Christopher Nyerges

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Always RSVP    via email, or call the office at (626) 791-3217or mobile (323) 605-7283

P.O. Box 41834, Eagle Rock, CA 90041


Please come to all outings with a canteen of   WATER,

a KNIFE (simple folder is OK),

and a BOWL (since we make a wild food salad at nearly every outing).



Sign up in advance for any 3 classes, but pay in advance for only TWO!


 Also see Store for Current Specials...





Learn how to collect natural fibres and make twine, rope, brushes, sandals, netting, & baskets. A wonderful skill! Location 3, Switzers Camp in the Angeles National Forest.











 2017 MARKS THE 43rd YEAR OF CLASSES!!!  (Gosh! Is that possible?!)








Saturday, November 4, 10 a.m.


We’ll cover the basics of primitive weaponry, and will then show how to make a self-bow (one piece of wood). This means, stave selection, determining the belly and the back, methods of reduction, how to tiller, etc. Bring knife. We’ll bring supplies for everyone, but you need to RSVP in advance for this one. If time, we will collect wild food and make a salad. Hahamongna Watershed Park, Location 2.

Thursday, November 9, noon


Join us on a leisurely lunch-time walk into the Upper Arroyo as we explore the varied plant life growing there. We will see riparian plants, as well as the natives and many introduced plants. You will learn about the food, medicinal, and utilitarian uses of the plants. Bring a bowl -- possibly we will taste some. Meet at Location 1 at the west end of Altadena Drive in Altadena.

Saturday, November 11, 10 a.m.


We’ll focus on how to make simple weapons, both primitive and modern, all of which are silent, and have been used for millennia in most cases. You’ll learn about snares, deadfalls and trigger mechanisms, nets, slings, atlatls and more. Bring your knife also, since you’ll learn by making some of these. Pasadena’s Hahamongna Watershed Park, Location 2.

Thusday,November 16, noon

PLANT WALK: Exploring Medicinal, Edible, and other Uses of Wild Plants, $20

We will explore a chaparral and riparian area where we will see a variety of mostly native plants, and learn about their unique history and uses. Some are food, some are medicine, and some can be used for utilitarian uses, ranging from soap to fibre. Meet at the intersection of Ventura and Windsor in Altadena. From the Windsor exit of the 210 freeway, drive north on Windsor until Ventura, where you will have carefully park in the parking area on the west side of the street, overlooking the Arroyo Seco.

Saturday, November 18, 10 a.m.


Food from the wild is abundant, and we should all be thankful that it can also be turned into delicious and nutritious meals. We’ll collect some wild foods at this site, and then make a meal from what we collect and previously collected wild foods. You’ll also see some primitive fire-starting. Location 2, Hahamongna Watershed Park; entrance at Foothill and Oak Grove Dr. in Pasadena. Meet at southern end of the upper area. [pg. 535, E5].

Thursday, November 23


Please take this day to give thanks in the most fitting and practical ways that are possible for you.

Friday, November 24, 11 a.m.


No, resist, do not obey, do not go to Level Two with your Fellow Consumers. Join us on a leisurely walk around the perimeter of Hahamongna Watershed Park. We’ll examine the animal tracks, the edible wild plants, the water systems for the City of Pasadena, the weather, and we’ll have great conversation about the meaning of life…. Hahamongna Watershed Park, Location 2.


Saturday, November 25, 10 a.m.


Taught by Keith Farrar. We will take a detailed look at how to thermoregulate (keep you body core at 98.6º) in a wilderness survival situation. We will cover several aspects and types of shelters from the simple emergency mylar blanket to several different tarp and poncho set-up configurations and everything in between. Several knots needed to facilitate your shelter will be covered in detail as well. We will also discuss and demonstrate several “modern” methods of fire starting as well as how to properly and safely build a fire. Approx. 3 hour class. Hahamongna Watershed park, Location 2.


Sunday, November 26, Noon


Join us on a leisurely lunch-time walk into the Upper Arroyo as we explore the varied vegetation there. We’ll see the riparian zone along the stream, the native chaparral vegetation, and all the introduced exotic plants. You’ll learn about food, medicine, and utilitarian plants, and possibly we’ll taste some. Bring a bowl, and water. Location 1. West end of Altadena Drive.

Thursday, November 30, Noon


We’ll cover some of the simple modern methods of making fire, and work on the most primitive methods – the hand drill and the bow-and-drill. You’ll see how the parts are made and try making the fire yourself in a safe setting. Hahamongna Watershed Park, Location 2.

Friday, December 1, 6:30 p.m.


We’ll go on a short walk in the front country of the Angeles Forest, observing how well we can see by the light of the moon. We’ll learn that we can identify plants by their aroma, and discover ways to improve our hearing at night. You never know what you might see, or hear, at night. Meet at the extreme north end of Lake Avenue, near the wrought iron entry gates. Park on Lake Avenue. [RAIN WILL CANCEL THIS ONE]


Saturday, December 2, 10 a.m.


We will cover basic to intermediate Wilderness Survival in this class taught by Keith Farrar and Christopher. This is a full day with quite a bit of hands-on training. Some of the topics discussed: Priorities in a Wilderness Survival Situation / The importance of the correct mindset / First Aid / Emergency Shelters / Useful knots / Water collection & purification / Signaling for Rescue / Getting "Found" / Several methods of fire making / the difference between the "10 essentials" and a survival kit.....and more. You will understand exactly how to build a "Wilderness Survival Kit" that is complete and organized. Your kit will be built on concepts as opposed to lists, this method assures you will have everything you need based on your level of experience, knowledge and your familiarity & comfort with the products. Please bring a comfortable camp chair along with lunch, water and anything you normally carry on a short day hike. Please dress appropriately for the weather. Additionally, Christopher will conduct a "Wild Food" plant walk so you can learn some of the edible plants in our area of Southern Calif. Hahamongna Watershed Park, Location 2.

Thursday, Dec. 7, 11:30 a.m.


We’ll explore a wild area and learn which woods are ideal to create your own hand drill or bow-and-drill set. You’ll actually create your own to take home with you. We’ll work them in first to make sure they work well. Hahamongna Watershed Park, Location 2.

Friday, December 8, 11am – 3pm

Forge Building & Mini Blacksmithing Class

Taught by, to sign up and for more info go to: We will build primitive pit forges, implementing many of the same methods common to tribal blacksmiths in Iron Age Africa that are still employed today. Using earth, clay, water and ashes we will construct simple forges, complete with bag bellows, then fire them up the traditional way using flint and steel. Students will then have the opportunity to forge a small project to take home.


Saturday, December 9, 10 a.m.


We’ll be at Switzers Camp in the Angeles National Forest, and we’ll get lots of hands-on in all the basic skills that our grandparents took for granted. Learn about uses of wild plants for food, primitive fire-making, water finding and purification, shelter, slings and snares, weaving with natural fibres, and more. Switzers Camp, Location 3. You must obtain a Forest Adventure Pass.

Saturday, December 9, 2017, 10am – 4pm

Bladesmithing I: Introduction to Forged Blades

Taught by, to sign up and for more info go to: What makes a good steel knife? In this class, learn the basics of forging and heat treating a simple, high carbon steel wood working knife. Discover and implement the essentials of making a practical cutting tool with a keen and durable edge. Children 13 and under may share a project with a paying adult at a reduced price.


Sunday, December 10, 2017, 10am – 4pm

Bladesmithing I: Introduction to Forged Blades Taught by, to sign up and for more info go to: What makes a good steel knife? In this class, learn the basics of forging and heat treating a simple, high carbon steel wood working knife. Discover and implement the essentials of making a practical cutting tool with a keen and durable edge. Children 13 and under may share a project with a paying adult at a reduced price.


Sunday, Dec. 10, Noon


In this unique class, James Ruther will take you step by step to assemble a mini-survival kit with quality items and not useless trinkets. You’ll learn how each item selected will be based on the “rule of 3.” You will learn alternate options for each. Every participant will take home a kit assembled by Ruther, and you will have the opportunity to purchase additional items. You can also bring survival kit items of your own that you may have questions about. A short plant walk will follow if there is time. You will also see the Nyerges pants backpack, and the Roycroft pack (which looks a lot like the Otzi pack from 5,000 years ago). Also some fire skills, etc. Don’t miss this one! Hahamongna Watershed Park, Location 2.

Thursday, December 14, 11:30 a.m.


You’ll process the whole acorn through the whole process, and you’ll try some acorn pancakes when we’re done. This means participants will shell, grind, and leach the acorns, and then make a pancake batter. Bring a bowl or plate for eating. A great family activity. Location 2, Hahamongna Watershed Park; entrance at Foothill and Oak Grove Dr. in Pasadena. Meet at southern end of the upper area.

Saturday, December 16, 10 a.m.


Fire is a fundamental skill that everyone should master. You will learn the Fire Circle of Four, the four principles by which fire is made, based on Nyerges’ “How to Survive Anywhere” book. You’ll learn how to make fire from parts of your car, from the sun, from electricity, and from friction. And you’ll get hands-on practice. We’ll practice the bow drill, hand drill, plow, pump drill, batteries, flint and steel, reflectors, etc. There will also be a short walk where we collect some fire components, and we’ll collect a wild salad. Pasadena, Hahamongna Watershed Park, Location 2.

Thursday, December 21, 11:30 am.


On this first day of winter, let’s learn how to tie the loose ends of your life together, and to let your light shine! We’re going to do some weaving (twine, nets, brushes), and practice some primitive fire-making. As usual, there is good fellowship and good conversation. Yes, we know that one part of you wants to hunt for deals at the mall, but why? Hahamongna Watershed Park, Location 2.

Saturday, December 23, 10 a.m.


Eschew the crowded malls and busy freeways. Join like-minded folks and spend a relaxing Saturday by sharing what you carry in your survival kit, and show your knives. We’ll show some too! We’ll demonstrate a simple solar oven, and go on a short wild food walk (if time, and interest). We’ll have books and other products too, in case you’re interested in some last minute gifts. You’re also welcome to bring items to share, and/or to sell! Pasadena’s Hahamongna Watershed Park, Location 2.

Wednesday, December 27, 11 a.m.


Join us in the end of year quiet time in the higher elevation of our San Gabriel mountains as we hike along the stream and learn about the uses of plants, and the local history. We’ll attempt to make a little salad (maybe soup) from what is available. Some fire-making will be included. Switzers Camp in the Angeles National Forest. Location 3. You will need a Forest Adventure Pass from the Forest Service.




Location 1
Upper Arroyo. West end of Altadena Drive, Alt. 3 blocks west of Lincoln [pg. 535, F4].

Location 2
Hahamongna Watershed Park; entrance at Foothill and Oak Grove Dr., Pasadena. Meet at south end of the upper area (across from La Canada High School), near the outdoor bathrooms. One way to get here is to travel on the 210 Freeway westbound, and exit on Foothill in La Canada. Turn right (east) and take Foothill about a half-mile to its end, which is the entrance of the park.  Enter and drive south until you see the outdoor bathrooms (do not make the left hand turn which goes downhill). [pg. 535, E5].

Location 3
Switzer’s Camp, Angeles National Forest. From the 210 freeway in La Canada, drive up the Angeles Crest Highway 10 miles to Switzers. You will see the large sign on the Highway. Drive down the road and park in the parking lot. Meet near the bridge. NOTE: You will need a Forest Adventure Pass for this location. [pg. 505, H2]

Location 4
Angeles National Forest. From the Angeles Crest Highway and Foothill (or from the 210 freeway), drive 2 miles up the Angeles Crest Highway (above the large new houses) until you see the turnout on your right. You really need to look at your odometer for this one. [535, C1] .

Location 5
Millard Canyon, Altadena. Drive up to Loma Alta by going north on either Fair Oaks (from the east) or Lincoln Ave. (on the west). From Loma Alta in Altadena, go north on Chaney Trail all the way to the campground. [pg. 535, H2]

Location 6
Arroyo Seco, north of the Rose Bowl, Pasadena. Meet at the SW corner of Washington and West. Be sure to look at your map here, for more people seem to get lost finding this location than any other. The Rose Bowl is easy to find – and West is the north-south street on the west side of the Rose Bowl. You can simply drive north on West to the top of the T intersection, and park to your left in the dirt parking. Washington is the east-west street that dissects the golf course; so if you come from the east side of the golf course and the Rose Bowl, drive west on Washington until it ends in the T intersection, and then just drive forward into the dirt parking area. [pg. 565, E1].

Location 7
Cobb Estate, Extreme north end of Lake Ave., Altadena. Exit on Lake Avenue from the 210 freeway and head for the hills. [pg. 536, A3]

Location 8
Casting Ponds, Arroyo Seco.  Entrance to "Lower Arroyo Park" is from Arroyo Blvd, just west of Norwood Drive. Where the 210 meets the 134 freeway in Pasadena, go south on the short extension to the 110.  [If westbound on the 210, you take the 110 south; if eastbound on the 134, stay in the right lane and go south on the unfinished 210 south spur.] Go south on this short extension which ends at California Blvd. Turn right (west) on California, and travel to where it ends, at Arroyo Blvd. Turn right (north) on Arroyo Blvd. and look for the sign on your left for the Lower Arroyo Park. Drive down the road and park. [pg 565, F5].

Location 9
Orcas Park. NE of Hansen Dam, in Lake View Terrace. From the 210, exit Osborne and go east on Foothill to Orcas Ave., then go south into the park. We’ll meet in the southern-most parking area. [pg. 503, A2]



There are several preferred ways to reserve a spot on an outing

Send us a note specifying for what date, and how many people, along with a check, to School of Self-reliance, Box 41834, Eagle Rock, CA 90041. If you mail it "late," just call us and let us know it is in the mail.

Call or email us and let us take a credit card for payment for the outing. Call the office at 626-791-3217. Or email to If no one is there when you call, just leave your name and number and message and we’ll get back to you.

You can also make a payment via paypal to On the paypal comment section, be sure to note what date and class you are paying for, along with how many you're paying for, if more than one. We will get an email letting us know you’ve paid.


We will not turn you away if you didn’t do any of the above. We can accept cash or check (or even credit card) at the outing, and give you a receipt, if desired.  

ALSO, we are in constant need of Volunteers at our non-profit facility in Highland Park, doing things like raking, pruning, basic clean-up and gardening.  If you want to do some volunteer work at that site in exchange for coming to outings, just talk to Christopher and arrange it.

DON’T FORGET: You can give a Gift Certificate to a friend or family member to attend a class. Just ask.