Along the road of life we often find quotes or photos that seem to say it all. This is one of those quotes for me. When I read the quote it instantly resonated within me and took me back to several weeks ago when I had the opportunity to walk amongst two of my mentors.
Two bushmen in the truest sense. These mentors have spent a combined 60 years hunting, trapping, teaching and just breathing the purest of forest air.
Although I am confident with my knowledge and skills I am forever to be a student in the art of survival, bushcraft, primitive living and tracking. I was truly humbled to spend several days soaking in the teachings and demonstrations that these two bushman provided me about track identification, den and lay identification, scat identification, trapping, scent masking, prey and predator hierarchy, and tool uses.
Over the past 10 years I have read every book relating to wilderness survival, mammal tracking, tree identification, etc. that I could get my hands on. However there is never going to be enough pictures or videos on the Internet or enough diagrams in a book to truly teach you not only the skill but the history, the importance and the relevance to those who truly lived depending on these skills.
There is no substitute for hands on experience. However true hands on experience comes from being mentored and being allowed to touch, smell, see, taste and hear it first hand. In the bush with the wild wilderness that we so deeply love.
You can read all you want. You will acquire the knowledge but you will not master the skill. Take your knowledge and and your backpack to the bush and play with what mother nature provided us - The Great Canadian Wilderness.
Follow the animals. Find out where the came from, where they're going, what they did along the way and you will then feel the deep connection that Tom Brown Jr. has been describing and teaching for years.
Leave the books at home. Your backpack will thank you.