What was the goal of this trip?
The goal was mainly to wet the whistle. To go into making a video again with this new attitude firmly in the back of our minds. Matt’s been using the phrase “butter” recently and that’s really stuck with me. It’s like making this really kind of creamy ASMR relaxing vibe of bushcraft videos and going into the trip with that in mind. It made me pack my bag a certain way, made me choose a certain type of tool, to reach for those items that have this sort of warmth to them.
My wife, who is Danish, would call it “hygge” which is like a vibe. It’s like a coziness that it brings to the table. It’s why we love to get out, and why when you come back from a trip like this you feel more relaxed and in tune. That is what we wanted to do with this video.
What physical things did you wanted to do?
I’m going on a trekking trip in two days’ time and I know I’m going to be doing a lot of snowshoeing on that trip. I’m taking a sled behind me so I wanted to bring the traditional snowshoes that I’m going to be using on that trip and get to grips with them a little bit. I didn’t want to go on this trek and find that my bindings are creating blisters or that I’m just not comfortable with them and how they work, so that was a nice element to throw into the video.
I also wanted to collect resources for creating a traditional fire. Dry grass, cattail, birch bark and then use those materials to make a fire with flint and steel and amadou. It’s a very traditional technique. A bit more work than a ferrocerium rod, but worth it.
I also wanted to forage for some labrador leaves to make some tea with chaga that I brought with me. Also, making some bacon and just sitting and enjoying that fire and the tea and just showing that coziness and that vibe through the camera. Very relaxing.
I see you had a new knife around your neck?
Yeah, I’m using the Casstrom Lars Fält Bushcraft knife. It’s a beautiful knife, looks amazing, full scandi grind. I’m not super used to using this knife. It was the first day I used it out in the field and I think that definitely showed.
It was really quite amazing to see how your muscle memory can attune to the tools you’re using and I’m really looking forward to getting some more out of this knife and learning how to use it. It performed great for everything I needed to do with it.
Super sharp out of the box for all the cutting that I did, impeccable at batoning. I had some struggles with making feather sticks but I think that’s because of my lack of experience with the scandi grind.
Up until this point, I’ve used one with a modified edge and I just learned how to do it with a slightly different tool. It was an interesting experience and I’m excited to develop my skills with it but yeah, a beautiful knife, really affordable for what you get.
Take me through the fire making
So for the last month or so I’ve been on a couple of trips with a man named Kelly Harlton who is a bushcraft instructor here in Alberta. In one of the courses I did with him, he spoke about this 5 log fire which is a technique for making a fire where you set these five logs, three on the bottom and two on top and start your smaller fire on the top of that and allow the embers to drop through. It makes a nice slow-burning fire.
I really wanted to put this into practice with some smaller logs. I’ve done it with 5-inch diameter logs that lasted two or three hours but I wanted to just do a little day fire for a couple of hours that lasted just long enough to make tea and cook on. It worked pretty well once it was going. Everything was quite moist, but it did really well.
I wanted to do the most traditional style of fire I know how to do that isn’t a bow drill. I like the flint and steel striker with amadou collected from the birch trees. Its name in its raw state is Horse hoof fungus. Using a nest created from the dried grass, the cattail, and the birch bark and then blow that into a fire. I think it’s one of the most satisfying fire starters to make.
Once the fire was crackling away, I made a very rudimentary pot hanging system with two Y sticks and a straight stick. Then I just used the wire on my pot to hang it over the fire and hung the bacon over the same stick. We took the labrador tea and brewed that in the pot for a few minutes and added a nice big lump of chaga. Another trick I learned from Kelly was that a lot of people grind the chaga up and dry it out and those sorts of things. He is of the thinking that you can just throw the whole lump in the pot. When you remove it, you let it dry out again and then it’s ready to reuse. You can use it multiple times that way and you don’t need to throw it away. The tea gets a little weaker each time but for the most part, it’s pretty good to go for 10 or so teas. It was nice to try and see how that worked. I’m going to dry out the puck on the way home and try it again on the next trip.
What was your favourite bit of the day?
I genuinely think it was just being out with Matt. Just getting in the car all the way through to arriving at the place, and working as a team on creating shots. Being quiet with each other and also discussing things. The whole teamwork thing that we have going on was my favourite part. I love doing all of the bushcraft stuff but I think what I’d been missing was the camaraderie of enjoying it together.
Now that I’m back, seeing the editing Matt’s done and how it has all come together is super satisfying. We love the wilderness, we love being in the bush and we love trying out our skills. We are more confident in our skills now and we don’t need to prove anything so I actually just enjoyed the time with a friend. It is one of the most satisfying parts of the whole adventure and I’m looking forward to going out next time. I cannot wait to be able to spend more time on this in the future.