I received my copy of Dave Canterbury’s book entitled, Bushcraft 101 in the mail yesterday and I am quite excited to jump into it. I’d like to read it as fast as possible because the spring weather is right around the corner. Notice how I didn’t say “spring” is right around the corner? It’s here now, but it snowed last night and this morning. I suppose this is spring in Maine. We’re bound to get one or two last snow blasts before this winter lets go. The same thing happens year after year.
I already read through the first chapter, which I’ll discuss below. I’ll also be writing posts that talk about all of the subsequent chapters on this website. I can’t wait to turn this thing into a powerhouse of knowledge. After all, Dave mentioned that he learned from others before him and he shared that knowledge with us via his book. Now, it’s my turn to learn from him and share with you. It’ll be a lot of fun.
Okay, so what I’ve just learned is that I didn’t read chapter one. I read the introduction, so that’s what I’ll discuss now.
Do you remember that post I wrote where I attempted to describe what bushcraft is? In that post, I gave a rather long winded explanation of how I see things. To me, bushcraft isn’t only the act of doing something, it’s the fact that it means something. There were a few lines in Dave’s book that leads me to believe that he agrees.
First, let me tell you how Dave described bushcraft. He says it’s, “a term for wilderness skills and is the practice of surviving and thriving in the natural world.” He then goes on to say that certain skills need to be learned in order to actually enjoy yourself and that bushcraft is a hobby more than anything else. After all, most of those who choose to engage in this sort of thing have someplace to live, but choose to test themselves against nature. Read my post on winter camping for more of that. He even goes on to describe how becoming proficient at bushcraft may help in certain survival situations. We’ve all seen one reality show or another or a story on the news where someone or a group of people needed to fend off the elements. It’s generally the person who has a knowledge of survival who does the best.
My favorite part of the entire introduction had to do with the feeling being outdoors gives those who choose to partake in it. Simply put, learning bushcraft is a way for us to enjoy the outdoors. So many of us are trapped in classrooms or offices and as my good friend conveyed to me not so long ago, that’s simply not natural. As humans, many of us have a strong desire to connect with what’s outside our homes and places of employment. Camping, hiking, bushcraft and many more activities allow us to sit back and revel in what’s right beneath our feet.
Here’s the best line of the book so far: “It is my belief that by understanding natural resources and learning about the items that make the difference between comfort and misery, you can attain an almost euphoric experience when spending time on the trail or in the bush.”
Do you want to know something strange? He’s right. The feeling you can experience when you “figure it out” is euphoric. It’s liberating and it’s confidence building to say the least. I’m excited to get more into this. This book has got a lot to teach.
Remember though, I’m always looking for the best book on bushcraft, so if you know of any, please let me know. Thanks!