There’s nothing quite like a hike up Horn Canyon in Ojai, California. You have to weave through Thatcher School to find the trailhead, but it’s not hard just stay to the right. [Read more…]
Fox Canyon Trail is a great little hike that forks off of Shelf Road (Valley View Trail). Its a little bit under 2 miles and a little steep at times with quite a few switchbacks. Overall it’s a hike that will make you sweat but shouldn’t take all day. You should still pack your hiking hat. [Read more…]
Evan and Sharla arrived the night before and stopped by the Wofati to say hello and share some stories of their trip to the grand canyon. It was really cool to finally meet Evan, I’d heard so much about him from the forums and from the people who were staying here that I didn’t know what to expect. He’s just another guy trying to make the best of living out in the wilderness in Montana. He’s very humble and down to earth.
After waking up in the morning and having my coffee and making a few eggs for breakfast, Evan, Kai and the rest of us started talking about ‘Survival Weekend’, which was originally called Spirko weekend as suggested by Paul to potentially draw more people in but it ended up being just us gappers- which was fine by us. It entails a bunch of different survival skills including but not limited to, primitive fire making, Archery, debris hut construction and many other things.
We started with bow and drill fire making, I began with getting a little bit of footage of everyone making their bow and drill. After a little bit I thought it would be a good idea to make my own. Everyone else was making theirs a little bit too small so I thought I’d make mine a bit bigger. The end result was something that was a lot easier to use than the smaller ones but still pretty difficult to actually get a fire going with. It’s a lot harder to make a friction fire than they portray in the movies.
When we got tired of failing to make fire we decide to have some lunch. I took the opportunity to make some rice and beans for dinner as well, eating a little bit of the rice for lunch. It took a bit longer than I had planned but was well worth it because I was getting work done that I wouldn’t have to later on in the evening when I would be tired.
After lunch I caught up to everyone one in Evans plot at the makeshift archery range. They had set up a hay bale with a target on it and marked out fifteen, thirty, forty-five, and sixty foot markers to shoot from. We had to get four out of four at fifteen, three out of four at thirty, two out of four at forty-five and one out of four at sixty to achieve your goal for the archery range.
I did surprisingly well and made all the shots relatively quickly. We had a few other gapper that were still trying to get all of their goals when Kai spotted a Weasel running around on the berm that borders Evans plot. Evan was quick to grab the bow and arrow from whoever was holding it at the time and him and Kai went to investigate. I was almost as quick on the draw with the video camera and started to get some footage.
Evan and Kai were looking for it for a little bit when I spotted it run away and yelled at them to check it out. I was so excited that I didn’t get very good footage of it but did that best I could considering the circumstances. Evan spotted it and lined up for the shot, he took the shot and missed. The Weasel ducked down in the stump it was hiding in and popped his head up after a second or two as if to say “ did you just shoot at me?”
It then disappeared into the thicket of the Douglas Firs. We were all talking about what happened when Sara saw the Weasel again and told Evan where it was. He grabbed the bow again and lined up the shot while I quickly grabbed the video camera, I just managed to start recording when he released the arrow and took the Weasel just below the lung section. It was still scurrying around when I ran over there.
My adrenaline and compassion for it’s suffering took over and I crashed through the small trees and underbrush to end its suffering. When I came down upon it with my hatchet I swung a few mighty blows only to miss here and there, thats when it’s musk hit me. It was one of the worst smells I’ve even encountered, it’s like a combination of burning plastic and a pungent urine. Even so, I endeavored to ends its suffering so I was frantically trying to catch it under my foot to stop it to I could make the killing blow.
“Step on it’s neck!!”, Sean yelled to me and I tried to do just that but it didn’t seem to be working. So he ended up rushing in to finish the job, I was almost gagging on the stench by now while I was trying to get away from it and recuperate. By the time I came back to get some footage of it he had it out of it’s misery and was getting ready to start skinning it.
He took it to the clearing where we were shooting the bow and began to skin and butcher it. I got as much as I could on video before I headed back to the Wofati to prepare for dinner around the campfire.
We had some organic hotdogs and beer as we told stories about our journeys in life and played some campfire songs on the guitars. It was one of the best campfires I’ve ever sat around. Eventually it got way too cold and I retired back to the Wofati where I heated up some rice and beans and begun to write the rest of this journal entry.
I was a little heady from the day’s experience when I went to bed, so I had to read a bit of the Simarillian to convince my mind that I was tired. I slept like a baby in the large bunk in the Abbey.
I woke up in the morning feeling not so well from my cold I was trying to kick. My throat was a little sore and I still had a bit of a cough. When I rolled over to look out the window I saw a deer cruising through the trees for just a second before it disappeared. The sight was majestic.
I proceeded to get up and start some water boiling for coffee before heading to Chateau De Poo. I was starting to feel a little bummed that this cold was kicking my butt so much and causing me to not get very much done around the lab. I guess no one ever plans to get sick and there’s never a good time for it.
When I finished having coffee and a little breakfast that Sara shared with me I followed Kai out into the trees surrounding the Abbey to get some footage of him harvesting junk poles and a few other things. He has agreed to help me get some footage of a bunch of different stuff while I’m at The Lab.
After that I headed down to Basecamp so I could get some pictures and videos uploaded. It took me a little longer than I had planned because I had so many photos I wanted to get up. I created separate blog posts for all of these journals, I figured it would make for easier reading than one large week long post.
When I was finished with my online stuff at Basecamp I headed up to The Lab to eat some lunch and finish some stuff I planned to do for the night. I needed to clean out the burn chamber of the rocket mass heater in the Abbey so it would burn cleaner as well as pull some lumber out of a scrap pile and stack it on the porch or the Abbey so it would dry. I had planned on making a ladder for one of the bunks.
After dinner Kai, Sara and I jammed a little bit on the guitars. We ended up having a great little groove on Cortez Cortez by Neil Young. It was cathartic to play some music and jive with the other gappers in this way. I was playing a bit of lead as best as I could even though I’m not much of a lead guitar player.
I went to bed with a smile on my face and started to look forward to the next day.