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.











 2016 MARKS THE 42nd YEAR OF CLASSES!!!  (Gosh! Is that possible?!)


















Thursday, September 1, 11:30 a.m.


We’ll go on a short wild food walk to identify and collect a few edible and medicinal plants in season. You’ll walk in a chaparral and riparian environment and see plants in season. A great mid-day activity. Hahamongna Watershed Park, Location 2.


Friday, September 2, 7 p.m.


at Pasadena City College. Five Friday nights from 7 to 9 p.m. Class topics include: Wild plants for food and medicine, food and food storage, water purification, water storage, making fire without matches, clothing, shelter, weaving, tools and weapons, and more. For registration and cost, call (626) 585-7608.


Saturday, September 3, 10 a.m.


Here’s another ancient skill that you’ll enjoy learning. Each person will work on turning an ornamental gourd into a bowl for eating, or perhaps a canteen. We’ll bring tools, but if you have a good knife, hacksaw, fine files, bring them! If time, we’ll also collect wild foods and have a great salad in the bowls we just made. 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]. Be SURE to RSVP for this one so we bring enough gourds!


Thursday, Sept. 8, 11:30 a.m.


Focus on the quail trap. In this afternoon class, you’ll learn about simple snares, deadfalls, triggers, the quail trap, and then we’ll go on a short walk to look at suitable woods for traps, and collect a wild food salad. Hahamongna Watershed Park. Location 2.


Saturday, September 10, 10 a.m.


Learn how to use a map and compass. We’ll go over how to read and use a map, and how to make specialized maps. We’ll review the proper way to use a compass in the outdoors. We will also do a few practice exercises with map and compass. Hahamongna Watershed Park. Location 2. Bring a compass.


Thursday, Sept. 15, 11:30 a.m.


Learn to identify some common chaparral and riparian plants in a unique “urban wilderness” location. We’ll discuss their medicinal and edible properties. Plus, bring your salad bowl because we’ll try to make a wild salad. Location 6. Arroyo Seco, north of the Rose Bowl, Pasadena. Meet at the SW corner of Washington and West. [pg. 565, E1]


Saturday, September 17, 10 a.m.


We will cover basic to intermediate Wilderness Survival in this class taught by Keith Farrar and Christopher Nyerges. This is a full day with quite a bit of hands-on training. Additionally, Christopher will conduct a "Wild Food" plant walk so you can learn some of the edible plants in our area of Southern California. 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. The fee for this class is $65.00 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. Hahamongna Watershed Park, Location 2.



Thursday, Sept. 22, 11:30 a.m.

BUNDLE BOW WORKSHOP, and Wild Food Outing, $20.

We’ll learn how to make the so-called “quick bow” or “bundlebow” from bundled twigs, for those times when you need a bow quickly and don’t have all day to create a good bow. Knife and clippers will be needed. We’ll also cover some basics of the simple atlatl. Then we’ll collect a wild food salad. Location 2, Hahamongna Watershed Park.


September 24, 10 a.m.


We’ll be in the Angeles Forest in the Upper Arroyo, a mix of riparian, chaparral, and higher-elevation plants. We’ll have a lot of hands-on as we travel up the canyon, seeing edible and medicinal plants, learning how fire was made before the day of matches, learning how to weave fabric from plants, shelter, water purification, slings and snares, etc. We will show how to find suitable wood for archery bows, and much more. Location 1, the Upper Arroyo Seco.


Thursday, Sept. 29, 11:30 a.m.


We’ll walk up the Arroyo Seco learning about the uses of the wild plants, and take special note of plants used for weaving. You’ll learn how to work with fibre plants, and make a wild food salad. Location 1. Meet at the extreme west end of Altadena Drive, Altadena, 3 blocks west of Lincoln.


Saturday, October 1, 10 a.m.


Are you ready for the possibility of the next earthquake, the next blackout, the next stock market crash? Or are you simply a pragmatist who wants to be ready for anything? We’ll cover the basics of food production and storage, water storage, alternatives to electricity, things to store, toilet alternatives, and more. Do you need a “bug out bag,” and if so, what should you put in it? Then we’ll go on a wild food walk and collect salad. Hahamongna Watershed Park. Location 2.


Saturday, October 8, 10 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. A great family activity. Hahamongna Watershed Park, Location 2.


Saturday, October 15, 10 a.m.


Here is a skill that everyone took for granted a few generations ago, but which most urban folks know nothing about. Simple trapping of animals can be a life-or-death skill, under certain circumstances. We’ll focus on how to make the simplest of snares, and trigger mechanisms for bird traps and dead falls. You’ll also learn how to make a basic net, whose many applications include hammock, fishing, carrying net, etc. Bring your knife. Pasadena’s Hahamongna Watershed Park.


Saturday, November 5, 10 a.m.


Learn about water purification, making fire without matches, wild plant identification, and shelter-building. Switzer’s Camp, Angeles National Forest. From Foothill Bl. in La Canada, travel north about 11 miles on the Angeles Crest Hwy. to Switzer’s camp entrance. Park in the lower lot, near the bridge. [pg. 505, H2]. Location 3. NOTE: You must purchase a Forest Adventure Pass or you will be ticketed. Purchase at Sport Chalet, Forest Service offices, etc.


November 12, 10 a.m.


We’ll cover some of the basics of primitive weaponry, and will then show how to make a self-bow (one piece of wood). 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.


Saturday, November 19, 10 a.m.


Is it possible to “be thankful” for the wild foods that we can so readily collect? We'll collect some wild edibles, and then we'll prepare and cook a delicious wild Thanksgiving meal. We’ll have a salad, soup, acorn pancakes, cactus, etc. Bring a bowl and cup. Location 2, Hahamongna Watershed Park.


Saturday, December 3, 10 a.m.


We’ll focus upon all the related fire skills, and also cover weaving, edible and medicinal plants, some first aid, water purification, shelter, and more. Angeles National Forest, Location 4. From the Angeles Crest Hwy and Foothill (or from the 210 freeway), drive 2 miles up the A.C. Hwy. (above the large houses) – the turnout is on your right. [535, C1]


Saturday, December 17, 10 a.m.


Join us as we dissect the knives we carry, and the stuff we carry in our packs, to ascertain its value in survival situation. What are the skills we should all know? Bring your own pack and we can discuss the contents with our show-and-tell. Bring items you’d like to sell also because we’ll have a “sales table” where you can buy books, knives, and other useful gear. Location 2, Hahamongna Watershed Park.






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.