Tracking Courses 2017

This spring Woodsong Wilderness Leadership School will host 8 tracking courses!

Tracking is a great skill for any hunter, survivalist, photographer, naturalist, or outdoor enthusiast. Unlike many outdoor activities like hunting and fishing, tracking can be done virtually anywhere. Each course will focus on tracking different animal species.  

Want to take every course?

Great! They can all be taken as a "semester" for a discounted rate. Semester students will also have the opportunity to attend overnight tracking excursions as well as special outings with Woodsong. 

About the Instructor

Sam Larson tracking a mountain lion in Arizona 2012

Sam Larson tracking a mountain lion in Arizona 2012

Sam Larson has been a tracking enthusiast for as long as he can remember. During his travels, Sam has had the opportunity to study and track a large variety of fauna through grassland, forest, marshes, snow, and high desert. He says the most memorable highlight of his tracking career includes tracking and observing 3 different sub-species Grey Wolf. 

Feel free to email Sam with any questions: sam@woodsongwilderness.com

 

Location/Time

Courses will take place in different locations, all within 30 minutes of Lincoln, Nebraska. Exact course locations will be given to participants at least one week before the start date. Courses will begin at 2pm, and end around 5pm.

February 11th - Intro to Animal Tracks and Sign

This classes why we track and simply put, how we track. It is a way to get everyone's feet wet. We will study different examples of animal tracks and sign, and you'll get a chance to do some exploring while we search the forest for sign. 

We will also teach students how to properly document the tracks and sign that we discover. Each student will also make their own "tracking stick" using the dimensions of our local fauna.

March 4th - Tracking Hooves (the deer family)

Whitetail and mule deer are probably the most common animals tracked in the midwest, due to hunting. A deer can tell you a lot from their tracks. Everything from where they're going, to their size, their gender, and their diet can all be determined by observing their tracks and sign. 

 

 

March 18th - Tracking and Identifying Raccoons, Opossums, and other Small Mammals

raccoon tracks near a pond

raccoon tracks near a pond

Small mammals are extremely fun to track. Nebraska has no shortage of small mammal sign, and our wet spring weather provides an excellent opportunity to learn the stories of these animals, told through the tracks and sign that they leave behind.

 

 

April 1st - Tracking Canines (Coyote, wolf, fox)

When it comes to tracking canines, it can be difficult to determine the difference between wild canines (coyotes, wolves, and foxes) and domestic dogs. During this course we will describe different methods used to determine each species. We will also discuss mannerisms, habitats, and scat.

 

 

 

April 15th - Practical Tracking Challenge (For "Semester" Students Only)

This is a chance for our semester students to test what they've learned. The "practical exam" will require the student to track several different species through rugged terrain. 

Following the exam we will have an end-of-course event and review of materials. 

 

 

May 6th - Intro to Animal Tracks and Sign (not part of "semester")

This course is going to be a family/kid friendly course, but anyone is welcome to attend. This is a great way to get your whole family enjoying wild places!

We will learn all about animal behavior, what they leave behind, and the stories that they can tell us through their tracks and sign. 

Online Book Talk/Q&A with Sam Larson January 7th

I want you at this event! 

If you're interested, fill out and submit this form. You will be emailed with the details (a time and link to the event) the week of the event. Remember, only people who have purchased the book or received it as a gift are eligible to attend.

If you'd like to purchase the book, click here!

As long as you have your copy of "To Tread in Wild Places" there is NO FEE for this event!

Name of Attendee *
Name of Attendee
Name of Original Purchaser
Name of Original Purchaser
What time works best for you? There will be multiple options

To Tread In Wild Places - an introductory guide to wilderness living skills

I'm happy to finally announce a project that I've been working on for the past 4 years! 

In To Tread in Wild Places I went out to try to explain wilderness living skills to a 13 year old me. It's a relatively quick read at 160 pages, but my goal was to trim the metaphorical fat that exists in many books on this subject. For example, instead of showing 20 different ways to set up a tarp, I show a handful of ways (maybe 5) that happen to work really well. Everything is kept simple and straight forward. 

The book also includes stories about my time in the wilderness from Maine, to Arizona, and yes, even British Columbia. These stories give practical scenarios where the skills shown in this book were utilized. 

I wanted to share a bit of the book with you guys, just to give you a better understanding of what it presents, and why I wrote it in the first place.

Currently, this is only shipping to the United States. If you live elsewhere, shoot me an email at sam@woodsongwilderness.com if you want a paperback (ebook is available to you still)

Here are the first 5 pages... enjoy!

 

Introduction

I did a lot of deep thinking before deciding to write this book.

After all, aren’t there enough “survival” books out there already? Hasn’t everything already been said, recorded or shared?

I can assure you right now that none of the content in this book is new. In fact, most of it is very old. My reason for writing this book is simple.

The earliest memory I have of my outdoor pursuits involves a PVC pipe bow that my parents bought for me for Christmas when I was 4 years old. I irritated squirrels in the backyard and constantly practiced my shooting. When I got a bit older I began to ask my parents about hunting and fishing. Throughout history, fathers have been the source for hunting knowledge. If you find a hunter and ask him how he got started, odds are he’d tell you his old man taught him. My dad was a pastor and had only vague memories of hunting as a kid with his father, most of which involved his favorite part about those hunting trips, eating bologna sandwiches. This is probably where most people would give up and look elsewhere for ways to have a good time. Basketball, baseball, football… all that good stuff. However, my loving parents saw that this had really become a passion of mine, so they looked for people in our community to help me. Soon I was heading for the hills every weekend to chase fish and game, and explore.

Growing up I always dreamed of being an explorer. I would spend my life searching the unexplored corners of the world, mapping new lands, and getting chased by a variety of large, hairy carnivores. Maybe someday I would discover a land that had already been discovered, and I would befriend the native tribes and learn their ways. This was a great plan, but when I saw my first globe at school, I began to feel a bit disheartened. What was I going to do with my life if there weren’t any undiscovered lands?

I forget exactly how old I was when I first stepped into our local history museum, but I don’t think I was much older than 3rd grade.  I remember getting out of the elevator and seeing one of the most incredible things that anyone can ever witness. There was a small TV screen that was playing a video of a man making a spear point through a process called “flint knapping.’ Next to the TV screen was a display of old arrowheads and spear points. Next to that was a miniature earth lodge. Above the display was a banner that read “The First Nebraskans.”

It wasn’t a macho thing. The man wasn’t beating his chest or wresting a bear. He just sat there on a stump and turned a stone into a spear point. I remember thinking ‘if I can’t be an explorer, I want to be like this guy.’ It hit me that although we humans basically know everything about the topography of the earth, there is still much to be explored in regards to how humans have interacted with the earth during our history.

Another major turning point in my life came when I got the opportunity to take part in a canoeing expedition in Ontario the summer before my freshman year of high school. I remember gathering up all of my belongings, tools, old Christmas gifts, and whatever else I could find, and selling them to make enough money for the trip. During my time in Ontario I met a guide who happened to be named Sam as well. She was a Samantha, but over the course of our week in the wilderness I observed her resilience through storms and long days of paddling. She was a fearless leader who never lost her positive attitude. She showed me what toughness was supposed to look like. She taught by example. I remember picturing myself in Sam’s shoes. Would I ever be a fearless leader? I resolved to find out…

 

Even after these great experiences at a young age I still didn’t have a basic set of wilderness living skills. I had a lot of ideas and theories of how I could live in the wild and have adventures, and I had spent a considerable amount of time in wild places, but that was about it. I eventually turned to books to learn more about the forest.

I love books. In fact, I love reading and encouraging younger folks to explore so much that I’ve included a link to my online reading list at the end of this book. But, of the 100s of excellent books on the genre of wilderness living, none of them were composed specifically for 13 year old Sam. Some were too broad, some too advanced, some weren’t relevant to me and the resources that I had access to.

I wrote this book, because I wanted to write the book that I wish I had read as a youth. I wanted to write a book for the indoor oriented folks who are curious what adventure might lie beyond highways and cell phone coverage. I wanted to write a book that would give the young, or beginning woodsman a well-rounded view of what it takes to live comfortably in the wilderness with limited equipment. I wanted to write a book that my parents could have simply handed to the 13 year old Sam and said, ‘go for it!’

So… here we go.

Let’s jump right in! The sooner I finish this book, the sooner I can go play in the woods again.

 

Freedom in the Forest

I believe that the only way to feel truly free is to experience wild places, either by foot or paddle. During this time only my strokes or footsteps dictate my direction. Each action is purposeful, and meaningful.

Perhaps the true reason for why I decided to write this book is to provide people with the necessary skills to experience this freedom. A solid base of wilderness skills removes or lessens the need for money or complex social hierarchy.

It is our job to spread the joy of the natural world, not to out-do one another. This becomes clearer every time we gaze over an enormous expanse of land or water. It only takes one big storm for a person to learn that (for better or worse) nature doesn’t play favorites, and it’s far more powerful than any person.

 

Many books have been written about what modern humans refer to as “survival” and many more will be written after this one. I will never claim that my teachings are superior, but rather, that an appreciation for the outdoor lifestyle is, in some capacity, necessary for everyone who treads the earth.

 

In the 21st century we strut into the woods with our expensive backpacks, we sleep under perfectly manufactured nylon tents, we cook with our omni-fuel-ultra-stove 3500s, and then we sit back and say “I sure have this ‘living in the woods’ thing down.” We walk on trails and look at scenery without knowing anything about the flora and fauna surrounding us, let alone how to utilize it in a way that would allow one to live in the forest for any length of time.

 

Concerning the Internet

 

Perhaps the greatest hypocrisy I see amongst outdoor enthusiasts in our culture is the reliance that our outdoor community has on the internet. This is not to say that it is bad to use the internet or that there isn’t good content available online; I simply fear that relying too heavily on such sources can lead one to disregard a practical education of the natural world to an unsafe and unhealthy extent.

Although a great deal of learning can be done through the web, it doesn’t compare to time spent in the woods. It’s important to note that the internet (and television) should be used as a tool to draw people towards the natural world, not a substitute for experiences. There is no “virtual reality” for the wilderness. It greaves me to think that there are people who attempt to satisfy their urge to explore wild places by indulging in reality television and the internet. It’s like eating old bacon bits every night, when you could be chowing down on a big, juicy steak (sorry vegans, I can’t think of an analogy for you; got steak on the brain).

 

A human needs to tread in wild places; to breathe clean air, to smell the prairies and the forests. Sure, it’s dirty. The real world is often uncomfortable, and dirty, but at least it’s real. 

Coffee with Sam - The Storytelling Event of the Season!

You are invited! Sam will be hosting a storytelling event to share survival skills, untold stories of comedy, and best of all, your favorite warm beverage! 

Stories will include 

  • How To Get On Television Without Really Trying
  • Good Morning Bear - A gripping and comedic bear encounter
  • Singing With Wolves - It's a fine art

A Q&A session will also take place during the event, so bring your questions! Nothing is off limits!

Space is very limited, so pre-registration is required. Space is expected to fill up fast! 

Date/Time

Saturday November 12th - 10:00am-12pm

(Husker's play at 6:30pm!)

Location (tentative)

Pioneer's Park Nature Center 

Prairie Building, Auditorium

3201 S Coddington Ave. Lincoln, NE 68522

Cost

$15.00 per adult. Kids 17 and under $10.00

Must pre-register! Tickets will not be sold at the door

Your space is not secured until your form has been submitted and your payment has been received

Name *
Name
Drink Preference

The 26 Species Hunter/Gatherer Challenge!

Over the past few years I've been exploring my local food options from furry critters to plants and fish. After all, it's always far more rewarding to eat something that you've harvested from the land, on nature's terms.

When Alone season 2 participant Nicole Apelian released a recent blog post it really got me thinking about how many critters and plants I have access to from a hunter/gatherer's perspective. As many of you know, Nicole was known for her vast knowledge of the land, and how to procure food from it. In the blog post she describes how she was able to harvest 26 different species of "food" in all of its different shapes and sizes.  You can read her blog post here! I recommend checking it out. This got me thinking of my local flora and fauna

I took it upon myself to find the top 26 species that I could utilize to live off the land in my local environment. Here's what I came up with:

Environment:  Nebraska's Platte River Valley

Squirrel! Ready for the frying pan!

Squirrel! Ready for the frying pan!

A young milkweed

A young milkweed

  1. Squirrel
  2. Raccoon
  3. Cottontail Rabbit
  4. Muskrat
  5. Panfish (bluegill, crappie, etc)
  6. Snapping Turtle
  7. Bass (small and large mouth)
  8. Catfish
  9. Crawdad (crayfish)
  10. Wild Turkey
  11. Whitetail Deer
  12. Bull Snake
  13. Bull Frog
  14. Opossum
  15. Milkweed
  16. Dandelion
  17. Curly Dock
  18. Wood Sorrel
  19. Plantain
  20. Clover
  21. Nettle
  22. Mallow
  23. Mulberry
  24. Gooseberry
  25. Cattail
  26. Clingers

 

Now it's your turn!

List 26 things to eat from your local environment, wherever you may be! You can post your list in the comment section, on facebook, your blog, or anywhere else you'd like. Here are some ground rules to better achieve the goal of the "26 species list."

  1. They must all live in your local environment. For me, it's Nebraska's Platte River Valley which is mostly prairie, rivers, cottonwood forest, and oak woodlands.
  2. No large predators! They're generally not a logical way of feeding yourself. The idea is to stay practical.
  3. It has to be a readily available food source. For example, I'm not going to list "moose" because we only occasionally have one or two in my area that wander in from Wyoming. They're not a consistent food source, or legal to harvest for that matter.

123 GO!

About the Author

Sam is a writer, adventurer, and founder of Woodsong. In 2011 his practical experiences over many nights in remote wilderness areas inspired him to start this blog! Sam’s adventures have lead him throughout North America where he has had the opportunity to learn from world-class outdoorsmen, and perhaps the greatest teacher of all, the natural world.

 

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Nature: The Original Pokemon Go!

There’s a vast gulf of difference between “going” outside and “being” outdoors
— David Kralik

When I was in first grade I had a Pokemon lunchbox, a Pokemon backpack, and an entire collection book full of Pokemon cards. Fast forward 15 years and 8 garage sales and I had forgotten my favorite childhood game altogether. That is, until the newest international sensation, Pokemon Go!

For those of you who are unfamiliar... stop reading this and go back under your hole. I envy you. I've always wanted to live in a hole.

Just kidding! For those of you who aren't familiar, Pokemon Go is a free app (that you play on your $500 cell phone) where kids (and... others) can travel around town and "catch" new Pokemon. Pokemon can then battle one another. The game Pokemon Go presents users with an original game of Pokémon in a more 2016 context. By the way, a Pokemon is a fictional "pocket monster" that can be carried on one's belt with a "poke-ball."

There's other stuff too, but from the users I've spoken with, it's mostly about catching new Pokémon.

If you enjoy the game, great! My point is not that Pokemon Go is evil. This blog post is to reinforce the fact that nature is exponentially better, and to evaluate the theory that Pokémon Go is a great way to "get kids outdoors."

Let me explain...

As I mentioned earlier, the point of Pokemon Go is to walk around and find interesting creatures. What if I told you there were creatures all around us, that do way cooler things than fire breathing or lightning zapping? Here are a few examples, and believe it or not, they all exist outside of your cell phone! 

Bees are geniuses! They utilize geometry and vector calculus better than most humans.

Reptiles like frogs and turtles have super adaptations that allow them to survive through the cold winter! Wood frogs can even freeze and thaw themselves during the winter time.

Bison have super strength, speed, and endurance! They don't even get cold when the thermometer drops to -40F!

These are just a few great examples! You can't catch them of course, but you can't really catch Pokemon either, on account of them not being real. 

Folks who regularly keep up with me on social media and this blog expected this answer from me. Showing kids (and "older" kids) the awesomeness of nature is my favorite thing in the whole world. It doesn't require an app that can only be downloaded on a $500 phone, and it doesn't encourage anyone to cross busy streets or walk off of cliffs.

However, after hearing all the talk (good and bad) I wanted to explore this first hand.

CASE STUDY!

I'm not the kind of guy who likes to judge something before I experience it first-hand, so I took the opportunity on a recent family reunion to test the app that I had heard so much about. So, I set out with a baby, my cousins, parents, aunt, sisters, and wife, to see what this Pokémon Go thing was all about.

For the first 200 yards or so there was no sign of Pokémon. However, there were some great wild edibles growing along the road. I'm always amazed when I find common plants in challenging environments (8000+ feet above sea level in this case). I didn't mention anything about the plants, because it had been a long summer of pointing out plants, and my wife was sick of it at that point.

Then there it was! The Pokémon!

We came across some crazy looking thing and I forget which one it was. My cousins took turns using the phone. They are only allowed to play the game with mom, and since mom is the only one with the phone (as she should be) they don't really have a choice in the matter. I think this is something to point out. Their mom doesn't let them play unsupervised. This limits the time that they can play, but it makes it a family activity. This also allows my aunt to provide supervision, something our fellow Americans who have so enthusiastically plunged into moving vehicles in their quest for their fictional monsters didn't have. My aunt mentioned that they're a lot of fun to walk with while they're playing the game, and that they don't complain about how far they've walked, which is definitely a plus!

After we caught the Pokémon my 18 year old sister exclaimed "there's a hospital up here!" She then ran into the middle of a street to get her extra Pokeballs, or whatever you do at a "hospital." We continued on and caught another Pokémon. It was a good walk, and a fun time with family. It probably wasn't as much fun as hiking on a wilderness trail, but for being in town, it was a good time.

On our hike back to the cabin we heard that there was a moose nearby! A real moose!

We stood back and looked at the moose for about ten minutes. He really didn't seem to mind, and eventually he stepped to the side and we were able to get back to our cabin. I'm a grown up nature geek, so I can't speak for everyone in our group, but I would assume that 20 years from now we will all remember that bull moose! I can't say the same for our beloved mythical pocket-monsters.

Conclusion

Is Pokémon Go bad? I don't think so. It gets kids walking, instead of sitting on the couch. It can be a fun family activity. But don't be fooled into thinking that Pokémon Go gets kids "outside."

I've heard the argument that Pokémon Go can be used as a "gateway drug" to enjoying the outdoors.

I'm not convinced.

If I may employ the phrase from the movie The Princess Bride, 'there's a big difference between all outside and only mostly outside' or, something like that. Playing a game on a phone does not encourage kids to use their 5 senses (sight, touch, hearing, smell and taste). It doesn't encourage kids to learn about the real, natural world around them.

To experience nature, you need to be all outside, not "only mostly outside." You'll never feel more free than when you're paddling a canoe, or trekking through the wilderness with everything you need resting comfortably on your back. Even a walk at a local nature area can be relaxing, enlightening, and downright fun.

If you're grown and you want to play Pokémon Go, give your mother a call so that she can supervise you.

Of course, my opinion is worth exactly what you're paying for it, which is nothing.

As always, thanks for reading, and never stop exploring!

About the Author

Sam is a writer, adventurer, and founder of Woodsong. In 2011 his practical experiences over many nights in remote wilderness areas inspired him to start this blog! Sam’s adventures have lead him throughout North America where he has had the opportunity to learn from world-class outdoorsmen, and perhaps the greatest teacher of all, the natural world.

 

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Wilderness Leadership Club at Pioneer's Park Nature Center

Hello folks!

I'm excited to tell you guys about a new opportunity for youth in 7-9th grade who love the outdoors! This fall I will be leading a Wilderness Leadership Club at Pioneer's Park Nature Center in Lincoln, Nebraska. We'll learn different wilderness skills during this program, along with exploring what the nature center has to offer. This will be an afternoon/evening program on Tuesdays for a small number of individuals. If we are able to accept you into the program you will receive a scholarship!

Please check out the application for more details! (linked in text)

All the best!

Sam

Mygrations on National Geographic

Although we're right in the middle of another great season of ALONE I wanted to shed some light on another reality show that will air on Monday nights, this summer.

Mygrations follows 20 people as they attempt to cross the Serengeti. This show will be particularly fun for me, because of my connections to some of the contestants. I won't spoil any surprises (he says as if he actually has insider knowledge of the show) but one thing is certain; they'd all be on my short list of people to cross the Serengeti with.

REZA

I met Reza in New York a couple of years ago. He's a chill guy from southern California, and has the perfect attitude for a wilderness traveler. I'd image he handles himself well during high stress situations. This may be bad for reality tv, but it's great in real life! We also got to hang out at Rabbit Stick last year, which was a blast.

Dan

Dan runs California Survival School. You've probably heard of it. It's in California.

I met Dan at Rabbit Stick last year, and he was a lot of fun. He even let me borrow some body paint for mask night, and offered me some fathering advice, so he's a great guy. He's another guy I wouldn't mind crossing a big desert with.

Jens

I've never met Jens, but he is a fellow alumni of the Jack Mountian Bushcraft School, so I look forward to seeing him in Africa. Jack Mountain teaches students to stay comfortable in the wilderness, long term. Jens even shot a promotional video series for the school a few years back, which has become pretty popular. Looking forward to some good laughs!

I'm very much looking forward to seeing how these guys (and the other 17) do in this rugged environment. As I watch the previews I can't help but be a bit jealous of the experience!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sam is a writer, adventurer, and founder of Woodsong who is best known for being runner-up on season 1 of HISTORY's hit survival series ALONE.  In 2011 his practical experiences over many nights in remote wilderness areas inspired him to start this blog! Sam’s adventures have lead him throughout North America where he has had the opportunity to learn from world-class outdoorsmen, and perhaps the greatest teacher of all, the natural world.

Dismal River - 4 Day Remote Paddling and Wilderness Skills Course

The Dismal is one of the last great wild rivers in this part of the country. Although it's scenic and navigable, the remoteness and difficulty of the river have kept it from being commercialized. If you're the type of person who thinks a good adventure is well worth a few scrapes and bruises, this is the trip for you!

For this course we will collaborate with Sandhill River Trips for logistical support. Through this collaboration we have been able to design a unique and challenging 4 day trip. 

Although we'll be paddling during the day, there will also be an emphasis on wilderness skills, including preparedness and survival skills, which are all important on a trip like this. We'll learn different techniques for fire starting, camp cooking, shelters, and harvesting food from the river. 

Here's a video that we shot of the "Day 2" portion in April 2016

The Adventure

The Dismal River valley provides a unique adventure that you'll remember for the rest of your life. As we paddle the cold, spring-fed river we'll witness whitetail and mule deer, turkey, muskrat, hawks, and of course, plenty of cattle. The thick junipers that line our waterway give one the feeling of isolation, as we paddle through the rugged landscape. By completing this course you'll become part of a very small group of adventure seekers. Many have completed sections of the Dismal, but few will know it as intimately as us.

The Scenery

The Dismal (especially the upper portion) is one of the most scenic rivers in the midwest. Here are some photos from our recent April trip

The Challenge

It has often been said that the Dismal is not a river for the faint of heart. This can't be overstated. If you enjoy a challenge, you'll love this trip. We often encounter strainers that block our path. The first two days of paddling are long, and temperatures can often reach the 90s in the afternoon, and sink to the 40s at night. The water is cold, and stays at a relatively consistent temperature year round. 

Sandhill River Trips

Sandhill River Trips started up in the summer of 2015, and they're well equipped to outfit any river trip in the area. They rent tubes, tanks, and kayaks for the Dismal and Middle Loup rivers. Sandhill River Trips is run by Ewoldt Grocery in Thedford, NE. We buy all of our rations (including local beef) at Ewoldt before the trip, and you're welcome to buy snacks from there before we head out.

Most importantly, Cay Ewoldt (who runs SRT) is the backbone of our logistics for this difficult 4 day trip. Without our partnership, this trip would probably not exist.

Difficulty rating: 5, Very Difficult

You don't need to be an experienced paddler to run the Dismal. You do need to be in moderately good shape, and have a strong sense of adventure. 

Cost

Cost of this course was recently adjusted to accommodate an unexpected equipment rental

The cost of this course is $285, which covers all kayak/canoe rentals, instruction, food, transportation to the river, and transportation back to your vehicle. 

Preparing for the course

We will send you a list of necessary equipment upon sign up for the course. Shoot me an email (sam@woodsongwilderness.com) if you have questions. We will also send a liability and media release form that will need to be completed before the course. 

Day 1 begins in the early morning and we like to hit the water by 9am. If you don't live close, we recommend staying at a local hotel to make your drive shorter for day 1. We highly recommend Roadside Inn in Thedford, because its extremely convenient, and owned by some great folks.

Day 1

The Dismal epitomizes the phrase "baptism by fire." It begins with the put-in, which involves shimying boats, gear, paddlers down a steep sand cliff. From there, the river snakes west, passing a large spring, an Elk ranch, and an exciting set of minor rapids. We end the day with a well deserved hot dinner.

Day 2

Easily the most challenging day of the trip. We will cover 23 miles, some of which is congested by fallen junipers. Scenery is incredible, wildlife is abundant, and towards the end of the day we'll see the thick juniper forests turn to rolling sandhills. 

Day 3

Focus shifts a bit more to wilderness skills as the river becomes much calmer. It's a good opportunity for a big breakfast, and a chance to catch our breath after 2 action packed days. The strainers from days 1 and 2 are nowhere to be found. Instead, we float peacefully through more scenic sandhills. 

Day 4

On our final day we paddle to our takeout point, having covered the entire length of the Dismal river, from source to (almost) its confluence with the Middle Loup River. Generally we are finished by noon. This gives participants a chance to head home, or to a hotel for a well deserved shower. 

If the 4 day Dismal River course sounds like your idea of a good time, here's a link to the registration page!

The $10 Canoe Rack

A couple of months ago I scored a white topper for my trusty Chevy S10 on craigslist. Its cost? A trade for that green backpack they gave us for the tv show ALONE. So, I guess HISTORY is to thank for it. Thanks guys. I can't say you never gave me anything. 

Ever since I clamped on that topper I've been going back and forth on the best way to haul canoes. I didn't want to spend a bunch of cash, but I wanted to have a roof rack wide enough to haul two canoes side by side.

Time to DIY it up.

This project was easy, quick, and extremely cheap. To start, I grabbed some 2x4s that I had salvaged from a work site. I wiped them down with used motor oil for protection, which was also free. 

I decided on 8 feet long and 68 inches wide for the dimensions (the same dimensions as my canoe trailer). After measuring and cutting the boards to length I laid them in place and screwed the unit together. I also salvaged the screws from somewhere.

I'm not sure where I got them, but they're not stolen! Get off my back!

The only cash spent on this project went to the stainless steel bolts for attaching the rack to my truck topper (I didn't screw it into the roof of the truck). In the end I used 4 5/16th bolts, but I may add a couple more for extra security. 

By strapping canoes down using the method below, I minimize the amount of hardware on the rack. The idea is to make the rack more versatile.

The finished product cost about $10 and is capable of hauling 2 canoes side by side. I could also use this rack to haul 3 canoes using the pyramid method. 

Anyhow, not bad for ten bucks and a half hour of elbow grease. 

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Sam is a writer, adventurer, and founder of Woodsong. In 2011 his practical experiences over many nights in remote wilderness areas inspired him to start this blog! Sam’s adventures have lead him throughout North America where he has had the opportunity to learn from world-class outdoorsmen, and perhaps the greatest teacher of all, the natural world.

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Introducing Woodsong's Newest Course

I want to try to avoid making this post seem like a sales pitch. After all, I could really care less about making money. I do prefer to feed my family and accommodate their living indoors, but other than that, I really just want the people in my community to have a well rounded knowledge of what it takes to live comfortably in the natural world. 

I've been listening to folks over the last few years describe what they're looking for as far as outdoor education. After taking their feedback into consideration, I wrote out the plans for this course. Their feedback centered around a few key point:

Non-intimidating

Many "survival" guys are harsh and intimidating. Furthermore, many "survival" skills seem complicated, and of course, intimidating. We want to make sure that students on our courses (any of them) feel safe, comfortable, and at home. We're not training to go to war, or to impress others. We just want to learn about wilderness living. We strive to create an atmosphere of open conversation, and humbleness. 

Small class sizes

A huge group of people can take away from the quality of your learning experience. If an instructor can't clarify their teachings or answer individual questions, they've done their students an injustice. Our classes are no larger than 10 students, but we prefer to keep them as small as possible. During the course the entire group makes camp in the same general location. We all share the same fire and we all eat together. This creates a sense of community within the group. 

Affordable costs

We've worked to simplify the logistics of our course operations to reduce their costs. Although they can't be free, we find that our courses extremely competitive in this field. If you want to become a survival instructor, you'll need to pay good money (upwards of $150-200 a day in some cases) for your education. However, our new survival course is made for those who are just starting out and want to get their feet wet. 

Awesome experiences

During the course we sustain ourselves with some simple staple foods that we pack in, and with wind edible plants, fish, and game that we harvest in the field. This legitimizes our actions during the course. We don't just learn about doing things hypothetically. We also filter and purify our water, construct all-natural shelters, and learn to start fires using only simple materials and natural tinder. 

We've worked to combine all of these factors for what we'll refer to as our...

Woodsong Bushcraft Course

Location: 2-2.5 hours west of Lincoln, NE

Dates: June 10th-12th

Cost: $125

Course Topics: Primitive traps, shelter theory and construction, fire starting (by match, ferro rod, and friction), fuel selection, wild edibles (seasonal), fishing via hook and line, set line, legal traps, camp cooking, and more

For the Woodsong Bushcraft Course we live together as a hunter-gatherer group while constructing shelters, and maintaining a semi-primitive camp. The course will be held along a section of the loup river, where we'll be able to utilize many fishing and aquatic trapping techniques. Since hunting isn't in season during many of our courses, the river is a key food source. We'll even have a canoe or two on hand.

The hardwood forest environment provides plentiful resources. The mission of Woodsong is to teach the skills necessary to live comfortably in the wilderness, using only a few simple tools.

 

Gear

Bring whatever you want, but our recommended gear list is as follows

Knife, saw (folding or bucksaw), water bottle, closedcell foam pad, sleeping bag, tarp, cordage (at least enough to set up a temporary tarp shelter), Mess kit (plate/bowl and utensils), proper clothing for the environment, and a positive attitude

Meals

Meals provided during the course will include dinner on Friday night, 3 meals Saturday, and nothing on Sunday (course ends Sunday morning)

Location

Approximately 2.5 hours west of Lincoln, Nebraska. Directions will be emailed to you before the course. Attendees should start arriving around 3pm, but the arrival time is flexible since many folks will be coming after work on Friday. The course ends Sunday morning.

For more information, shoot me an email at sam@woodsongwilderness.com

Click here for more registration information

Note: No hunting or fishing regulations will be broken during this course. If you intend on fishing, please purchase a fishing license from Nebraska Game and Parks. I believe one day permits start at $8.


Foraging With Plant Aficionado Tom Elpel

Four years ago someone recommended that I check out a book called "Botany In A Day" by Tom Elpel.  I bought the book and it quickly became one of my favorites in regards to plant identification. In a nutshell, Tom Elpel, describes how certain attributes of plants can be used to identify other plants (in the same family) no matter where you may be in the world. Even without reading the book, it's easy to understand how a concept like this is fascinating. That's why I jumped at the chance to do some foraging with Tom (and a bunch of other cool cats) at the annual Rabbitstick event in Idaho.

Elpel shows off a thistle leaf near the pond

Elpel shows off a thistle leaf near the pond

We set out with a goal to make a salad, mustard paste, and a few other wild snacks. After walking for a couple of minutes we came across a field that was full of salad greens. These greens were very similar to what I use for salads in Nebraska.

One special thing about Elpel is that he's always studying to further his knowledge of plants, that is, when he's not hiking, canoeing, instructing or otherwise exploring the outdoors. Like all good instructors he's easy going, and quick to admit when he hasn't fully researched a certain plant. He's probably best defined as a botanical geek, which I say as a compliment.

The Field

In the open field we came across mallow, clover, purslane and dandelion for our salad.

As Elpel remarked,"Most things that people pull out of their gardens are probably more useful than what's growing in the garden." I couldn't agree more with his statement. Everything that we harvested in Idaho (and almost everything that we harvest in my neck of the woods) have edible and medicinal properties, but this doesn't stop our society for classifying them as "weeds."

Author's note: Tom Elpel's primary job is writing books. He has written some real gems, and I'll be the first to admit that some of my favorite books have Elpel's name on the cover. I'd encourage you to check them out!

I've been searching all my life for a four leaf clover and Tom found one in 15 seconds...

I've been searching all my life for a four leaf clover and Tom found one in 15 seconds...

On the outskirts of the field we found some wild mustard. In these photos Elpel shows us how to collect the seeds and separate them from the other plant debris. Everyone in the group pitched in and we soon had enough to make a mustard paste. 

It was incredible to see how much food can be gathered from an open field. I'm constantly learning just how incredible "weeds" can be. In most fields (even in city parks) anyone with a basic knowledge of wild edibles can gather a large salad within a couple of minutes.

Blowing the debris away from the mustard seeds

Blowing the debris away from the mustard seeds

Collecting mustard seeds in a metal bowl

Collecting mustard seeds in a metal bowl

Showing off some mustard. It's... less yellow than the stuff at the store

Showing off some mustard. It's... less yellow than the stuff at the store

The Pond

When we were finished gathering out salad greens from the field we made a b-line for a small pond That was surrounded by cattails.

Author's note: It may be surprising to some, but cattail is actually an excellent survival food! You can eat the bulbs (found at the bottom, near the roots), the roots (carbs galore) and the white portion at the bottom of the plant. Other parts of the cattail can also be used for weaving, cordage, and tinder.

Although cattail is probably the most useful plant we gathered from around the pond, we also grabbed some thistles. All thistles are considered edible, although some are more pleasant than others. There's also a bit of technique involved when it comes to preparing them for consumption. I pulled off the edges of the leaves because as Elpel said, "it's like eating a hornet."

Photo courtesy of HOPS Press

Photo courtesy of HOPS Press

After everything was gathered it was time to cook and eat! I took the cattail roots over to the communal fire and roasted them over the coals for about 10 minutes to soften them up (think potatoes). The purslane was fried in a cast iron skillet with cocoanut oil and the salad was topped with a paste that we made by grinding the mustard seeds down and adding olive oil and vinegar.

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Sam is a writer, adventurer, and founder of Woodsong who is best known for being runner-up on season 1 of HISTORY's hit survival series ALONE.  In 2011 his practical experiences over many nights in remote wilderness areas inspired him to start this blog! Sam’s adventures have lead him throughout North America where he has had the opportunity to learn from world-class outdoorsmen, and perhaps the greatest teacher of all, the natural world.

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Digging Burdock Root with Alan Kay and Lucas Miller

Last week Alan, Lucas, and I found ourselves in eastern Idaho at the annual Rabbitstick Rendezvous. We were out there to have a good time, make new friends, and learn from the world class instructors that attend the event each year. During our first full day there Lucas noticed some burdock growing along the trail near out campsite. In this video we dig the roots, and learn about their many benefits.

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Sam is a writer, adventurer, and founder of Woodsong who is best known for being runner-up on season 1 of HISTORY's hit survival series ALONE.  In 2011 his practical experiences over many nights in remote wilderness areas inspired him to start this blog! Sam’s adventures have lead him throughout North America where he has had the opportunity to learn from world-class outdoorsmen, and perhaps the greatest teacher of all, the natural world.

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The Ins And Outs Of Sam's Shelter

On day four of my ALONE adventure I started construction on my "primary shelter." Before this I had been living under a simple lean-to next to a long fire. I had thought about how I would build a larger shelter and considered my options. There were cedar and spruce poles that I could cut about 50 meters through the brush, but the alders around the shore line would be much easier to carry back to camp. I didn't have much rope, but I was able to find some. As far as tarps, I wanted to dedicate one to water collection (i.e. my rain catch) and use the others for the outer shell of the shelter.

Although it may look like nothing more than a simple "tent," there were some factors that made my shelter work for the given scenario. 

My shelter build began by establishing a heavy, stable base out of alder and balsam poles. On one end would be my raised bed, underneath which I would store my dry firewood. The bed was insulated with grass and spruce bows that I added to every once in a while when they began to loose their loftiness. The bed was lashed to the base with jam knots. 

On stormy days I would often sleep for 10 hours or more

The tripod at the rear of my shelter is where the stability came from. It held up through storm after storm, even when the gusts reached 50mph pluss. The front of the shelter is a bipod, which is connected to the tripod with a ridge pole. This frame was simple, required only a few feet of rope, and didn't take much time to set up.

My cooking rig was about as simple as they come. I hung my pot from an alder branch that rested on two sides of the base. I kept fires small, and never burned firewood if it wasn't necessary. 

To finish things off, I tied all of my remaining tarps down to the shelter. As you can see in the finale, those tarps were whipped around pretty bad, but they did keep me relatively dry. The hole in the back is for smoke to escape through. I found out early on that it was necessary to have a chimney system like this if I wanted to have a fire indoors for heat and cooking. It worked a bit like a wood stove does in a canvas wall tent, and if I really wanted to (and had a large supply of dry wood) I could crank up the heat to 80 degrees, even on a cold day. The fire inside of my shelter also helped me to dry out my clothing and sleeping bag. 

Smoke left my shelter through the chimney hole in the back, and through the front door. There's nothing like a warm fire after a cold, wet day

Smoke left my shelter through the chimney hole in the back, and through the front door. There's nothing like a warm fire after a cold, wet day

The more time I spend in nature, the more I learn. Shelter leaks? Fix it. Wind blew out your grommets? Tie it down a different way. 

Solo wilderness living is all about finding solutions without having any second opinion to compare yours with. Sometimes you make the right decision, sometimes you're wrong. It's all part of life in the wild. ALONE was one incredible learning experience, worth far more than 500k. 

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Sam is a writer, adventurer, and founder of Woodsong who is best known for being runner-up on season 1 of HISTORY's hit survival series ALONE.  In 2011 his practical experiences over many nights in remote wilderness areas inspired him to start this blog! Sam’s adventures have lead him throughout North America where he has had the opportunity to learn from world-class outdoorsmen, and perhaps the greatest teacher of all, the natural world.

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My Parents Taught Me My Two Most Valuable "Survival" Skills

So today is the day. I will either "win" ALONE, or I will not. 

Although this is obviously what's on my mind now (and likely on yours), there's something I need to say before all is said and done. 

I learned my two most valuable "survival" skills from my parents. 

Now, these "survival" skills don't necessarily have anything to do with survival, but they have everything to do with endurance, ingenuity, and resilience. My parents have never been described as "outdoorsy." They have never been out camping for more than a couple of days at a time, and never without easy access to cheeseburgers. They only learned the term "bushcraft" when I explained it to them as my potential career path. 

I was reading in a book on leadership lately that a good leader is essentially a good parent. They care about the people they are leading, to the point of treating them like their own children. They put them first; far before themselves, and they're willing to sacrifice their own comfort and well-being for the sake of their family, or tribe, or "followers." For this reason, it came to no surprise that I realized my city-slicker parents are responsible for teaching me how to truly lead others (or myself) willingly, and courageously into the unknown. 

MOM

Growing up, my mom taught me to keep going, even when I was uncomfortable, or didn't "feel like" accomplishing anything. She taught me that our most challenging moments are when we need to rise to the occasion. It was okay to fail, as I did with school (and baseball, and anything else to do with a ball) but only after giving my best effort. After all, those who give their best effort and fail have achieved far more than those who have stayed inside their comfort zone and succeeded. 

DAD

The skill that my father taught me is probably the most evident to the viewers of ALONE. My dad taught me to keep a positive attitude and a smile on my face. My friends are always surprised at my ability to be joyful, even in the most uncomfortable, and difficult situations. I can easily say that it has nothing to do with me. My positive attitude is a special skill that I got from dad at a very young age, and something that will stick with me for the rest of my life. 

So as my future unfolds, and this whole survival show thing comes to a close, I find it important to give credit where credit is due. 

Thanks guys, and enjoy the show!

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Sam is a writer, adventurer, motivational speaker, and founder of Woodsong. In 2011 his practical experiences over many nights in remote wilderness areas inspired him to start this blog. Sam's adventures have lead him throughout North America where he has had the opportunity to learn from world-class outdoorsmen, and perhaps the greatest teacher of all, the natural world.

 

 

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Open Letter To Students On Their First Day of School

So today school starts in my neck of the woods. You're probably headed into a big building to sit in chairs for 8 hours. Many of you will do great, but I figure a lot of you will be like me.

I could never learn anything while sitting in a chair and reading a textbook. My grades were usually horrible. I still remember the looks of disappointment when my parents learned about my struggles at school. My sisters had all turned out to be excellent students. When they tried hard enough (and they always did) they got As. I remember one math teacher telling me to take it as a compliment to my work ethic when he said "you're the only student who has actually tried their hardest and still failed my class." Even when I had great teachers, school just didn't work for me. 

But remember this...

Just because you're bad at math, or test taking, or you read slower than others doesn't mean you're any less capable of achieving great things. Don't let it get to you. As long as you're innovative, positive, and active in pursuing all the great talents (as strange as they may be) that God has given you, you'll be just fine! 
The skills that have proven most useful to me these past few years have been critical thinking in stressful situations, ability to maintain a positive attitude in myself and others, resilience, and leadership skills. I didn't learn any of those by sitting at a desk; I learned them in the woods. I have encountered about 2 dozen black bears in the last 5 years, and none of them have ever asked me to find the solution to a quadratic equation. 

I imagine that I would have achieved decent grades in "rain catch building" or "rainforest fire starting," but those useful classes just weren't offered at my school for some reason. When I discovered "survival" skills, my world changed. There was finally something practical to learn. There were suddenly tasks that made sense to me. I could carve a paddle or start a friction fire and see success unfold right there in my own hands. It took a while, but I finally found my passion. 

So, for your first day of school, here's my advice

  • Do your best at school, even if it's not your thing. Try hard and learn what you can. If you fail, you'll fail knowing that you tried your hardest, and there's no fault in that. 
  • Don't be dismayed by your failures. Maybe you're like me and you're not good at school. It's okay. It probably means that you have skills and talents that just haven't been discovered yet. 

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You can catch Sam this summer on HISTORY's ALONE

Sam is a writer, adventurer, motivational speaker, and founder of Woodsong. In 2011 his practical experiences over many nights in remote wilderness areas inspired him to start this blog. Sam's adventures have lead him throughout North America where he has had the opportunity to learn from world-class outdoorsmen, and perhaps the greatest teacher of all, the natural world.

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How and Why To Make Pine Needle Tea (VIDEO)

Tea made from the Apache Pine in Arizona

Tea made from the Apache Pine in Arizona

Pine needle tea is a well known beverage to the outdoorsy world. It's easy to make, available almost anywhere on the planet, and you can use virtually any evergreen to make the tea (hemlock, spruce, fir, etc). Although it's well known for the vitamin C that it provides (a sure way to strengthen the immune system), I believe that the full benefits of this fine hot drink are still unknown to most. I thought I might as well sit down and share some other benefits, as well as discuss why it's such a valuable tea to the woodsman. 

Benefits of Pine Needle Tea

Physical Health Benefits

Begin by gathering a hand full of needles. Some people like to cut the needles open to expose the insides and draw out more of the oils. I haven't ever found this to be necessary, but it probably helps. Pour water into the pot with the needles. The great bushcraft instructor Mors Kochanski recommends drinking 5-7 cups of this tea every morning (or hot water if no needles are available) as hot as you can tolerate. The hot liquid helps with digestion, bowel movements, blood circulation, hydration, and overall health. When I'm in the deep woods (including my time spent on HISTORY's ALONE) I take Mors's advice and drink a pot of tea every morning. 

Emotional Health Benefits

Boil the needles until the oils have been released. A good indication of this is when the green needles turn light brown or bronze. You can also see the oil forming on top of the water if you look closely. These oils have so many health benefits that they are being bottled and sold by health stores. Balsam oil in particular is known for its use in aromatherapy because of its soothing capabilities. The oil is supposed to create a healthy sense of well being, and sooth aches and pains, which will be inevitable while living in the backcountry long-term. In laymans terms, it makes you "feel good". 

I suppose my motivations for writing this article are simple. I want more people to employ the benefits of this tea. I want people to enjoy the wilderness, and a pot of pine needle tea in the morning is a great way to do just that. 

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About The Author

Sam is a writer, adventurer, and founder of Woodsong. In 2011 his practical experiences over many nights in remote wilderness areas inspired him to start this blog! Sam’s adventures have lead him throughout North America where he has had the opportunity to learn from world-class outdoorsmen, and perhaps the greatest teacher of all, the natural world.

 

Catch Sam this summer on HISTORY's ALONE!

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How To Catch, Cook, And Eat Small Crabs (VIDEO)

Small crabs are an excellent source of food near the ocean. They're easy to catch, plentiful, and simple to cook. In this article I'll go into a bit more detail in order to answer a few questions, including the "did you have a tough time with those crab shells" quesiton. 

CATCH

We've all seen videos of the big commercial crabbing rigs hauling out monster crabs in the Pacific, but for most people, that isn't an option. The little guys hide under rocks during low tide. By flipping over rocks you can easily locate crabs. It takes some patience, and a good eye. Crabs often rely on their camouflage skills to hide from prey, and their biggest defense (other than to run) is to stay still. Tidal pools often hold slightly larger crabs. As a rule of thumb; the closer you get to the water, the "bigger" the crabs. 

COOK

Crabs are easy to cook. You can roast them over hot coals, or boil them (similar to how mid-westerners cook crawdads). You know they're ready when their shells turn a bright red. 

EAT

Since episode 5 of ALONE I have been asked how I ate the crabs. For those of you know don't know, there's another popular survival themed show where the "survivalists" have a difficult time passing (or more blatantly, crappin' out) the crab shells. I figured this could be an issue, so I peeled off as much of the shell as possible before eating. I would pop off the top and bottom portions of the primary shell, toss them into the ocean, and eat the rest like a potato chip. Maybe it was this method, or maybe it was the fact that my body has been handling large quantities of indigestible corn for 22 years, but they came out just fine. 

Maybe that's too much information, but I figured I should keep it real with you guys! 

As always, thanks for checking out the Woodsong Blog!

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Sam is a writer, adventurer, and founder of Woodsong. In 2011 his practical experiences over many nights in remote wilderness areas inspired him to start this blog! Sam’s adventures have lead him throughout North America where he has had the opportunity to learn from world-class outdoorsmen, and perhaps the greatest teacher of all, the natural world.

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The World's Most Useful "Weed"

A beaten up plantain plant

A beaten up plantain plant

Last week I had my first real encounter with poison ivy. Up until this point I had often bragged about being "immune" to the stuff, but alas, I was proven wrong! 

I was walking through a forest that seemed to be carpeted with thick, waist high brush. To get through, I employed the just-plow-through technique, when I was tripped up by a hidden barbed wire fence. Of course, I've fallen over dozens of barbed wire fences while hiking off trail, so that was no big surprise. When I went to catch myself I landed directly on my forearms. I wasn't aware of what plant I had landed in at that point, but soon after I felt an overwhelming itch. 

Author's note: Although I identified the cause of my itch as poison ivy, I now realize that it was probably nettles. Nettles tend to itch right away, but poison ivy takes a while to set in. My itch seemed almost instant. 

My first reaction to this was a typical "oh crap, this isn't cool."

But, the "oh crap" soon turned to excitement. Maybe a bit too much excitement for a poison ivy "victim. "

Plantain in its "paste" form, after being chewed

Plantain in its "paste" form, after being chewed

I quickly got back to the trail and started looking for an incredibly common plant called Plantain (or broad leaf plantain, or Plantago Major). Plantain is often seen as just a weed. It gets mowed over in city parks, plucked out of gardens, and sprayed with chemicals if it shows up where any proper grass is expected to grow. However, rather than trying to get rid of it, maybe we should explore the benefits of this "weed." After all, it grows almost everywhere. From my travels I've found plantain in northern Maine, all over my home state of Nebraska, and even near the airport in British Columbia. 

I was excited to finally put this plant to the test...

Although my intentions were to use plantain to treat my poison ivy, it has a multitude of other uses.

Author's note: These are the medicinal uses of plantain. It's also edible, but that's a different blog post!

  • Plantain tea can be used to treat diarrhea and dysentery
  • Plantain paste can be rubbed onto bug bites to treat the itch
  • Plantain paste can also be applied to wounds, sores, and stings to promote healing
  • The plant is know to have anti-inflammatory, weak antibiotic, immundo modulating, analgesic, antioxidant, and antiulcerogenic properties
Difficult to see, but my forearms were bubbling up! 

Difficult to see, but my forearms were bubbling up! 

Although there haven't been many official studies to prove all of the potential benefits of plantain there are many stories (like mine) that have continued to promote the plant as the ultimate healing "weed"

So back to the story; I located plantain, chewed it up into a paste, and spat it into my hands. I then rubbed the paste into the affected area. Within a few minutes the itching had gone away. I hiked back to my truck, drove home, and washed my forearms with cold water. There was no sign that anything had affected my forearms. They didn't even appear to be pink from all of my previous scratching. I had always hoped that plantain would do its job when I had to put it to the test, and now I have my answer. 

Long live plantain!

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About The Author

Sam is a writer, adventurer, and founder of Woodsong. In 2011 his practical experiences over many nights in remote wilderness areas inspired him to start this blog! Sam’s adventures have lead him throughout North America where he has had the opportunity to learn from world-class outdoorsmen, and perhaps the greatest teacher of all, the natural world.

Catch Sam this summer on HISTORY's ALONE!

4 Quotes For Adventurous Souls

So this week has been pretty crazy. Although I'm not on the island anymore (except for every Thursday night on ALONE!) I'm still faced with challenges and struggles every day. However, I handle these struggles the same way I would in the wilderness. Maybe without a knife or an axe, but definitely with the same mind-set!

In my mind, an "adventurous soul" is someone who isn't just fun-loving or thrill-seeking. Instead, they go out in search of adventure as a whole. They don't cower at hardships because they dare to see how they may react in the face of adversity. 

These are the quotes that I believe best capture the mindset of an adventure seeker!

"Confidence is the feeling you have before you understand the situation." - Mark Twain

It takes more than confidence to achieve a goal. Sure, it may help, but it can only get you so far. From what I've learned over the years of doing wilderness expeditions, perseverance, critical thinking skills and common sense are key. 

"Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth." - Mike Tyson

It's easy to have a plan, it's harder to decide what to do with that plan once everything you've perceived is turned on its head. I like to plan on my plan not working out... it never does. 

"Success is never final, failure is never fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts." - Winston Churchill

If you dare to achieve anything, you're going to fail. Count on it. Don't lose your enthusiasm. 

"Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing." - Helen Keller

The Helen Keller quote is easily my favorite quote of all time. The last sentence is often quoted, but the first part is usually overlooked. In my opinion, the true context of the quote comes from the "Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure." If you're living life in a bubble, you'll never learn what an incredible world we live in. 

Tune in to HISTORY on Thursday at 9pm CST to watch Sam on ALONE!

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Sam is a writer, adventurer, speaker, and founder of Woodsong. In 2011 his experiences over many nights in remote wilderness areas inspired him to start this blog! Sam’s adventures have lead him throughout North America where he has had the opportunity to learn from world-class outdoorsmen, and perhaps the greatest teacher of all, the natural world.