Tag Archives: mushroom hunting

Chaga – Survival Mushroom Powerhouse…


I got called out the other day..

I haven’t seen much on the blog lately other than Survival Weekly..” said my former field trainer in his subtle, passive aggressive way of telling me I have been sucking as a blogger.

I don’t know if you know this Turdis, but when you have a kid, your life changes..”  I replied in my best smartass tone.

Of course, as a father himself,  he knows that and  was one of the many that uttered that vague statement leading up to the birth of my son. Curtis, or as I affectionately call him “Turdis”, and I have a special relationship. Years ago, when he came onto the hoghunting crew, my partner and I poached his district in a friendly inter-crew rivalry, leaving a wasteland of empty hunts between our districts.

Karma played out years later when I reported to Big South Fork for field training and found out I would be subjected to his authority as my field trainer. He jokingly tormented me, I returned the favor on the wrestling mats, and the cycle continues.

A brother for life  that doesn’t hesitate to shoot me straight, Curtis is right, I have been slacking..

It’s not because I haven’t been getting out in the field, hunting, trapping, foraging, cutting wood, etc., but it’s been due to a bear problem.


Well, not those bears, this one..


While no one could ever really tell me how “your life will change”, I have been able to make some observations over the past couple months for first time dads:

  1. Plan on being late everywhere. If you tell you buddy you will be there at 9:00, it will really be 11:00 because of baby related ordeals
  2. You will get pee and poop on you. No way around it.
  3. Members on both sides of your family will lose their mind and forget you are an adult raising a child and not a child raising one
  4. Your years of purposely sucking at washing dishes is null and void now. Domestic duties now fall on you no matter how bad you suck at that stuff.
  5. Even if prompted, you may or may not choose to acknowledge how much your wife did before the baby as you marvel at how much dirt you sweep up every other day.
  6. You will eat like a bachelor again. If you aren’t a good cook, you will wish you were, so you could feed your wife and yourself something better than grilled cheese.
  7.  If you co-sleep, plan on being exiled. Even if you get a king sized bed, if won’t be big enough. Credit to Jake for telling me that, even though I didn’t believe him. He is still exiled with a one year old!!
  8. Stuff that was important or fun to you before, will melt away as playing with your boy and making him smile is more fulfilling
  9.  You will rank it at the top of the list as “the best thing that ever happened in your life”
  10. Your wife’s robe will become her second skin 🙂

And of course, writing blog posts will get pushed aside for other tasks. That is until Curtis calls you out..

All joking aside, we are coming up on the 4 month mark now and winning against some breastfeeding issues, pumping wars, and restless nights. I can now relax a bit and get back on track with some Chaga Power!!

That weird looking growth on the tree is actually a mushroom called Chaga or True Tinder Fungus (Inonotus obliquus) and grows on birch trees. It is coveted by bushcrafters for it’s firestarting prowess and by herbalists for it’s medicinal value.

Over the years I have gathered and used chaga in several ways:

1. It makes a good bug repelling incense and saved me from bug driven insanity on more than one occasion.

2. It is awesome natural tinder for flint and steel fires or great as a coal extender.



3. It is a medicinal, anti-oxidant powerhouse. Wild claims abound of chaga having higher ORAC values than any thing on earth.

ORAC Results Fruits and Vegetables per 100g / 3.5oz  USDA & Tufts University (2003)

  • Chaga  Mushroom 3,655,700
  • Acai Berries  80,000
  • Goji Berries  40,000
  • Prunes  5,890
  • Pomegranates  3,370
  • Raisins 2,890
  • Blueberries  2,450

If that doesn’t get your attention, it is also claimed to be the highest in superoxide dismutase and loaded with betulinic acid, a known cancer fighter. Anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-herpetic, anti-HIV, anti-diabetic, anti-aging… if you read the list of Chaga’s powers, you may wonder why Marvel comics hasn’t made it a superhero yet.

While a lot of the claims come from sellers of chaga products, there is a growing body of research coming out of overseas where it has been used for centuries. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=chaga

What interests me is it’s historical use in Siberia and an obscure study back in 1973 that focused on chaga for psoriasis treatment and gut health.  http://www.chagatrade.ru/images/PSORIASIS_chaga.pdf

Being that I have a strong interest in herbal medicine, a love for foraging, and the willingness to self-experiment, I started drinking 16 ounces of chaga tea everyday last week. I have a small patch of psoriasis on my thigh and I am interested in seeing what happens over the next few months of daily use.

There is much debate about extracting chaga’s potent medicine, but I choose the Siberian way (hot water) and easiest (chunks). The key is not to boil it, but keep it at 150-180 degrees for hours, so I use a crock pot.

Leaving it in chunks allows easy, no strain clean up and refreezing of the chunks for the next batch. These chunks are on their third run.


This was from an overnight brew. The tea is dark and pleasant tasting. I add a little honey to sweeten it.


After brewing, I bottle the surplus, freeze my stock, and sip away.


While chaga may not have a role in a short term, wilderness emergency, it’s potential health benefits make it a long term “survival” prospect for everyday life.


Chaga hunt…sleeping on the job.


Survival Weekly – 8/11/14…


Black Canyon Of The Gunnison National Park (CO)
Rangers Find Missing Boys And Father

Park rangers worked quickly on the afternoon of Tuesday, August 5th, to search the area along and around the Warner Route for a father and two boys from New Mexico who were reported missing by family members.

The boys, ages 12 and 14, had gotten separated from their father during a short hike. He returned to the parking lot to tell his wife and daughter that the boys were missing and then went back into the canyon to look for them. When he did not promptly return, family members reported all three as missing and a hasty search was begun.

After several hours of searching along the upper parts of the route and canyon rim, and with darkness approaching, two rangers carrying overnight gear and extra food and water hiked to the bottom of the route.

The man and two boys were located around midnight at the Gunnison River. They were hungry and thirsty, but otherwise in good condition. They hiked out with rangers on Wednesday morning.

Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks (CA)
Body Of Missing Hiker Found On Mt. Whitney

The body of missing hiker Dawson Johnson was found on the north slope of Mt. Whitney just before nightfall on July 30th, bringing to a conclusion a two-day search for him.

Johnson is believed to have fallen in a very rocky and steep area. The cause of the accident is under investigation.

Johnson, who was from Redwater, Texas, was hiking in the wilderness of Sequoia National Park with his wife. On July 29th, he decided to hike on his own from Guitar Lake to Mt. Whitney and planned to return to the Lower Crabtree Meadow area of the park. He was last seen by other hikers between Trail Crest and the summit of Mt. Whitney at approximately 3 p.m. on the same day.

On July 30th, Johnson’s wife hiked to the closest ranger station to let a wilderness ranger know that he had not returned as planned.

A total of 39 park employees were involved in the search.

Stranded hikers rescued – http://www.mynews4.com/news/story/Search-and-rescue-team-aids-stranded-climbers-on/LB5QFOGzbkmhD46g2FStEw.cspx

Injured hiker rescued – http://www.kutv.com/news/top-stories/stories/vid_12980.shtml

Scout Leader with broken leg rescued – http://county10.com/2014/08/08/search-rescue-working-extract-man-broken-leg-mountains/

Body of mushroom hunter found –  http://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/local_news/missing-mushroom-hunter-s-body-found/article_d7246781-2653-5d39-8962-6ab674a3d844.html

Missing fisherman in Alaska – http://www.ktuu.com/news/news/troopers-seek-missing-missouri-man-near-willow-creek/27296512

Body of climber recovered – http://www.aspentimes.com/news/12501280-113/rescue-body-civilian-climber

Body of missing hiker recovered – http://news.stv.tv/west-central/285336-hillwalker-martin-livingston-found-dead-in-highlands-after-search-named/

Injured hiker rescued – http://www.chieftain.com/news/2788085-120/chaffee-county-hiker-lakes

Search resumes for missing hiker at Mount St. Helens – http://www.oregonlive.com/pacific-northwest-news/index.ssf/2014/08/search_resumes_at_mount_st_hel.html

SAR launched for missing exchange student –  http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/10369878/Exchange-student-missing-in-rugged-hills

ATV rider rescued after rollover – http://www.castanet.net/news/Penticton/120666/One-injured-in-ATV-rollover

Grand Canyon National Park (AZ)
Body Found Below South Rim

On Wednesday, August 6th, searchers found a body several hundred feet below the rim of the canyon at a location where a visitor was last seen on August 2nd.

A search was begun that day for Marc Buckhout, 36, who was last seen hiking along the South Rim west of Grandview Point.

The body was recovered Thursday morning and turned over to the county medical examiner for positive identification.

Lake Mead NRA – NV, AZ
Bodies Of Two Drowning Victims Found

Two bodies have been recovered in areas where two men disappeared while swimming on July 20th.

On the afternoon of August 1st, park dispatch received a call from a visitor who reported seeing a body floating on Lake Mohave. Responding rangers recovered the body of an adult male from the Nevada shoreline.

A 53-year-old Las Vegas man was reported missing near that location on July 20th after jumping off his boat to go swimming. He was not wearing a lifejacket.

On August 4th, volunteers from Earth Resource Group employing advanced underwater detection equipment found a body 340 feet underwater near Lake Mead’s Boulder Islands. Rangers and state game wardens recovered it.

A 25-year-old Las Vegas man was reported missing in this area after going swimming without a lifejacket on July 20th.

Both incidents are under investigation.