

I will run this thread and include updates of my thoughts and images of the knife in use since late May. On August 1st I will close it up and use random number to generate the winner from the post numbers.

Out of the package

It's a trade style knife and in that regard it's not a perfectly finished super fine knife. It's a user plain and simple trade style. When I got it I fiddled with the edge for a little bit and did the things I do to pretty much every knife I've ever ended up with. The sheath as well is simple yet durable. The fit is not super snug, if you upend it in the sheath it will likely slip free.

On to the use!

After bringing the edge to my muster I like to make fire! It's simple and probably is the bulk use I have for a woods knife. Wood processing and fire building.

Some general food prep.

I'll post more information and pics between now and the 8/1 close up.

13 July 2014

Sargent M3 Pass Around Knife

Didn't have a lot of time this weekend but did get to spend the day with this knife.

I'm very impressed!

More to come...

All around just an exceptional knife!

06 July 2014

Life At Paddle Speed...

In August of 2011 I paddled up the St. Louis river, I wanted to see the headwaters of this storied river, to explore Seven Beaver Lake. However water levels were very low back then and I hadn't accounted for how long it would take to reach the lake. Instead of exploring the lake I settled for exploring the river, when I left the area I was certain I would return sooner or later and make it to the lake.

The plan was to put in at Skibo, paddle the eleven miles upriver to Seven Beaver, spend some time exploring, overnight on the lake and head back. A second night depending on the weather, near an old cabin I'd found here back in 2011.

On Friday we departed, newly refinished canoe and second oldest son.

Weather was good but the pressure was dropping and the wind was building, a front was moving in. I couldn't see a change in the weather happening before nightfall though. The first several miles of river is open valley, wild rice along the sides and marsh beyond that. It felt good to pull a paddle once more, the cadence, the glide, the fight against the wind. The serenity in places where the wind was no more, glass and gliding along.

The river narrows as it flows out of the forested belt a few miles before the lake. The water gets shallow in places, giant boulders hiding inches beneath the surface.

Some sections were too shallow to paddle. The banks overgrown and a portage impossible. We settled for walking the canoe up the river. Were the water levels any lower I don't imagine this portion of the river would be very pleasant to travel. There were several stretches that were not navigable from the canoe, added up I'd put this at a combined total of one and a half miles.

Later in the afternoon we rounded the final bend and emerged onto Seven Beaver.

As we paddled out of the narrow and into the wideness of Seven Beaver the wind hit us hard. The water was excessively choppy and crossing was dangerous. We paddled near enough to shore to peer into the surrounding woods, impenetrable and dense, we stopped and checked for campsites a few times but this is wilderness and camps are not the manicured things found in the BWCA.

We headed for the small island, the hope being the wind would keep most of the bugs at bay and that it wouldn't be as dense as what we'd seen along the shoreline.

The approach to the north side of the island was guarded by seagulls, at first I thought it was just a couple but as we got closer I realized they were everywhere, from the raucous they were making it was clear that they saw us as invaders, Seagull Island was under assault!

We navigated the surrounding boulders and pulled the canoe up. The wind was too strong now to attempt continued exploration. The island would have to do one way or another so we headed into the bush. Willows grew heavy around the outer line of the island, dense and tough to get through. Once we made it we found ferns near head high, finally at the center of the island we found a handful of trees.

It would do, though we would feel like Robinson Crusoe before the next morning. The island was tight and the ferns were Jurassic! The seagulls never stopped their refutation of the boy and I claiming their ground for the night. The remnants of eggs told the tale, the island was safe from predators and the gulls had claimed it who knows how long ago. The rocks were bleached white with their presence.

For shelter this go round I was using a Mountainsmith Mountain Shelter LT, it's a floor-less tent that can be erected with trekking poles, cut sticks, or tied off to tree limbs. A Titanium Goat Kestrel bivy, HPG Moutnain Serape inside of it along with a Klymit Static V. The bivy has mosquito netting across the face and zips up the side and across the front. As a result the bugs are kept at bay in this set up.

My son set up the GSX with a tarp combo that I used in the Manitou last month. We both really like this combination. His setup was the cat's meow, a soft bed of ferns, supreme bug protection and plenty of breeze within the shelter.


Dinner was Mountain House, I had the Sweet & Sour Pork, he had the Beef Stroganoff, not the most extravagant of dinners but damn fine for a couple of tired paddlers. Happy with the day we ate mostly in silence, each of us feeling the weight of a days paddle against the wind.

In the distance we could hear thunder, there was a coolness in the air. A storm would come in the night. Our position for a thunderstorm wasn't good, open water around us, small island, couple trees, it was the best we could do at the time though, not much to do about it but hunker down.

Without fanfare the night came upon us and we retreated to our shelters. Rain was tapping and the gulls still cried. Later, in the darkness the storm came, rain in driven sheets. Bright searing flashes above me, my retinas red with black streaks when the lightning ripped the sky apart. I counted, four miles away. I pulled the serape tighter and listened to the rain drumming the tent. Off and on all night this was the cadence. Each time the lightning streaked I counted, four miles was as close the the strikes got, by four in the morning I had it at about eighteen miles.

I made coffee in the shelter no long after weak sun broke the horizon, clouds held the morning light at bay.

We broke camp with the sounds of the storm off in the distance, and ominous clouds to the west. Breakfast was oatmeal in our canteen cups, some more coffee and a Larabar each. We were shoving off just before seven.

The last look at our island as we pulled away, leaving it for the gulls once more.

Our paddle back to the river was uneventful and easier that the paddle out. It was too early for the strong winds thankfully.

The clouds moved off as we neared the river rapids and the sun began to beat down on us. We were thankful for the wading and floating through the shallows and rapids.

Our paddling was lazy, we floated and fought bugs, hit the water and just enjoyed the ride. We stopped a few times including once at the old cabin but the years had not been kind. Nor was the winter on the woods nearby. Many downed trees, the area is dense and closed in. Bugs are incredibly bad in those woods, not to mention the amount of widow makers in the tree tops.

Not wanting to try to force another night in questionable circumstances we paddled to the take out, uneventful though tougher as the wind in the valley was strong and not in our favor. We took out and headed home, as I am at the end of all trips a bit bittersweet. Somewhat saddened by the fact that the trip was over, and eager to plan another.