Outside magazine, June 1994
These days the zeitgeist cauldron is bubbling with all things Cave Man. The discovery of a "missing link" skull in Ethiopia. The Flintstones movie, and, of course, the enduring popularity of Fabio.
If you find yourself wanting to reach out to the Fred and Wilma within, the place to be this month is the first annual Earth Knack Primitive Skills Gathering, scheduled for June 13-17 outside Boulder, Colorado. Put on by Bart and Robin Blakenship, founder of the Boulder-based Stone Age Living Skills School, the workship focuses on ancestral talents such as making bows and arrows, tanning hides by smearing them with animal brains, and making pots with clay you claw out of the ground. While such a curriculum is not new, the Blakenships stand out because of their commitment to authenticity. For example, you'll eat something not available in stores: roadkill. (Regulations on hunting, explains Robin, make highway deaths the surest source of enough meat and hides to "fully recreate the hunting-and-gathering lifestyle.")
Indeed, the only thing modern here is the price: $385. But Blakenship alumni sound satisfied. "I made a pot over a cow-dung fire," exults Nancy August of Petaluma, California. "Now it's in my kitchen." And what of the fear that grips every survival-school greenhorn: Suppose I can't cut it? Relax, says Robin. "These skills are simple and available. It's like something clicks in the genetic memory." And you're 1.6 million years ahead of Barney Rubble on that.