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Bushcraft is about enjoying nature, working with natural materials without killing anything and learning to survive with nature (as opposed to working against nature).
savoring (and stumbling) through nature.
Went for an early-morning tramp in the woods in the Kabaty woods. Stunning area in the heart of Warsaw with plentiful wildlife and beautiful flora to enjoy. I brought my normal kit with me; my pathfinder canteen with a small folding titanium stove. I had planned for a nice walk and perhaps a stop to make some tea. Instead though, I walked almost all the way to Kabaty; almost 45 minutes one way. It was cold, and I regretted not bringing a small backpack with me; my hands were cold as I carried the canteen.
I saw a beautiful woodpecker, red nose and jet-black body. He didn't want to let me look at him for a long time, so I only caught a brief look. The sound of the other birds singing was serene and beautiful. I saw one, maybe 2 other people during my walk (it was early).
I was wearing my normal hiking boots with normal socks. I wasn't even half-way through my tramp when I recognized the classic sensation of a blister on my right foot. Chastising myself, I thought my shoes were broken in enough to prevent blisters. I suspect the shoes are fine, but a winter of light walking has made my feet a bit thin.
Big learnings: backpacks are best for tramping in the woods, a bit of foot powder and shorter walks are in order to break in my feet for the upcoming camping / bushcraft season. And of course, nothing beats a tramp in the woods.
How should we think about forests?
As we tramped through kabaty forest I was reminded there are two types of forests; one where man decides how it should look and one where nature decides. This one is the former; the forest is beautiful, but is unmistakably touched by humans in every way. We would ideally like a more diverse forest floor; with evidence of decomposing tree's and a more wild, unkept look. I was taught the average lifecycle for old-growth forests was about 400 years. When man steps in to interrupt that natural cycle it can take a few hundred more years to get back into the natural rhythm.
There is debate about how to best manage forests. There is often discussion about harvesting forests, utilizing them responsibly, or just letting them be. As dead trees decompose, a very specific ecosystem develops; one in which very specific bacteria and insects thrive. These bacteria and insects give rise to a connected ecosystem that continues the growth cycle of the forest, creating topsoil that then in turn nourishes more growth, etc… Old growth forests are increasingly rare in our world, and deserving of every bit of protection we can offer them.
This is one aspect of bushcraft I find appealing; leave no trace, never cut live wood unless absolutely necessary, and to work with nature as opposed to against it. The wild isn't something to be tamed; man's insatiable desire to destroy it is.