Smoke Signals

Jul/Aug 2012

 

 

  

Daniel Miller
Staff Writer

Summer Encampment 2012

Apache Canyon California

By McDara

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Personally I was tickled pink to find out the plan was to have an encampment within a 4 hour drive. I went to Hollister and compared to that, 1 Ĺ hours north of Ojai was in my backyard. As a long term member and a short term apprentice (donít ask) I am anxious to complete all the requirements to achieve official membership. But that really is not the real reason I am doing this stuff. Iím doing this because it is big time FUN. At least it is for me and other twisted individuals like me.

If you were capable of being at Ojai in July and didnít come, you should kick yourself. Itís summer so there was a bug or two buzzing in my ears from time to time. A bit warm weather, though not bad enough to be uncomfortable. Those, as far as Iím concerned were the only down sides if you could even call them that.

I had just had a death in the family so I didnít have much time to get my kit together. Plus Iím still working on paring down to just the essentials. Couple of health issues make my essentials a bit more than is desirable. So I immediately got crap about the bucket with 50 tent stakes, when I used 10. Actually thatís my first point. You might get razzed about what you have, but if you really look at it, it can be good advice as to what you can improve.

One of the first activities we were trading expertise on was making cordage/rope. In California we have lots and lots of Yucca.

The stalks make great fire starter and the needles will stitch a repair on your clothes (just ask Runner). The spears have a liquid in them that makes great soap, and if you pound and scrape the spears you get what you need to make rope.

Take a rock or a Hawk and pound the spears, then scrape away the "meat" part. Pull the strands apart and then braid or twist them into a rope. If youíre not sure how to twist it, well you shouldaí been there to find out.

Sharron was the queen of rope making (as you can tell by her green hands) She made a rope that stretched across the camp site in the same amount of time I made about a foot and a half.

But as you can tell she did not keep her secrets to herself. She helped anyone who asked how she was doing it and gave out pointers.

One of the other activities that took place was an exchange of ideas as to what each guy carried in his hunting pouch.

Some carried everything including the kitchen sink. Others kept tools in a separate bag and mainly powder and ball in the hunting bag. Everyone had a slightly different take, but there were many common things as well.

Also some of the guys indicated that the bag they had was only for the gun they were carrying and that each of their muzzle loaders had a different bag.

Many attendees had quite a few treks out of camp and a shot could be heard now and again when some tricky rabbit was shot at. I say "shot at" because I didnít see any come back and go in the cook pot.

Some carried everything including the kitchen sink. Others kept tools in a separate bag and mainly powder and ball in the hunting bag. Everyone had a slightly different take, but there were many common things as well.

We also had quite a competition. Shooting competition that is.

Runner had a 12 lb trigger pull. Everyone who tried it stopped turned the gun sideways to see if something stopped the trigger from pulling. (he still put two shots through the same hole)

After the rope was moved (a few times) and all the smoke cleared the winner was our own NAF Captain Tom.

Gottaí say, Sharron missed during the contest, but we were all very impressed (and a little scared) when she hit the far target with her flintlock pistol after the contest was over.

The other activities included telling stories, a little singing and some poetry and a few slight exaggerations to the truth.

If yer not in the picture, you really missed a great time.

Oh the dogs also had a ball.

If the Captain could just keep them out of my tent would be nice. Dogs are great put the cleanup can be trying if you get my drift...

Daniel Miller

EDITOR NOTE

I think we need to have McDara continue to provide us with his fine offerings on a regular schedule, what do you folks think?

 

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