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After many years of an informal break, I was asked to do another wilderness survival adventure. As with previous wilderness survival trips that I organized, there were a few restrictions on supplies and equipment.
Many people today learn and practice wilderness skills from books, YouTube, internet articles, CDs or with an acquaintance.
The week before the trip, I arranged a group get-together to review, prepare and practice the essential skills we would need on the wilderness skills adventure.
The final group that went on the wilderness skills adventure consisted of 6 men, including myself, and one woman. As we hiked into the understory of coast live oak, madrone, buckeye and big leaf maple trees, we took advantage of our foraging techniques. Indians of California, parts of the Great Basin, and the Southwest gathered edible corms (an enlarged bulb-like base of the plant stem) as food. Harvesting the corms after plants have gone to seed and dumping the seeds in the hole. Periodic digging and thinning of the corms or separating the cormlets, and replanting them may have enhanced plant numbers and densities. We used two of the management methods to guarantee that the blue dicks and globe lily did not disappear next year. As we came out of the brushy area and back onto the trail, we noticed that our pants were covered with ticks. The seeds of various grass species were an important food source for native groups all over California.
The blue skies overhead gradually gave way to the overhanging cluster of branches and foliage from the trees beside the trail.
Poison oak is one of California's most prevalent woody shrubs, but also climbs, vine-like, up the side of trees. The plant toxin, called urushiol, is the main component of the oily resin that is found on the stems and leaves of poison oak. A Pomo remedy for poison oak rash involves using crushed, fresh manzanita leaves (branch tips) and boiled into a thick tea. With our bounty of young cattail stems, shoots and rhizomes, we returned back to the main path.
Yarrow plants have been used for the treatment of external skin wounds as far back as with the ancient Greeks.
We hiked further into the wilderness and finally decided to set up base camp near a stream. When we hiked through the wilderness, finding the right type of fire making materials were always on our mind. Working in tandum, we ignited the fine dust and transferred the ember to our tinder nest of cattail seeds (fluff from the seeds) and grass. Once we got a fire going, we filled our metal water containers and started the slow process of boiling our water.
While some people watched the fire and the water, the others gathered more fire wood for the night or looked for additional edible plants in the area. For families who spend a lot of time in the outdoors, having a child wander off and get lost is pretty unlikely. This is perhaps the hardest and most important wilderness survival skill to develop, especially if you’re a kid. Talk to your child about how easy it will be to have a meltdown when they realize they’re lost.
Water is the most important survival item you can have, it’s also a hard one for little kids, which is why I always stock my kid’s packs with plenty of water and tell them to ration it if they become lost. The problem is, unless you find yourself lost next to a water source you shouldn’t exactly wander off looking for water and get even more lost. Next to having enough water, finding a shelter to protect you from the elements (either cold or hot weather) should be top priority.
If you hear a plane or helicopter get into an opening and run around and yell like a crazy person. I would image that the #1 concern for a lost child is the prospect of being eaten by a wild animal.
I have a large garbage bag in my kids backpacks because it provides extra warmth and can prevent the core from getting wet which can cause hypothermia. November 10, 2014 by Liz Long 8 Comments Our very popular list, 32 Survival Skills Your Child Should Know and Be Able To Do ASAP, has been well received but we noticed there were important skills and pieces of knowledge that were missing.
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Liz Long is an eclectic writer who lives in the exurbs (that's what comes after the suburbs) with her husband, sons, and cats. The wilderness survival skills everyone should know, A few hours watching the discovery channel can prompt extreme survival fantasies involving frog licking and urine drinking, but what basic skills would you.
Wilderness survival tips and outdoor skills, Wilderness survival tips help people survive in the outdoors, weather the aftermath of natural disasters, and build greater connections with the natural world.. From Moses to Jesus, so many heroes of the Bible had to endure some type of wilderness season in their life, a time of testing that was painful to endure but ultimately brought glory to God.
Along the trail, we spotted some of the Dichelostemma called blue dicks and the Calochortus referred to as globe lily. Digging corms act as a form of tillage, which will increase the size of the gathering tract, aerate the soil, lower weed competition, and prepare the seedbed to increase seed germination rates. If you look back at our group photo, you'll observe that the cuffs to our trousers were tucked into our socks. Having your socks over the cuffs of your pants will keep the ticks from scrambling under your clothing. Enormous quantities of grass grains were gathered with seed beaters (fine mesh baskets shaped like scoops) and burden baskets or an open-mouth basket. It first causes severe itching, evolves into inflammation and then blistering when scratched. As we neared the water, we separated into two groups, going in opposite routes, to maximize our efforts in locating the plant. Used for centuries on bruises, cuts, scrapes, rashes and burns, the leaves and stems can be crushed and used on the spot to help stop bleeding and aid in healing. The area provided for our water necessity and material resources for constructing shelters. The long stems of the plant made excellent spindles for the hand drill technique of fire making. The dust that is created when two woods are ground against each other must be as fine as flour to optimize ignition.
It took a lot of time and energy to gather fire wood to maintain the fire, but we needed to stay hydrated. Some of the guys took the opportunity to see if they could create fire by themselves using the local materials collected in the area. Notice the healed cut on Richard's left cheek from the accident (the fellow in the blue T-shirt in the image above). But for young kids you really can only pack what they know how and are developmentally able to use. Attach a whistle to your kids backpack, as soon as they realize they have become separated from the group tell them to start blowing that whistle like crazy. Your body can still function with little or no food for weeks, but it can only last a few days without water.
However, if it has been a day or two and you’re still lost and out of water, it’s going to be worth it to wander off and try to find some. Take a look, pick out the animals that live in your area and go over basic information with your kids.
Maybe also if they have to venture out in search of water, that they know how to mark their trail to show where they left and which way they went. So, we went to work and created this wilderness skill set, plus a basic skill set and a mental and urban survival skill set. Her life-long Scouting skills have been a help in becoming a prepper and she has been writing for The Survival Mom since 2010. California groups dug the corms before flowering, during flowering, or after seeding, depending on the group and individual family.
Dichelostemma capitatum populations require periodic disturbance to maintain and increase their population. After a few minutes, one of the guys gave a shout to indicate that he had found a good stand of cattail.
In late spring, the base of the leaves can be eaten raw or cooked when they are young and tender. We had to carefully navigate between the sharp, needle-like tips of the yucca leaves to get to the base.
If left on the wood, the hard bark tends to make a coarse dust that does not light or requires more energy to combust.
All three of us were so proud of our accomplishment that someone decided to take a picture of us next to the fire. It was not worth the energy to process and leach the four good kernels among the limited batch of acorns that we found.

While unlikely, I think your child would be a little more at ease if they knew what to do when they encountered a wild animal. The point is not to make them even more freaked out, just to give them some confidence in their skills should they spend a night in the woods alone. The outdoors is infused into everything we do; which explains why I'm better at mud pies than home decorating. Unfortunately, our busy schedule in our daily lives today made it difficult to find appropriate dates for everyone.
When you become proficient at fire making with that ideal hand drill or bow drill kit, take your skills to the next level and test your competence in the wild. Traditional gathering sites were visited annually, and there were gathering tracts with different kinds of corms and bulbs owned and maintained by particular families. Populations that become overcrowded and show reduced vigor can be divided and separated. The uncomfortable, and sometimes painful, allergic reaction occur in approximately 75 to 85 percent of the population. Unfortunately, the ground vegetation that led to the cattail was scattered with hidden mines of young poison oak. The fibers of the milkweed plant provided raw material to twist into cordage for binding and lashing applications. There were also dead buckeye branches still clinging to some of the buckeye trees we encountered. If you use the information on this site to create your own projects or if you try techniques described on PrimitiveWays, behave in accordance with applicable laws, and think about the sustainability of natural resources.
As they get older you can add more and more items (like fire starting supplies) and teach them how to use them.
This is very important as a teenager may need to drive the boat snow machine or atv to get help. The situation becomes different when you have to find your fire making materials to create that needed ember to keep you warm at night or to boil your water.
Since cattail provided a rich food source, we took our chances and carefully made our way to the waters edge. When the male flowers are mature, the pollen can be collected and used as a flour supplement or thickener. Some of the people decided to take on the task of starting a fire, while the other people went out to gather dry, downed wood for the fire. We gathered a few dead wood that were not too rotten or green, but just the right density and dryness to produce a hearthboard for fire making. You can see the charred, glowing remains of the tinder nest in the lower right hand corner of the second photo above. Using tools or techniques described on PrimitiveWays can be dangerous with exposure to heavy, sharp or pointed objects, fire, stone tools and hazards present in outdoor settings.
So I’ve been thinking about what skills would be appropriate to start learning for the average 6-11 year old, before they are of age for hardcore Boy Scout techniques. Plan.) is a great place to start, and is a helpful tool for kids when it comes time to remembering what they should do.
If your child is old enough to make one, it might be fun to practice out on the trail, or in your backyard. Identifying, locating and gathering food in the wilderness becomes a serious matter when the pang of hunger begins. The rhizomes, which are the underground lateral stems, are an energy-rich food source when processed into flour. We immediately realized we were losing our precious flame and scrambled to add more dry grass and small twigs to rekindle the fire.
Without proper care and caution, or if done incorrectly, there is a risk of property damage, personal injury or even death. Building an efficient and effective shelter is important when the temperature drops at night.
So, be advised: Anyone using any information provided on the PrimitiveWays website assumes responsibility for using proper care and caution to protect property, the life, health and safety of himself or herself and all others.
He or she expressly assumes all risk of harm or damage to all persons or property proximately caused by the use of this information. The goal was not to simulate a survival situation, but to evaluate, strengthen and improve our wilderness skills in the backcountry.

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