I have taught the ways of the wilderness for well over thirty years and have authored a novel which dives deep into the shadows that follow you as you traverse wilderness trails. It is my hope to reach as many people as possible to tell everyone that the wilderness is not a place to be wary of. It is the only place where a person can dig deep into their soul and find that which is hidden to them by modern day society.
~ R.G. Wright - Hawks Shadow

Sunday, March 22, 2020

If an owl lands close to you, is it an OMEN?

To some, the owl is a harbinger of bad news. If a person should encounter one of these winged predators during the course of their day or night, bad luck will surely follow. 

The only time that portent could be possibly relevant is if a person should suddenly find themselves transformed into a rodent, bird or rabbit. 

With acute senses, these birds of prey hunt with unrivaled accuracy. Their eyes are capable of capturing enough light that even though you literally can't see the hand in front of your face, they can see the buttons on your shirt. Their ears are situated on their head in such a way that the roundness of their face acts as a sonic dish allowing them to hear the slightest of rustlings on the forest floor.

The wing tips of an owl are softened allowing them to fly soundlessly. As their wings push the air downwards while in flight, their wing tips lift and dump the captured air in such a way that no sound of their flight can be intercepted by their prey. 

I have had many encounters with owls. On one occasion, a barred owl swooped down and took the hat off of a fellow paddler while we were traversing a small pond. I may have incited the owl to do this by mimicking the owls territorial call. The winged predator decided to show us who was in charge. 
The reaction of my friend dumped us into the shallow water and after the shock wore off we laughed until our sides hurt. I am sure the owl watched the entire show. 

Laying within your tent, your head cushioned by a pack or pillow and your eyes scanning the nylon walls which seem illuminated by the darkness of the forest night. Your ears will reach out instinctively and scan the forest for sound. If you are lucky, you will hear an owl call out into the night. A soft sound which echoes through the forest and resonates off cliffs and trees. It will enter your consciousness and instantly propel you into the primitive world to which we once belonged. Call back as best you can, you may be answered. This time the owl will answer from very close by indeed, for this bird is territorial and will investigate even the worst of imitations of it's call. 


Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Staying grounded when things are messed up.

Pondering the world from the seat of a canoe as you traverse a lake or river is always rejuvenating.

As you pull your paddle through the water, you open your mind and soul to realities which are normally hidden. The living world around you becomes tangible and you become part of a vast group of interconnected creatures. The longer you paddle, the more you connect to the environment through which you travel. Given enough time, something wonderful happens; you realize that you have become part of everything that surrounds you and your mind switches gears. Your spiritual mind comes out of hiding. 

Now you see things from a different perspective, you are open to thoughts which are not polluted by social engineering. You are free - no drugs or alcohol required.

Grab a paddle and plunge it deep into the water. Pull yourself forward and leave your worries behind. It works for me and I am sure my fellow paddlers would agree.

Just remember to treat the wilderness as you would your home, for in truth, it is the only home that really matters. 


Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Combating Fear and Panic.

For most people, life seems to be a series of random events which bounce us around as if we are a ball in a pin-ball machine. 

Society has set our expectation's to an untenable level and chains us to a treadmill which never stops turning. 

Every now and then, circumstances beyond anyone's control are thrust upon us and force us to ponder our place in the grand scheme of things. 

Fear and panic run together. They are a predatory force which will destroy your empathy and compassion. They will infect your mind and create illusions which simply are not real. 

The ability to combat fear resides in all of us. Focus on something that is close to your soul. If that something is not possible to do at the present moment, remember the last time you did it. Taste it with your memory. I am sure that reason will prevail and you will get off the treadmill which goes to nowhere. 

For me, that something is my canoe and paddle. The feel of the boat as it slides across the water lulls my mind into a state of wonder and rapture.

The ice will soon be off the lakes and rivers. When the water opens it's eyes to the sky, my paddle will dig deep and propel me into new adventures and discoveries. 

To all my fellow paddlers; wax your hulls and prepare your gear, brother Sun is clearing the way. 


Tuesday, March 10, 2020

How to create an incinerating barrel

When you live in a relatively remote place, it is important to dispose of your refuse properly. Bears and other wild ones will be drawn to your house if the garbage is stored close by. 

I burn my garbage in the contraption shown in the video. It is a simple barrel modified for air flow. The heat of the fire pulls fresh air in through the opening at the bottom and a tornado effect ensues. 

This setup will incinerate everything you put in it.

To cut the hole, I used a cordless grinder with a cutoff disk. It took me about twenty minutes to make and I have used the same barrel for about 5 years.

The bottom has rotted off of it and the sides are wearing thin, but it still does the job. 

Since employing this method, garbage altercations between me and the wild ones have completely vanished. 


Sunday, March 8, 2020

A Winter Walk in Algonquin Highlands.

The March sun fills the forest with a warmth which has been absent for several months. 

As the sun stretches the shadows from the trees, I wander through the woods with no destination in mind. Animal tracks dictate my direction of travel.  

Wandering in this fashion allows one to purge the concerns of tomorrow and live for the very moment in which you find yourself. 

Even if it is just a fleeting release from the realities of the man-made world in which we all must function, taking a walk in a place where trees grow and wild ones walk always returns me to a place within myself which I call home. 

Whenever you get a chance to drift away from everyone and wander through the woods, don't hesitate, jump right in and lose tomorrow for today. 


Thursday, March 5, 2020

The wild ones follow my sled trail.

I have several trail cameras set up at strategic points within the forest which I call home. 

Seeing the tracks of the wild ones and trying to discern the animals movements and actions from the tracks is something I love to do. To have my thoughts verified or nullified by camera footage is a great way to hone my skills as a tracker. 

Deer have a tendency to yard up in the winter. Simply stated, they stay in areas which provide them enough browse for food and can be easily navigated. This is a survival strategy which has existed for thousands of years. 

White tailed deer go into a state of lowered metabolism during the cold months. This allows them to survive during a time when food is scarce.

Feeding deer in the winter raises their metabolism and can actually be detrimental if one cannot keep a constant supply of feed for the deer. The animal's will not be able to survive the winter in this heightened state if the food source is not constant. 

Deer, like us, will take advantage of hard packed trails for the simple purpose of energy management. 

The Algonquin Wolf is an expert at energy management. It too will follow the trails laid down by my sled. This animal is integral to the survival of the natural forest. It keeps the deer moving and ensures their population will not strip the forest bare of vegetation. The wolf and deer were together long before ships landed on the shores of what is now called North America. 

Next time you see a wolf print superimposed on a deer print, be assured that you are walking in a forest which is still intact and natural. 


Sunday, March 1, 2020

Keeping the trails groomed.

When the snow gets deep in the woods, the wild ones follow in each others foot prints creating trails which crisscross the forest. 

In the woods which I call home, there are many such trails which lead from feeding areas to sleeping areas. There are always stories written on the snow which, to the observant eye, will entertain the imagination for hours. 

I have always groomed trails through that same forest using my little Yamaha Bravo. It is light and maneuverable allowing me to go into areas modern machines can-not follow. 

The snow gets packed down by the sled and within a few hours, the wild ones are using the trail as if it were a sidewalk. Wolf, deer, moose and a host of other forest dwellers leave their footprints superimposed on the track impression of the Bravo. 

This video is a rear view look at the grooming process as I traverse my forest following and being followed by the wild creatures which reside within its shelter.   

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