Taking Rewilding Up a Notch

I’ve been learning and teaching primitive skills, animal tracking, nature awareness, community building, and all aspects of rewilding for a long time now. I have yet to see a cohesion of these skills in application. That is all going to change this summer. I have signed up for Lynx Vilden’s summer immersion program. Lynx is one of the only people that I could find who is really striving to push the envelope of rewilding. I’ve known about her for years, but haven’t had the time or energy or funds to attend her classes. This summer is different. Maybe it’s because I’m turning 30 in April and am looking back at my twenties wishing I had done this sooner. A rewilders biological clock of sorts. Maybe it’s because it’s 2012 and I’m subconsciously preparing for the apocalypse. Or maybe, it’s just the right time for me.

Lynx’s summer immersion is not a beginners course. I have to arrive prepared, with a large inventory of the following:

  • MINIMUM 6 LARGE BRAIN TANNED DEER HIDES (OR BUCKSKIN CLOTHES)
  • STONE AGE TOOL KIT INCLUDING; FIRE KIT, BONE AWL, STONE KNIFE
  • PACK BASKET
  • 5LBS DRIED WILD PLANT FOODS
  • 5LBS DRIED WILD MEAT OR FISH
  • 1LB RENDERED FAT
  • WATER CONTAINER
  • GATHERING BASKET
  • EATING BOWL AND UTENSILS
  • RAWHIDE OR BUCKSKIN FOOD CONTAINERS.
  • SELF BOW AND ARROWS (OPTIONAL)
  • BRING A RAW/DRY SALTED WINTER KILL COW BUFFALO HIDE OR 10LBS OF GOOD FELTING SHEEP WOOL FOR THE BEDDING CLASS.

At first glance this list looked pretty daunting to me. The most labor intense parts will be the hide tanning. It’s a shame that I accidentally destroyed my buckskin shorts. Those would have come in handy. I already have the stone age tool kit, with a lot more bone and stone tools than this list requires, should I need them. I have willows for a pack basket but haven’t made it yet. I’m going early to Lynx’s basket workshop the week before the immersion starts, so I’m hoping to make the pack basket and gathering basket there. I have lots of baskets, and even a willow back pack but I think that it’s too small. I’ve started gathering wild foods. I’ve got lots of nettles. I’m going to gather and dry a variety of spring greens as they come. For starch I’ll head to the desert and gather some roots to dry and powder for cakes. I’m bark-tanning an old piece of goat rawhide I was saving for a drum, but I’m turning it into a canteen inspired by my friend Miles (who has a book on rewilding coming out soon!). I’m carving a bowl with cedar and I’m going to make a burn bowl as well. I have a clay pot that I need to fire. Not sure what I’m going to do for food containers yet. I do not have a self bow or arrows. All the bows I have made have broken. I hope that maybe Lynx will give me some tips on bow-making while I’m out there. I’ve found a couple places that have a buffalo hide for me to tan. That covers the list for the most part.

I’ve added my own list of stuff that I want to bring, which is:

  • 5 RACCOON HIDES (BARK-TANNED)
  • NETTLE CORDAGE ROLL
  • CEDAR CORDAGE ROLL
  • HIDE GLUE, PINE PITCH GLUE
  • WILD FIRST AID KIT (DRIED YARROW, COTTONWOOD SALVE, ETC)

I’m setting aside most of the next two months to get all of this done. I’ll be posting here more about my preparations as I work on them. Looking forward to doing more active rewilding and writing a bit more after spending most of last year stuck in a cubicle!



4 Responses to “Taking Rewilding Up a Notch”

  1. mt.goat says:

    This list is great for the east side of the state but natives here on the west side didnt use buckskin as a main clothing material(at least as much as I can tell).Not sure why bone tools are of much importance since metal will be around for the next 100yrs.Although it is awsome to keep the skills alive for 10 generations down the road.Glue and other consumables will have value as soon as SHTF.
    One frustration I have with “hunter gatherer”skills is that Land Management practices dont seem to be emphasized and yet played such a huge role in creating ecosystems condusive to denser living with more diversity.Culture itself is connected to these practices.It seems reactionary to have civilization vs. pure hunter gatherer.
    Still though,gotta respect these folks and your own efforts!I`m sure you will learn alot and good luck.

  2. Peter Bauer says:

    Hey Matt,
    Down here in the willamette valley, buckskin was worn sometimes. I know it was mostly cedar bark up there on the coast. I think this is simply a way of experimenting, not necessarily the best way, but it is something that people are doing and I respect that. Not sure if I’d keep wearing buckskins if I lived on the coast, but I’m willing to do it on the dry side just to be part of this project. Bone tools are there because this is a “prehistoric” project, not necessarily “rewilding” in the transition tech kind of way – it’s more about using only “stone age” technology. I’m also super into the land management stuff and wondering what will be taught in regards to that. I’m planning on spending a lot of time with Finisia and the root diggers to learn a bunch of that stuff too. This is less of a reactionary civ vs. prim project and just about the experience of going fully primitive. I don’t think there is much ideology on their part, probably more me than anyone. I’m with you on the purity thing, I just want to do this for fun!

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