About the Ridge Runner

The Ridgerunner AKA Shawn Merritt

Born on March 3rd 1978 in Rome NY. Shawn Merritt AKA the Ridge Runner is a lifelong outdoorsman who teaches wilderness skills, volunteers with his local committee of safety and many other pastimes including acting and drama.

Shawn has been a member of the Civil Air Patrol, the US Navy (for a short time) and the New York Volunteer Rangers.

From Shawn:

I became interested in Primitive Wilderness Survival and the Outdoors at a young age. It started with my Grandfather who was among other things an avid hunter and hiker. He did such interesting jobs as a lumberjack in the 9 mile Swamp near North Brookfield to farm hand , Machinist and cook. He is an artist, outdoorsman, wood worker and WWII Vet. He has pictures he drew during the Invasion of Laite Gulf on display in the Smithsonian. He showed me a lot about the basics of shooting, whittling, hunting and camp craft and told me ALOT of wonderful stories. His influences include Col. Townsend Wayland (of Cal .35 Wayland fame) and Bradford Angier. I have also read a lot of these author's works. Also
I went hiking and camping with a friend of mine, Jamie Poyle in Westmoreland N.Y.

He Sparked my interest with the book "Tom Brown's Field Guide to Wilderness Survival.

I ate that book alive taking in as much info as my 14 year old mind could take! It was at this time I was also introduced to George Washington Sears AKA "Nessmuk" and his book Woodcraft and Camping and this book also truly had an effect on me.
We spent two years camping and tracking the woodlands around our homes

and spent lots of time at a primitive Camp we called "Pine Home". After a while we  parted ways as boys do.

At this point I was living in shall I say an unsavory family situation and during the summers I left for the back of

a cheap mess kit and some blankets  in an old East German rucksack. A single shot .22 LR completed my rig. Im sure there were other odds and ends and I did procure a Kukri toward the end but I was basically living off the land during my summers to stay away from home only coming in once every two weeks to visit my father.  Once in a while, R.H. would stop in and say howdy and spend a night or two. He showed me a lot about camp craft that his father had showed him. Such things as this survival belt wherein you keep certain necessities on a belt so that you always have it with you (this nifty double belt system where you rivet a leather belt to a pistol belt for a secure way to carry your knife and other goods)
Of Course I got out of the bad family situation and moved away.

However, my interest in the outdoors continued to burn. After a while I found this wonderful place called the Internet and
Ron and Karen Hood's Web Site.
It got me started all over again !
I got on the Hoodlum's Forums  there and found that there were
many other men and woman out there who shared my interest in living simply!
Since then I have come in contact with many interesting people from Deer Runner from Mid-Atlantic Primitive Skills to Marty Simons from Wilderness Learning Center along with MANY other wonderful people who have tought me much about my chosen field of interest.

Oudoor Videos and Books I have Read:
Woodcraft and Camping By George Washington Sears "Nessmuk"
Tom Brown's Field Guide to Wilderness Survival
Wilderness Survival Skills by Bradford Agier
On your own in the Wilderness by Col. Townsand Wayland
Participating in Nature: Thomas J Elpel

The Woodsmaster Series with Ron and Karen Hood