Yukon Wilderness

Did anyone watch Alone in the Wild? Ed Wardle dropped off in the Yukon’s “unforgiving wilderness” with the aim of surviving alone, with basic provisions, until winter. He lasted 50 days.

The show did seem to be less a discuss on bushcraft and living alone with the wild land and more a self-portrait of one man’s emotional and physical collapse, Big Brother-like. Ed never really seemed to become a part of the landscape, content with whittling notches on a stick to mark the passing of the days. His unprepared-ness took me a little by surprise. At one point he chose to watch a storm move through the mountains and across the lake towards him, marvelling at it rather than battening down the hatches to remain warm and dry. He got wet, very wet. And cold.

Viewing yourself as a visitor rather than a part of nature creates a gulf that is filled with all kinds of fears: I don’t know what it is, is it poisonous, will it hurt me, am I safe, it smells funny, what’s in the dark.

With seeing ourselves as a part of nature comes the realisation that everything is connected, that we are all points on the strands of a giant web, floating in a pool of consciousness. Everything we do has an effect on everything else.

If we walk through the woods, as Ed did, shouting “HELLO BEARS” because we are afraid a bear may attack, chances are all small game (which we are desperately searching for) will disappear too. However, if we increase our awareness of ourselves and realise we are a part of  instead of apart from our natural environment, chances are we will be better able to read the landscape around us to satisfy our most basic physical needs.

Ed didn’t seem to be bushcrafting but I admire his candour in showing the psychological and emotional processes he was releasing as a result of his experience. Maybe that’s something many of us would face as we shook the Western lifestyle from our own systems and donned our most ancient garments again.

If you want to experience a bit of the wild and learn some of the basic skills our ancestors used to thrive in the wilderness our next bushcraft weekend is on 9-11 October.

Don’t be left out in the cold, the fire’s glowing – come and warm your toes – Discovery Basic Survival Course

[PHOTO CREDIT: 3lsb3th]