Thursday, March 14, 2019

I Want To Get To Know You - The Outdoors and You

       What I’ve come to realize lately is that there are so many people out there who crave adventure. In some form or another, they want to experience what it’s like to leave it all behind and just, well, go. I really want to start speaking more to people who feel stuck in some way, physically, emotionally, mentally, who also have the desire to give nature a try. I’ve found a lot of people like this automatically put the thought aside as a result of it being intimidating when they may not know where to start or after having seen others who live and breathe the outdoors, “experts,” as it were. 

       So I ask, where are my people at? Where are those that may resonate with the words I’ve just said? I know you’re out there. With this post, I really just want to ask some questions so that I can get a bit of a better understanding of what people are feeling and thinking. 

       This is something I’m just beginning to delve into, but I can tell you that it is something that I am passionate about figuring out and developing. Being in nature gives me such a feeling of confidence and clarity that it has roots all the way to the core of my being. Many out there may not have been as fortunate as me to grow up next to a forest, or to have the specific interests I do that have led me to be a frequent visitor of the national parks and campgrounds. So I want to inspire both those alike and different from me to go out and find their freedom instead of waiting around for it to pass them by. 

       Everyone is different, so of course everyone’s experience will be different. But I believe that this is something that so many more people will benefit from than those that won’t. Here are some loose questions that I think might help me to engage with you guys, and get to know you better:\

If I was one of your friends and were to ask you to come out into the trees with me for say a hike tomorrow, would you do it? Would you hesitate? Say no? Why?

Have you tried going out for a hike before or something similar in the past? Did you like it? No? What did you like or dislike and how has that shaped your idea of being in nature?

Do you or have you suffered from some sort of anxiety, depression, or similar mental/emotional obstacle? 

Where are you right now in our mental and emotional life? Are you happy? Do you feel that there is something missing? 

When you hear the word “forest,” or “hiking,” or something else related to those, what is the first feeling that hits you?

       Like I said, I'm in the beginning stages of figuring this thing out, but every little bit of engagement from you wonderful people certainly helps tenfold! Please let me know what you think in the comments below! Thanks guys :)

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Being in Nature Builds Your Sense of Self, Really!

        I have recently taken a sort of break from the internet in this respect to focus on more immediate factors of life and the like. Things have gotten a little crazy, and it is during times of more stress like these that I realize even more so how much I appreciate the ability I have to go out and be in nature, even if it just be in a suburban park for a short time. When I am stressed, I go to the woods. When I am sad, I go to the woods. When I am confused, I go to the woods. It goes on. 

        Now, I know that there are many kinds of people out there, quite a few very different from myself, but I must say that I do truly believe that everyone can benefit from some form of nature or another in their life. I have been speaking with friends, new and old, about this, and I have come to realize even further that there are so many more people out there who deep down really want to feel the freedom of being in nature but are unsure of where or how to start than those who simply want nothing to do with it. And on top of that, half of the latter folks would probably be surprised and have a blast if they just gave it a good solid chance!

        I’m not just talking about adventure and exploring in the trees, which of course is extremely important, but more so here the exploration of your own self that seems to happen much more freely and easily when you find yourself surrounded by just the raw world. 

        I am the type of person who, upon entering school and being surrounded by so many other people and then to boot, being introduced to the world of social media, developed a whole lot of anxiety that I never really had before. But let me tell you, the surge of confidence in myself and calm I’ve experienced while hiking through the trees in spots new and old, or camping in the mountains, is such a wonderful feeling it's surreal. This renews me. This boosts me up. This makes me happy. This makes me confident in me. I feel like I could almost do anything. 

        Again I say, the experience will be different for everyone, and you may find that you feel this way more or less. But what I’m saying here too, is that I want to find those people, the ones who keep putting going out into nature on the back burner for this reason or that. I want to find them and I want to show them what they can do, and what nature can do for them. I want to show them that even a little can go a long way when it comes to exploring the natural world and you certainly don’t have to be a survival expert to do it. Go by yourself or with others, either has it's own unique benefits! But if you are someone who is holding back because you have no buddy, let's find you one, we're out here!
        I’m here for anyone with questions on how to get started. Gear recommendations? I got you. Hiking trails and their difficulty levels? You got it. Essentials to bring if you don’t want to wear a big backpack? For sure. How to find friends with the same interests? Get at me! Anything really, no question is a bad one, I want to help those who want to help themselves and discover the beauty of nature at the same time. Come and find yourself with me! Where are my people at!? Really, just send me an email or something, I’d love to speak with you. We can build a community.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Water Purification Techniques in the Wild

More on the survival side of things, we have the main source of human living: water. The saying goes, shelter, water, fire, food, with of course any number of exceptions given whatever situation you find yourself in, and many times water will bump shelter off the top. Many of you may be aware that not all fresh water is drinkable water, but may not know of the different ways you can purify your water even if it seems suspicious from the get-go. Let’s take a quick look.

Say you are dying of thirst and come across a stream in the wilderness, if it is flowing well and the water is clear, it has a much better chance of being drinkable. Even better if the water is flowing downward through rocks, silt, or moss and the like, this will filter out bacteria even more. However, if it is flowing and the water is cloudy, the chances of harmful bacteria being present increase. If it is not flowing at all, and clear, these chances increase further, and if it is cloudy and stagnant, don’t even think about it. Seeing foam or froth in the water, no matter the flow, is a good indicator to steer clear as well.


If you find yourself lucky enough to have a little bottle of iodine drops on you, then it shouldn’t be hard at all to purify your water. The general rule of thumb goes as follows, five drops per quart of water if it is clear, and ten drops per quart if it is murky. 

Gypsy Well

This is an age old technique that has been used throughout the world to locate fresh water. Go to your water source, and begin digging a hole about one foot from the edge and about a foot deep. The depth will vary though, depending on the depth of the water table in whatever ground you find yourself working on. Once water starts to seep into your hole, wait a while for it to fill up, and if you can stand it, a while longer for any silt or dirt to settle at the bottom. This will normally present you with a fresh water source, for the carbon in the dirt along with the silt or sand and other things act as a filter, though you should always remain cautious. If the water tastes unclean or even if you remain suspicious, putting this water through a secondary system of purification is always recommended.

Make Your Own Filtration System

If you have some sort of water bottle, this will work best. Hollowed out logs or bamboo will work too! Cut the bottom off and turn the bottle upside down. The layers of what you should place into the bottle go as follows, some sort of cloth at the neck of the bottle, the finest grain sand you can find, charcoal, the coarsest grain sand you can find, and small rocks to top it off. The amount of these layers and sometimes the order of them tend to vary based on preference or experience, for example some place the charcoal as the second layer followed by a sandwich of fine sand, coarse sand, fine sand, topped with rocks, but this is the gist of it. Pour your water over the rocks and let it drip into a collection pot below.


This is the most foolproof method for purifying your water. Hopefully you are able to get a fire going and have or can create a sort of carrier that can be placed over the fire and heated enough to get a good boil without catching fire itself. Get the water to a rolling boil and leave it there for ten minutes. After ten minutes, all harmful bacteria should be utterly decimated. Don’t forget to let it cool! If you can’t wait, simply place the pot with your hot clean water partially dipped into the initial water source to get the cool water around it to lower you’re drinking water’s temperature a bit quicker. 


Last but never least, we have simply, rain! If you find a storm is coming or you are in the thick of one, make sure to have places where the rain drops can collect for you to drink later. This can be anything from large leaves or hollowed logs/bamboo to containers you have with you. If a storm has just passed, look for these very leaves and see what you can scavenge. Puddles on the ground will work as well, but you must always be very careful when choosing which puddles to take from as this is a bit more risky.  

Hopefully this will help those of you who were wondering or weren’t sure, but no matter what your method ends up being, don’t forget to always stay cautious! Drinking bad water can mean the very literal difference between life and death out in the wilderness!

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Chopping Wood, Specifically for Us Smaller Folk

Well I should think it goes without saying that you need wood, wood, and more wood to keep your fire burning when you’re out in the wilderness. When you’re out there in the trees, you may find yourself get lucky with the sizes and densities of the logs you are able to collect. However just as often, you may not. This goes especially for if you end up bringing your own wood in, for most often times, firewood sold pre-cut at a store normally comes in larger sized logs. Whichever situation you’re in, you certainly could benefit from having a good axe or hatchet with you! This will not only get the fire to burn hotter or longer if you’d like, it may also even be the difference between a fire and no fire at all if you don’t have enough smaller sticks to catch those big logs all the way!

Ever watch someone, often a big and strong oak of a man, wield a large axe and cut through even the thickest of logs like they were cubes of cheese and wonder to yourself, now how come whenever I try that I can’t even split one!? Well, odds are you’re someone like me. I’ve always been on the scrawnier side, and female, not that this makes a giant difference, but all the same found that it took me a lot longer especially in the beginning to keep up with my father when he first taught me how to chop wood. But never fear! I’ve learned it isn’t always the person swinging the axe!

The Axe Itself

If you’re swinging a tool that is either too big for you or too heavy, like several large axes may be, odds are the swing will be strained and awkward and you won’t normally find success. On top of that, you could hurt yourself! Find a tool that fits good with you. If you are not aware, there is a large difference between axes and hatchets, axes being longer in the handle and heavier at the blade and hatchets being shorter, lighter, and more compact. I myself am a big fan of Estwing’s Sportsman’s 12 inch Hatchet, would never find myself camping without it! Though it is a small one compared to many others, it fits with my body and strength abilities well, and I am able to split logs with great precision!

The Wood

Another thing to make sure of is the type of wood you’ll be chopping! You’’ll find that pine wood is extremely soft and easy to split, while other wood like cedar will be quite hard to get through depending on your level of strength. If anything, it’ll take a few good slams. Be sure to just test the weight and density of the wood before you start hacking away. 

The Motions

Now, when it comes to the act of chopping with a hatchet, you’re going to want to stand the log up vertically on a semi-flat and solid surface, and find a mark on it’s head that you plan to hit. Make sure you stand with your legs open and knees bent, for you don’t want to cut through the log and then swing through into your leg! Take a good breath and a firm grip with both hands on your handle. Try a few slow practice motions to get the target down, and then bring it straight up over your head and then straight back down into the wood! This should split the log for you! If you find that the hatchet sticks into the wood and doesn’t make it all the way through, you can simply bring the hatchet with the wood straight up, and then slam it straight back down onto the surface a few times to force it through. Careful not to cut yourself or get splinters while doing this!

And there you go! It takes practice, but I know you’ll get there, frankly if I did, anyone can! Just take your time and go slow if you’re nervous, you’ll get there! Happy chopping! 

Sunday, November 18, 2018

The Steps to Creating a Good Fire in Any Environment PART ONE - Basic

There are many techniques when it comes to making a fire, and everyone has their favorite. Whether you’re a survivalist looking to further your skills and abilities or simply a car camper getting ready to start cooking for the family for the night, this is true. However, this first post will be more helpful toward the less experienced campers who are looking to start themselves out right and easy.  More posts will follow in a type of series in order to cover the many aspects of fire starting. 

Know Your Environment

The first thing you want to do in order to make a successful fire to warm yourself by, cook over, ward off predators with, and more, is to get a good grasp on your surroundings. Hopefully you’ll be able to do a bit of preplanning before going out, and will know at least the type of area you’ll be camping in. Some examples; if you find you’ll be going to the wetlands, it would be a good idea to bring in some dry wood with you, at least enough to keep a solid flame going long enough to dry out other materials you come across once there. This is the same for mountains or areas where you will encounter snowfall. It is likely that the wood around you will be frozen and unable to catch until thawed adequately, so bring wood with you to get a hot enough fire going to thaw more wood you collect on site to burn after. If you have more confidence in your skill set, you may get buy with locating the smaller and thinner twig-like sticks around you that will thaw out much quicker and therefore catch fire more easy. You can warm these up by keeping them in your car for a while if you have it near you, or by even sitting on them and letting your body heat thaw them. If you’re in a desert, bringing wood in with you will also suit you, for though it is dry, things to burn around you are scarce. Lastly, if you find yourself in a grassland or a forest, you will most likely have luck in finding enough deadfall around you to start a good fire and to keep it going for a time. The more time you spend in the outdoors trying different materials and techniques, the more you’ll being able to narrow down the technique that fits right for you in each environment. 

Build You're Fire 

So, now you’ve got a good idea of what’s around you. If you can, begin making small piles of the different fuels you have. You can make one pile of your thicker, dense logs that will burn longer. You can split some of these logs into thinner pieces and make a pile of those. Next make a pile of thinner sticks and twigs. And last, make a pile of very thin sticks, leaves, wood shavings you’ve used you’re knife to shave off of one of your thinner log pieces, or anything else extremely dense and dry. Now you’re ready to go! 

Get 'er Going!

Now take you’re driest tinder materials and make a little pile in the middle of your fire ring. On top, lay in a tipi style or simply a criss cross pattern your broken up smaller sticks and twigs. There are many different methods when it comes to stacking your fire fuel of course, and this is just one of them. If you have a lighter and prefer that method, then simply keep it low and light the edges of the bottom tinder so that they burn underneath the stick bundle and catch it. Once it’s going good, add more sticks, then go in with your thinner log pieces the same way you laid your sticks, in a tipi or cross cross style. As the fire begins to roar, you can eventually decide to add in the bigger logs if you’d like, but make sure it’s burning strong and hot enough to catch them! You don’t want to suffocate your fire!

Some Important Reminders 

It is important to mention also that if you do find that you will be bringing in your own wood, it is best to either collect it yourself from an area nearby to where you;ll be camping, or to purchase it from a local store in the vicinity, for every so often when foreign wood gets brought into the wrong area, certain insects that have been living in that wood get out and attack the living trees in this new environment. Another important thing that should go without saying, is to refrain from burning any live plants or trees. This is an absolute rule unless you are in utter dire need. We want to save as much nature as we can, always. I mean that’s why we’re here in the first place, right? Something to keep in mind. One last important notice is to make sure you won’t be accidentally burning more than you intended if you are indeed surrounded by, say, a lot of tall grass and/or dry dead bush. It only takes a rogue spark to start a catastrophic wildfire, so be smart. 

A Good Idea Just In Case

Also, no matter what your intentions are, even if you’re not camping and just taking a day hike, always keep a little fire kit on you if you can as part of your *EDC. It can literally be a recycled pill bottle with some flint, matches, or even a lighter, and some sort of dry substance to get a fire going initially, be it dry grass, paper, etc.

There you go, you’re on your way to becoming a full out camping expert! Hope this helped, even a little! The next installment in this blog series will focus more on a few more intermediate techniques for starting fires for those who are ready to step their outdoors camping skills to the next level.

*EDC- Every Day Carry 

Friday, November 9, 2018

Two Tools Someone in the Outdoors Should Always Have

No better place to start than square one with most new things, and the outdoors is no different. The biggest step that you need to take when it comes to braving the wilderness for the first time is literally that, making the first trek. Over time, you will find that certain techniques, equipment, trails, will work better for you than others. Like anything, it takes time and practice. But never fear! There are some basic primary gear necessities that any camper and hiker, new and old, will always turn to. Presented below are two staples that no outdoorsman would ever be caught without, for this is survival. 

A Good Knife

Knives are like anything else, they come in all shapes and sizes and some are much more reliable than others. It’s a good idea to always carry some form of steady blade with you at all times when camping in the wilderness. This will come in handy when doing anything from shaving tinder, chopping food, bush crafting (to say the least), and just plain defending yourself if it comes to it. A reliable knife coupled with a good multi-tool, one with your standard pliers, corkscrew, serrated edge, a small smooth blade, some form of screw driver (phillips, flat head, or both), and etc. will give you the jump on many different punches nature’s unexpected ways will throw at you.

A Reliable Firestarter

No matter how warm the place you’re in happens to be, if trouble comes calling you’ll want to have a fire, especially at night if not only to keep predators at bay. This is where some sort of firestarter comes in handy. Of course, lighters are always the quickest form of flame, but they can break, run out of fuel, or fail to function in the wind. If you can have one on you great, but with it, you should always have some sort of manual firestarter. The magnesium/flint bar is a very popular one, and does wonders in a pinch, but may also be an issue in the wind. The sparkle push and spark firestarter is also a favorite, for this creates a controlled spark that can be controlled more. There are many more, so do your research and find the one that suits you, because 20 minutes on the internet is more than worth it when compared to the loss of your life to mother nature. 

Side Note:  On top of this, if you can even carry a small little tinder bundle, anything not too dense but very dry, be it in a baggy or little container, you’ll have an even bigger chance of starting a fire in less than favorable conditions. 

More advice and tool recommendations to come, but for now, these are two of the biggest and most important tools to have on you when heading out into the wilderness. Whether it be camping for a few days, or just going for an hour long hike, nature can throw a curve ball at you anywhere and at any time, and it’s up to you to have the tools you need to beat it.  

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

The Outdoors as a Source of Happiness and Escape

It is very common especially within the younger generations of today, for us to become so lost in the societal need to work hard and make money that we often forget about the importance of sustaining our own emotional and mental happiness. “The Grind,” as it is so often referred to today is something that if you don’t pay attention to it, can make you insane. The competitiveness and judgment of those around us as a result of this idea is also something that can drive many into the ground. This is why for many like myself, escaping into The Great Outdoors is imperative to not only our mental and emotional well-being, but ultimately our survival in the world today. However, this doesn’t mean you have to pack up and head into the woods never to be seen or heard from again, there are smaller things you can do to enrich your life on a weekly, or even daily basis. 

Local Parks

Odds are, even if you live in a big city, there is some form of parks or gardens around you, it’s just a question of finding them! By simply making your way over to a place like this, and spending your time either reading a book, stretching, listening to music, or even just clearing your mind and listening to the world around you, you’ll find that you’ll come away from it feeling lighter, and happier! It is true what they say, if you can teach yourself to enjoy the simple things in life a bit more like this, your quality of life is surely to increase quite a bit. 

National Parks

Moving up on the scale of adventure, we have national parks! These can be anything from a large patch of forest to miles of canyons, and you’ll most likely be surprised to find that you’re probably not too far from one! Though this will most like require a day set aside to hike, the experience of exploring the nature found in one of these parks will be life changing, and you’ll come away from it feeling renewed and ready to take on whatever hurdles the upcoming week will hold.


Better yet, traveling a bit farther to these very same National Parks where overnight stays are allowed, is something that is an experience like no other. When you find yourself out in the middle of a forest with nothing but the trees and the birds surrounding you, it is that quiet and that open air that gives one a sensation like no other. It is not just calming, but is strength renewing and just plain healthy for the mind and soul. Scream from the mountain tops if you want to, build a fire (within reason) and cook yourself a meal if you want to, climb a tree! The freedom of spending just a couple days away from the bustle and insanity of society is a feeling like no other, and one that will most definitely stick with you forever. 

Now get out there and enrich your life! Who knows, you may even spark something within you that you didn’t even know was there! 

I Want To Get To Know You - The Outdoors and You

       What I’ve come to realize lately is that there are so many people out there who crave adventure. In some form or another, t...