The Art of Survival
I just finished the 4 day long course entitled ‘The Art of Survival’ at the Norther Edge Algonquin and it was a great success. We had 4 participants involved in the class and we all had a good few days learning and practicing survival skills in the comfortable setting of this eco-lodge located just outside of Algonquin Park. Most of the time was spent in our camp area where we had set up a fire pit and ‘sweet’ reflector wall. It was great to practice these skills in the beauty of the forest and close to the lake. We focused on the Sacred order of Survival — Shelter, Water, Fire and Food and went over different skills relating to these topics. We built a debris hut as a group, practiced making bow-drill fires, talked about various methods of water gathering and managed to do a little foraging to add to our section on primitive cooking. The last night of the class we went over various cooking methods which included a steam pit where we cooked salmon, squash, potatoes and corn. A granite grill where we fried bannock bread and salmon. We rock boiled shrimp, cooked steaks on the coals and our friend Chris Gilmour showed us how to stir-fry veggies using hot rocks and birch bark. It was a wonderful thing to prepare our food in such a special and traditional manner. The cooking of the food in this way always brings a group closer together and develops a sense of community. As we learned these skills during our time together we focused on the deeper aspects of survival and the ‘oneness’ that we experience with nature when we practice these skills in a Sacred manner. By the time the last day rolled around we had covered a great deal of information and things came to a close as people left with a greater appreciation for what it means to ‘walk in balance’ with nature. I send my thanks to the 4 people who joined me for this class and hope that our paths will cross again soon.