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Thread: Current reading... Forest Life - GWS (Nessmuk)

  1. #1
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    Default Current reading... Forest Life - GWS (Nessmuk)

    Out on a date to the public library with #1 wife, this one caught my eye.

    Forest Life
    George Washington Sears (Nessmuk)

    Not exactly survival, but Woodcraft still. Kinda plods through the intro and first half of the book with endless paddling, portage' and regaling of how wonderful light canoes are... Which is all well and good and gives a perspective of the life of the leisurely Adirondack consumptives and asthmatics.

    When he finally gets around to camps, camping, fishing and woodcraft it is interesting. He certainly is a minimalist in what he carries and uses and I find myself envious of how simple things can and should be. Normally, I count my camp gear by the truck load. I'm not sure I could get down to bare minimum like he does, but I suppose if I weighed 110# and had a 10# boat I'd have to do with less.

    I have to keep reminding myself that he is writing for an 1860- 1880s affluent and rather select audience and while he talks a lot about "wilderness" there sure are a lot of hotels and other folks running around wherever he goes.

    There is no doubt he is an accomplished woodsman and has a lot more experience that I do. I'm going to look for some of his other writing, particularly when he was in South America.

    Overall a good book and Canoeists will likely appreciate it.

    Alan


  2. #2

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    In his book "Woodcraft" there is a chapter titled " Getting LostóCamping OutóRoughing It or Smoothing ItóInsectsóCamps, and How to Make Them".

    Quote: "We do not go to the green woods and crystal waters to rough it, we go to smooth it. We get it rough enough at home; in towns and cities; in shops, offices, stores, banksóanywhere that we may be placedówith the necessity always present of being on time and up to our work; of providing for the dependent ones; of keeping up, catching up, or getting left."

    Yeah, that's about right. Now days, I smooth it.
    Wilderness Survival:
    Surviving a temporary situation where you're lost in the wilderness

  3. #3
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    I pulled up "Woodcraft" last night on Internet Archive. I saw that quote. Makes a lot of sense.

    It's very easy to carry the sense of urgency of "hurry up and have fun" into the woods, and very hard not to do so.

    A lot of people go camping with an itinerary and the purpose to accomplish something. They miss the part of a thunderstorm that is magnificent and beautiful trying to stay dry. I like dry, don't misunderstand, but I often have to check myself to keep form missing some good stuff.

    Years ago, when the boys were young and we'd go fishing at the bay, I'd tell my wife not to worry if we didn't make it in during a storm. I told here we'd be pulled up on the lee side of and island with a fire going eating sardines and crackers. These days I find myself more concerned about getting back on time than enjoying the time on the water. She worries more as she's gotten older....

    Alan

  4. #4
    Senior Member WolfVanZandt's Avatar
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    There's a Zen to hiking and camping. The more you think, the more you miss.

    When I was a kid, our family would drive there, do what we went to do, and return home. I promised myself that, when I got out on my own, if I wanted to stop and look at something, I would. Now, I'm an intensional pedestrian. When you're in a vehicle, you miss all kinds of stuff. you're too fast and isolated.
    True enough, my final home is still out there, but this is most certainly my home range and I love it. I love every rock I fall off and tree I trip over. Even when I am close to dying from exhaustion, a beautiful sunset doesn't lose it's power to refresh and inspire me and that, in itself, is enough to save me sometimes.

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