Wednesday, April 30, 2014

My ultimate 2 day getaway, Fatwood & Gransfors score, slinging + BlackBear


I just experienced one of the most memorable and enjoyable family getaways in recent memory. Shortly after arriving one recent evening at a hotel in the White Mountains of NH with my family, I go out to walk the dogs behind the place. Tired of them tangling me in leashes I spy a craggy stump to throw their leashes over so they can do their business. 
Suddenly as I feel what I thought was punky wood I realize it's fatwood petrified solid as a rock. I have nothing with me but the saw on my Fieldmaster. I harvest a small piece oozing with natures' fire starting greatness. 

Coming out the following morning in daylight I poke around the area and realize that on the other side of the brush is a monster fatwood log - likely the piece that was cut or knocked off the standing part I saw last night. 
This photo of the log piece below does not do the size and girth justice. I can not lift this and doubt that I could with my wife. I want to take this piece to the camp so bad. I'd love to keep it by the fire ring and bust out a chunk as needed. 
So how, you might ask why at this moment am I thinking this is an epic FAIL? I did not get here with my own vehicle hence I have no tools to process this into smaller pieces and I can't lift it. I see no alternative but to leave it behind!

I hang my head in shame and vow never to be without my saw and hatchet! 

I rejoin my family and reluctantly acquiesce to going outlet shipping for kids clothes. First stop we went into ll bean outlet looking for flip flops. In glass case with GPS etc. I caught the glimmer of hand forged Swedish steel -  a Gransfors Bruks Wildlife Hatchet labeled "Gerber axe $29.95"! 
I start to sweat, heart pounding. There was a tag in the sheath that said $100!! I flagged an associate and said I was interested if the price was the posted price, not the one previously tucked out of view in the sheath. The cashier said that regardless, since it was in display with the aforementioned price tag that's what I could buy it for!!
Now I had something to bang out some chunks of fatwood with and I didn't even mind my wife going into more stores as long as I couldstay outside and play!

Shaving sharp in a few minutes. Soon I was back at the hotel and heading back to pound wood with my new hatchet Here's the take: bucket full of pieces busted out with the GB and a smaller but carry-able chunk my keen eyed daughter found. Still that giant piece was calling me and I couldn't stop thinking of how I might get it to the car. 
We decided to take a ride for dinner that night. Not far from the hotel we reach a stretch of woods and I begin scanning the woods ahead as I typically do, hoping to catch a glimpse of something cool. This time I did! Noticing a black bear approaching the road from the forest on the opposite side of the road I yelled bear! Immediately I pulled over so maybe the kids could see. Fortunately other drivers noticed as the bear waltzed right into the road and trotted across, between two closely stopped cars. It was pandemonium in my car as my 4 kids went nuts with excitement and so did my black lab! We live in bear country but seeing one is a very rare occurrence. 
Dinner was great and followed by a massive icecream sundae from a local shop - yet another score. Back from dinner with light remaining in the day, the kids and I went to a nearby field to run the dogs. I had my rock sling with me and we found a golfball so some slinging was in order. With my phone handy and my talented daughter I was able to record a long-planned followup video on how to use a sling. Bonus!
Just as we were about to leave for home the next morning, my wife stepped up: she said I know if we leave now and don't try to get that fatwood, you won't stop thinking about it. With her and my 11-year-old son on one end and me on the other, we were able to haul it to the car. It was like moving a heavy piece of solid wood furniture up four flights of stairs. We had to take several breaks. But now I am the proud owner of 100+ pounds of fat wood!
Family, wildlife, bushcraft, good food and good luck all came together to make a standout memorable time for me!

Written by Kevin Gagne

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