In the Wild with Greg Wagner


Wagner Boys Vs. Wild by Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
August 4, 2009, 9:11 am
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The rage on TV in the outdoor world now is the survival show, i.e., “Man vs. Wild” with Bear Grylls on the Discovery Cable Channel. I like these shows, or any outdoor TV show for that matter, that teaches crucial outdoor skills and encourages folks, especially young people, to go outdoors, set aside the comforts of home and “really rough it” so to speak.   

 Well, on our recent vacation along the banks of the East Branch of the Verdigre Creek trout stream in Antelope County, on private land I might add, my 21-year old son Zach and 11-year old son Noah embarked on their own little survival expedition of sorts. It was the Wagner Boys vs. Wild.  

 Zach and Noah took off late one afternoon last week with just a canoe paddle, a pocket knife, two bottles of water and only wearing t-shirts, swim trunks and river sandals for an overnight journey away from the cabin where our family was staying. Oh gosh, was my wife worried, that’s an understatement!  I assured her that the guys were not too far away and that this would make for a great connection with nature as well as a good bonding experience between the two of them! Imagine, I told her, the stories that they’ll tell their grandkids someday about this!

 With much knowledge gained from the “Man vs. Wild” TV show, Zach and Noah creatively built a survival shelter using downed beaver logs, brome grass and packed it with mud/sand. After completing the shelter, they managed to make a small campfire using their pocketknife and a couple flint rocks they found in the creek. The main entrée of the evening before going to bed in their shelter that night was  grasshopper roasted on a stick along with a few, raw leaves of the edible watercress plant.   

Wagner Boys and their shelter.

Zach and Noah with their shelter.

 Tired, dirty and chilly, the boys hiked back to the cabin the next morning about daybreak “pumped up” talking about how the creek’s ecosystem had come alive the previous night and ready for their next adventure in the wild and putting pressure on me to join them! My line to the boys was: “Now guys listen, you have my support, I’ll be right behind you all the way … back at the cabin, that is.”

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