Ever since I was a little boy I dreamed of the life of a mountain man, living the old way. I grew up largely in Central Idaho. Stories of the Rocky Mountain fur trade and the men that forged a life in the wilderness were a big part of my life.
My Time in Service
After high school, I joined the Marine Corps, did five years, received an honorable discharge, joined the Army for another three years, and again was also honorable discharged. During the tail end of my time in service, I was able to study and become an actual participant in historical living and reenactments.
Working As a Cook For An Outfitter
When I was able to make it back to Idaho, I looked for opportunities that might present me with life living skills that correlated with the vision of the mountain man. One of my first jobs was working as a cook for an outfitter, up to 30 some miles into the wilderness on horseback with a pack train. It was just what I was looking for!
One of the things to know about the wilderness in Idaho is that there is no flat ground. Falling under the wilderness area rules, there are also no motorized utensils or vehicles. This restriction includes saws, chainsaws.
My Responsibility To Provide Firewood With Only an Ax
Being a cook for the group, it was also my responsibility to provide firewood for the stoves for three to four tents. My responsibilities also included providing the wood for the stove to prepare meals. Having only accessibility to an ax, a bow saw, or a crosscut saw was quite the eye-opening experience for a late twenties young man.
Where we were located, our only resupplies were once a week, usually accompanied with a new round of hunters. This gave me thought as to how our ancestors would have planned meticulous resupplies and used a large variety of things that the environment provided for them or they just went without. Back in the day, they only got a resupply once a year, or until civilization came close enough to be traveled to.
Difficult To Live Lifestyle Because of Rules and Regulations
I also gave thought to the feasibility and restrictions currently applied to those who wish to live such a lifestyle. In keeping with the rules and regulations of fish and game, licensing bureaus, and wilderness laws, it is fairly difficult to be legal and to live in that lifestyle. We have been censored and restricted and taxed in so many ways that the licensing taxes and restrictions on what we can do to provide food for ourselves in a nomadic, old-fashioned manner is almost unachievable.
First off, one must have a form of identification. In order to have a form of identification, a place of residence meeting specific civil codes, meaning running water and electricity is required. In order to obtain licenses for hunting and fishing, one must have a documented place of residence and a form of identification. The seasons allowed for hunting specific animals are restricted to specific times, and the same applies to fishing. There are restrictions to the time of day one is allowed to hunt and or fish. There are restrictions on how long one may camp in a single location.
Current rules and regulations on camping in a national forest or wilderness areas are restricted to a maximum of 18 days, and the next place of camp must exceed 10 miles as the crow flies, which is not ten miles of travel on the ground in a mountainous environment. It may equate to as far as 15 or 20 miles on the ground to equal the direct line on a map. There are restrictions of how close one can camp to running water. There are restrictions on how close you can keep your horses to the water, and there are restrictions on when one can cut firewood. Restrictions, restrictions, restrictions and more restrictions apply.
Only Thing That Cannot Be Taken Is Your Knowledge
Needless to say, this has changed the outlook on what I viewed as being able to live in the “old way”. As the years have gone by, I continued to learn and increase my knowledge of living skills and what would be considered a primitive setting. I have realized that the only thing that cannot be taken from you is your knowledge. A vast majority of this knowledge has been learned through primitive living settings, amateur archaeology, and living history organizations and groups that are available to teach others how people lived in specific time frames.
Granted, I originally started during the Rocky Mountain fur trade, about 1800 AD to 1850 AD, but I am now currently following my ancestral roots and now participate in living history and amateur archaeology of the Viking age, approximately 600 AD up to 1050 AD. The amount of research that is involved in such an expedition initially seems overwhelming, but it feels good to know how the average person lived in this time frame. They still have the technology of using metal tools that they create themselves and the use of fibers from wool and flax to make linen and wool clothing. It’s interesting to learn how they created farms and grew crops without the use of large farming equipment and what types of crops they did grow in that part of the world in that time frame.
Putting Knowledge Into Applicable Use Is Fascinating
It is not just the knowledge of how but also putting it into practical applicable use that is fast becoming so fascinating. Being able to forge tools and weapons for defending your own, being able to plant and raise hardy vegetables, raising livestock for your own sustenance, and the manufacturer and creation of your own clothing is what may be necessary to not just survive but to thrive in a primitive setting.
A Primative Setting- SHTF Scenario
Now, I am referring to a primitive setting as any setting where there is no running water, no electricity, and possibly to begin with, no structure for one to live in. This can be applied in many variations to a SHTF scenario. Whether it be an economic collapse, an EMP/ solar flare, relocation due to civil unrest, a grid down scenario, or any of the other variations thereof.
Knowledge Useful For Bartering
If one has to relocate, it is only possible for one to carry with them a specific amount of weight, so the things that are brought along are limited. Knowledge that is not electronically stored, written, or printed in a book but rather kept in the memory of the one using it and knows how to use it, is not only useful to the user by what it can produce but also is useful for bartering skills. An example would be creating a knife out of recycled metal parts for someone else in trade for fabric, or food, or anything else that you might need. It could also be having the knowledge to create a properly standing structure for a house or for storage of livestock or winter supplies, which could be traded for something needed.
Ways of Our Ancestors That Will Keep Future Generations Alive
Without that knowledge, life becomes drastically more difficult. It is the ways of our ancestors and the things that they used to survive and thrive in carving out a lifestyle that was able to continue future generations that will keep our future generations alive no matter what happens.
SurvivalBlog Writing Contest
This has been another entry for Round 79 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest . The nearly $11,000 worth of prizes for this round include:
- A $3000 gift certificate towards a Sol-Ark Solar Generator  from Veteran owned Portable Solar LLC. The only EMP Hardened Solar Generator System available to the public.
- A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate. This can be used for any one, two, or three day course (a $1,095 value),
- A course certificate from onPoint Tactical for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses , excluding those restricted for military or government teams. Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
- DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 NATO QD Billet upper . These have hammer forged, chrome-lined barrels and a hard case, to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR-type rifle to have a quick change barrel. This can be assembled in less than one minute without the use of any tools. It also provides a compact carry capability in a hard case or in 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
- Two cases of Mountain House freeze-dried assorted entrees  in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
- A $250 gift certificate good for any product  from Sunflower Ammo,
- American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) is providing a $300 certificate good towards any of their DVD training courses .
- A Model 175 Series Solar Generator provided by Quantum Harvest LLC (a $439 value),
- A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4  Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training, which have a combined retail value of $589,
- A gift certificate for any two or three-day class from Max Velocity Tactical (a $600 value),
- A Three-Day Deluxe Emergency Kit  from Emergency Essentials (a $190 value),
- RepackBox is providing a $300 gift certificate to their site, and
- Two 1,000-foot spools of full mil-spec U.S.-made 750 paracord  (in-stock colors only) from www.TOUGHGRID.com (a $240 value).
- A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of  Directive 21 (a $275 value),
- A large handmade clothes drying rack , a washboard, and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206,
- Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners , donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
- Two Super Survival Pack seed collections , a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security, LLC,
- Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances .
Round 79 ends on November 30th, so get busy writing and e-mail  us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.