I was born in Arizona in 1969. Soon after my birth, my folks moved back to Missouri after my Father got out of the US Air Force. I grew up here in MO., like any other ordinary boy, surrounded by vast amounts of farmland, woods, lakes, ice-cold spring creeks, streams and rivers. I absolutely loved to go hiking, float trips, exploring, climbing, spelunking (caving), and camping. I never ever got lost. Summers were filled with building many a lean-to, hut, fort bunker and tree house. Winters that gave us large amounts of snow and school days off, were spent building igloos and snow forts, and learning to duck from flying snowballs.
Growing up, I learned how to hunt. I learned how to track wild animals and birds. I learned how to build and set traps and snares. I learned how to fish off the banks, and from boats. How to gig for frogs and how to noodle for catfish. How to set trot lines and how to make and use nets, back when it was legal to use such things and techniques. I learned how to smelt lead to create sinkers and how to build the molds in order to do so. I learned how to use all the various baits, both natural and artificial, and even made some of my own. Also where to dig for night crawlers, or look for crickets.
I learned how to shoot air rifles, rifles, pistols, shotguns, bows, blowguns and slingshots. How to shoot ahead of moving targets, so as to make a hit instead of a miss. I also learned tricks for getting certain animals to stop dead in their tracks, just long enough to be able to take them down successfully. I learned how to skin and clean the animals, and how to cook them over an open fire, as well as doing the same with fish. I learned how to tan the skins and make leather. I learned how to make fire, make a fire pit, build a spit and where to find good tinder. I learned edible trees, bushes, roots, berries, plants, and all of the poisonous plants to stay well away from. I learned what woods made great bows. I learned how to whittle, how to make spears and fire hardened spear tips, and how to build with rough-hewn logs.
In my middle school years, I was lucky to learn how to work wood by use of heavy machines, like table saws and drill presses, and today, I still have all my toes and fingers. I also learned about growing gardens and keeping them well-tended and De-weeded. I learned about all kinds of fruit trees, and how to grow grapes. All this, before High school.
My High school years were filled with even more camping, exploring, hiking and climbing, float trips and picking fruit as a good side job that paid in cash and fruit. Also fights. I learned fast that I needed to stand up for myself and defend myself. I took a course in Tae Kwon Do, and learned how to use a staff, and nun-chucks. I also developed a love of knives and knife collecting, and I do know how to make them as well. Two years in, I got my first car. That really opened the world up to me. I found and explored thousands of caves, both large and small. Found hundreds of new rivers and cold water springs. Taught myself how to collect crawdads, and how to cook them up.
My Junior year, I started storm chasing. I pretty much taught myself how to read the clouds, and listen to my bones. I also started learning other ways of communication. I got myself a Citizen’s Band Radio for my car, and learned how to use it properly, and how to talk on it in the correct manner. I also started learning about the human condition, in how people suffered after dealing with a disaster in their lives, such as being hit by a tornado head on and losing everything. I also started learning how to administer Basic First Aid.
In school, I took many a vocational training course and learned drafting, woodworking, small engine repair, metal working and blacksmithing, and my last two years were in learning auto-body repair, re-wiring, and painting. These courses I excelled in, but the other courses bored me.
My Senior year however, I Aced the final exams in my Liberty and Law class, just to show that I could. Two months before I was to graduate, I went and talked to a military recruiter. A lot of my relatives had served in the various branches of our Country’s military, so I wanted to do the same and had high hopes that it would be the ultimate adventure. About one month after I graduated, I went to Ft. Dix, NJ., to start my career in the US Army as a combat infantryman.
While I was in, I learned even more self-defense, hand to hand combat, knife fighting and judo. I got certified in CPR, taught Basic First Aid and Triage. I got fully trained in all weapons that I had clearance to learn at that time period. M16A2’s, M203’s, M60’s, Grenades, Claymore Mines, and the L.A.W.-Light Anti-tank Weapon. I also volunteered to help wire and run the live fire obstacle courses, and anything else that had anything to do with weaponry, even if it was to just refill M16 magazines. I also learned all about CS Gas, and how to put on and clear a gas mask, and was trained in N.B.C. warfare. I was also darn good at shooting with rifles, and really wanted to become a sniper. Unfortunately, because of bad boots, that dream was squashed, and two years of being in, learning all I could, even with injuries to both of my feet, I was finally let go with a Medical/Honorable Discharge.
I have almost died three times in all my years. Once, was way back in high school, during a fight started by a gang from a rival high school. I was out camping with two buddies, and one was wearing a Letterman Jacket, and that was all it took for this gang to jump us. Nothing quite like it in the world, to be woken up by a baseball bat hitting you in the face from out of the blue.
In my middle to late 20’s, I learned that I was of Cherokee descent. I started researching all things about Native American culture, and went to Pow wows, and learned all I could. I learned how to build all kinds of lodges, and I practiced. I also developed my skills in working with leather, wood and metals. In reverence to my Cherokee ancestors, I chose the pen name of RisingStormClouds.
After leaving a job I held for 8 years in the bowling industry, I worked here and there, learning all kinds of other skills. From framing up a house, all the way up to roofing. I also learned landscaping. I’ve worked at many a restaurant, even becoming a manager once. I kept getting one job after another, just to lose it and have to go find another. I was literally, just surviving. After my back went out at the restaurant, that was pretty much it for being able to work for anyone else after that. No one hires anyone with a bad back. It’s too high a liability. I started researching on the Internet ways to work at home. Got suckered by a lot of people claiming that “Yes you can do this to make a living”. Total hogwash! I lost a lot of money trying to figure out a way to make an income from home.
Then September, 11, 2001 happened. The nation was in total shock. Everyone! Once the shock wore off on me, I started researching anything and everything to do with survival. The day that happened, it changed everything within our Country, and I knew it. I read everything I could get my hands on. From military manuals that I had kept from long ago when I served, to all kinds of book titles at the library, and then I started reading all I could on the Internet. I wanted to be prepared for anything, as best as I could. I may not be able to work for another, but I sure as heck could get us prepared for anything before it happened. I researched, studied and read, and prepped what I could. I keep up with the new trends in gear, and I watch what goes on worldwide.
I also decided to take a course, and became a Certified Locksmith just to then see a proliferation of tools and manuals for sale all over the internet and then even videos of kids teaching kids how to pick locks. At the same time, I also learned how to build Burglar and Fire Alarms on site and other security systems thus becoming a security consultant.
Then I saw an article in the newspaper. It was about working from home, as a writer.
I started the process of researching what it takes to become a writer. I learned that in today’s world, one had to have a “portfolio” of written work that potential employers could read, and see a person’s writing style, and how well he/she could write. I learned that the easiest way to do just that, was in starting a blog on a particular topic or niche, and sticking to it.
I am here today, doing just that. Writing about Survival and all my personal experiences that fall within this topic. I wish to write about all I know, and share my opinions, and my own reviews on gear or techniques that can further help another when it comes to “All things Survival”. It is my hope and aspiration to help my fellow man, by writing good solid articles, that are easy to read, and easy to follow. As I write this blog, I wish to become the best writer I can become.
As with everything in all our lives, major change comes and goes with the ebb and flow of the tides, and all we can truly do is to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and survive & thrive, one day at a time.
I Thank You for joining my blog, and following me along this path together. I sure do hope that you have come to know me just a little bit better, by my writing of this partial autobiography. Thank You for spending the time to read it.