Tobal pulled out his cord and undid all the knots in it. He aligned the red line on his compass for a northeast heading and surveyed the landscape seeking the best pathway through it. Choosing his route between trees he set out purposefully with Rafe following cheerfully behind him.
It was rough going the next three days. He didn't need to worry about water because it rained all the way to Rafe's camp. Tobal was glad for the makeshift woolen poncho that kept him halfway warm even when it was wet. It was miserable travelling. He made a hat to keep body heat from escaping out the top of his head. It was welcome protection from both the sun and the rain since Tobal had fair skin that burned easily. Rafe had been insistent he had some type of head covering. One of the quickest ways of loosing body heat was not having your head covered. Sun stroke and sun burn could be dangerous killers. In the wilderness these things were not to be taken lightly. Tobal learned to move carefully and deliberately in the rain and slick mud.
Rafe continued his education by pointing out and gathering herbs. The unceasing rain made the snow disappear almost overnight. He explained about tinder and how to find good dry firewood even in the rain. Tobal learned to always have enough dry tinder and kindling to start a fire. He carried it with him in a pouch on his belt. The pouch was created by cutting some of the fabric off the poncho. He used the sewing kit to sew it together. He also used the sewing kit to mend some of his socks.
He made it a habbit to gather small pieces of firewood as they went along so he didn't need to look so hard for it at night. While it was more weight to carry, it was easier than looking in the rain and darkness for dry wood.
Each evening Tobal would select the campsite and start the fire under Rafe's supervision. Together they would gather the rest of the evening's wood and take turns preparing the meal. At night they set snares for small animals. In the morning they would check the snares and sometimes they would be lucky. Often they would find only an empty snare.
They couldn't get warm enough in the constant drizzle but the fire did feel good even if they couldn't get dry. During the day they also hunted for small game. Rafe and Tobal each cut a long strip of fabric and made a sling out of it. Together they practiced with small stones at various targets. The first day Rafe hit a rabbit and that night they ate rabbit stew. There was always some kind of greens for a salad.
Small animals were not all they would eat. Rafe showed him how to break open rotten logs and find the grubs within them.
"They are better cooked in something", Rafe grinned as Tobal fought off a wave of nausea. "Still, they are better than not eating at all. The large wood ants have a lemony flavor but you need to make sure you bite them hard before swallowig or they will try to crawl back up."
By water they set traps overnight for fish and set snares for small animals. If they caught anything it was usually a rabbit or squirrel and went into the stew or was simply roasted.