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What Our Apprentices Know

“The more you know, the less you need.”  –Mors Kochanski

To ‘know’, it’s not enough to read it in a book, or watch it on TV.  We must do it, fail and succeed, eat it up, and do it again.  It is about the experiences we have and the wisdom we draw from them.

Over the past year our Apprentices have not only proven Kochanski’s words above but lived them again and again.

This small but dedicated group of individuals undertook a commitment to study the natural world and the skills & technology that it takes to live in the wilderness without infrastructure.  As we close-out the year together, I’d like to honor their commitment and successes by sharing a few of the things they’ve done – and what they know.

What Our Apprentices Know
The sound of the Montane
in Summer, Fall, Winter, and Spring,
The smell of the day and the roar of the winds at night.
And they know the plants & animals around them.
What it’s like to sleep (and wake) in a shelter they’ve built,
Even at 50-degrees below freezing.
How to coax fire from sticks or stones
And of the conveniences modern methods provide.
How to banish smoke from their fire
Or use it to great effect.They know how much firewood to haul for a night’s warmth
And what happens from poor planning.
They know axe, knife and saw
To judge the height of trees and track the distance they travel.
Of cordage, basketry, and felting.
They know how to process and preserve meat and fat
Plus what it’s like to prepare meals atop a fire
And what it’s like to walk on, and build with, snow.How to skin animals and tan their hides
To work with bone, sinew, stone, and wood
How to carve a bow and trap small game
Of safety, survival priorities, and how to be a steward of the land.
How to take care of themselves and others
And that being a little uncomfortable means that we’re alive.They know these things
Because they’ve done them.

As we close out their year together later this month, these Apprentices will welcome the new Apprentices to our program – passing the proverbial torch.  And the cycle will begin again.

I’m proud to call each of these Apprentices ‘colleague’ and ‘friend’.  I’d consider myself lucky to be lost in the woods with any of them.

In admiration,


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