December 26, 2004

A Curious Desire

For years, I've had the desire to try solo primitive wilderness camping. This a somewhat odd fixation, as the closest I've ever come to "real" camping is a drive-in campground, but I've always had this unquenchable urge to light out on the open trail alone, subsisting with only what I could find, catch, or carry with me.

My wife thinks I'm nuts. I mentioned it once in passing to her and simply got "the look." Married men know what I'm talking about. And so I haven't mentioned it any more to her. Maybe she is right. But I still have the urge.

I think I could do it. Seriously.

Yes, I have a bum knee that has already required surgery once. But at my own pace on the terrain of my choosing, I don't see a touchy knee being an insurmountable issue.

I have basic outdoor knowledge, having hunted and fished with my father and brothers for years. I've just never tried to apply everything I know about nature all at once, and I think that is a key part of the challenge of this adventure.

I figure during the fall would be a nice time.

I'd start on a weekend morning at the drop off point, and go as far as I felt comfortable going until mid-afternoon, where I'd make camp, and if conditions warranted, build a simple lean-to for shelter. I'd then find some downed trees and choose a few well-seasoned limbs for my cooking fire, and once this basic camp-making was completed, set off in search of sustenance.

In most parts of the North America there is wild food literally for the taking, you simply have to know what you are looking for. I'd collect wild plants and tubers, maybe do some fishing or hunting nearby, and just play it by ear, simply getting back to natureā€¦getting back to myself.

For the next days, I'd plan on doing nothing more complicated than try to figure out where my next meal was coming from and trying to relax. I'd have time to think. Time to reflect. Something you never seem to be able to find in our normal lives, even when on normal vacations.

Come the next weekend, I 'm sure a dirty, smelly, hungry man would return to the drop-off point to go back to civilization, but I'd think I'd also be a man that was a bit more at peace with himself.

If I can come back like that, it would have been worth it.

Note: I've finally posted my Amazon wish list after someone reminded me it wasn't available on my blog. For some reason, a lot of it seems slanted towards camping gear...

Posted by Confederate Yankee at December 26, 2004 03:05 PM