View Full Version : AAR Fieldcraft Los Angeles . Tracking/Wild Food

07-05-2008, 2:34 PM
Today we had our first Fieldcraft outing in Los Angeles.

Still very much a learning experience with the first outing and if people are interested, it can only improve from there.

The first part was related to Tracking.

A lot of the materials were taken from Search and Rescue materials, various Fieldcraft/Tracking/Observation classes I took in the past and materials from Jack Kearney who is considered one of the pioneer of modern tracking. A lot of the Wild Food stuff came from my original interest when I grew up in the country and classes I took with Christopher Nyerges, one of the leading wild food expert in the country.

This was very basic stuff related to tracking. Pretty much like a first class into precision shooting and going over the basics.

We learned what tracking was all about
How to develop Track Awareness.
The PLS (Point Last Seen) and how to establish the direction of the quarry
Footprint identification and datacard
How to create a tracking stick
How to work as a team (3 Man Tracking Team)
How to use the sun while tracking

We did various exercises with the information above, each student created his own Tracking Stick and then we did the final exercise which was to track for a distance of around 50 yards the tracks of “little Johny” that I created before the outing. Participants had to be able to find the marks on solid ground (with very little layer of dirt), through dry vegetation and uneven terrain. They actually did much better then I expected. At the end of the track, each team had a rock with a dollar under it, both team got the dollar. Next time, I’ll get something else than a dollar.

We actually did very well with time and were done in around 2.5 hrs. Lots of information in very little time.

This is very basic information but enough that someone can actually use it while hiking and become better at it. Once those basics are understood and used, next time we can do more fun exercises like actually tracking someone for a longer period of time in more challenging conditions.

Although there are numerous signs to track someone, we mostly concentrated on the footprint.


Doing track/print identification



How to use map and PLS to establish direction of the quarry.


Doing the final drill and using the tracking stick




07-05-2008, 2:35 PM

I think that everyone learned one thing. If someone passes by, he will always leave signs and thus he/she can be tracked.

I made more photos of the Wild Food part cause I was actually too busy in the tracking part but I think some of the guys there did more photos.

Each person was given a small manual with the materials covered in the outing plus a bonus 3 pages of animal tracks.

At around 12:30 p.m., we started the WILD FOOD part of the outing. We basically walked around for one hour collecting wild food.

We collected the following wild food:

Lambs Quarters
Wild Radish
Wild Mustard
Chick Weeds
Passion Fruits
Water Crest

We then went back to our original location, sat down on a table and started preparing a salad. Only 2 non-wild food elements were used in the salad. One tomato and one avocado. Mostly because it is really dry and the really green stuff which is the main part of a salad is already fried by the July sun and lack of water.

I also got the guys to test some food I prepared earlier:

Lambs Quarters cooked with garlic, soy sauce and Italian spices

Nettle soup (Soup of nettle with one potato/one onion/ garlic/ French spice added to it).

Here are some photos:

Jason tasting some radish


07-05-2008, 2:36 PM
Going through the Los Angeles "Jungle" looking for food.



Mike collecting Cattail


Ryan doing the same


Emilio - Water crossing...


A PASSION FLOWER. Incredibly beautiful. We also tasted some of the fruits.


07-05-2008, 2:37 PM
Pascal gathering some wild food.


Mike preparing the food/salad.


YUMMY!!! Ryan wants a piece of it.


Mike (MBPD241) tasting some of the cooked Lambs Quarters


The salad the group created on a plate:


I have learned a few things on how to improve the next outing. The tracking exercise will be a bit longer and more challenging. I'll add some protein in the tasting wild food part so that people can actually have enough food. This was more like tasting then having a real meal.

That's it...I plan to do a second outing in a couple of weeks with those who could not attend this one.

I want to keep it to 6 people maximum (2 teams)

In the future, we can do intermediate and advanced courses. Then we could also do some sort of competition with the various teams for fun or even prizes. I think it could be an interesting idea.

As usual, I learned a lot as well from the feedback and comments.

07-05-2008, 4:01 PM
Wow I'm very interested in the second outing, this looks like a lot of fun.

07-05-2008, 5:49 PM
Looks like a great course Pascal.

Gotta check my parents passion flower next time.... dont remember seeing any fruit on it. Flowers look exactly the same as pictured, but the main (large outer) petals are purple.

07-05-2008, 7:08 PM
The class was really interesting and fun. Tracking is really challenging. Pascal didn't make it impossible, but he didn't make it too easy for us either. ;)

The wild food was really a surprise, it was great. Especially that nettle soup! Wow.

I'm definitely recommending this class, and I can't wait to take the next level.

Good job Pascal!

07-05-2008, 7:23 PM
Had fun. Interesting fieldcraft class. The tracking and food gathering skills are good to have in the toolbox. Never know when they could come in handy. l'll be curios about future classes as well. It would be fun to do more tracking drills/games.

07-05-2008, 9:07 PM
Great class all around. Thanks for the work in putting this together Pascal.

07-05-2008, 9:14 PM
Where in LA county was the "event"?

07-06-2008, 10:38 AM
We did the outing at the Hahamongna wash near Pasadena.

I'm scouting a location close to Sunland for the next one.

07-06-2008, 4:15 PM
Looks like you guys had a fun and educational time. I'm really looking forward to the next class Pascal puts on.

It was also really cool to meet Pascal at Angeles shooting range today!

07-06-2008, 5:11 PM
Neat looked like fun.
Did you guys wash the salad you collected? What dressing did you use? haha jk..

07-06-2008, 5:20 PM
Actuallly you're very correct. Yeah, we did wash it. You have to!

And yeah, I cheated on the dressing. I actually had some Dijon dressing, a good dressing makes food so much better - wild or not.

Usually I only use Salt/Pepper and a lemon but because wild food is much stronger in taste/flavor and you kind of have to get used to it a bit, I used some dressing for the outing.

At this time of the year, a Wild Food salad need some additional green. A couple of month ago, you could have had a 100% wild food salad because of the abundance of more green stuff like ChickWeeds and young *****ly lettuce but right now you do have to mix some non-wild elements such as tomato/Avocado to make more palatable. Most of the really green tender stuff is already fried by the sun and lack of water.

That said, in the truly survival situation, you could eat the whole thing without dressing. Just less yummy though :)