Day 1 Introduction to the Southwest and Traditional Skills
Arrival in Phoenix and drive north to Flagstaff and our high-desert base camp. Along the way, we will visit Monteczuma’s Castle, a magnificent prehistoric site. During the first day, we will also have an introduction to the unique desert ecosystem and life zones on our drive from the low-desert to the mountains. Once at camp, students will stay in our warm, earth-covered Hogans during the first half of the week while working on traditional skills and exploring the desert region surrounding our camp. On site, are three Anasazi pithouses and scattered pottery from when the ancient peoples occupied the area.
Evening activities will include primitive firemaking methods of the Southwest and fashioning gourd containers.
Days 2-3 Making Brain Tan Buckskin
Learn the amazing process of transforming a raw deer hide into a beautiful piece of soft buckskin. This is a three day process and students will learn everything from wet-scrape and dry-scrape methods, brain & egg-tanning, softening techniques, and the final smoking of the hide. During breaks, we will take time to learn some of the native trees and shrubs in the area and their uses.
Evening activities will involve weaving cordage with yucca, grinding mesquite pods into delicious flour, and coal-burning bowls and spoons. And, of course, stretching your deerhide.
Days 5-6 Fieldtrip to the Traditional Lands of the Hopi
We will pack up and drive northeast to the ancient homeland of the Hopi whose villages are located atop remote mesas. The Hopi are incredibly receptive of outsiders and we have spent many years developing relationships with elders there. We will hear their stories and learn about the language, culture, and traditions of these desert people who have called the Southwest their home for over 100 generations. We will also visit the old village of Walpi which has no running water or electricity.
Day 7 Through the Lands of the Apaches
We make our way slowly south to Winter Count Rendezvous taking time to explore seldom-seen cliff dwellings, collect primitive firemaking materials, and learn about the unique natural history of the Sonoran Desert. Our journey will take us through the heart of the Superstition Mountains on the historic “Apache Trail” which was used during the Geronimo Campaign. We will arrive at the Winter Count base camp that night.
Days 8-14 Winter Count Rendezvous
An intensive week studying primitive skills in the Sonoran Desert south of Phoenix. Classes are offered each day from top instructors from around the world. This event usually sees several hundred participants and offers an incredible immersion into the world of ancient technologies and desert living skills. Plus the camaraderie and drumming around the nightly campfires is truly amazing!
This is given as a 14 Day Course.
Check the course calendar for specific dates.
Includes meals, transportation, deer hides, tribal permits, and Winter Count registration fee.