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Articles / Thieves, smoke and traditions -2007

Published: 2007-10-10
Category: Camps, Treks & Adventures

For the first time in one whole year all three S.M.M. members gathered for a weekend in the wilderness. We traveled together with 400 powerful horses, all black and named Ford.

As usual schedule was full of interesting things, and as usual one weekend just isn’t enough time to do all those things!
Sun was already gone at our arrival. We walked out to the beach named “Vita sand”, sat down, lit our pipes and took a deep breath. Finally, we were there! As we were sitting there talking Charlie raised his hand to point out our campsite situated outside the national park we were in. Both Mike and I turned. As we were trying to focus on the spot we all saw a flash of light. “What the heck! Someone has stolen our campsite! Who is stupid enough to camp out here in October?” Charlie said. Then we all thought of our own situation. Three men; all dressed as something from another time and continent. Who were we to judge these people!
The situation resulted in us spreading our bedrolls out in the nearby moss warming our cold feet over a candle.

The next morning was cold, and as the fogs were traveling across the lake we made our way to a fire place, where we finally could light a fire. As we were all enjoying breakfast our camp thieves came strolling by. They turned out to be really nice people.
Camp was set up, in this case that meant gathering firewood and making a smoke pit.
Our unofficial theme for this weekend was smoking, not as much our pipes as a couple of hides. The sun was warming our limbs as we were smoking hides, sowing and preparing a stew.
The smoking of hides is as some of you know a delicate process demanding constant watch.

The way we smoked our hides was:
The hide/hides were stitched together like a bag. The bag opening was then lengthened by a skirt of fabric. We then dug a pit, about one foot wide and one foot deep, which we then clad with rocks. The hides were hung over the pit on a rope between two pines.
Then we made a small fire in the pit. When it was burning at its best we threw on a few handfuls of dried punk spruce. The flames died and a heavy smoke started to rise. The fabric skirt of the hide-bag was then kept over the pit by a couple of rocks. The whole construction quite resembled a smoking balloon trying to rise up in the air. Then we kept the fire from turning into flames by adding more punk. Every hour or so we held the skirt up to see what color the smoke was giving the hides. When we were satisfied we turned the bag inside out, hung it up and smoked the other side the same way.

The evening was spent greasing our guts with a wonderful stew and discussing the future of the S.M.M over a glowing pipe. The main question, as always, was how to reach out among potential members. The result of this discussion will hopefully become clear to anyone interested within a soon future.

Sunday, as always when it comes to weekends spent in the woods means breaking up camp, and heading back to home.

I look at this weekend as a sharing skills camp, where we instead of constant travel tried to teach one another different skills that only can be taught in camp. This time it was smoking hides just to mention something, next time, who knows? I find this sort of gathering just as important to the development of our small organization as other rides, treks and rendezvous. Perhaps this was the beginning of a new tradition, perhaps the first national S.M.M. rendezvous?

/Char

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