Mikhail and I have been friends for close to 6 years now and over the first weekend in March we met up. This trip turned out to be a great trip and is one that I am hoping will be remembered for a very long time. We made plans to take a camping trip in Dugas Arizona, when we got there; one person was already camping in an RV. We approached the man and talked for a while before we set up camp for the night. We began talking about wild edible plants and eating insects and other crawlies. Those that know me will tell you this is not unusual behavior for me. I will at times harvest things like grasshoppers and scorpions to roast over the fire as a snack while in the field.
We started out looking at several plants and invited our neighbor in the next site over to come along with us. He gladly followed along and listened to what we were saying about each plant. We sampled wild mustard, docks, desert hyacinth bulbs, and a host of others. As we were returning to our campsite, we noticed an SUV with a trailer parked in front of our site. We approached and asked if the man needed any assistance. He replied, no but kindly asked us if we could move our vehicles so he could unload the trailer for the Boy Scout troop that would join him later that evening. He went on to ask us our names and when we introduced ourselves he replied, Arizona Bushman? I know who you are. He then invited Mikhail and I to demonstrate some survival and wilderness skills for the troop. We were very pleased to do so. This actually turned out to be one of the best trips I had been on in some time.
The next morning we began to prepare for the demonstrations. We covered different ways of making fire along with a plant walk. We discussed using focused light to ignite punkwood along with different techniques of using the hand drill for friction fires. The Scouts enjoyed the demonstrations and had a lot of fun trying out the Different ways of starting fires.
Next, we went on the short plant walk. I began teaching about some of the edible berries in the area as well as some plants for natural soaps. The discussion went on as I showed different edible greens and bulbs. Once we got to the wild mustard (London Rocket and Purple), they were really eager to try those. They seemed to enjoy the almost wasabi and slight radish flavor.
This part of the demonstration I have to say was the best. Mikhail demonstrated the David and Goliath sling and discussed the history and the ammo that he had made for it. He seemed to catch the scout’s attention with the sound of some of the rocks whizzing threw the air and smacking a tree that was 40 to 50 yards away. The projectile would hit with such force, proving just how deadly this ancient weapon really is.
This is a photo of Mikhail blowing the tinder bundle into flame during the hand drill demonstration.
This photo shows Mikhail using the sling sending a projectile into orbit.
Special thanks to Troop 365 for allowing us to demonstrate some of our outdoor skills. It was a lot of fun and we hope you enjoyed it as much as we did.