The Big Little Book of Fishing
February 15, 2012, 9:29 pm
Filed under: Angling, The Great Outdoors | Tags: , , ,

I picked up this great old catalog from Abercrombie and Fitch at a used book store a little while ago. Originally published in 1968, back when Abercrombie was an actual outdoors outfitter and did more then sell teenagers questionable clothing. The catalog contains not just fly and spin fishing gear but everything the fisherman would need for a multi-day  expedition into the wild.


If this catalog was published today I might have to buy “E” in the picture below, the electric wading boot dryer.

If you are interested in the rest of what I have scanned, you can check them out here.


A New Year
January 8, 2012, 9:22 pm
Filed under: The Great Outdoors

It is with great sadness that I have to explain the reason for the lack of posts as of late to The WildWood. My father, an infinite source of inspiration and a rock in my life, passed away just before the New Year. It was a shock and still is to myself and my family. He will forever be with us in memory.

In his memory I wanted to recall one of the last experiences we shared together. It was the day after Thanksgiving, and we had just sent the ladies out to go shopping. Myself, my brother, and our Father headed over to the woods for a walk . These were the same woods that I had spent my youth running around in, exploring, pushing over dead trees, and riding bikes.  The leaves had all finally fallen from the trees and the sun had settled into its low hanging winter position, casting long shadows throughout the forest floor. It was a gentle walk, first past the old graveyard along some single track and then onto the creek crossing. Periodically along the way we stopped to chat about nothing extraordinary. At one such stop my father tilted his head back and let out a loud primal screech echoing through the woods, seemingly just to make sure he was still alive. At another stop we  took a piss on a fallen log.  It was as if the further into the woods we walked the more we reverted to some wild place inside.

When we finally reached the creek we stopped to sit on the rocks while the dog sat in and drank from the stream. We sat there awhile, not saying much, just enjoying each others presence. Before we left however we spotted down stream a beautiful and large fox with a big red tail. It was a rare sight for the time of the day, and in all time I had spent in these woods had never seen a fox like that. For several moments we were transfixed by its presence and then it continued down stream. After the encounter we made our out way out of the woods, satisfied with the time we shared and for having witnessed the beautiful fox that day.

The day after my father passed away I went out for my regular morning walk with the dog. When we got close to the woods I began thinking about that last walk I shared with my father. I was glad that one of the last memories I had with him could have been that time in the woods. Just as I was remembering that last walk a motion at the tree line caught my eye. At that moment a large fox, maybe the same fox, stepped out of the woods. Unfazed by my presence or my dog going crazy, the fox gingerly crossed the the street in front of us and was gone just as quickly as he appeared.

Last year I resoluted to spend less time reading about the outdoors and simply spend more time outside and in the woods. In this New Year I am going to double down on that resolution. I’ve gotta get back into the woods to walk, to fish,  to breath… and I have got to see that fox again.

Nessmuk Redux
December 17, 2011, 9:16 am
Filed under: Craft, The Great Outdoors | Tags: , , , ,


I picked up this old copy of “Nessmuk’s” Woodcraft and Camping at a used book seller recently. This book is a true classic containing essential knowledge for woodcraft and woodlore. If you are looking for a little inspiration to become an “outer” and start roughing it or maybe just spending a little more time outdoors this is for you. If you want to know more about Nessmuk and who he was check out this previous post.


The Occidental Mountains
August 30, 2011, 8:14 pm
Filed under: Art, The Great Outdoors | Tags: ,


More from Natalie Lyalin can be found here and also at her blog where you can find more of her writing and links to her books.

Chuck Box
July 10, 2011, 2:44 pm
Filed under: Craft, Gear, The Great Outdoors | Tags: , , , ,

I have been an admirer of chuck boxes for a while now. These sometimes beautifully crafted wood boxes used to store food and other supplies for camp come in a variety of shapes and sizes and are sometimes called camp, patrol, or provision boxes. They also seem to range in their complexity, some being fairly simple with a few drawers while others have fold out legs and compartments for specific tools.

Image from Dirt Floor Studio

Recently over at Llyod Kahn’s site, he posted about some particularly beautiful chuck boxes made by Dirt Floor Studio. It seems if you are interested in making one yourself there are alot of plans out there online… would be a good Saturday Project.

Image from Dirt Floor Studio

The Parks in Your Backyard
June 22, 2011, 1:31 pm
Filed under: The Great Outdoors | Tags: ,

State Parks seem to be often over shadowed by the great National Parks system this country has, however chances are you live closer to a state park then a national one. I recently picked up an old National Geographic issue from 1961 that outlined some of the best state parks in our country by region at the time. The article mentioned state parks close to me like Hungry Mother State park that I didn’t even know existed.

The State Park’s article was of course inundated with the classic kodachrome pictures that the older National Geographic magazines are known for. I couldn’t help but to  scan and dump a handful here, you can see the rest of them here. Anyways I encourage you all to get out and visit your own state’s parks wherever you may be, there are probably some closer to where you live then you realize.

Soft Paths

When out in the wilderness for a walk or a camping excursion it is always best to follow to the philosophy of “pack it in pack it out,”  treading as lightly as possible on the land so the next person who comes along  can enjoy it as much as you did and so that the wilderness can continue on being  “wild.” That said I recently picked up this book published by NOLS, The National Outdoor Leadership School, entitled Soft Paths. The book lays out the case for minimal impact backcountry use and provides some solid advice and good reminders for those planning on getting into the woods this spring and summer on how to tread lightly out there.

Proper camp fire construction with lowest impact.

Some of the topics include choosing camp sites which will be the least amount of impact on the wilderness surroundings and how to build a fire only big enough to do your cooking while not totally burning down the forest. Also discussed are methods for constructing the best and simplest shitters. Catholes as they are called, small dug out dirt hole, are intended for one time use, the idea is to not concentrate too much waste in one area if possible

Example of a “cathole.”

So if you are planning on spending some time in your National Parks or in some other wild place soon make sure you enjoy yourself while treading as lightly as possible.

Camping Around the Appalachian Mountains
March 29, 2011, 7:57 pm
Filed under: Maps, The Great Outdoors | Tags: , , , ,

With summer in mind and the hope of getting out and doing some camping/hiking I thought I would share this book I recently picked up. Camping Around the Appalachian Mountains by Jim Crain and Terry Milne, published in 1975, it is a collection of beautifully hand drawn maps and useful tips for camping both on the Appalachian Trail and other parks around it.

An example of one of the maps found in the book, a favorite and close to home section of the trail.

Along with tips for camping there are also tons of suggestions on what to do and see while out camping, as if the simple act of camping and enjoying the Appalachians isn’t enough. Of course accompanying the advice are some excellent illustrations. The rest can be seen here.

The Sportsman’s World
February 23, 2011, 8:41 pm
Filed under: The Great Outdoors | Tags: , , , , ,

Last time we reported on “Sportsmen,”  it was The Sportsman’s Wilderness, this time its The Sportsman’s World. Yet another amazing collection of vintage technicolor sportsmen, and women,  conquering the wilds of our world. Published by Field and Stream in the late 50’s, the Sportsman’s World showcases the best in hunting and fishing found around the US and the in other parts of our globe.

If you are interested in the rest of the image set they can be found here.

Birch Bark Canoe

Over the weekend I started reading The Survival of the Bark Canoe by John McPhee, a favorite author of The Wildwood and one discussed here previously. The book describes the process used by Henri Vaillancourt to make birch bark canoes using the same tools and methods American Indians perfected. The canoes which are made using no nails, screws, or rivets are essentially lashed and sewed together.

While describing the constriction process and history of the canoes, McPhees book also goes on to tell the story of an eventful expedition he goes on with Vaillancourt through the Maine woods. At the end of the book are also a great collection of drawings by Edwin Tappan Adney of birch canoes.

While had been thinking about building a boat recently, I think these birch bark canoes are a bit to much for a beginner. If you are interested however you can find out more at Henri Vaillancourt’s site and more history here.