Gapper Journal Day Eight – Friday March 18th
Evan and Sharla arrived the night before and stopped by the Wofati to say hello and share some stories of their trip to the grand canyon. It was really cool to finally meet Evan, I’d heard so much about him from the forums and from the people who were staying here that I didn’t know what to expect. He’s just another guy trying to make the best of living out in the wilderness in Montana. He’s very humble and down to earth.
After waking up in the morning and having my coffee and making a few eggs for breakfast, Evan, Kai and the rest of us started talking about ‘Survival Weekend’, which was originally called Spirko weekend as suggested by Paul to potentially draw more people in but it ended up being just us gappers- which was fine by us. It entails a bunch of different survival skills including but not limited to, primitive fire making, Archery, debris hut construction and many other things.
We started with bow and drill fire making, I began with getting a little bit of footage of everyone making their bow and drill. After a little bit I thought it would be a good idea to make my own. Everyone else was making theirs a little bit too small so I thought I’d make mine a bit bigger. The end result was something that was a lot easier to use than the smaller ones but still pretty difficult to actually get a fire going with. It’s a lot harder to make a friction fire than they portray in the movies.
When we got tired of failing to make fire we decide to have some lunch. I took the opportunity to make some rice and beans for dinner as well, eating a little bit of the rice for lunch. It took a bit longer than I had planned but was well worth it because I was getting work done that I wouldn’t have to later on in the evening when I would be tired.
After lunch I caught up to everyone one in Evans plot at the makeshift archery range. They had set up a hay bale with a target on it and marked out fifteen, thirty, forty-five, and sixty foot markers to shoot from. We had to get four out of four at fifteen, three out of four at thirty, two out of four at forty-five and one out of four at sixty to achieve your goal for the archery range.
I did surprisingly well and made all the shots relatively quickly. We had a few other gapper that were still trying to get all of their goals when Kai spotted a Weasel running around on the berm that borders Evans plot. Evan was quick to grab the bow and arrow from whoever was holding it at the time and him and Kai went to investigate. I was almost as quick on the draw with the video camera and started to get some footage.
Evan and Kai were looking for it for a little bit when I spotted it run away and yelled at them to check it out. I was so excited that I didn’t get very good footage of it but did that best I could considering the circumstances. Evan spotted it and lined up for the shot, he took the shot and missed. The Weasel ducked down in the stump it was hiding in and popped his head up after a second or two as if to say “ did you just shoot at me?”
It then disappeared into the thicket of the Douglas Firs. We were all talking about what happened when Sara saw the Weasel again and told Evan where it was. He grabbed the bow again and lined up the shot while I quickly grabbed the video camera, I just managed to start recording when he released the arrow and took the Weasel just below the lung section. It was still scurrying around when I ran over there.
My adrenaline and compassion for it’s suffering took over and I crashed through the small trees and underbrush to end its suffering. When I came down upon it with my hatchet I swung a few mighty blows only to miss here and there, thats when it’s musk hit me. It was one of the worst smells I’ve even encountered, it’s like a combination of burning plastic and a pungent urine. Even so, I endeavored to ends its suffering so I was frantically trying to catch it under my foot to stop it to I could make the killing blow.
“Step on it’s neck!!”, Sean yelled to me and I tried to do just that but it didn’t seem to be working. So he ended up rushing in to finish the job, I was almost gagging on the stench by now while I was trying to get away from it and recuperate. By the time I came back to get some footage of it he had it out of it’s misery and was getting ready to start skinning it.
He took it to the clearing where we were shooting the bow and began to skin and butcher it. I got as much as I could on video before I headed back to the Wofati to prepare for dinner around the campfire.
We had some organic hotdogs and beer as we told stories about our journeys in life and played some campfire songs on the guitars. It was one of the best campfires I’ve ever sat around. Eventually it got way too cold and I retired back to the Wofati where I heated up some rice and beans and begun to write the rest of this journal entry.
I was a little heady from the day’s experience when I went to bed, so I had to read a bit of the Simarillian to convince my mind that I was tired. I slept like a baby in the large bunk in the Abbey.