Channeling Stone Henge

By Natalie Janovak. Logo used with permission.

Today I spent the day playing with rocks, yet I feel like I’ve had a relaxing yoga workout. I attended Visitor Day at Anake Outdoor School in Duvall, WA because I’m interested in learning more about their programs. I had a choice of visitor sessions this month, options which were equally appealing for this aspiring primate included canning, making fire and wilderness cooking methods. I chose Stone Tools. My taste of what an Anake education offers a nature-lover is like a dripping ice cream cone. The experience was even sweeter and I can’t wait for more.

Anake is a sophisticated educational program with a wilderness campus. The sky is your roof and the heater is your wool layer. To survive here, you must rely on your wilderness Home Depot, QFC, Bartell’s and Target. The purpose of Anake’s Survival School is to teach you that everything in the wilderness is useful and harmonious when you know what you’re looking for and harvest with mindfulness. What I learned today was to be human.

On the banks of the Snoqualmie River, the instructor collected our knives then showed us how to identify tool/knife rocks. For the better part of the afternoon we went to “bonking”. The co-instructors and Anake students had a hands-on interchange with us greenhorn survivalists while we honed our skills. The more I learned, the deeper the layers went. We learned three techniques for breaking rocks and practiced between instruction to create our own stone tool kit.

The culminating activity was to use our stone tools to create something useful out of what was available around us. Ideas were a 4-Trap, hatchet, knife, scraper, tapping and bow saw. This was a challenging thing for me to do, but I was encouraged to keep practicing. I attempted to make a bow saw with a fresh sapling and a measure of P-chord. In theory, this device can start a fire without matches, but mine turned out to be non-functional. While we played, the instructors made a tandem bow saw out of a wet log and got smoke. This is an amazing feat for a city dweller to witness. After an hour, class reconvened for a show-and-tell and everyone made suggestions for improving techniques. This was an ingenious lesson that I will never forget, and every time I walk through a riverbed I will see it differently. I can’t wait to throw rocks with my oldest nephew.

I am grateful for all the wonderful teachers and students who warmly invited me to their class, the learning we shared, and especially to Seb for personally guiding me into the field…by car and trail.

Ow ow owww!

If you want to de-civilize, wisen-up and connect with your humanity then contact Anake Outdoor School for program details, free e-courses, or to sign up for their newsletter.

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