Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Rabbitstick Staff for 2010 says -
Come join us in 2011!

Buttoning up for Winter

It's been a little over a month since Rabbitstick ended, and we have had an amazing Indian Summer after the freeze we got just prior to opening day. But, snow hit yesterday, and forced us back into the office for some computer time.

We missed you at Rabbitstick 23. We hope to see you at Winter Count 17 in February, or again next fall at Rabbitstick 24.

Rabbitstick Goes To The Movies

Great footage from Rabbitstick 2010. If you ever wondered what goes on at a Backtracks Primitive Skills Conference, here's a short peek (a 10 minute clip) at what you might expect to see. Thanks Christian Noble for making us look so good.

Until I can figure out how to upload it to this blog, you'll have to go to YouTube and type in "Rabbitstick 2010" to see the 1o minute movie.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Chad Hafer Photos

The frost is on the pumpkins - literally. Last night the gardens at the Backtracks HQ at Thomson Farm froze solid, so now we can focus on Rabbitstick. The gates are open at our Henry's Fork site, and instructors are arriving at record pace.
We already have over 150 classes scheduled, and more instructor cards coming in daily. We should easily hit our 40-50 classes per day average. Right now we have 83 instructors confirmed, so if you can't find something to do while you're here, you're in the wrong place.
Rabbitstick is the premier attraction for teachers of primitive skills to gather from all over the world.
Don't miss out on this amazing week of instruction and just plain good times. Join us on a trip back to the stone age.

Backtracks - Keeping Traditions Alive !

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Kids morning trade blanket.
Bring some crafts and other cool stuff, and get set to trade.

Good morning sunshine.


September 1 will be the last day for early registration. We have a seen a rush of last-minute registrations the past 2 days, and so we will hold the early rate through the 1st for those who like to push the limits (We'll change the PayPal registration rate Wednesday night). Enrollments are ahead of last year, so we are looking at another great turnout. Staff are checking in and the class schedule is filling up fast.

It's definitely feeling like Rabbitstick weather. We have gone from record high temps and afternoon monsoon rains to cool temps and clear chilly nights. Fall is just around the corner, and so is Rabbitstick. Bring it on!!!

Friday, August 20, 2010

We've been experiencing an unusual summer with high temps which create strong winds and monsoon rains in the afternoons. We're also cooling off a bit at night, meaning that Rabbitstick is right around the corner. In fact the Almanac says, "Sept. 9-12 - Sunny north, rain to snow south: 13-19 Sunny, turning warm. 20-26 Showers, then sunny, seasonable. This follows the pattern that we see each year pretty closely.
Our response to everyone who asks what to expect weather-wise is to plan for the worst and hope for the best. Anything can happen, and usually does. We can go from 85˚ to hail in a single day. Mornings are usually cool, and evenings comfortable.
So, pack your gear and join us for a few days in the stone age. Sept. 12-18, 2010. Staff Camp will run Friday and Saturday, but gates will be open for staff set-up starting Tuesday Sept. 7.


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Get Ready To Learn !

2009 Rabbistick Staff

Rabbistick has attracted some of the best instructors in all areas of primitive technology. Many have been teaching with us for over 20 years, and return year after year with amazing new and exciting things to share.
Some of the staff that have checked-in so far for this year:

George Michaud - Moccasins, Brain-Tanned Pelts, Trapping
Steve Watts - ABO101, Turkey Calls, Blanket Pins
Myron Cretney - Cattail Crafts, Animal Processing
Lynx Vilden - Many Wonderous Things
Larry Kinsell - Flintknapping
Albert Abril -
Tom Cartwright - Tracking, Trapping, Round Braiding
Cameron Green - Rawhide crafts, Animal Processing
Buck Windsor - Cooking with Stones, Hominy Making
Joe Bigley - Knife and Sheath Making

And that's just for starters. There are usually about 30-40 classes a day to choose from, so you'll stay busy and be worn out by the end of the week.

Wildlife In Camp

Our camp is in the middle of over 450 acres of private wildlife preserve. The site is home to coyotes, porcupines, raccoons, skunks, weasels, moose, white tail and mule deer, foxes and more. The bird population is healthy as well and hundreds of nesting migratory birds are regular visitors. There is a large turkey, owl, hawk and eagle population as well. The site is not a park. It is a wild location in close proximity to town, but wild none the less. Fishing (with a valid license) is also pretty good just out of camp.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Lynx's display of goods from the Four Seasons Projects held each year in Washington.

Registration Forms Corrected

Many of you have notified us that the PayPal rates were incorrect. Those are now corrected. As of tomorrow, the Backtracks website info will also have been updated so it is current. Please let people you know who plan to attend this year that our late/gate fee has gone up to $50 from $25 last year, and will go up to $75 next year. We feel that raising our general admission is unfair to those who plan ahead to attend, and extra expenses should be shouldered by those who create them. We hope this will encourage people to commit early, and if not, it helps to offset rising expenses without having to pass it on to our regular attendees.

Bringing It All Home !

Cameron Green leading the game processing workshop at Rabbitstick 2009.

Many of the skills we include at Rabbitstick are new to most folks, but one that always gets people's attention is the game processing workshop. In a society where meat comes from the butcher in a styrofoam package with plastic wrapping, the entire process of the struggle between life and death becomes sanitized beyond recognition. Learn to be accountable for where your food comes from. Be a part of a workshop that will process the entire animal and minimize waste of this valuable resource. We have 3 top instructors ready to help you navigate this most important set of skills.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Rabbitstick is for kids of all ages.

We've lots of contact recently from people who would like to attend Rabbitstick for the first time and don't know what to expect. This is unusual since most people come after having talked with friends who have been before, so they get a pretty good picture of what goes on. There are a number of ads and articles out right now that have attracted some attention, but don't explain who should be at Rabbitstick 24.
Rabbitstick is for everyone, regardless of skill level. There are classes and teachers that can relate to you on a variety of levels. Don't worry about how much you bring to the event. You will take away far more than you ever expected, even if you're a novice or an expert. Everyone has something to learn, and Rabbitstick staff have a huge amount to share. Join us.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

40 Days Until Rabbitstick Begins
28 days left for early registration

Over 30 classes each day are taught. Skills are instructed by great teachers and cover everything from basic to advanced levels so just about everyone can learn something new.

Larry Dean Olsen (in the middle on the left) at Rabbitstick 1988.

Larry Dean Olsen, author of Outdoor Survival Skills and originator of the Rabbit Stick Rendezvous in 1978, will be in attendance at this years Rabbitstick for a few days. I just spoke with him and he confirmed that he will join us for this 24th annual event. Bring your copies of OSS and have Larry autograph one. It is still a landmark publication in the field of primitive skills, and you should take a minute and get to know the man. - Wescott

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Skin-On-Frame Kayak Course
Backtracks will once again be hosting a kayak building workshop September 2-11 at our barn in Teton, Idaho. Enrollments are limited. Check out last years course at our November 4, 2009 blog post (Click on "2009" to the right). There is a video of the 10-day course compressed to about a minute. Anyone who has made a boat with us in the past is invited to join us on a post-course paddle into spectacular Leigh Lake in Grand Teton National Park. Contact us for details.
- Wescott

Welcome back to the stone age !

Rabbitstick Countdown
Rabbitsick 24
September 12-18, 2010
Early Registration $275
Late Registration is now $325

Register early, do it on-line, and save $50
Register Today !


Sunday, February 7, 2010

Headed To Winter Count

Well, the trailers are packed, the snow has subsided, and we're headed south for a few weeks of fun in the sun. So, pack your grip, shove the old man and kids into the flivver and join us in Arizona for great times at Winter Count 16. Don't miss it. We hope to see you there.

"Home" takes on many incarnations at Winter Count

Good Food, Great Music, Incredible Teachers

Winter Count #16 - February 14-20, 2010
Join us for the 1st great gathering of the year!

You can still sign up on line until Feb 10.

If you might have been aware, there are some new gatherings happening on the local level. Each year we see a bit more action and some amazing skills being taught across the country. We support them all and encourage you to attend . We also want to let you know that Winter Count and Rabbitstick (The "Mother Church") are national gatherings that attract both teachers and students from around the world. If you can get to one or both this year, you will never regret it.

Good Food

We will have some fine food vendors on site this year who will be serving lunches. Be sure to check them out. Bring your own cooler for lunches and drinks if you plan to stay focused on classes all day.

Great Music

Every night, somewhere in camp you can hear great music. The camp is full of incredible musicians and lots of us who want to be. So, grab your instrument, pull up a stump and join the bangin' and sangin'. Or, pull up a chair, wrap up in a capote, and be entertained until the fire dies out.

Incredible Teachers

Come and sit, learn and practice with master teachers. These people are more than practitioners. Winter Count and Rabbitstick staff are amazingly gifted teachers. They share their knowledge and skill unselfishly. You can build on your own skill level at a rate you never though possible, because you're getting in a few days what has taken these teachers years to master and boil down to most essential principles for you to learn.

Join us in Keeping Traditions Alive !
Go to for details.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

2 Weeks To Go!

Early registration has ended, so if you plan to attend, please sign up today and help us plan by letting us know you will be there. On-line registration will end Feb 10, so if you want to sign up after that, drop us a note so we know you're coming, and simply register when you get there.
The last word from AZ is that they have had record rains, and it is still fairly wet. We go on in spite of the weather, so plan your gear accordingly. The foto of the buckskin class from the January 25 post shows how green it can get there when the rains come - that was about 4 years ago. Lets hope the desert is in bloom when we get there.
If you have any questions about the event, feel free to contact the office at 208-359-2400 or e-mail at
We hope to see you there. The Wescotts

Monday, January 25, 2010

Lots of things to see and do at Winter Count 16.
February 14-20, 2010 - Sign-up today on-line! Visit and find out more about Winter Count.

The buckskin clothing symposium is for everyone. This is a workshop where you can pick the brains of those who sew and wear buckskin clothing. Tailoring ideas, patterns, stitching methods and much more can be learned in this informal setting conducted by Winter Count staff.

Trade blankets are held on a couple of nights, so bring your homemade crafts, raw materials, and other primitive treasures to share with the other traders. It's a night not to be missed.

The bulletin board is where the daily action begins. Each day new classes are posted and sign-ups happen. Over 30 classes a day take place from 9am to 5pm. We currently have over 70 staff confirmed to teach this year, so there will be plenty of outstanding instructional options to choose from.

A finger weaving class teaches the basic method of turning fiber strands into functional art.

Most classes are hands-on and practical. You can finish lots of small projects or tackle more complex skills like bow making, primitive process pottery or braintanning that will take you from start to finish.

The "ABO MART" is the camp outlet for treasures you can purchase from camp artisans and take home to share with friends.
1 Week Left For Early Registration

Sorry for no post last week. I just got back from 6 days of winter camping in the Tetons. It was snowy but warm (that's relative - 18 degrees vs -28 on my December campout). February 1st is the last day to take advantage of the early registration price of $275. After the 1st, the price goes up to $300. We still need you to sign up in advance even after the late registration starts. We have lots of things to plan for in advance, and being able to count on a realistic number makes things go a whole lot easier. Make plans today to join us at Winter Count 16. Register on-line at, or call us at the backtracks office at 208-359-2400 today. Don't wait!

Greg Nunn will be teaching flintknapping. Here is a display of some of his Danish daggers, bifaces and blade cores. Impressive work, as well as his DVD.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Save $25 and register on-line today!

Sunrise over Winter Count

It's 0˚ and clear as a bell in Idaho today. It's also 70˚ and sunny in Arizona. Where would you rather be? Honestly, I love the change in seasons and there's nothing more beautiful than a blanket of new snow on a cold clear day. But by Feb 14, I'll be ready for a break from the daily cold, and we're expected to have fine weather for Winter Count 16. Check out the Almanac report for the week (click on image below). How can you pass up a forecast like that. Make plans to join us in the beautiful desert, and sign up to attend Winter Count today.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Lynx's Halflinger, Christy, carried her through a few stone age adventures. A pad saddle, rawhide packs and a brain-tanned buffalo hide make her ready for the trip.

Getting To Winter Count

It's always exciting to see who comes to our gatherings and how they find there way there. I can remember one year passing Matt Graham on a bicycle as he pedaled his way from Phoenix to Maricopa. He had walked cross-country from Boulder, Utah to Phoenix, AZ (that means he had to cross the Grand Canyon on foot) and picked up a girl's 3-speed bike at a garage sale in Phoenix to finish his trip. We've had people arrive via horseback, motorhome, even a pedal and sail-powered sea kayak. Vehicles powered by biodiesel, cooking oil, and solar have made it to the site. We had a couple of Germans traveling around the world on recumbent bicycles hear about us and stop by. They were communicating with school kids in Germany via satellite technology, and beamed a rockin' drum session to them halfway around the world. So, you have no excuses for not coming. Where there's a will, there's a way. Be there!

Sunny Baba has created some spectacular wagons and cars for his trips south. This one is from our 2003 event.

Star Kompost's bike sports willow panniers.

Wolf's latest homemade "rat rod" made quite the scene.

Even the neighbors stop by to show off their favorite flivver.