Monday, November 29, 2010
Just around the next corner....
Considering that it was raining and I had not brought any wet weather gear (it was a walk close to home) I was impressed with my daughters fortitude. It reminded me of my teenage years and the first forays into the wilderness with my mates. We were lacking in knowledge but we made up for that with at times a reckless sense of adventure, our motto was just around the next corner, we always found it hard to turn back as the excitement of exploring new tracks was hard to subdue.
So years latter when I heard my daughter say those words it was like a connection with days gone by, it was a symbolic passing of the torch to the next generation, I dare say that humans have been saying this for thousands of years..............I guess that's why our ancestors left the savanna of Africa all those thousands of years ago!
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Wow, where does the time go!!!
Things are looking up and I now have the time to get this project off the ground. I have decided to create a basic forum and let those interested in Australian Bushcraft nominate what categories and headings they would like to see. I guess you could say that the forum will develop in an organic fashion and reflect the interest of the community that forms around it.
Thanks to all those that have emailed me over the recent months, it would appear that there is a lot of interest in this project.
So stay tuned!
On other matters, over the weekend I took the family to a local national park and had a great day out. I have two young kids and am slowly introducing them to the joys of the wilderness, selecting walks that are not too arduous but still challenging. It was raining on the day, so we all donned our coats and hats and headed out.
I must confess that to me at least, my favourite time to walk through a eucalyptus forest is in the rain. The aromas are energizing and the wildlife is out and about. We watched two lyre birds charge through the forest, so agile, kids were very impressed.
Forgot the camera, but here are some pics of the another mini expedition.
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Australian Bushcraft forum
Whilst I am a big fan of the UK and US Bushcraft forums and will continue to enjoy utilising these invaluable resources, I think it is time that an Australian version was created.
Why, well Australia has a diverse array of unique ecosystems which are not replicated in other parts of the world. So I figure it would be great to have a forum which reflects Australian conditions, geography; flora and fauna, places to travel and Bushcraft and survival techniques that are specific to this region. The site over time will hopefully develop to the point where it also becomes an invaluable resource for those interested in traveling to Australia for a Bushcraft adventure.
With one of the oldest indigenous cultures in the world, a culture that thrived with a minimal toolkit and an incredible understanding of local fauna and flora; and a rich tradition from the colonial days onwards of resourceful bushman there's plenty to discuss and share.
I hope that it also becomes a virtual campfire for those interested in Bushcraft pursuits in Australia. I have conversed with a number of Australians on international forums and many have bemoaned the fact that a similar resource does not exist here. So hopefully the new forum will help foster a similar scene to that in the UK and US.
Anyway stay tuned.
Oh yeah, if you have any suggestions for forum threads send through your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org
A Forum is up and running, it's called BushcraftOz, not my project (didn't have the time). Go check it out, it's just what we need.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Ka-Bar Becker BK2 part two
So the question I hear you ask is what would you use such a knife for? Time to head bush and see what this knife is all about.
Now some of you may recall that Australia suffered horrendous bushfire's in the summer of 2009 - devastating the forests and killing over a 180 people. My family was fortunate in that we only lost fences and pasture however; the neighbouring forest was decimated. The wondrous thing about Australian Eucalypts is their ability to survive a bushfire, indeed fires are a necessary part of the life cycle promoting the germination of new seeds.
Few days after the fire
Black trunks and no ground cover left.
So it was good to see that many of the blackened trunks were covered with green leafy shoots. Even the once bare ashen forest floor was rejuvenating with bracken and infant eucalyptus vying for the sunlight above.
1 year latter
After an hours walk taking in nature's rebound from fire I came across a section of forest where the fire had burned with an intensity that had killed most of the trees off; particularly the smaller girth trees, perhaps ten years old. I thought trying to fell one of these dead trees would be a good test of the knife.
Now Eucalyptus is a hard wood, severely burnt and dead for a year, well it's even harder. I was expecting this to be a strenuous job, especially considering the knife blade is only 5 inches long. As a back up I had a bacho folding saw in my pack if required.
BK2 and Bacho saw
Despite the wood having dried out the BK2 was surprisingly efficient as a chopper. After 15 minutes the job was basically finished. I took some care to ensure that the tree would fall in a predictable manner as a mistake could be bone crushing. The tree came crashing down with a thud.
So my impressions of the knife:
- the blade kept a keen edge with no visible dulling of the edge
- the handle was comfortable, no blistering resulted, and the knife did not slip in the hand even though I started to sweat
- the BK2 showed surprisingly good cutting/chopping efficiency. Perhaps due to the thickness of the blade and the weight of the knife. Certainly a reasonable alternative to a small hatchet offering greater flexibility for cutting tasks.
- this is a solid knife; you would struggle to damage this knife.
Well I think the BK2 makes a versatile camp/survival knife, particularly in forested terrain where there is a need to cut timber for shelter, and or fire wood. Why not take an axe, well I would argue that the weight and size of an axe is not always ideal and you still end up taking a knife. Lets face it; your selected kit is always a compromise between convenience (weight, size) and cutting efficiency. Whilst the Becker BK2 does not have the cutting efficiency of a small forest axe it will still get the job done and can then be used for other cutting tasks such as food preparation.
The other knife that I think does a similar job is the Cold Steel Bushman Bowie. It's a bit bigger, lighter construction, yet tough (but not as solid as BK2) and a lot cheaper. I can see the BK2 finding it's way into my kit bag in the future. Particularly for my outback motorcycle trips where the weight is not a factor and the size allows me to easily stow it into the panniers. I'm sure the BK2 will outlast several motorcycles and myself for that matter. Archaeologists will be pondering it's sturdy lines in the year 3010 no doubt.
Monday, January 4, 2010
Friday, January 1, 2010
I am now the happy owner of a Syderco Bushcraft knife which was a gift for Christmas. Alas, Spyderco have stopped shipping these knives due to an issue with the wooden handle slabs cracking. Fortunately my one appears ok (sofar). I have been using it for some wood carving and have been pleasantly surprised by the ease at which it slices through wood. It has a scandi grind similar to my mora knife however the blade is substantially thicker as is the handle. All up it offers the user superb control. Keep in mind that this is only my initial impression.
In a few weeks I will be heading off to visit my parents who run a farm in the central highlands of Victoria near Daylesford. I plan to do a mini expedition into the bush for a few nights and relax in the solitude of the wilderness. Also a good opportunity to try out some new gear, Spyderco Bushcraft knife and an Alpkit Bivvy bag. After that a solo hike into the Blue Mountains beckons and a nice outback trip on the motorbike should provide some respite from winter. My kids are also reaching the age where bushwalks are an exciting option to the other distractions that compete for their attention (Wii etc).
Nothing like pondering the possibilities of a great adventure. Enjoy 2010!