Whether you’re deep in the mountains or just miles from town in your local park, wilderness medicine training can come in handy—and even save a life.Read More
Three years ago, as part of a gap year, I took part in a semester-long, eighty-day NOLS course in Baja California.
This course consisted of 15 students and 4 highly-trained instructors embarking on a 100-mile hike from San Juanico to Mulegé, a 120-nautical mile sail on the Sea of Cortez from Loreto to just about south of Puerto Agua Verde, and ending with a 250-mile sea kayaking journey from Puerto Agua Verde to a town called Tecalote. (I also received sixteen college credits for my course, ranging from wilderness first aid to Leave No Trace principles).Read More
“A cold” can refer to a range of viral, flu-like symptoms like fever, sore throat, sinus infection, cough, stomach bugs, upper respiratory infections, or simply the sniffles. Getting sick and having some combination of these cold symptoms can be common when you’re hiking, camping, or doing another activity outdoors. While having a cold is never fun, being in the backcountry when you get sick can make it that much worse.Read More
Working at NOLS, and in the wilderness medicine department for that matter, my colleagues and I are not unfamiliar with what can go wrong in the backcountry—that is what we teach our students to respond to, after all. Walking through the Exhibitor Reception the first evening of the Wilderness Risk Management Conference (WRMC) in Salt Lake City, I met and mingled with a lot of folks who were dedicated to that same goal of being a leader in crisis situations, in one way or another.Read More
I refused to wear anything other than dresses until I was 7 …and even then it was only because my family moved to a small country town in northeast Wyoming and I wanted to fit in.
I’ve been a “girly girl” my entire life, and I had no interest in playing in the backcountry until about three years ago when I transferred to a university in the Black Hills of South Dakota and was lured out by their beauty and the exercise (plus, I got invited to go hiking with an attractive guy who has now been my partner in all adventures and in life for the past three years).Read More
An important part of managing emergencies in the backcountry is coming up with first aid solutions using the supplies you have on hand. Knowing how to make a homemade, or improvised, splint to immobilize an injured arm, wrist, finger, or a suspected broken leg is a key wilderness first aid skill.Read More
“Wilderness has no handrails, no telephones, and no simple solutions for complex emergency situations. It does have dangers. Some are obvious: rock fall, moving water, stormy weather, avalanches, crevasses, and wild animals. Others are subtle: impure water, dehydration, cold and damp weather, altitude illness, and human judgment.” -Tod Schimelpfenig, NOLS Wilderness Medicine
The importance of wilderness medicine knowledge and protocols in disaster zones is tenfold. When resources are depleted, emergency access is delayed, and safely functioning environments become austere, an urban setting ultimately transforms into a modern-day wilderness.Read More
There’s no such thing as the perfect first aid kit, so you should consider your needs, including the length of your trip, the size of your group, and where you will be traveling, and then build a kit that meets them.Read More
Human beings are big bags of water.
No, really—just check this excerpt from NOLS Wilderness Medicine by Tod Schimelpfenig:
“We hear through a medium of water, the brain is cushioned by fluid, and the joints are lubricated by fluid. Blood is 90 percent water, and every biochemical reaction takes place in a medium of water." (p. 253)Read More