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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - June 26, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta THB UTHMIOOi MOAtO them a few feet apart, bending them over and entwining them each other until you have a wigwam type frame- work. Next dig a bole at one end, eover the structure with a sheet of plastic (if you don t have plastic you can cover it with spruce boughs, plugging aH holes wth mud and grass) drop ths red-hot rocks you've been heating in your campfire Into the hole and sprinkle oa water. The resulte can be felt al- most immediately. Only one word of caution, advises Mors. When heating up the rocks don't Stand too close to the fire they can blow apart with some force. Mors it seems illogical to can him Mr. Lochanski came down from his home north of Edson to impart his knowledge to the 12 of us in the course. In his 30s, he's spent a good part of his adult life in the bush country of northern Sas- katchewan and Alberta, and ad- mits to having been consumed by an Interest in wilderness hv- Ing at a very early age. For about the last five years he's been passing on his skill to everyone from British Army Colonels in Armed Forces sur- vival schools to groups of ju- venile delinquents on proba- tion. Demand Of late he's been In demand more and more by educational institutions at the high school, college and university levels as outdoor recreational programs expand, until this summer for the first time, teaching on his own is a full time job. As the pursuit of outdoor lei- sure moves into even higher gear it seems likely his kind of knowledge win become more and more in demand. There's already a fellow in Ontario a Swedish-Canadian named Bert Berglund who claims to have put out North America's first home study course in wilderness survival. Mr. Berglund's National WHderaess Survival Inc. wUl send you a complete course of 17 lectures in pamphlet form on everything from the psychol- ogy of survival to identification of edible plants and how to coot them. Once you've completed that, you're eligible for a 10-day course in the Canadian Wilder- ness doing the real thing. Our weekend course wasn't as structured as that Mors says he's willing to teach Whatever people want to learn from him but he packs a great deal of practical informa- tion into two days. We learned how to build a lean-to using rope made of of dried grass woven together, build a signal fire Oat wUl send up a towering column of smoke in 30 seconds, bake bannock by wrapping the dough around willow sticks and holding them over tbe fire, how to make a simple pack board, and a good many other things. Mars' real forte though is plants. With a friend he's com- piling a list" of Alberta's flora and so far has more than 520 varieties down, including 400 that are edible. Practice! Practically a walking botani- cal encyclopedia, he was for- ever, despite being in country unfamiliar to him, stopping to point out such and such a plant, often taking the time to relate some lit tie story to illustrate it's use. Take elk thistle for example. It grows nearly waist high in the summer and it's inner stalk is good to eat tastes some' thing like zuchini. WeU it seems there was a near-sighted geologist out in the bush. His horse threw him and be lost his thick glasses, without which he could scarce- ly see. The man survived for two weeks by eating the elk thistle stalks he stumbled into. Plants also have a number of medicinal and other uses there's one good for sore throats, another cures head- aches and so on, even some that can be used as a substitute for tobacco. There's another skill Mors teaches that's a little more in- tangible it's what he calls a rapport with the wilderness, a feeling that the wilderness is neither for you nor against you, but entirely neutral. The way it treats you depends en- tirely on how you treat it. Part of this is practicing ecological sense you never need to cut down living trees for shelter poles, for example there's always dead ones around that will do. When you need green wood, you first cut down the diseased tree, then the one being crowd- ed out, and finally one that is reaching senility. "A lot of people think you can't tell them anything about the outdoors, says Mors. "They've been camping and they know what it's all about." "But take a guy's packsack away, and he collapses." "The more you Mors says, "the fewer tools you need." And he adds as our weekend drew to a close: "Now you at least know how much you don't know." And he's right Perhaps after a few years of gradually acquiring the broad range of skills people like Mors carry with them like a second skin, we may be ready for another course he talked about. In it, you're dropped 40 miles from civilization with nothing but a loin-cloth and left to find your own way back. Anybody for a steambath? base into tbe ground, spacing 'Rope' weaving A rope strong enough to hold the weight of two men from a handful of dried grass. Wilderness instructor AAors Lochanski (left) demonstrates the s.mple weaving technique during a weekend survival course. Bannock baker Twenty minutei of patient turning over hot gives the outdoor baker a tasty breakfast says, instructor Mors Lochanski. The simple flour and water mix is care- fully wrapped around a skinned and dried willow sapling before cooking. ;