Chaga hunt with fire during snow storm. No edged tools fire.

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Woods Walker
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Chaga hunt with fire during snow storm. No edged tools fire.

Post by Woods Walker » Sat Mar 28, 2015 10:05 pm

It snowed all day but that's no reason not to go on chaga hunt. Chaga makes funky tea, incense and will catch a spark from carbon steel or ferro rod. It will even supercharge a friction fire set or take a coal directly via friction easily. Once ignited it's very difficult to put which makes for a fantastic coal extender. The spice of the woods will not be denied. A breeding pair of hawks greeted me. Surely that's a good omen. They didn't seem to mind the snow either.

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Looks like a hickory with grape vine.

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On the hunt!

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Gathered up some wood for when I pass this way again. It's easier to collect firewood before it's needed. I was only wearing a fleece jacket, synthetic shirt, USGI Gortex pants (no inner layer for the legs) and a poncho plus socks, gloves and hat.

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Wind and snow always seemed to be blowing in my face.

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Look at what we have here. Not much and the chaga was up high however backed by a steep hill so there was hope.

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Dumped the pack and poncho taking just the knife as it would be tight quarters.

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I am not standing in front of the tree rather behind it with my back supported by another yellow birch. A game of mid air twister. Seems much of chaga hunting is trying to reach stuff that is just out of reach. I know a knife isn't a pry bar but that statement which I have read over and over and over and over again online via internet wisdom not withstanding that's what is going on here and this isn't the first time. Not by a long shot.

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Had better hauls but then again also been skunked so not complaining. Searched for another hour but that was all to be had. Granted just because I didn't find more doesn't mean it's not out there.

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Going to need some Yellow birch bark which is also the same species the chaga was growing on.

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This golden rod and mullein will also be needed.

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A nice twig fire would sure warm things up. I don't have all the time in the world to do this. No feather sticks, no split wood and no shavings. Not needed in this case though enjoy practicing those skills as well. When starting a fire on the snow, in this case on the snow during more snow there are two options. 1. Float the fire. 2. Dig down. The snowpack is on the decline so cleared an area as best I could.

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Always trying to keep my wood, tinder and kindling out of the snow.

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Used hands and feet to break everything up. Chaga hunting and twig fires can be a very physical activities. A good healthy workout. Also I rather like the cold. Speaking of cold I don't have a closed cell pad and don't have the time to make a seating area out of Hemlock boughs therefor will sit on my folded over poncho. Not ideal but for under an hour it's fine.

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Processed fuel kept off the ground on two sticks. I don't want to grab a hand full of snow by mistake when starting the fire. This takes an extra 5 minutes of so but is well worth the time IMO.

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I am using a WCF key chain striker as a ferro rod striker. It could also work as a carbon steel and rock striker. Tosses really nice sparks off quartz. Multi use tools for the win. The yellow birch bark will catch ferro rod sparks but not carbon steel sparks. The chaga once dry will. Yellow birch bark is a premium natural tinder. It will catch a spark in the snow or rain. The raised backed platform should keep the fire off the snow preventing my tinder then kindling from getting smothered. Not my invention but works.

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3 strikes later and we have flames. As stated Yellow birch bark is premium in the extreme.

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Tossed on the Golden rod.

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Thin twigs.

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Letting the fire overtake the added fuel.

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Still thicker sticks.

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During each step I use entire hand fulls, not individual sticks aka one sticking it. The raised back of the platform prevents the fire from being smothered so that's not a concern. The polished edge of the striker is for ferro rods, dinged up side for flint, chert or more likely in my area quartz. Dead hard 1/4 inch thick 1095 makes for a wicked ferro rod striker.

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If yea want to keep gear from getting lost it needs to go right back in it's place.

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Time to move on.

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Still some snow drifts about.

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Here is something which has dinged my legs big time in the past. Fallen Hemlocks take on a pin cushion appearance. This was worse when bushwhacking in deeper snow or if in a hurry pushing miles in warmer weather.

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In addition to needing a bit warmer clothing higher boots or gaiters would have been nice. I wasn't all that uncomfortable but my feet did get damp as some snow got down my boots.

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In deep winter this drainage would have been frozen and covered. Now that it's Spring water is flowing. Drainage areas are great for finding rocks to be used for tossing sparks from carbon steel or even ferro rods. The loss of a ferro rod striker or even a knife isn't the end of the rod's usefulness. This quartz along with the chaga and mullein will be used during future outings and skills practice.

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It never did stop snowing and is still doing so as I type this. I guess winter isn't ready to give up the ghost. Thanks for looking.
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"There's no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing"
"Do not mess with the forces of Nature, for thou art small and biodegradable!"

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angelofwar
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Re: Chaga hunt with fire during snow storm. No edged tools f

Post by angelofwar » Sat Mar 28, 2015 10:21 pm

Good stuff woods! Plenty of chaga around my parts, but I prefer tinder fungus. Although harder to find, it seems to work better than chaga. What's yer preferred method of getting the chaga to catch a spark? Bust it up into bits?

My last 30-40 fires have been started with a spark or the sun...no matches or lighter...it's addictive!

Anyways, as always, good stuff!
"The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts..."
http://www.zombiehunters.org/forum/view ... w#p2141127

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Woods Walker
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Re: Chaga hunt with fire during snow storm. No edged tools f

Post by Woods Walker » Sat Mar 28, 2015 10:59 pm

angelofwar wrote:Good stuff woods! Plenty of chaga around my parts, but I prefer tinder fungus. Although harder to find, it seems to work better than chaga. What's yer preferred method of getting the chaga to catch a spark? Bust it up into bits?

My last 30-40 fires have been started with a spark or the sun...no matches or lighter...it's addictive!

Anyways, as always, good stuff!
Chaga is also known as "true tinder fungus" and is by far the easiest to catch a spark than nearly anything else known. False tinder fungus is more readily available in most areas and usually takes the form of Hoof fungus. But then again what's in a slang name. :lol:

My preferred method is either placing it on top of a rock then striking the edge with the back of a knife or other carbon steel implement or turning the chaga into dust if the first option doesn't work. With a ferro rod it works so easily I don't think about it. Here is an example of chaga on a rock using of all things a mini tomahawk striker head. Ignition actually occurs in the second or third strike but I don't notice it. Carbon steel on Quartz.

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"There's no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing"
"Do not mess with the forces of Nature, for thou art small and biodegradable!"

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Re: Chaga hunt with fire during snow storm. No edged tools f

Post by Boondock » Sun Mar 29, 2015 11:31 am

That's a heck of a spring you're having out east. Glad you got out and about. Thanks for sharing.

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