Preconceived notions, especially when one is fairly brought up in their influence, are most difficult to shake off. – Stewart Edward White, Camp and Trail, 1907
“Bushcraft” is a term for wilderness skills and is the practice of surviving and thriving in the natural world. To Effectively practice bushcraft, you must master a unique skill set that includes, fire craft, navigation, trapping, creating shelter, tracking, and the use of tools, both modern and primitive. Wise hikers carry few essentials and tools with them on their journeys; instead of extra equipment, they carry the knowledge and skills needed to create necessary items straight from the landscape. To thrive in the woods without the modern comforts available today takes determination. Like any hobby, it requires dedication and knowledge that may in certain circumstances save your life. Many bushcraft skills are essential to surviving in the wild in an emergency.
Turning to the not-so-distant past, you’ll find that some of the most influential men in history took life in the wilderness as a serious endeavor as well as a euphoric pastime. They reconnected with nature, conserved resources, and worked to preserve the natural world. Theodore Roosevelt is perhaps the most famous president associated with exploration, preservation, and life in the wild. Working with John Muir, founder of the Sierra Club, he improved the protection of the United States’ natural wonders, preserving 230 million acres of wildlife habitat across the nation. Within thirty years of the turn of the twentieth century, folks in the United States were rediscovering what it was like to spend time in nature and finding a release from the day-to-day life.
Why would anyone, in this era of modern conveniences and incredible technology, leave a comfortable life behind in pursuit of a simpler, but more hazardous, tramp in the woods?