American Bushman

"If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write things worth reading or do things worth writing." —Benjamin Franklin

Monday, July 03, 2006

In the Woods.

Heat, humidity, rain, and mosquitoes

I had a GREAT time in the woods yesterday. It's been a while since I actually tromped through the thick brush and had to follow old deer paths. I haven't walked face-first through a thick spider web for some time either.

The rain fell on and off throughout the day and I got home with only five or six pictures instead of the usual 20-30. I'll have to pull the camera out and get those pictures pulled once I'm sure the insides are fully dried.

We hiked for quite some time before finding a suitable spot for a bit of a break. Suitable is, in this instance, used quite loosely. Every spot in the woods seemed to be breezeless, muddy, wet, and full of mosquitoes. We picked the spot closest to our current position.

On the hike in I found a beautiful piece of fallen Osage probably six feet long by two to three inches in diameter. Once we were settled in and had reapplied bug dope I got to work carving up the stick, cutting the ends to length, and wrapping a handle with paracord. I'm a little concerned that the wood inside is a bit mushy but will know more once it's had a week or so to dry.

Reid went to work carving a figure-4 trap to test out the new Bark River TUSK and I collected all of his stripped bark from the ground to make some natural cordage. Before I started I lit a bit of charcloth with my firesteel and tried to get some punky wood to burn (smoulder) to give me a little more protection from the mossies but I just couldn't get it to go. The moisture in the air and all around was extremely high so I suspect that played some part.

Making natural cordage is a very simple procedure but it is one I had never before attempted using actual natural materials. I have made yards and yards of it using paracord and string around the house. The process of twisting and rolling the rope I have found to be quite therapeutic for my hands. I feel arthritic today after the effort but by tomorrow I'll have a bit more mobility in my pinky (at least for a day or two.)

I think I'll put together a tutorial on the cordage. It's so simple a skill that I could probably teach the kids on Thursday's outing. It's so useful to have cordage when outdoors that having the skill could be considered by many to be essential. As I always have some paracord with me it is less essential which is probably why I find it so enjoyable.

I also got to show Reid the trucker's hitch/timber hitch ridgeline that I now use for my tarps. It's an extremely simple setup that goes up very quickly and comes down very quickly and is very secure and strong in the interim. I've got a blue poly tarp in the back yard hanging over one of these ridgelines that has been there for more than a month through heavy wind and rain.

Looking back on yesterday I'm very happy with the gear I chose to bring. I had very little non-used gear (first aid kid thank goodness) and never felt like I was missing anything that could have made my outing a little more comfortable.

I'll do this again.

Thanks for reading,



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