Monday, January 9, 2012

An Outdoor Weekend of Sorts

It was an outdoor weekend of sorts. Not what I typically indulge in, but I got to get outside quite a bit, so I'm pretty happy about it.

Saturday morning saw me heading south to Cape Fair, Missouri to cut some firewood with my friend Brian. A large white oak had fallen on a friend of his' property and we went down to make it fit in a fireplace. We spent a few hours hacking at it with axes and I got to wield a chain saw for the first time.

Chopping Firewood in Cape Fair

The last time I was down there was a few years ago, when Brian and I stayed in the cabin on a weekend fishing trip. I love the place. Just enough land to make things interesting and just enough living space to be comfortable in. The cabin has a single room on the bottom floor, divided into a kitchen and living space with a fold-out couch for sleeping and upstairs is a sleeping loft.

Chopping Firewood in Cape Fair

Chopping Firewood in Cape Fair

Chopping Firewood in Cape Fair

Chopping Firewood in Cape Fair

After making it back to Brian's house in Battlefield, I hightailed it over to Sequiota Park to meet my wife Abby and daughter Gwen, they were traipsing about the place with a coworker of hers, Brandon, his little girls and I think a cousin and his little girl. They were having a blast climbing all over the rocks by the pond and checking out the shallow caves.

Sequiota Park

Sequiota Park

We also took a little walk up in the woods above the pond. Gwen's first time off paved trails. She did admirably. I'll make an outdoors person of her, yet.

Sequiota Park

Sequiota Park

Sunday, I attended the Basic Survival Class put on by Ozark Adventures in conjunction with Hiking the Ozarks and Satori Adventures and Expeditions . It was a lot of fun. After a couple of hours of classroom time, we headed south to Busiek State Forest for some hands-on training.

Ozark Adventures/Hiking the Ozarks Basic Survival Class

Ozark Adventures/Hiking the Ozarks Basic Survival Class

Given an equipment list of a fire striker, bandana and a water bottle, we were instructed in ways to make a fire, create a water filtration system and build a shelter for escaping the elements. I teamed up with a couple of guys I struck up a conversation with at the parking lot, named Eric and Preston. I think Eric was from the Branson area and Preston had driven up from Harrison, Arkansas.

Ozark Adventures/Hiking the Ozarks Basic Survival Class

Ozark Adventures/Hiking the Ozarks Basic Survival Class

Ozark Adventures/Hiking the Ozarks Basic Survival Class

We managed to pass inspection on each account. The part I was most interested in was the firemaking without use of a lighter or matches. A striker is an interesting tool to learn how to use. Last night, after we'd put the kiddo to bed, I went out into the garage and played with it again. I managed to light up some dryer lint in about 20-30 seconds. Considerably quicker than the fuzzy cedar bark we used in the class. I'll be collecting some lint for future use in an emergency survival kit I plan to put together. Ozark Adventures/Hiking the Ozarks Basic Survival Class

In the Intermediate and Advanced classes, I'll get to learn some animal and fish trapping methods, as well as wild edibles. Looking forward to those quite a bit.

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