Wilderman, Bob Marshall … Tribute

Guys have gone before us, have been in the wilderness due to their calling, mountain creeks running through their veins mixed with their blood that drove them into the unknown.  I want to learn about them, learn from them, with hopes I will be able to teach others along my way, along my “wilderman’s journey”.

Alaska Wilderness: Exploring the Central Brooks Range

Mr. Marshall came around in 1901.  WOW!  ‘Turn of the century.  Not the one we are in now; but the century before this one.  A redemptive haunting came to Bob Marshall from Alaska.  File:Bob Marshall camping.jpg  It would make sense that his book came about from his years of immersion there, an unprecedented wild place.  As you can see, he kept everything he needed  in a small backpack.  I hope that you know I am kidding.  And here is a FYI: I have a volume entitled  Points Unknown: A Century of Great Exploration , a collection of stories published by OUTSIDE BOOKS,  includes  some of Marshall’s book, Alaska Wilderness: Exploring the Central Brooks Range.

Bob Marshall was a forester, a writer.  He climbed.  Mr. Marshall had a robust appreciation for the Brooks Range, Alaska … and a similar appetite for the Adirondacks.  There are 46 peaks in the Adirondacks realm, and Marshall climbed all of them.  Actually, he was one of the first to accomplish that feat, with his feet (I thought that might be a decent joke, but I now have my doubts).  Another book he wrote was Arctic  Village, a 1933 bestseller, which was before my time.  Two years later, Marshall became one of the principal founders of The Wilderness Society.  And that is about all I have to say now, in my effort to practice some brevity.

Here a  small excerpt from his book, found in the collection of stories I referred to above:

 

“At three in the morning I awoke from the noise of rushing water.  It was raining hard when I looked outside and, much to my surprise, I discovered that the water in the quiet slough next to camp had risen almost to the fire, and had become a strong churning current.  I moved the cooking pots back to what I though was a safe place, commented casually to Al on the phenomenal rise of the water, and hurried back to bed.  Moved by my report, Al took one sleepy look out of the tent and immediately was all consternation.  ‘Hurry up!’ he shouted, ‘we’ve got to get out of here quick.  The main river’s cutting back of our island and if we’re not damn fast we’ll be cut off from everything.”

And that is more than I meant to bring to this blog-table.  Hope you enjoyed this encounter with Mr. Robert (Bob) Marshall, an individual I would respectfully consider a wilderman.

Remembering the Pony Express

Wilder Man on Rolling Creek:

I found this post on Trapper’s blog. I went back a year and found this one. I do believe you will enjoy this one. T

Originally posted on TrappersWildWest:

PonyExpressRiders While the Pony Express lives on today as an example of romance, adventure and bravery from the American Frontier, the Express only operated for 18 months – from April 1860 to October 1861. Perhaps most interesting to me is the fact that the “men” were often just teenaged boys, the horses were frequently mules and the riders usually carried business correspondence, sometimes newspapers, but almost never love letters! After all, $5 an ounce was extremely expensive. And, while replacement riders were sometimes unavailable, usually riders traveled less than 20 miles at a time. Legend has it that riders were given rifles, but it was probably a just small pistol or even a knife. After all, rifles are heavy, and every ounce counted when riding for speed.

Want AdRiding for speed and keeping weight light, may be where the legend came from that the company posted ads for riders which read: “Wanted:…

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Wood Cutting is Here

 

Not my fines hour.

Not my finest hour.

I tried something a little different for my first two trees of the season.  It was a bad idea.  I’m not a skilled lumberjack.  In fact, I am not a lumberjack at all.  I’m just a wilderman who loves Rolling Creek, in the Pike National Forest, just outside of Bailey.  There are two dynamics to wood cutting season: 1) necessity; and 2) its good for my soul.  

Wish the dog knew how to run the chainsaw.

Wish the dog knew how to run the chainsaw.

 I have a chainsaw that goes by the name of “Stihl 026″.  Its a relatively small chainsaw.  When I bought it, used, from a guy with what appeared to be a trustworthy countenance, I felt pretty good about it.  I still do.  It has served me well.  I’m quite thankful for it.  The gentleman said that is should serve my purposes sufficiently.  I have 1.3 acres thickly populated with evergreens, aspens, the classic lodgepole pines.  So, if you look at the compatibility between my chainsaw and the wood cutting that has to happen, there is a bit of tension there.  Bottom line?  I need a bigger chainsaw: not much bigger, but … bigger.         Now, back to my fiasco with my first two trees that I cut down, this season.  Here is what happened:

    1. The chainsaw is not as powerful as it once was, I used my axe … chopping down at an angle on all four sides of the tree;
    2. Guide ropes? Yes, usually … but not this time (OOPS!!);
    3. I thought I knew exactly where the trees were going to land;
    4. When time came for each tree to fall, they both got hung up on the branches of another tree, and I had to get my chainsaw;
    5. The trees stood up straight, at first, that is how bad they were caught;
    6. Fortunately, I got both trees to a forward angle enough so I could make another cut, about 4 1/2 feet off the ground;
    7. And, they finally came down…. but not even close to where  they were supposed to.

 

I am afraid that you cannot tell what I am talking about, the mistakes I

made,by looking at the picture above.  I knew enough to be safe … but the stump of the tree is positioned beneath the crown of the tree, laying there in the snow.  I was relieved to get the trees on the ground.  I made a mental list of what I needed to do differently.  Experimentation / making mistakes can be somewhat redemptive … we can learn a great deal.

Don't Crowd the Trees!

Don’t Crowd the Trees!

A Good Tree Died

A Good Tree Died

You probably already knew this, but in some forest areas, trees need to be thinned out, if the trees are too close together.  Translation: trees don’t grow as well / they are not as healthy if there is not enough room.  Some of it is the root systems providing the trees with enough water; some of it is room for the branches to grow; and some of it is getting their fair share of sunlight.  And, it makes sense to get the dead trees out, to help the healthy trees.  Here is a tree that will need to come down, soon.  You might need to expand the picture so that you can see the top, and the branches.  I’ve never liked the idea of cutting trees down.  I love trees.  But because I love trees, I know that the dead ones have to come down, so that we can have a healthy forest.  Fortunately,  I am equipped with … not only axe and chain saw, but … a decent imagination.  And I sometimes think about woodsmen predecessors …

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, I don’t want anyone to think I am just crazy about cutting trees down.  Wood cutting season is just as much about chain sawing the longer logs into shorter logs … which get chopped into smaller pieces of wood for our woo-burning stove.  Ideally, I spend a little time each week chopping wood, getting ready for winter.

 

Wood pile, all summer

Wood pile, all summer

 

 

So, there it is.   Peace to you. T

 

Rally … Rally! … RALLY!!

Definition of RALLY

  1. to muster for a common purpose
  2. to recall to order
  3. to arouse for action
  4. to rouse from depression or weakness
  5. to come together again to renew an effort
  6. to join in a common cause

This post is … definitely … more for me than it is for anyone else.  I am fighting another battle.  And this one is going to be a good fight.   

“I learned that courage is not the absence of fear but the triumph over it.  The brave man is not he who does not feels afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”  Nelson Mandela  / “You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.”  Margaret Thatcher / I was told I’d be out of my mind to go after my dreams…now that I’ve gotten out of my mind by following my heart…I’m living my dream. Brock Tully /  If you always put limit on everything you do, physical or anything else. It will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits.

There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them. Bruce Lee


The following is from the movie “The Last Legion”: Aurelius addressing his men prior to battle.

Aurelius:  “My friends, we’ve all seen many mornings like this one. Together we’ve watched the sun rise … not known if that day would be our last.  You men of the Ninth Legion, all of us, together we have fought all our lives for the Empire our ancestors created, and together we have watched that Empire crumble to dust

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… I can tell you that in the darkest moments, I came to believe that there was nothing left to fight for. But I’ve been shown, through the wisdom of others, that there is one more battle to be waged, against tyranny and the slaughter of innocents. Let us defend to the last breath this island of Brittania, against those who would tear out its heart and soul!  (For those) who come after us …  there is such a thing as a Roman soldier, with a Roman sword, and a Roman heart!”

From “Braveheart”:  William Wallace attempting to rally his fellow Scotsmen on the battlefield, facing off with an army from Britain at the Battle of

William Wallace:  And if this is your army, why does it (flee)?

Scotsmen: We didn’t come here to fight for them!  (We are going)

Home! The English are too many!

William Wallace: Sons of Scotland! I am William Wallace.

Scotsman:  William Wallace is seven feet tall!

William Wallace:  Yes, I’ve heard … ‘Kills men by the hundreds. And if HE were here, he’d consume the English with fireballs from his eyes, and bolts of lightning from his arse.

[Scottish army laughs]

William Wallace:I *am* William Wallace! And I see a whole army of my countrymen, here in defiance of tyranny. You’ve come to fight as free men… and free men you are. What will you do with that freedom? Will you fight?

Scotsman: Fight? Against that? No! We will run. And we will live!

William Wallace: Aye, fight and you may die. Run, and you’ll live… at least a while. And dying in your beds, many years from now, would you be willin’ to trade ALL the days, from this day to that, for one chance, just one chance, to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they’ll never take… OUR FREEDOM!

William Wallace:  Alba gu bràth!

“Scotland forever!”

Alba gu bràth!

Alba gu bràth!

Alba gu bràth!

 

Non-Pirate Wilderman On The Move!

I am on the move …  True,  countless times I have sat in me ship on a calm sea,  no wind to push the sails.  But, I am still, indeed, on the move.  Mornings have emerged from merciless and endless, nights; I have had no desire to step out of my night, into my light.  Such a struggle, a mistresses of depression?  

(Bombardment of Algiers by Lord Exmouth in August 1816, Thomas Luny /http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piracy)

An intimate preoccupation with sleep? It is a false intimacy.    On such mornings I am reluctant to look up, fearful that I may see the Jolly Roger flying from the topmast.  As of yet, no such flag has flown.  Which leads me to a decent question: what kind of a flag am I flying, up above the ship?

(Capture of the Pirate Blackbeard, 1718 depicting the battle between Blackbeard and Lt. Maynard in Ocracoke Bay.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Capture-of-Blackbeard.jpg)

When I am sailing across the Seven Seas (which I’ve never done before, but is sounds good), seafaring men and women always take note of what flag I am flying.  

And I hope that they see that I am a good man, not afraid to fight for what is good, what is noble, what is honorable.  I hope they see that I am not a pirate; for I am a non-pirate.  If you were to hang out with pirates like Blackbeard, Thomas Tew, Henry Every, William Kidd …   you might hear such perspectives as:

  • I’m a pirate. I’m my own captain.
  • A friend can betray you, but an enemy will always stay the same.
  • Land was created to provide a place for boats to visit.
  • If ye can’t trust a pirate, ye damn well can’t trust a merchant either.
  • A pirate is for life, not just for Christmas.
  • Take what you can, give nothing back.

I am like a pirate in that I am a swashbuckling soul.  Adventure, which is at the core of “swashbuckling”, is profound: because adventure depends on what the adventure is about, and how the adventure is carried out.   Here are some contrasts, for me, when it comes to what a pirate is about, and what I am about:

  • A pirate, his own captain? That doesn’t work in a healthy marriage;
  • A “friend can betray you … an enemy will always stay the same”? I want to be a man who changes for the better … not stays the same; and friends? Yes, they will let you down; but you will let them down, as well;
  • “If ye can’t trust a pirate, ye damn well can’t trust a merchant either”?  Ahhh, the power of rationalization;
  • “A pirate is for life, not just for Christmas”?  It would get old living a life of violence, selfishness, greed, lying, thievery, doing the same thing over and over and over … always wondering who is going to betray you;
  • “Take what you can, give nothing back”? Bummer.  I guess that rules out being a good husband, a good father, and a good friend.

Yep.  Non-pirate.  That is the life for me!

Fears of Wildermen

Some men fear …

Not being known;

Being known;

Thus, some men desire to be known and …

at the same time … fear being known.

Men fear being ridiculed.

Men fear condescension.

Men fear isolation and … at the same time … desire isolation.

Men fear pain.

Men fear intimacy.

Men fear loss, and defeat; men fear being shamed; men fear being bullied; men fear being backed in a corner. Image below, from the movie “Braveheart” http://www.evanrichards.com.

Braveheart447

Men are called to deal with fear, with honor, with the right timing, the right strategy.
Image right, from the movie “Argo”, http://www.geckoandfly.com.  Men fear being betrayed.  Men fear their anger.  Men fear living … not dying. Men fear failure.  Men, at the same time do not fear failure.  Men fear insignificance. 

“Courage is not living without fear.  Courage is being scared to death and doing the right thing anyway.”  (Movie, “Argo”)