My approach to wilderness survival has developed over the years to include perspectives gained from my experience practicing primitive skills, playing and hunting in the backcountry, teaching wilderness medicine, doing search and rescue and humanitarian work domestically and abroad, and working as a professional paramedic and ranger. I've also worked hard to incorporate the lessons of friends and family, coworkers, and my patients. My perspective includes more than theory. 

I hope to share some of my personal hero's stories; stories that do not always fit the mainstream definition of survival but instead exemplify the values I find most important. 

primitive skills

Somewhere along the way all of our ancestors lived their daily lives immersed in the natural world; sleeping on the ground, smelling of woodsmoke, hunting and gathering through landscapes they knew more intimately than I know my hometown. Although far from the knowledge base of an indigenous hunter gatherer, I remain deeply thankful for the knowledge of primitive survival skills I have been able to gain. I include under this banner the entire spectrum of naturalist skills and awareness as well as the more obvious skills of shelter building, fire production, water sourcing, food procurement, and the many arts of living necessary for long term survival in a wild ecosystem. 

Keep in touch for insights into improvised shelters, fire by friction techniques and tips, and general skills of the modern hunter gatherer. And, we'll mix in interesting naturalist tidbits. 

modern survival

As a child I was interested in any wilderness skill I was exposed to; as a teen I became unfortunately dogmatic about what I felt was relevant to my knowledge base. I blame the idealism of youth, although sometimes I think I was way more committed back then. Now, I recognize the absolute importance of balancing my primitive skills set with a more modern approach. Despite my youthful romanticism of tribal cultures I was quite self centered. It took my work as a wilderness medicine instructor to fully embrace the concept that my responsibility is not only to keep myself alive but to have the skills, and sometimes gear, to keep other's alive. I won't be building a bow drill fire if my ski partner breaks her leg somewhere in the Beartooths. 

Watch for future post regarding ultralight shelters and water purification techniques, stove options, food ideas, communication, signaling, navigation, and more. You'll also find seasonal specific updates throughout the year. 

Improvise. Adapt. Overcome.