Archive for May, 2012

May 19 2012

Northwoods spring

Published by under Expeditions and Experiences

Here’s another little update from this spring. Since getting back to the US I’ve been fairly involved at the Teaching Drum Outdoor School as there is a special family year-long program happening here. Also, wild leeks were ready to be harvested and several of us went fishing for suckerfish  during their spawning run. This year turned out to be a particularly good run, and we ended up getting in large quantities over the course of several days.

The picture above shows a  larger size female sucker fish. For the community here, one way of showing our appreciation for these beautiful fish that feed us is to return the first-caught fish unharmed into the water. And, making sure that we don’t cause any unnecessary suffering – fish taken out of the water are immediately killed with a blow to the head.

Sucker fish are bottom feeders that spawn in spring when the water temperature is about 50F (about 10C). They seek out areas with gravel or rock substrate, oftentimes in creeks or rivers, in which case they migrate in big schools which makes it easy to catch them.

In this picture, a landing net is employed to catch spawning suckers. Under certain conditions, catching them with bare hands can also be quite effective.

A mature leek patch. In my opinion, one of the tastiest wild edible plants around here which is also available before most other greens are in season. When broken up and thinly spread, they can dry within a few days of sunshine. If they’re strung individually they can dry even faster though this method is very time-consuming when working with larger amounts.

Spring time in the Northwoods…

On another note, I’ll be in Alaska for the summer and probably won’t get around to write much here during that time…so I’ll probably get back to writing after my return in late summer. Wish you all a nice green season!

 

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May 05 2012

Winter update

Published by under Expeditions and Experiences

Haven’t really posted much since last fall since I was busy with other things, so I thought I’ d catch up a little bit. Last winter I’ve done a number of trips in the woods ranging from a few days to a few weeks, exploring, tracking, and trapping. Following are some pictures from that time.

This is how the soles of my mukluks looked like at the beginning of the winter, so some repairs were in order. Much of the wear and tear was from crusty snow conditions during the previous spring.

To avoid having to take the mukluks apart in the future in order to exchange the soles I decided to add an extra sole on the outside which could be replaced easily if necessary, leaving the main boot intact. Detail view on the left, finished boots on the right. Thanks to a generous gift I had some commercial mukluks with rubber soles in the meantime, and I can certainly understand why in some cases Natives were quick to adopt some modern materials…

A story waiting to be told: The tracks of four wolves fanning out on a lake.

Some winter landscape impressions. I find that I feel most alive when I’m connected to the “moods” of the weather and the land.

The sun peeking through the cloud cover after a snow storm.

This shelter seems a little small for the porcupine…

A friend of mine checking a (not so primitive) beaver trap under the ice.

In February I attended a week-long wolf tracking class that was organized by Teaching Drum Outdoor School and Wilderness Awareness School. It was very inspiring and informative, as we spent most of the time in the field tracking, and got together in the evenings to listen to the stories that each group brought back from their particular area. One of the highlights for me was following the tracks of a wolf for hours who was running at full speed through dense brush, and our group of five almost moved like a wolf pack too, with one person following the tracks and the rest covering the rear and sides, semi-circling whenever necessary to pick up on the trail again. The tracks finally led us to a kill site (see pictures above), where some blood, hide scraps and scattered stomach contents were the only remains of a young deer…

Spring thaw – the end of the winter.

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May 04 2012

Wilderness Living Course

There are a couple of places left in a course organized by a friend of mine, Bjørn. Him and me will be running it together in the south of Norway, about an hour’s drive from Oslo. The course will be held in Norwegian, but I will do some translations on the fly if there are any English-speaking participants.

Link to information page (Norwegian)

If you don’t have facebook, send me an e-mail and I’ll forward your request to Bjørn.

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May 02 2012

Norway…

Published by under Expeditions and Experiences

It’s been a little while since I’ve been posting here. As Torjus mentioned in his previous post I recently visited him in the mountains of southern Norway. It’s been good reconnecting again in person after a couple years of living on different continents, and checking out what he’s been up to. Following are some pictures from the time we spent together.

 

Our base camp – an earth lodge that Torjus had built some time ago. Though not necessarily an ideal winter location, it’s situated in a good spot for fishing, right next to a lake. It turned out to be a little drafty with the door left open so we later on used a caribou hide as a door flap.

Torjus arranging the fire after we cleaned up the lodge and made slightly elevated sleeping platforms with boughs.

Spring started early this year, and most of the lakes in the valley were already ice-free. We set out several nets for trout and ended up catching quite a few. The trout population in this particular lake is pretty high so most of the fish stay small and many of them have parasites. In the picture above, Torjus is pulling in the day’s catch.

Some pictures of valley and surrounding mountainous area. The weather conditions are very variable at this time of the year, and at any time one may encounter rain, snow or sunshine.

Snow, of course, makes tracking much easier. Here we’re following a fox trail in the mountains…

Feeding sign of two moose on a downed rowan tree.

Roasted caribou head – a delicacy!

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