Back to Nature


By Stephen Knapp

“Call me crazy, but I’m feeling like you’re not all the way onboard this Rambo train.”

This bites, dude.

You can’t go to a bar, you can’t go to the movies, you can’t even get a fade without calling ahead and bringing a note from the doctor. It’s just not fun anymore.

I say we bag it. Bag it all. Bag the mask, bag the hand sanitizer, bag happy hour on Zoom. They want social distancing? Let’s get right outta’ Dodge. We’ll head West and start living like men should live—free and epic. Ain’t no coronavirus in the wilderness, bro—just fresh air and the fat o’ the land.

Skills shmills, dude! How hard can it be? Bears do it all the time, and they roll around in their own dukey. Where? I’m glad you asked. There are tons of websites about how to rock the woods, and they all say we need to find a homestead near water. But it’s got to be running water because the other kind is loaded with, you know, germs and stuff. And it’s got to be way, way out there because apparently living on public land isn’t, like, legal. I know, right? My Google Maps keeps freezing up, so I’m gonna put you on that.

We’ll need tools. I just bought a machete on Amazon—the one with the braided rawhide handle? It’s so cool. But I guess it’s not really good for much, so you’ll need to get a sturdy multi-function utility knife. And I read that the only thing we’d need to lash up a nice lodgepole lean-to is a small saw blade, but if we want a crib that actually keeps the rain and critters out, we’ll need a gen-you-wine log cabin. You might wanna be scouting around for a heavy, double-bit axe and something to keep it sharp with. Remember that you’ll be hauling it in along with a 2-quart steel pot, a tarp, a flashlight with 4 pounds of spare batteries and about 100 feet of rope, so this might be a good time to start some kind of workout routine. I need you fit, mano!

Wadaya mean what’re we gonna eat? Nature’s bounty, brah! We’ll just park it under a pine tree and let supper come to us. We’ll need maybe a hundred yards of heavy-gauge fishing line and a couple dozen fish hooks. Your dad fishes, doesn’t he? Has a tackle box and all that? Well, there you go! But then you know how I am about seafood, so it might be a good idea if you also bring a few rolls of 3.5 pound wire to make snares and traps with. Well, yeah, I suppose we could just spear our supper on the hoof, but Bear Grylls says chasing a chipmunk around with a sharp stick burns more energy than there is in a chipmunk, so snares and traps are def the way to go. You should also learn how to make snares and traps.

While you’re at it, seems like I heard that some parts of some animals’ guts will make you sick. See if you can find out what kinds of wildlife are out there and what parts of them are safe to eat. Now that I think about it, you should probably also look up how to clean game. That’ll hafta be your job, dude. Just thinking about it makes me wanna puke.



Lots of plants are no good either. If we stay away from mushrooms, we probably won’t get poisoned, but most of the tasty looking greens up there aren’t a whole lot better for you than cardboard, and I’d hate to see you starve to death on a full stomach, homeslice. Don’t I remember you calling the CSU extension about your grow lights that one time? Since you already have the number, call it back and get the nutritional value of, um, all the plants.

Dude! I’m totally stoked! Straight ahead and never look back. You know, most of the stuff you’ll be packing in won’t last forever. If one of us learns to tan deer hide, we can use it to make cords and sacks and awesome buckskin jackets. I’m texting you a link to a YouTube tutorial right now.

It’s totally not gonna happen, but what if one of us ate something weird, or got bit by a mountain lion, or dropped a double-bit axe on his foot? Just to be on the safe side, one of us should at least know how to set a break, sew up a cut, treat infection and make Tylenol out of flowers and whatnot. I saw where there’s a seven-day wilderness medicine course down at your big outdoor store. I’d totally take it myself, but I’m not a member. Relax, dude! If you get hurt, which you totally won’t, you can just tell me what to do. We gotta start thinking efficient, bro-migo!

Call me crazy, but I’m feeling like you’re not all the way onboard this Rambo train. For what it’s worth, I thought you might need a little confidence boost, and that’s why I went ahead and signed you up for a wilderness survival training class. At least half a dozen outfits in Colorado have programs like that, but this one is the total package. Take it easy, bro-cius! Don’t you want to know how to make stone tools? Or what kind of bush kitchen you’re gonna build? Or where you’re going to dig our latrine? Take it from me, homes. You’re gonna walk out of that 10-week course a real live mountain man. You’ll make Daniel Boone look sick! It costs $4,500 at the door, but there’s a 5 percent discount if you pay right now with your credit card. It starts tomorrow.

Seriously, dawg. Guys like us weren’t made for this keyed-up, locked-down, antiseptic nut farm. Guys like us need to breathe free and live large. You and me, dude. We’ll drive until we run out of road and then we… are…outta here.

We should take your car.