Mungo's Bushcrafty Year in Review

It has been a long year. Here are some of the bushcrafty highlights over the past 12 months:

How To Catch, Clean and Cook a Fish While Camping

The simplest way that I have found to catch a fish when camping is to start off with 5 simple items: a nice sharp knife - a carbon-steel Mora will do nicely, a simple fish-hook and lure, a length of string or fishing line, and finally a fishin' pole - a carved stick!
A Nice Cold Hike in the Valley

It was very cold when I left the house this morning. It was -14 Celsius, and with the wind chill it felt like 27 degrees below zero Celsius. Brrrr. I was bundled up though.
Canoe Camping: Camera Dry, Pictures Stored, Batteries Charged

I like taking photographs when I go camping. I love my little point-and-shoot digital camera - while it isn't a fancy professional Digital SLR model, it works well enough for me. But there are three limitations I need to work within when I take my camera with me in the canoe and into the backcountry: 1) susceptibility to moisture damage, 2) limited file storage for images and movies, and 3) limited battery length. Let me address these issues here.
Breaking a Habit with a Match Coat

A match coat is a covering made from a single wool blanket. A match coat may have derived its name from robes and blankets made from matching pieces of fabric, stitched together so that they match. Europeans made their match coats from thick wool blankets which were commodities in the early 1600s in North America. An extremely useful item, the wool blanket can be used as a shelter, a sleeping bag, or quickly converted into a 'match-coat' with little more than a sash or a rope, and a wooden pin.
Hudson Bay Steel & Flint Fire Striker

I received a package in the post the other day. It was a Hudson Bay Flint and Steel set. The package contained a tin can containing a small package of charcloth and some jute twine. The jute is used as tinder to catch the heat of the glowing charcloth, which of course catches the initial spark.
Tutorial: How to Make Charcloth for Tinder for a Firesteel or Steel Striker

Charcloth is linen or cotton cloth that has been combusted in the absence of or with a minimal amount of oxygen.
"It's The Charcloth, Stupid" - Adventures with my Flint & Steel Striker

I peeled off a bit of charcloth and held it to the flint and then spent a frustrating, somewhat painful and cramping 15 minutes thwacking and hitting the damn steel against it. I couldn't figure out what was wrong. I was getting sparks. Sure, the flint was getting a bit dull in some sections, and that was affecting the result I wanted, but sparks kept flying.
Algonquin Park Trip Planning

My lightweight camping list is below. I think the only question mark is the camping chair. But since I'll be doing a small portage, it isn't like I am carrying a huge amount with me.
How to Cook Rice & Preserved Bacon over a Camping Stove

I grabbed my cooking kit, some bits and pieces, the beagle and some dinner ingredients and headed out into the backyard. I decided to practice cooking rice with my camping pot and stove. Rice is easy to carry and a great base for other flavours - but rice can be tricky to cook even in your own kitchen, so I figured this would be a good test of my abilities and good experience for when I am in the field.
How To Start a Campfire in Wet Weather - and Pictures of Lightning

While it would be very difficult to get a fire going during a thunderstorm, here is what I would need to do in wet weather to get a decent chance for warmth, dryness, cooking and comfort by the side of a campfire.
The Common Inkcap (Coprinopsis atramentaria) or Inky Cap Mushroom

This afternoon Spring and her mum and I went to Eaton's Center in downtown Toronto. They wandered off looking at clothes and shoes and eyeglasses and I plopped myself down in a comfortable chair with a handful of books. I picked up a Peterson's Guide to Eastern North American Forests, a couple of books on Black Bears and most importantly - Roger Philip's Mushroom manual: "Mushrooms: A Comprehensive Guide with Over 1,2500 Detailed Photograph". Once we got home I snuffled about in the back garden and located a couple of mushrooms that were growing in the grass, just above a buried, rotting 4x4 chunk of wood that has likely been their since the house was built in 1956.
Mushroom Identification - Gently Fried in Salt, Butter and Pepper, on a Baguette

Monty and I sat for a while in the backyard while I read my new Roger Phillips Mushrooms book - a comprehensive guide with over 1,2 50 detailed photographs of mushrooms and other fungi in it (that's what the cover says). I am freaking out excited happy happy happy with this book. My bushcraft knowledge is lacking in this area - I know Oyster, and Aminita Muscaria or Fly Agaric mushrooms, and maybe 4 other ones, but that's it.
A Leopard Earthball Mushroom

On Labour Day this past weekend, I went for a hike down into the valley behind the house. This valley forms part of the watershed of the East Don River, which branches into the main Don River - the central river around which the historical Fort York (which formed the beginnings of Toronto) was built.
Pinetree Lake Algonquin Park Solo Trip - Part 1: Getting There

After a stop at McDonald's for the obligatory Sausage McMuffin and coffee, and getting the canoe, at about 10:30 and 340 kilometers later I arrived at the parking lot off of highway 60 . The canoe was a Shearwater Solo canoe, weighing a mere 39 pounds. It was made of a Kevlar/Carbon Fiber blend, and it was the lightest canoe that I'd ever carried. Paddling it was like pushing a leaf along a stream - light, responsive, yet stable. I picked it up at Algonquin Outfitters, at the Oxtongue Lake location, just west of the West Gate of Algonquin Park along Highway 60.
A Walk in the Valley - How to Build a Simple Lean-to Using a Wool Blanket

This afternoon after lunch I headed down into the valley. I brought a backpack containing my Gransfors-Bruks small forest axe, a Mora #510 Carbon Steel knife, a stainless steel cup, some powdered milk, instant coffee and sugar, some string, a steel kettle, my ferrocerium striker rod, a sliver of fat wood, and a wool blanket.
A Walk at Rowangarth Farm

This past Sunday I made the 2 hour drive out to Decado's new digs. He and his family have moved to Rowangarth Farm out near Marmora, Ontario.

Rogers Rangers

On my drive down to New Hampshire last year, I passed by and walked around many of the famous landmarks from the historical raid by the Rogers Rangers which took place during the French and Indian war in New England, one autumn/winter between 1754 and 1763.
Bivy Sack in the Winter Snow

It occurred to me that I'd like to spend an evening in the valley wrapped up warmly and laying inside a bivy sack from Mountain Equipment Co-op.



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