Friday, September 30, 2011

Basic Survival Skills

Last night John and I made a trek out to Boulder to attend a free Basic Survival Skills class at REI.  

It was hosted by Ford Church - the founder of the Cottonwood Institute.  It's a great program, by the way - it helps kids (and adults) get outdoors and explore nature and the world around us!  From the website, it was founded "to inspire young people to initiate positive change in their schools, their communities, and the environment in order to strengthen their civic engagement, environmental stewardship, and leadership skills."

Pretty rad, huh?  Like camp, but WAY better. 

Anyhew, the class really just touched on the basics, but it was a great start for things to know if you ever get stuck in a sticky situation.  Here is a VERY basic list of some of the things I learned. 

1.) Be prepared before you even leave your home.
This seems pretty self-explanatory, right?  You'd be surprised how many people do not leave prepared for their hike in the wilderness.  Basically, have your map (and know how to read it), have your compass (and know how to use it), and ALWAYS tell someone where you're going.  

2.) Always be ready in case of an emergency. 
This means carrying things on your person (not necessarily in your bag, because it could always get lost or fall off a cliff - which has really happened!).  Our instructor says that whenever he goes on a hike or when he's teaching a class, he always has a good knife on a string around his neck, with a matchless striker attached to it in case he needs to start a fire.  Smart smart!!

3.) Shelter comes first. 
If you're lost, and darkness is approaching, food and water are not your top priority.  Staying warm is - and with temperatures dropping significantly in higher elevations at nightfall, well you better be ready!  You need to keep your body away from the ground on some kind of bedding.  You can do this with pine needles then covering yourself with them (it'll make a kind of "convection" of your body heat).  He gave us examples of simple lean-to's and things like that as well.  

4.)  Remember the simple rule of 3's.
3 minutes without AIR
3 hours without SHELTER
3 days without WATER
3 weeks without FOOD
And yes, these are in order of priority. 

We learned much more than that, but those are some of the bare-bones basics that we learned.  I could go into more detail, but I didn't take full notes about everything! ;) 

Some things that Ford suggested for us to always take with us in case of an emergency: 
- 3 different ways to start a fire (ex: strike-anywhere matches in a waterproof container, a lighter, and a matchless striker)
- cottonballs rolled around in petroleum jelly (he said it's a great way to get a fire started - just light the cotton in the middle, and it will burn much longer when it catches the jelly on the outside)
- A good knife
- An army surplus rain jacket (for shelter as a tarp, and many other uses)
- a space wrap (I may be calling this the wrong thing, but it's the really shiny super thin silver sheet that reflects your own body heat.  It can be used to signal for help by reflecting, or to hold in body warmth.)
- A flashlight or LED light (signaling for help - S.O.S.) 
- heavy string / twine (for putting together a shelter)

It was a very informative meeting, and I'm really glad that we went!  I really didn't know as much as I thought I did.  How about that?  

After the lecture, John and I headed out to find some grub.  We ended up at the Walnut Brewery & Restaurant, and enjoyed a pretty fantastic meal!  
We started with spinach & jalapeno cheese dip which was ridiculously good.  John got the 2:00am Burger (topped with hash browns, cheese, bacon and a fried egg - oh, my!), and I got their homemade Veggie Burger.  

Why, yes it's a heart attack on a plate.  But it's SOOOO GOOOOD!

 I really think this is one of the best in-restaurant veggie burgers I've ever had.  SO HAPPY that they weren't trying to offer me another damn Boca Burger.  Go for homemade!! :) 

And yes, that's mayo on the side.  Don't judge me. 
We also shared a flight of their beers, John went with the Buffalo Gold, and I got their ROCKtoberfest which was deeeeelish!

All-in-all turned out to be a pretty great date with my fella.  We learned stuff and we ate stuff, and it was pretty damn good!

1 comment:

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