“To my knowledge, none of the climbers I was with were formally trained in the way of wilderness medicine and with only a medical kit and no radio communication, I felt very out there. I knew that if anything went wrong or if someone needed help, we couldn’t do much of anything.”Read More
Editor’s Note: This case study is based on a real-life incident from the early 1980’s.
You and three friends are on an early winter ski trip. To shorten the route, the group decides to cut across a lake, despite previously agreeing to avoid the lakes due to thin ice.Read More
During the first multiple casualty scenario of my WEMT course, my team responded to a simulated flash flood incident. When we arrived at the scene, we found 6 mock patients in a river in varying levels of distress. One was complaining of leg pain. We rolled up her pant leg to see blood and bone ends exposed (the makeup was pretty convincing!). The team immediately got started using the training we had been learning and practicing.Read More
On a recent camping trip, I saw a group of young boys using sticks as swords, throwing rocks, and flinging algae from the tiny creek that ran adjacent to the campground—not ideal Leave No Trace behavior. I went over to their trip leaders and introduced myself as a naturalist and expressed my discomfort with what the boys were doing. I wasn't sure how the leaders would react—would they ignore me, a black woman, and let “boys be boys”? Instead, one of the leaders called the boys over and told them to have a seat because they were about to learn a lesson on stewardship.Read More
You’re thinking about starting a new career. Your dream job might be working in the outdoors. Or fighting fires. Or in a hospital. Or maybe you want to instruct NOLS courses.
If you're looking to get into one of these fields, getting a wilderness medicine certification can help you get started.Read More
If you have children, you know the highs and lows of family trips in the outdoors.
Your 2-year-old, who is fascinated by the camp stove, manages to burn her finger on the off-but-still-hot Whisperlite. Your teenager complains loudly, and frequently, about discomfort in his knees on a family hike. At camp, your 7-year-old vomits but can’t describe her symptoms beyond “not feeling good.”Read More
We found ourselves in our boat pulling away from the only dry land we could see. It looked as though a normal city neighborhood, with older homes lined up in rows covered by large shade trees, had been built in the middle of a shallow lake.Read More
Telling your friends about the peak you climbed or the rapid you ran are the things you want to bring home from the backcountry—not a foodborne illness.
Taking turns cooking is a part of camping, and it helps when everyone has the same routines for kitchen hygiene, especially for friends who are new to cooking in the outdoors.Read More
Be honest—when was the last time you looked inside your first aid kit? Was it just last week, or was it long enough ago that you couldn’t confirm whether a family of packrats had made a home in it or not?Read More