I, Nature Boy

And other divinations from Tom Brown’s Tracking, Nature, and Wilderness Survival School. As told by David Rakoff—Acolyte of the Standard Class, Master Bowdriller, Sweat Lodge Scaredy-Cat, and Friend to the Vole.

  1. It is difficult in the extreme to construct either a Figure-Four or Paiute deadfall trap, to say nothing of having them work, in the dark, and in the rain, at 11 p.m., after 17 hours of lectures and demonstrations, during which one has already been taught (among other things) the Sacred Order of Survival—shelter, water, fire, food; how to make rope and cordage from plant and animal fibers; how to start a fire using a bowdrill; finding suitable materials for tinder (making sure to avoid the very fluffy and flammable mouse nest as it may contain hanta virus); how to recognize the signs of progressive dehydration; how to make a crude filter out of a matted clump of grass; how to distinguish between the common, water-rich grapevine and the very similar yet very poisonous Canadian moonseed; how to make a solar still out of a hole covered with a sheet of plastic (and how to continue the condensation process by urinating around the hole); and the Apache tradition of honoring those things one ...

The complete text of “I, Nature Boy” is not in the Byliner library, but we love it so much we included an excerpt and a link to the full story on www.outsideonline.com.

Originally published in Outside, October 2000

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