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official connection to the Tracker School or Tom Brown Jr. whatsoever
Monday: Tom's opening lecture included aspects about what
clans and family units did during the winter and that GF met very few
individuals who could go into pure survival in the winter. GF said to
practice the skills you are least proficient at to build proficiency in the
ones you are good at. Also, tepid water is absorbed into your system faster
than ice water. Next, Ruth Ann discussed the Modified Mandan Earth Lodge
each group would be building. All day was spent building shelter. Tom really
pressured us to get those shelters built because he wanted to teach 10 days
worth of skills in 7 days! I was very drained after the Healing Class the
week before but the class's energy and excitement helped me work in top
gear! One thing I discovered was to wear only my outer garments, letting
them absorb the sweat. Then when the shelter building was over for the day
to towel off with my outer garments and redress in my long underwear and
other layers. Stripping completely for a few minutes was cold but well worth
it by having dry clothes in the evening! That evening Tommy taught us
Crossed Throwing Sticks which we each made.
Tuesday: We all finished our shelters early in the afternoon.
The rest of the day was spent learning and making the Throwing Dart, Bolas
and Slings. That evening we learned Pecking and Grinding, Hafting and the
Limb-Assisted Mano Metatae (a class project). That evening we slept fireless
in our group shelters.
Building, working in and sleeping in our shelters was absolutely the best
physical part of the class in my opinion.
Wednesday: We learned and built Atl-Atls (male, female and mixed) and
Atl-Atl Darts. Making the shelter draw smoke was covered because that night
each group would work on skills around the fire in their shelter. Advanced
Arrows were discussed including: nocks, composite arrows, arrows and points
from a single piece of wood, fletching and more. That evening we learned and
made Kulas; Twined Baskets, Survival Baskets and Braiding were then
discussed. Submerged myself up to my neck in the stream today, not as bad as
I thought and energized me for a a few hours after. The highs was in the
40's during the week.
Working on skills by firelight in my group's shelter really taught me a lot
about my group. We were allowed our sleeping bags. After a peaceful night's
sleep and waking up in a primitive shelter, I could feel myself becoming
less and less civilized as the week wore on.
Thursday: Tom expanded on Advanced Shelters, drawing smoke and body heat
reflectors. That night we would abandon our sleeping bags. Note: GF said
that a shelter is alive and Tom has named every shelter he's built. Tom took
us out this day and Friday and taught us to throw our Slings, Bolas,
Throwing Darts, Atl-Atls and Kulas. The spiritual aspects of making and
using skills was also discussed. That evening we learned Gorge, Circle and
Composition-style Fish Hooks and Fishing. Advanced Fire was discussed
including: experimentation, Camp Drill, Fire Crutch, Pump Drill, Fire Saw,
Fire Piston and the Fire Plow.
Friday: Spiritual exercises today included: building our artifacts into
works of art, being led to what we needed and letting spirit teach us how to
throw our Crossed Throwing Sticks. We also covered and built as a class Reed
Boats and Watercraft. Tom told us to gather tonight's firewood from the
landscape reverently. To me, this was not only caretaking but also alluded
to the concept of the wilderness as a Temple which Tom discussed on
Saturday. That night we all took turns on fire watch. My time on watch was
pretty indescribable; the hour or so on watch felt like only 15 minutes.
Also missing that hour or so of sleep did not affect me as much as I
would've thought during such an intense week. I really miss that shelter.
Satuday: We left our shelters up for future visitors. Tom showed us how to
hang a sling and bolas on our belts for fast and easy use while hunting. He
also covered the Thrusting Spear and Sharpening Wood and Bone to a Razors
Edge. This was covered by Kevin at the Back to Back, but this discussion had
Tom's final lecture was about the spiritual aspects of survival.
There were only 50 people at this class. I went to it excited but very
unsure of my skills, especially shelter. Group work and dynamics were such a
huge, underlying aspect of this class that I quickly forgot my insecurities
and just worked like a madman to make a warm shelter and finish all my
individual projects. Despite the challenges the group really helped me pull
through it and I would highly recommend taking this class if you're
interested. As with all Tracker Classes half the experiences can't be put
into words. Absolutely one of the best classes I've ever had!