The following story and fantastic photos were kindly supplied by Woodlore customer Dan Metcalf and his family:
To Ray Mears & the Woodlore Team,
I have just returned from a family canoeing trip in Minnesota, USA (BWCA, Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness). I was up there with my 69-year old father and three brothers (30-45 years old). We paddled about 40 miles and portaged about 10+ miles in 6 days.
With skills I had learned from Ray Mears’ TV programmes and a couple of his books, I was able to have quite a bit of fun. Only our first fire was lit with a match – dad’s tried and true method – and the rest were lit using a fire steel; the first time any of us had ever used a fire steel as a main method of lighting fires during a trip.
I was able to put together a bow and drill set, and for the first time in my 45 years I was able to make fire by friction. Blowing that ember into a flame really was exciting. I could see it grow and smoke more and more until we had flame.
I ponassed some bass and cooked up smaller fish, skewered right on a stick by the fire. Also fashioned a crayfish trap from a mesh laundry bag and some birch shoots. Wolves are back in the BWCA now, spread down naturally from Canada, and we could hear them nightly and even saw some scat and prints on a portage trail.
At each site we made simple cooking pot hooks, cooking utensils, forks and spoons, improving our skills at every stop. I had a sharpened hoof knife along to help in the carving, and while not a crooked knife it sure helped. I even made my own knife for the trip by custom handling and sheathing a Mora carbon steel blade in a semi traditional Scandinavian style. Just about the best knife I have ever had an opportunity to use, and the dangler sheath worked great in the canoe.
From Ray’s programmes I learned much about the Boreal forests and their ecosystems. It made the trip very interesting and even more enjoyable. His information about Voyageurs and northern “First Nation” birch bark canoes was very entertaining to the party.
Just wanted to say thanks and I hope that someday those great programmes find their way to the USA TV markets.