A storm and a pioneer shelter.

Discussion in 'Multi-tools & Multi-purpose Knives' started by jackknife, Apr 1, 2020.

  1. jackknife

    jackknife Gold Member Gold Member Basic Member

    Oct 2, 2004
    In my younger single days, I sometimes got into misadventures. Youth and inexperience combined with a dash of recklessness is not a good thing, but can be tempered if one is at least prepared. Like going canoeing when scattered thunderstorms are predated.

    It was a nice summer day, and my girl friend of the time and I were going to spend it out on the water of a local lake. Had met Suzy that school year when her family had moved down from New York to the Washington D.C. suburbs in Maryland. Suzy was a born and bred city girl from Brooklyn, and was intrigued by the woods and countryside of Maryland.

    Packing a lunch and some ice tea in a small cooler, we hit the water and were paddling for about an hour. Or to put it more accurate, I was paddling while suzy lounged back getting some sun while clad in a scant bikini. I didn't mind, paddling a canoe on a calm water wasn't hard, and I had a nice view to admire. Perfect afternoon, so what cold go wrong?

    About an hour of slow leisurely paddling on the long narrow winding lake, we had almost got to where I knew a very good picnic/swimming spot was, when a Maryland Natural resources patrol boat came roaring around the bend and slowed as he went by.

    "Big thunder storm coming, you've got about 20 minutes!" the ranger yelled at us. Then he took off to find whatever fisherman may be out. Suzy looked at me a bit panicked, and asked what do we do?

    Well, I thought back to the Boy Scout days with our scoutmaster Mr, Van, and had an idea. I paddled over to the wooded shore and we pulled the canoe up all the way out of the water. I told Suzy to get up the woods and wait for me. I grabbed my pack that always had the Boy Scout essentials in it and turned the canoe over so it wouldn't collect the rain. Then I joined Suzy up in the woods. By this time it was getting a bit ominously darker and you colud hear a very distant thunder now and then. Suzy was in a panic, and saying "We're gonna die, aren't we?" I told her no such thing.

    I had my knife. A Victorinox pioneer, a zippo lighter, and my pack. In the pack had a rolled up army surplus poncho, a roll of jute twine, and some other odds and ends like first aid kit, flashlight, towel. I got to work.

    In the scouts, Mr. Van and taught us to take down small trees with a pocket knife by cutting a V notch around the base and then bending it over until it snapped at the stress line. I used the Pioneer to cut the notch. The flat ground little Victorinox blade made short work of a sapling about 8 or 9 feet tall and about an inch and a half thick. Big enough for what I wanted. Once down, I used the SAK to trim off the branches and laid the sapling in the fork of another small tree that was convenient. Using the twine, I tied the sapling into the fork. Then I made tent pegs from the branches I had cut off, and used more jute twine to tie down the Pancho over the sapling so we had a low little pup tent like shelter. By this time the thunder was loud, and storm almost ready to break.

    Suzy was still scared, and was thinking she wished she was back in Brooklyn, but we crawled into the shelter as the first rain started to fall. It escalated quickly onto a full blown summer thunder storm. Rain poured down, but in our little pup tent shelter we stayed pretty dry. One end was almost on the ground, the high end was only a few feet up but sheltered by the sappling trunk and only a little rain drifted in on the breeze. Suzy was trembling a bit, this being a totally alien experience for the city girl, so I did my manly best to comfort her. She seemed agreeable to that so we spent a pleasant time in our little shelter.

    Like most summer storms, this one moved on after about 20 minutes or so, the sound of the thunder moved off, and the rain slowly let up. Suzy was totally amazed at how well we had rode the storm out, and that she didn't die. We had some sandwiches and ice tea from the cooler and had our picnic right where we had sheltered. A Victorinox pioneer, some jute twine, an army poncho from a surplus store, and some tree branches whittled into tent pegs was all that was needed.

    A high dollar tactical wonder knife could not have done any better.
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2020
  2. Pomsbz


    Jul 31, 2015
    I always keep a tarp with me when out and about, until yesterday when in a strong overnight wind it ripped behind the hem along the entire length :( Must have been a small hole that let go. I'll get another as soon as I can. Far too useful not to have. Until then I have my poncho which is a great little backup.
    mg357 and Storm 8593 like this.
  3. marsturm

    marsturm Gold Member Gold Member

    Mar 25, 2008
    Carl, enjoy all of your stories, especially when you include mention of Mr. Van, who is an example of a true hero. What is really needed beyond shelter, food and drink, a pleasant companion, and a functional knife!
  4. shopdoc


    Mar 24, 2020
    Great story. Inspired me to review tarp set up and my knots.
  5. jackknife

    jackknife Gold Member Gold Member Basic Member

    Oct 2, 2004
    That old mud Marine we had as scout master had a bigger effect on me than anyone else except dad. He made a hell of an impression on us kids, and we loved him. He put everything in such terms that we 12 year olds could instantly grasp the whole kernel of it. He coached us on real world woodcrafts and attitudes of living in such a way, the lessons stayed with us for life.
    mg357, mnblade, afishhunter and 2 others like this.
  6. comis

    comis Gold Member Gold Member

    May 17, 2013
    Another great read. I know LM collected stories over the years from their users, and if someone in Victorinox are reading these boards, they really should have made a collection of your stories.
    Storm 8593, James Y and shopdoc like this.
  7. shopdoc


    Mar 24, 2020

    You were very lucky to have such mentors. Boy could some young men use mentors like that nowadays. I'm currently re-reading your stories for the 2nd time. Really appreciate them. What was Mr. Vans occupation when he wasn't shaping young minds as a scout leader?

    Based on your stories of your dad and his scaled down machete, I'm currently trying to find one. Nothing expensive or fancy. During my searching, I found a 24" cutlass by Cold Steel. Seems like a perfect Zombie Apocalypse weapon plus I could go pirating with it. I mean, who doesn't want a cutlass??
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  8. jackknife

    jackknife Gold Member Gold Member Basic Member

    Oct 2, 2004
    Mr. Van was retired from a career in the Marine Corps. He put in something like 25 or so years and had enlisted long before WW2. He got out and was maybe like in his late 40's early 50's? As a 12 year old, everyone with that gray/silvery hair was an old guy!:D

    He did spend a heck of a lot of time at that church that sponsored our scout troop, so he may have been a board member/one of the Deacons, I'm not recalling it clearly. He definitely was a gruff character, but we kids wouldn't have traded him for anyone else. As tough as he was and rough as 80 grit sandpaper, he was painstakingly fair and very supportive if you were really trying.He'd give us talks by the campfire that dealt with morality, a code to live by, and things a boy on the cusp of adolescence needs to know. I guess you could say his second occupation after he retired from the Marines was spiritual guidance counselor for some Boy Scouts.

    If he was getting a paycheck of some sort from the church, I had no knowledge of it. I know he was always around during the normal weekday work week, and worked on stuff around the church, and had a large tool bag in his International Scout he drove.

    As for dad's little machete that he called his 'bush wacker' it was like any small machete that can be had nowadays from Condor, Ontario, Tramontina. I have two 12 inch Ontario's that I use for the heavy duty stuff. I've got one out in the shop and one in the garage. Don't carry them though. As old farts we don't go deep wilderness anymore, but do carry things for emergency use. If I or Karen take a bad fall or need a crutch or splint, fast shelter, we each have a Gerber/Fiskars sliding blade saw in our daypacks. They weight almost nothing, easy to slide out the blade and twist the knob to lock it, and they go through wood like a beaver on crack. Way way more effective than any SAK saw with the short inch long back and forth travel. Lightweight folding saws are outstanding wood processing tools. I also have an Opinel saw that is very very good on stuff. Not as fast as the Fiskars, but it cuts soooo damm clean that it's like a finishing saw. Also very light. Small SAK's and a folding saw will do a heck of a lot.
  9. jackknife

    jackknife Gold Member Gold Member Basic Member

    Oct 2, 2004
    Not much, bud!:thumbsup:
  10. Alburyscott


    Mar 26, 2020
    I am currently a cub leader, and always have an SAK on me. Sadly over here in Australia we really cant be very demonstrative about carrying a knife. But you can bet your bottom dollar that they all know I have one, and that some things I can do that other leaders cant, cause I have the tools they don't.
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  11. Eric J

    Eric J

    Oct 29, 2005
    Thanks for that great story Jackknife! Your stories have helped keep me going for a long time now. I read and reread them often and it gives me some perspective.
    shopdoc and Storm 8593 like this.
  12. Sawl Goodman

    Sawl Goodman

    Jun 4, 2018
    A great story, inspiring. Cheers!
    shopdoc likes this.
  13. Storm 8593

    Storm 8593

    Jan 4, 2019
    Cant help but remember another story like this where you got lost on a trail and had to spend an unplanned night out. Coincidentally featuring another pretty young lady who needed comforting , seems like those pretty ladies were a distraction from the job at hand ;) :D
    shopdoc and 315 like this.
  14. jackknife

    jackknife Gold Member Gold Member Basic Member

    Oct 2, 2004
    Same young lady.

    Suzy and I met in high school and it was interesting. Her family had moved down from Brooklyn to the D.C. area because of the rapidly expanding job market as the government grew by giant leaps and bounds in the post WW2 era. Suzy had never been in an environment where she didn't have concrete under her feet and the woods were a brand new experience for her. Following a winding creek into the woods was like a Disneyland experience for her. We definitely had a few adventures.

    Her father was a very understand guy. Lucky for me!
    marsturm, Storm 8593, shopdoc and 2 others like this.
  15. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 20, 2005
    Nice story and I feel sure you enjoyed sharing your love of the woods with her. I was still pretty frightened of girls at that age regardless of what my body was telling me.

    Have to hand it to you, you were pretty well prepared. At that age, I doubt I would have had anything with me other than some food and drink (and a pocket knife of course).
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2020
  16. VicAlox74


    Nov 4, 2018
    Must say I really like your stories! I sometimes wish i was my parents age or older. Being a kid in the 1950's must have been a blast!

    According to my dad they were. If i only had a time machine...
    jackknife likes this.
  17. znapschatz


    Jan 24, 2005
    As a kid in the 1950s, I wasn't quite so happy about the times. It seems to me that things were far more interesting in the late 1900s, with advancements in electronics and all. The only thing I miss from the 1950s is my comic collection, which my mother discarded while I was out of state, any one of which would have brought hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. She did, however keep a bag of elastic underwear waist bands that she carefully removed from discarded briefs, for reasons I still don't understand. Go figure. :(
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  18. 22-rimfire

    22-rimfire Gold Member Gold Member

    Nov 20, 2005
    The late 50's and early 60's is when I started to carry a knife just about all the time. Mothers can be a strange lot at times, but ya gotta love em.
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  19. James Y

    James Y

    Feb 18, 1999
    It’s amazing what a knowledgeable person can accomplish with a small knife. It if you think about it, most of those old obsidian or flint knives had fairly small blades, which they accomplished a lot with.

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  20. James Y

    James Y

    Feb 18, 1999
    My mom did something similar as well. I had a box full of comics, probably from the early-to-mid-1960s that an older neighbor boy gave to me when I was only 4 years old (in around 1967). Many of the comics had been sitting in a clubhouse and were not in mint condition, but they captured my imagination. Those early ones included Challengers of the Unknown, The Unexpected (both by DC Comics), and several issues each of Creepy and Eerie magazines. Due to their condition, I doubt they would have been worth much then or now, but they had great sentimental value and inspired in me a lifelong love of reading. One day when I was around 8 years old, I came home from school and the box was gone. My mom never did admit that she got rid of them, but that box didn’t just get up and walk away by itself. ;) But I mostly loved my childhood growing up in the ‘60s and ‘70s. Not to sound too old, but I would never trade places with the kids today, even with all the technology and toys they have now.

    Knife-related, I always seem to come along at the tail end of things. I started carrying pocketknives in junior high (now called middle school?), when many boys still carried a pocketknife at school. They were never treated as weapons. Heck, my male typing teacher even told me about Buck knives when I questioned him about his knife he was using to sharpen a pencil with. It was a Buck Cadet, and I bought one for myself because of that. It seems that not too many years after my school days, pocketknife carry started becoming less common, or seen as abnormal, among kids.

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