Thursday, January 22, 2009

Bush Survival School

In the early 1980s I ran a backpacking guide service which I called Walt's Bush Survival School. I ran it literally out of a backpack and used a contact phone number of a friend with a house and, well, a phone, the two things I didn't have. On each weekend I took out from one to three people and trained them in the following wilderness skills:

Knowledge of backpacking equipment
How to survive on edible wild plants in the Watauga mountains
How to read a map
Emergency shelter construction
Cold weather camping
Nature awareness training
The voluntary simplicity philosophy

The last included this paragraph: "There needs to be an alternative lifestyle available to people other than the usual American way of life. By camping in the forest, by carrying everything on one's back, by finding contentment in simple things, and by respecting the natural way of life, a person can begin to understand what it means to be independently wealthy and therefore better able to embrace the simplicity philosophy."

In the time I ran this impromptu school, I took out a dentist and his wife, a group of high school kids, and an assortment of weekend hikers and backpackers.


Brahma said...

Love the blog. Weird how people's lives intersect, the beginning meeting the end, the end meeting the beginning; it's like you've already done what I want to do.

I'm 30. Been teaching English in Europe and Asia since graduating. And I plan to return home (USA) soon and live pretty much exactly as you're describing in your blog, as close to a "wandering bhikku" as possible.

I guess I have 2 questions:

1) Do you have any regrets about living this way?
2) Would you consider mentoring/teaching me the things described in this blog post? I could come to your area and I can pay for the classes.


Jim Muller said...

I recently discovered your blog and wanted to bring your attention to a winter camping resource that you might find interesting and worth relaying to your readers -

This not-for-profit web site focuses on winter camping in Upstate NY and the Adirondacks.

There is a comprehensive collection of Winter Camping Articles from varied journals and newspapers.

The discussion of Winter Camping Skills includes an article on How to Get Started Winter Camping, there are special tips on Leave No Trace for Winter Campers, there are Trip Logs and Photos from past adventures, how to build snow shelters, advanced Winter Camping Tips, Winter Camping Recipes and a Winter Camping Video.

Winter Camping Gear includes several gear reviews, a Sample Gear List, a discussion of The Ten Essentials and examples of What’s In My Pack? by different winter campers.
The Lighter Side of Winter Camping includes: a collection of Winter and Wilderness Survival Quizzes, a tongue in cheek Winter Camping Application, Winter Camping Poems, Winter Camping Quotes and the Top Ten List Reasons to Go Winter Camping.
The BLOG has the latest winter camping news, pictures and chatter.

Please give it your consideration.

Tipi Walter said...

Hey Dave--
I'm glad you somehow found this blog and I hope you can find a way to live outdoors. The best advice I can give anyone is to get a sleeping bag and a pad and start sleeping outside, either behind your house or on a deck or wherever a place is available. To me it's all about "bag nights": How much a person sleeps outdoors.

As far as regrets, well, it goes like this: There's too much of Nature and there's too little of me. I've gotten a belly full of camping these last 30 years, but here's the rub, I haven't even scratched the surface. But you know, I didn't really start until I hit age 30, so you've got pretty of time.