The word survival is a very ambiguous one, and connotes a wide variety of meanings and associated skills. The skills that are being offered in the ensuing course are those of a traditional woodsman travelling and living in the northern wilds.
The daily use of these skills will be facilitated by learning them in a progressive manner during the course of the canoe trip. Travel will be in the Nepal mountain forest area where we will be surrounded by imposing white peaks of mountain Ranges, many with glaciers on their north faces. We'll be travelling on a mix of flat and moving water where a rich menu of strokes will be taught. In some places we will track and pole up incoming rivers and then canoe down them. Exact areas selected will be dependent on current water levels.
We will also hike into the mountains to do our topo map work, animal stalking, plant gathering, etc... Animals inhabiting this area include moose, black and grizzly bears, dall sheep, mountain goats, wolves,
wolverine, caribou, otter and beaver. If not actually sighted, we'll see tracks and signs of many of them.
Bear defense tactics will be discussed and demonstrated. It is vital to understand their behaviour and then deal with them accordingly.
Food, grub, vittles -- by any name, a focal point of each day. Delicious meals will display Course skills as an unusual modern wilderness-nutrition advocate using organic foods and precise preparation. Although fish, and possibly small game, will be included in the meal offerings, vegetarians will be totally comfortable with our fare.
Fishing for trout and Arctic grayling is excellent, and the inclusion of lightweight spinning equipment and/or a fly rod is suggested. A belt knife is strongly recommended, either folding or fixed-blade for dressing fish and small game. We have Dick's favourite one available if desired.
Reading animal tracks and sign, and stalking animals, will be practised whenever the opportunity arises. We also will become familiar with the local flora and various of its edible and medicinal qualities.
Upon completion of this trip, a participant should be able to travel comfortably and safely through ways of easy to moderate difficulty and with a deep appreciation and respect for the wilderness.
The course/trip is scheduled as per required. An equipment check list will be sent when deposit is made.
Flat-water and whitewater canoe techniques
Poling, tracking and lining canoes
Edible and medicinal plant foraging
Topographic map and compass travel
Axes: selection, sharpening and maintenance
Saw and axe handling: falling and bucking for firewood
Fire-building: one match, every time, under-all-conditions
Knots: a practical minimum
Bush knives: selection, sharpening and use
Open-fire camp cookery
Bush first aid
Tracking, reading sign and stalking
The Whelen lean-to and tarp use
Example: Aboriginal Skills
Fire by friction
Stone tool making
Working bone and antler
En Route Commentary:
With an educational background in wildlife biology, overlain by forty years works as a professional outdoors man and guide delivers provocative and informative insights to human and natural history along the waterways, as well as a philosophy of wilderness living.
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