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Adaptable.
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Discussion Starter #1
So, as some of you know, one of my goals for moving to the boondocks was to start a wilderness school. I've finally made some inroads with the foresters who control the 300,000 acres behind our cabin, so a limited lease is not impossible to imagine. My buddies and I have been crunching numbers to figure out class sizes, food requirements, etc. I figure the first year class will be trail based; a forty mile hike over four days with courses taking place on the route.

So, I already figure on teaching finding and treating water, expedient shelters, fire starting and safety, rudimentary rope work, land navigation, stone knapping, making cordage, and bask first aid.

What would you expect to learn from a wilderness living and survival course? I've looked at other schools, and for the most part have been unimpressed with their offerings.

-G
 

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Guardian of Liberty
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My .02

I have been getting ready to sell my house in Florida and buy some land, build a house, and make self reliance and being off the grid my priority. Some of the classes I have been encouraged to teach, by family and friends, are topics like soap making, making your own butter and yogurt, so what I have gotten from them is there is an interest in learning frontier skills. That's my plan.


Hope I didn't destroy my own plans...
 

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I don't know if this would fit in with your classes but I've always wanted to know the old ways of curing, smoking and storing meats and fish as the pioneers did it. Ways to keep meat and fish good without refrigeration (along the trail).

Just my $0.02!
 

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Happiness is 2 at low 8
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If it's wilderness living, then high on the priority list should be edible plants and medicinal plants. Basic firemaking, water purification etc can be learned from a book, but, even with the best books, knowing which plants are good for what is "iffy". They are a pitiful substitute for actually having someone point them out, prepare them for consumption etc.

Next would be tracking, trapping and catching fish without modern equipment. Regarding your 40 mile hike in 4 days, that requirement will most likely limit your class sizes, but perhaps that was your intention, not having to babysit the "wanna-bees" (but remember the wanna-bees money spends just as well.)

Just $.02 from a wanna-bee...

Allan
 

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Basic snares, or some other form of catching and preparing critter meals.

Foraging, and identification of edible plants. Books are a start, but the very best way to learn positive ID is to have someone show you. Also the general statements that could be made, like white berries are almost always poisonous, and when in doubt pass it over.

Preventing big game encounters on the trail, and how to best curtail confrontation with each type.

Basics of insects, first-aid, treatment, and how to keep the lil bastages from eating you alive. The little things we learn the hard way, like don't take a seat on an old log in tick country, etc.
 

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I wouldn't try the 10 mile hike thing at first,until you got a feel for the clientel. It would suck to get deposits or full payments in advance,and find that half the class wasn't fit to walk 2 miles. Maybe after doing the school for a while,and seeing who the customer is,I'd try it. A circular hike,with the center of the circle as home base.That way,no matter where in your course you are,the distance back to homebase is the same.For example,I live in a square mile section,and a hike aroung it is exactly 4 miles.The center of the section(homebase) is about 3/4 of a mile from the furthest point,the corners.1/2 mile from the midpoint to the center.A circle would be the same distance no matter where you stood.

Using this method,somebody with a medical problem,or maybe just a whiny-baby,would have a relatively short hike to get back to homebase.

In a course like you describe,I would probably expect firestarting using primitive methods,field expedient shelter construction,and edible wild plants to be the basis of the school.
 

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What was it that you didn't like that was offered at the schools you looked at?
 

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Survivor
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I'd offer 2 classes if it were me running a school,

Course one, day one-For any Tom, ****, Harry and hockey mom. Day one in a house with no power or running water. Use pantry items and average around the house stuff to make cooking device and teach fire making, purify water, packing for evacuation on foot, improvise protection weapon, how to sharpen a knife and other basic how not to die stuff, Throw in some first aid.
Day 2 , 1 mile road walk and basic navigation in woods, selecting campsite and setting up with tarp shelter and fire building. Use improvised cooking device to eat and purify water. Demonstrate how to stay warm in sleeping bag. Throw in basic rope craft and simulate injury to practice first aid.
Morning after, let them figure out how to get out of woods.

Camp course two. Heavy multi day survival with multi moves and camp setups. Escape, evasion and low profile camp sites. Heavy skill usage and simulate many problems for students.

Try to get businesses for course type one for teaching self reliance and group involvement. The little weasel guy nobody has any faith in usually smokes the others. Look for the real stud looking guys and self proclaimed office hotties to hit he deck screamin' for mama.
Great fun those courses!
 

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Adaptable.
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Discussion Starter #9
Great ideas everybody. I particularly like the frontier skills idea. I hope to grow this idea until I can rub courses all through the spring and summer. I am planning on offering instruction in foraging, though I will admit that there is no way I could feed classes on the limited amounts of edibles in the area.

It's not that I did not like what was offered in other outdoor courses, rather thy I don't like how they are offered, it seems they are either "survival" schools or "guide" courses; not counting the team building ropes style courses. Nothing I have found leans toward long term wilderness living and proficiencies.

The idea behind the 40 miles hike as my first year course is to limit the course to somewhat able bodies, and rule out the day trippers. Though I think you might be right about it being too strenuous.

-g

Back to painting the cabin...
 

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Adaptable.
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Discussion Starter #11
hunting is one skill I would never teach in a course; would probably be impossible to find an animal with ten greenhorns in tow... And forget about arming them; too much liability, I'll leave that stuff to guided hunting camps. Trapping, yes, but activly hunting? No way!
 

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tracking, trapping, fishing with very minimal equipment, gathering native edible plants, camouflage/concealment...

HippieSurvivalist
 

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Primative fire making ,cordage, plant ID and use both edible and medicinal , practical snares and traps , and tanning hides of small game.
 

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making effective snares,navigation
 

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Regarding your 40 mile hike in 4 days, that requirement will most likely limit your class sizes, but perhaps that was your intention, not having to babysit the "wanna-bees" (but remember the wanna-bees money spends just as well.)

Just $.02 from a wanna-bee...

Allan
I agree, 10 miles a day is going to leave a limited amount of time and energy for skill instruction and more importantly practice. Would be a deal breaker for me.

Perhaps ease along the first three days and then "hump it back" the final day as a clear lesson in the absolute need to keep our number one survival tool (the ever aging bod) in the best shape possible. :)
 

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Primative fire making ,cordage, plant ID and use both edible and medicinal , practical snares and traps , and tanning hides of small game.
Check for liability issues on this one - I personally wouldn't touch it unless you have an insured MD on staff.
 
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