Tonight, we’ll read the opening to “Woodcraft” published by George Washington “Nessmuk” Sears. Sears was a sportswriter for Forest and Stream magazine in the 1880s and an early conservationist. His stories popularized self-guided canoe camping and what is today called ultralight camping or ultralight backpacking.
Growing up in Massachusetts, he took his pen name from a Native American who had befriended him in early childhood. A period of factory labor while still a child left him with a fondness for the writing of Charles Dickens. At nineteen he signed on for a three-year voyage on a whaler headed for the South Pacific; it was the same year that Herman Melville shipped out of the same port bound for the same whaling grounds.