Sometimes it takes a deliberate effort to step back and get regrounded in the outdoor fundamentals. Such was the case when a group from a popular hiking and camping web group decided to try and get back to the basics with a Nessmuk-themed weekend. The 1880’s Forest and Stream outdoors writer George Washington Sears, who went by the pen name Nessmuk, is sometimes viewed as the granddaddy of the go-light crowd. He traveled with minimal gear and became famous in modern day bushcraft circles for his “Nessmuk Trio,” consisting of a folding knife, a small double-bit axe, and his distinctive hump-backed, fixed-blade knife. Our goal for the weekend was to pack sparingly and limit our tools to our interpretation of the modern Nessmuk trio.
Pine Creek Gorge
Keeping the lightweight aspect and tool trio in mind, we chose a spot from Nessmuk’s own stomping grounds for our trip, Pine Creek Gorge. Pine Creek Gorge is located just west of Wellsboro, PA, and is sometimes known as the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania. It’s an area that Nessmuk was familiar with, as he spent much of his adult life in Wellsboro and is buried nearby. His impact on the area is still readily seen with historic sign markers discussing his significance to the region, and roads, lakes and even a mountain named after him.