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As some of you know, I have recently been up in Montana for the last couple of months and I didn’t get to go on near as many adventures as I would have like, but still got some time in the bush. And let me tell you that Montana definitely has some wilderness. It is such a wonderful state for the explorer. There is one memorable expedition in particular that I would like to share with everyone.

One weekend I decided that the tourist trap destinations around Bozeman were not cutting it and I decided to step things up a little. The first thing I did was talk to the locals and ask them how I could find some remote locations that I would not run into a soul. Talked to an old fella that had lived there most of his life and he told me I should take a lil trip up to the Absaroka mountains! Well I took him up on that idea and planned a trip to go see em’. It would be a solo trip and didn’t really have an exact plan laid out, I just kind of turned the wheel where the spirit took me and went with the flow. After traveling down a backcountry road for around half an hour it started to turn uphill very quickly. Before I knew it I found myself as far as the road would take me. It took me to this absolutely gorgeous box canyon surrounded by mountains on all sides. At the end of this canyon was a huge peak with snow still on the peak; keep in mind this was in August at the hottest time of the year.

The ridges are so high on both sides of the canyon that you cannot see the surrounding skyline. I grabbed my ruck out of the truck and took to hiking. Before I knew it I had found a suitable campsite and my senses began to tell me that I should prepare a shelter quickly. I listened to my intuition and began building a temporary survival shelter and wouldn’t you know it; a storm front started rolling over the mountain. I knew I should prepare quickly because this was a new environment and I could not afford to be complacent. I found an overturned burned out tree that had a hollow spot under the trunk just big enough for me to sleep comfortably, so I made camp under it. As soon as I got my shelter suitable, wouldn’t you know it started raining and then it began hailing. As the storm tore through the canyon, I felt invincible in my lil tree shelter because I knew that it would completely protect me from the storm!

The rain was sporadic and somewhat irritating. I would get out to begin gathering and it would start raining. Now I normally wouldn’t mind a little rain, but my go pack got stolen a few weeks prior and I had no rain gear! If it was warm, no problem! But the nights were getting down in the 30’s at night in August, so I decided to stay dry in my shelter. After many hours of this, I started to get a bad feeling again like maybe I should head back. Since it was going to be miserable camping with no rain gear in a thunderstorm in the mountains, I decided to just pack it up and say maybe I’ll come back next weekend. As I packed up I started to feel a sense of urgency come over me and I began to move a little quicker. Not knowing why I was feeling this, I just hoofed it back to the truck. Fired up the truck and started to head down the mountain! Got around the first corner and that is when I knew why I had that bad feeling. The storm had turned the road I came in on into a slip and slide. Let me tell you folks, this was the first time in a long time I have been scared in a survival situation. The cliffs were tall enough that a person could drop a thousand feet without having a single thing to stop them on the way down. This road was lined with cliffs along the whole way and the clay substrate had become as slippery as oil. I started sliding down the incline sideways towards a drop and began to prepare to dump the truck over the side and jump out the other door when I got control again. When I came to a stop I said a little prayer to the creator and told him I’d like to get home in one piece if he could manage it. After that I maneuvered all obstacles out of my way in the truck in case God decided I didn’t need my truck to get home.

Now, I consider myself a pretty good off-road driver. I have taken numerous driving courses in the military including a no holds barred off road humvee class. My truck is no humvee I can assure you, but I knew with a little concentration and God’s helping hand I could get back. I took my seatbelt off and super-charged my awareness!

As I traveled down the mountain I had to carefully slide the truck through narrow corridors in some pretty nasty mud. The problem wasn’t just the cliffs I could go off, I also had to contend with the fact that if I didn’t maneuver correctly I would get the truck stuck. That would be a long hike back to civilization, but it wasn’t the walk back I worried about; I was worried about the astronomical tow bill! Needless to say, after some white knuckle moments I finally made it back down the mountain. If I had not left when I did and had kept riding out the concentric ring of storms blowing through, I don’t think I would have been able to drive off that mountain.

I guess the lesson behind the whole adventure would be. Don’t freakin go into deep bush with bald tires and a crappy two wheel drive truck if you can’t afford the tow trip back. And to get some dang rain gear before you head to the hills. Unless you just want to miserable without it! Because regardless of how good you are at survival there is always a need for human beings to have technology and tools. Whether that technology is primitively made or the most space age modern material, you need to have something or yah just not gonna enjoy yourself! Man is superior to all other animals because of his prowess for making tools. So, don’t leave home without those basic necessities unless you plan to spend long enough in the bush to make them all. And always listen to the spirit that guides you. Some would refer to that as your intuition. Simply put; Go with your gut!

About a month ago I decided to go do some storm work in OKC, since the Fort Smith area seems to be dead for construction right now. I decided to camp out instead of getting a hotel room and save some money. So for the last 3-4 weeks I have been camping out by the lake and going to work in the morning. But I have an interesting survival story to tell about some of the things that went down while we were camping. The location isn’t exactly remote in fact it was within city limits on a little spot called lake arcadia. We found a somewhat secluded spot to set up camp and basically just slept out on the ground with nothing but a small pad and sleeping bag. No shelter, no tent! It was great except when there was a lot of condensation on the ground from overnight dew. But I thought it would be a great idea to get some survival training in while I’m out of town. So, I went traveling around the lake looking for food and found some delightfully ripe mulberries. They are so tasty! Their were many wild edibles, to many to mention, but needless to say someone could feed themselves quite easily with just a little gathering.

But what I really wanted to talk about in this story is the crazy fish! Their are more carp on this lake than any other I have ever seen in my life. At dusk and dawn the fish are just everywhere, not to mention all the snakes that like to swim by 4 feet from my bed to say hey at night time. But the fish were nuts! The water was up into the woodline around the lake so you could wade up in the shallows and see them moving everywhere. So needless to say I grabbed my survival walking stick which converts into a spear, fish gig, or blowgun. I screwed on the fish gig around 3 in the mornin and went out in the full moon and started stalking the fish. It was quite amazing to see them in the moonlight and you could stalk up to within a few feet without them seeing you. Before the little hunt was over I had speared two carp around 4-6 pounds and called it quits after that. Don’t like to kill more than neccessary. But I could have easily killed 20-30 fish if I wanted. It was like spearing fish in a barrel. For those of you who have never spear fished before, it is very difficult and this was a rare situation where it was relatively easy. It takes extreme patience and stealth to spear fish in less than the most optimum of conditions, so this was quite a treat to say the least. Seems I learn something new every time I go out! I love survivalism, it truly is the ultimate sense of freedom to know that no matter what happens that you will be able to provide for yourself and others.

I think survivalism is very much like martial arts in a lot of ways. For those of you who have trained in any kind of fight sport, then you know that sense of confidence that training installs in your mind. Survivalism gives you that exact same confidence, but on a whole other level. It not only gives you a sense of confidence, but also teaches you an entirely new way of living that will bring about a higher state of health for the body and the mind!

Well, I figured I would sit down and write my first blog on what I did today? Well, I went down to work on the camp and got an awesome hammock installed between two hickory trees today. I know, I know; its not exactly primitive but it was made in China, so I bet you a lil sweat factory worker in some lil primitive village made it, so I thought what the heck. What would be nicer then a big comfy hammock for the camp? Yall are gonna really think I’m not doing it primitive after I get my camp kitchen and bar fully stocked. Yes Yes, I can do everything the hard way but I have come to the philosophy that if you have done the basic survival techniques numerous times that you can let modern technology jump in and help you focus on other things for mastery. Because doing things the old way all the time can become very time consuming.

On the way to the camp (2/3 of a mile from camp) I have to go up the hill and there is a gate where who knows how many snakes live, I’m always real careful around this gate because you never know when one is going to be out of his hole. Well sure enough, I start looking around and there was a 3′ water moccassin sitting there sunning himself, so I decided to go introduce myself to him and see if he was friendly. I think he was a little cold from the last few days because he didn’t move too much, but I introduced myself by grabbing a stick and poking him a little to see if I could get an opportunity to pick him up. Now, I’m not a snake tamer or anything, I don’t play with em like the croc hunter, but every once in awhile I’ll pick one up. But this one decided not to be friendly and go back down his hole. So I went on about my day.

After that I went to camp got the hammock hung up and decided to clean up camp a bit and call it a day (only short afternoon trip to camp) so I could do some exploring for some wild edibles and sure enough I found some tasty treats! Ran onto some Sumac trees (the non poisonous versions of course), and they are pretty tasty if you haven’t had them! You take the ends off the new growth branches, peel the outside coating off, and eat the center; its very much like asparagus with a fruity flavor.

If you have never had sumac lemonade then buddy you are missing out! You take seeds in the summer after they turn dark red and make them like you would sun tea (or boil them) and they make this very wonderful tasting lemonade that the indians use to drink all the time. Add sugar and I think it tastes better than store bought lemonade!

Ran into some other tasty wild edibles but nothin to write home about. After got done feeding my face with the tasty nibbles I headed back to the truck and headed home. On the way back to the house not far from camp; I saw 4 separate groups of deer in sporadic spots along the road. They were moving quite a bit before sundown today! Two weeks ago I had stalked some Turkeys through a field and as I was trying to get behind them, I low crawled up through some brush and saw one of these deer about 25 yards away in some dense cover. She turned around and headed another direction, but it was fun nonetheless sneaking that close to a couple of turkey and deer at the same time. Thats it for todays field log keep tuned in for entry logs, I am going to try and report back on things that happen to me in the field and the new stuff I learn.

Survival Chick said on 4/30/10 – 12:38PM

Comment: Any suggestions on a book for wild edibles?

Founder said on 5/1/10 – 06:58AM

Comment: Well, I use Peterson’s Field Guide for Wild Edibles. It is okay and gets the job done, but it is lacking a lot. I’m actually writing my own book on the subject right now! The book will contain pics of the plant in its different stages, it will be color pics, each plant will have two pages devoted to it, one for info and one just for pics. The basic info will tell you where to collect the plant, how to prepare it, its medicinal uses, etc. And it will be field worthy as well, small/compact, water resistant, lightweight and will contain the top two hundred tastiest wild edibles. I will be selling the book on the website probably by the end of the year and hope to get it published. The market is really lacking any useful field guides on the subject. I’m also going to make an Iphone app, because there isn’t a single app on the subject that I’ve found. Thanks for the comment!