While I was there, I wanted to try and learn a few things and that I did on august, 20th.
My first lesson was to try and build a shelter from natural materials, something that would keep me out of the wind, sun and, if possible, out of the rain, too.
First I neede a suitable location and, given the copious amounts of rain the last few days, finding a dry spot was not easy. Eventually I found a little mount, probably a large rock, covered with vegetation and some small firtrees. That looked promissing!
I than covered the whole ting with branches and leaves, first a layer of birchbranches with leaves attached, than a layer of fernleaves, a layer of dea leaves and a layer of firbranches to keep everything in place. I also cut willowbranches, the thing long ones, and weaved them through the sceletonpoles, which gave the shelter stability.
The result after about 3 hours of work;
The shelter had a halfround shape and the weight of the roof kept everything well in place. It was large enough to double as a place to sleep in with room enough for a large backpack, too.
The location dictated the shelter being build with the open end due west, so I added a windbreaking "wall" between 2 trees right next to the shelter, by weaving it with firbranches.
On many occassions I take my kids with me, so they are outside too and maybe might learn something along the way.
My youngest daughter was there ,too and together we managed to tread inside a nest of these "sweeties";
We really had to run for it!! After about 30 meters we were safe and I could asses the damage, both stung only once! She had a stinger with pumping venompouch in the skin on top of her head, which did not cause her much pain, but I got one straight into the inside of my right wrist. That hurt!! And it kept doing that for quite some time. These suckers are far worse than the average Dutch wasps! My other 2 kids were smart enough to take the long way around after dashing off in the opposite direction.
We dared not go back to finish the shelter though.....
The next day I went back, alone. I wonder why....
I wanted to try some of my wetweathergear, since sunny days were limited....
One of the first things I wanted/needed to do, was get some cover from the rain, so I tried to setup my poncho as a tarp. Lacking any experience with that, it should prove to be a usefull lesson. I used a Dutch army poncho and 4 1 meter bungees. After quite some time and a lot of adjusting I ended up with this;
The poncho is nice and taught, but what I didn't like was the underside; the stuffsack, hood and strings dangling in front of my face! I also found the colours to be a little on the bright side, just to put it mildly...
I also had a nethammock with me. I am a grounddweller, but I bought this inexpensive item as an emergencymeasure. It proved to be totally inadequate!! It was far too small and too narrow. I could not get into it! With the help of my mini SAS-book I managed to get some decent knots to tie the ropes to the trees, but with 1,5 meters each, these were too short, too!
I could make nothing more of it than an luggagenet and I put in my gear to show how small it was...
Finally my bathroom in the field;
There's a bar of ecological soap in there, toothpaste and -brush, some painkillers, insectrepellant and something against diarrea.
The next day I went back again, because after that the weather would turn pretty bad....
So I worked some more on the shelter and since I wanted a cup of coffee I used an old discarded can as a stove and made myself a brew....
|The red tin is my firetin. It contains a lighter, 2 tealights and a few tampons (manmade tinder)|
The rest of our stay was drenched in rain, so not much going out.
When I came back on october 15th I checked my shelter and this is what I found;
On this trip I had brought with me one of my (new) books on bushcraft, which later would come in handy and if the weather turned bad, I'd have something to read;
|I love those colours!!|
Inspired by mr. Mears' book and motivated by my daughter's begging we took to the woods behind the house again in the afternoon to build shelters.
She wanted to make her own and I wanted to try a design I read about;
By using forked branches there was no need for any cordage. The weight of the wood was enough to firmly keep everyting in place.
|View on the setting sun from the entrance|
|This gives you a bit of an idea about dimension; about 1,4 meters high and about 3 meters long.|
Here's me carrying all that is needed in a second hand backpack, which cost me SEK30!
It was pretty cold, though.... -6. That's what we would have in the middle of a Dutch winter.... if we were lucky.... or not so lucky. Depends on your point of view...
|that bright coloured can would be transformed into a stove, later|
|ahhh bacon & eggs and coffee....|
|how to remove a hot can with dito saucages from the fire|
|press and lift!|
|Is this the reason Swedish cups are shaped so odd??|
|I'm a happy camper!!|
Later during our stay I tried another shelterdesign; this time a 6 personversion.
I failed in doing that for several reasons; 1) doing it alone is quite hard and quite a lot of work, 2) it requires a great amount of material and I did not want to use any more than I already had and 3) I made it too small.....
|But I had some food and hot coffee out of the freezing wind, though...|