Knap Jerome J. - The complete outdoorsman's handbook

Author : Knap Jerome J.
Title : The complete outdoorsman's handbook A guide to outdoor living and wilderness survival
Year : 1976

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Introduction. There is an outdoor recreation boom sweeping the entire western world and this continent in particular. There has been nothing like it in the past. Yes, the out-of-doors has always had an appeal for some, but they have been a small minority. Two decades ago you could go on a canoe trip in the summer months in the wilderness of Quetico and not see another soul for an entire week. Not today. You are lucky if you see only three or four canoeing parties a day. Arctic rivers that have not seen a white man's canoe since the big fur-trading era, today are being traveled regularly. The old trails of the western mountains, untrodden since the days of mountain men and early prospectors, are being hiked and backpacked today. During the height of summer, camping areas in many parks are full. In the past, being a fishing and hunting outfitter was a risky business. It still is, but today many outfitters in the more popular areas have no difficulty in attracting clientele. This phenomenon is world-wide. In many of the national parks of Africa, one can see a pride of minibuses around every lion. I have even met a convoy of two land rovers on safari in the middle of the Kalahari Desert in Botswana. The reasons for this outdoor boom are many. A greater interest in wildlife is one. Twenty years ago hunters and fishermen were the only large groups interested in wildlife. Today, almost everyone has a casual interest in wild creatures. This interest is not always tempered with wisdom, and is rarely accompanied by knowledge. At times wildlife management agencies are hampered in their work by people who prefer to have deer starve than to have them hunted by outdoorsmen. Other reasons for the outdoor boom are more leisure time, a more affluent society, and better highways and rapid transportation systems. Thirty years ago, if a New York big-game hunter wanted to hunt in the Yukon, it took him five days just to reach Whitehorse. Today, he is there in less than a day. But I think that the biggest reason for the outdoor boom is a spiritual rebellion against our sophisticated, affluent society. Deep down we hunger for a quieter life, a slower pace, green grass, and the sight of pale blue wood smoke curling up toward the sky. We want to "get away from it all," but at times we bring it all with us in the form of tent cities and slums. Everyone who ventures into the out-of-doors should possess the basic skills for outdoor living. He should know how to make a good campfire, what types of wood give fast heat for boiling tea, and what types provide hot flames for broiling steaks. He should know how to paddle a canoe, how to forecast weather, how to use a compass, what the sudden cry of a bluejay means, and what a bear is up to when he stands on his hind legs. The average outdoorsman does not have to be a wilderness survival expert, but he should know the basics. After all, almost everyone can become lost or lose his gear when his canoe is upset in a choppy wilderness lake. ...

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