Friday, September 24, 2010

Pathfinder System Basics Class - Part 2

We arrived at the school site and pulled into a gravel driveway that led to an open field. We all parked in the field and started unloading. The field led westward into a small meadow, crossed a creek and into some woods with high ridges on each side.

When we got to the meadow, Dave told us to set up camp here if we had a tent or a bivy and the hammock guys were to set up in the woods across the creek. We set about finding a good place to set up. I had a military poncho which I wanted to try setting up in a lean-to fashion. I found a couple small trees near the creek side of the meadow on flat ground and set about setting up the poncho lean-to using bungies and freshly made stick tent stakes.

After everyone was set up, we took a little tour of the land. The path basically followed a creek (actually a slew from the mining times) and we got to see the caves of the school. There was one I called the trail cave. We just used it to walk to the classroom cave where we had most of our classes. These caves are man made from some sort of mining operation and are pretty cool. We also got to see the wet cave and a pond on the property. We walked some of the trails to learn the lay of the land and ended up at the classroom cave.
We had a class on fire making and a demonstration by Steve "Critr" Davis who showed us how hard it is to find wood, fashion it into a bow drill set and get an ember from your efforts. Only one of was successful in getting an ember, but we all learned a lot and from there we had a fire to learn our next lesson, char cloth. We all used our containers and made char cloth and that was it for class for day one.
We all headed back to camp and during a lull I had started to gather fire wood for First Fire. Dave had mentioned we would have a fire in the meadow which was just a bunch of grass. I picked a nice level area and started getting some rocks from the dry parts of the creek bed. Bill (Doc), one of the other students, helped me gather stones and before long we hand a nice hearth and some tinder ready to go. I used my fire steel and a cotton ball to make the fire and before long we were cooking our dinners and gathering in fellowship.

Shortly after dusk, it started raining lightly and before long we had all abandoned the fire for our shelters for the first night. Day 1 was done.
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