From fire-making and campbuilding to edible plant identification and animal trapping, Paleo Tracks offers retreats for wannabe survivalists. Olivia Palamountain reports
Paleo Tracks Survival School is a one-stop shop for learning ancient, ancestral and survival skills deep in the wilds of Colorado.
The school is dedicated to empowering creativity in order to foster a connection to the land, other people and oneself – all while establishing wilderness skills and self-reliance.
A series of scheduled workshops take place throughout the year, however, the school will also design custom courses for private bookings including guest lectures, group demonstrations and appearances.
The workshop program for 2021 includes a three-day, two-night “Primitive Survival Skills Workshop” in southern Texas’s Chihuahua Desert.
The weekend will teach techniques such as friction fire, shelter construction, cordage, water acquisition, primitive trapping, clothing fabrication, flintknapping and edible plant knowledge. A minimal gear list is necessary and all tools and resources, along with first aid are provided.
While focused and hands-on, the course is also designed to relax and de-stress. Attendees will hike to – and camp in – remote desert landscapes, abundant in natural resources. After dinner (including tea, coffee and water) evenings are spent fireside, sharing stories and observing the uninterrupted stars of the Milky Way, to the tune of critters and coyotes.
The “Primitive Survival Skills Workshop” costs US$700 with a maximum group size of ten. Additional classes at Paleo Tracks include three-day “Bow Building Workshops” with Corey Hawk of Organic Archery, where participants will learn about tree selection, bow stave processing, wood seasoning and longbow design and layout.
Once the basics have been covered, Hawk will demonstrate how to rough out a bow blank, heat treat wood, tiller a bow and craft the strings, as well as bow and arrow aftercare and the fundamentals of instinctive shooting.
Sleeping under the stars (Celestical Escapes) is a trend that Globetrender editor and founder Jenny Southan recently identified for a report she co-authored with Euronews (see below).
In a spin-off article she wrote for Euronews Travel, she said: “In the viral age, a craving for wide-open spaces, as well as a more pronounced desire to understand the meaning of life, will see people drawn to wilderness locations that offer peaceful, contemplative nights under the heavens.”
She added: “With the on-going pandemic not just causing harm to people’s physical wellbeing, it is also inflicting great psychological damage. For many people, the experience will cause long-lasting PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).”Swedish survivalist and author of Under the Open Skies, Markus Torgeby (pictured above), agrees: “Although doing a bit of wild camping will hardly be a panacea, there has been consistent and compelling evidence that spending time in nature greatly improves our mental health.”
The hunger for back to basics, off-grid experiences is fuelling a rise in a number of survival courses and extreme wellness activities for outdoor enthusiasts.
A Bear Grylls Explorers Camp opened on Ras Al Khaimah’s Jebel Jais, the highest mountain in the UAE in 2020, designed in partnership with the adventurer and survivalist of the same name.
Located about an hour’s drive from Dubai, the camp follows the success of the courses offered by the Bear Grylls Survival Academy in the UK, and this year, will also offer the world’s first Bear Grylls-branded accommodation.
In its Travel in the Age of Covid-19 report Globetrender predicted that “Wilderness Seeking” and “Isolation Vacations” will be immediate travel trends, as people will feel wary of being around crowds in the age of social distancing. Instead, they will want to reconnect with nature and escape city living in favour of somewhere beautiful and remote.