Reevis Mountain School of Self-Reliance Wilderness Training

The Reevis Mountain School of Self-Reliance specializes in wilderness training, including courses in primitive life skills, land navigation, stone masonry, herb study, a survival skills trek and more.

| November/December 1987

  • Reevis wilderness training
    The ambience at Reevis is "Early American New Age," with communal dining and "yurpi" shelters.

  • Reevis wilderness training

MOTHER's readers have always shown a strong interest in wilderness skills. For a long while we addressed that interest with a survival-skills series written by Tom Brown,The Tracker. Recent surveys show that readers want even more wilderness training articles. So, beginning here and running through several future issues, we'll take you on a tour of five leading wilderness training schools. Our writers are attending these schools now, documenting their experiences photographically and preparing reports in order to provide a sound basis on which readers interested in gaining supervised, first-hand backcountry experience can select a school appropriate to their needs.

Wilderness Training Schools, Part I

From Globe, Arizona, we loaf along U.S. highways 60 and 88 some 25 miles to the Spring Creek Store. Two miles on, according to our hand-drawn map, and we'll swing west onto an unpaved track for the final eight miles, passing through four stock gates, lugging up then braking down two abrupt hills and wet-wheeling it across several meanders of Campaign Creek to Reevis Mountain School of Self-Reliance. Don't attempt the unpaved portion of this journey in a vehicle with low clearance or a tired engine, we've been advised. In fact, incoming students are encouraged to leave their vehicles at the Spring Creek Store and ride in the last few rugged miles courtesy the school. Pickup time is 8:30 tonight.

Sound advice. Only the foolhardy would ignore it. However, after a quick raid on the Spring Creek Store to stock up on snacks and soft drinks (no alcohol allowed at the school, and the one meal a day that comes with the price of tuition is hard-core vegetarian), photographer Branson Reynolds and I squeeze back into my trusty old Beetle and I steer off into the wild and woolly Sonoran high desert, God's own cactus garden.

"Wild-looking country," Branson says. Indeed. A hoodoo landscape haunted by ghosts: A blue-suited cavalry pursuing near naked Apaches up these dry washes into the jagged Superstitions ("Campaign Creek," this is); grizzled prospectors chasing the mythical Lost Dutchman's gold. And of the school we've heard some rather spooky tales as well: Of an apiary abandoned after persistent raids by a bear. Of cots with their legs set in cans of motor oil to discourage lonely scorpions from joining the occupants of sleeping bags. Of squealing, ivory-tusked javelinas chasing a snarling cougar smack through the middle of the school grounds on a full-moon night.

Yes, this is wild country. The Superstition Mountains. High-desert wilderness. An Old West of the mind. A Wild West for real. Up Owl Hill, down through Skydive Gulch. We splash across Campaign Creek again—the clear water bubbling up over the running boards of my low-slung Bug—then come to a cool grove of white-barked sycamores. We stop and pry ourselves out of the Beetle for a stretch. Early December, and the grass beneath these big bare trees is green and lush, watered by a rare snowfall that looks to have beat us here by just a couple of days; patches of white still hang on wherever there is shade.



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