Saturday, September 25, 2010

Pathfinder System Basics Class - Part 3

The rain continued off an on through the night. It was still quite warm when we all went to our shelters, so I used my wool blanket as a pillow and the fleece liner as a blanket. That worked for most of the night, but early in the morning it cooled off somewhat, so I had to use the wool blanket and then had no pillow. Shortly after hearing an owl announce itself I could see that dawn was approaching so I gathered some dry tinder from under my shelter and used some of the parts from my bow drill set to create some kindling.

I went to the fire area and prepared the site and Critr came over and lit up a smoke. I used his lighter to light my cotton ball and before long we had our morning fire going. Breakfast was MRE coffee and bread.

After breakfast, Dave gave us a run down on the day's events, but I misheard them. I took a walk up the valley and started looking for a good place to make a shelter later. I also wanted to get my piece of sycamore that I had used as a baton and part of my bow drill set. I came back to see the group already checking out everyone's shelters. We worked around to the hammocks and other shelters and I realized I wasn't there for my shelter review. I apologized to Dave and he came back to mine to give his review. It was very positive and I was glad I had made the shelter I had. Dave had given me a piece of advice to hold up the middle to keep water out of the poncho hood and it had proved helpful throughout the night's rain.

We headed to the cave and learned about shelters then into the woods for some demonstrations. We then put it to practice and in groups of four each made a debris shelter of our own. My group did head to where I had scouted and we made a nice shelter of sticks and leaves.

After lunch (where Dave handed out a lot of free goodies) we checked out each shelter and Dave and Critr critiqued each. All the shelters were good and it was a great learning experience.

The next lesson was cordage. Each team had to make 5 feet of cordage using natural materials. Brian, my partner was very experienced in doing this and we used the local yucca plants to as a perfect material to make our cordage. We each made about 5 feet of cord and the instructors were impressed with how they came out. Everyone had some good examples with using the local fauna to make cordage. This reinforced the need to carry the stuff with you to avoid having to make it.

The last lesson of the day was natural navigation. We covered a lot of ways to find direction and compass points. Most of it I was familiar with, but as always I learned a thing or two.

We settled back into camp and got the night's cook fire going. I decided to head into the nearby Walmart to get some food as my MREs were almost gone and I wanted a little change of pace since this was just a beginnner's class.

I drove into the nearby town and of course it was the last day of some festival and all the roads were blocked because of a parade. I finally got there and picked up some noodles, chicken and trail mix and traded a few texts with Lisa to update each other. I got back to camp around dark and we had a good time around the fire.

This night was a little colder. I had decide to improve my camp each night so after class I took my garbage bag into the woods and brought some leaves back to soften the ground some. I also made a pillow from some clothes and the stuff sack for the fleece liner and made everything up nice. I slept pretty good the second night, even though it was a little colder. A coyote howled just across the creek and up the ridge some early in the morning. It was cool.
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