Archive for July 2012

Emergency Water Filter

Emergency Water Filter

Here is an unconventional, yet practical, piece of equipment for you to consider adding to your emergency survival kit.  The “HydroPack,” manufactured by  Hydration Technology Innovations, will make any water on the ground, no matter how muddy, brackish, even polluted, absolutely potable. You are not sure at what I am exactly getting?  Okay, then, consider the following emergency scenario: You left your home bright and early to spend a beautiful Summer day hiking.  However, just after lunch you realize that you took a wrong trail.  Initially, you thought that you could easily backtrack, but, hours later, now with the sun beginning to set, you reluctantly acknowledge that you are really lost and will be spending the night.  Complicating the situation is that hours earlier you took the last sip from your water bottle (after all, you only brought enough for a “day” hike), and the afternoon was much hotter than […]

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Outdoor Photography

Outdoor Photography

So as to better inform others of the activities and adventures that are taking place at True North, we make the effort to regularly alternate our various photographs.  Like the ones that currently grace the header and footer of our Facebook page.  Thanks to local professional photographer, Abie Livesay, we are extremely lucky to have more than a few beautiful ones from which to chose. During the weekend of May 26-27, 2012, True North hosted a “Fun” Survival Overnight for a group of individuals who have some of the highest PMA levels that Erik and Larry have ever seen.  True North planned the event in order to help make up for a survival training course for which this group had registered the previous November, but which … How shall we say? … had gone slightly awry thanks to an unplanned abundance of hunters roaming the Laurel Highlands searching for bears. […]

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Wild Edibles: An Introduction

Wild Edibles: An Introduction

In his wilderness survival courses at True North, Erik doesn’t teach about plants as a primary food source.  Instead, he typically discusses a long list of what he calls the “myth of wild edibles.”  This is a slight overstatement, Erik soon admits to students, but he makes it to emphasize two important points.  Primarily, he wants them to begin re-thinking, and re-shaping, the world around them so that they are better prepared for an emergency situation, and not rely on preconceived notions from silly television shows or third-hand sources.  Just as importantly, wild edibles are not Erik’s speciality, and he refuses to pretend that he is an expert where he is not.  After all, our overarching focus at True North is all about giving students the information and training that will help keep them, and their loved ones, safe in the wilderness. So, it is our pleasure to introduce Jake […]

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Training for Lionheart Continues

Training for Lionheart Continues

A guest post by Janée Romesberg – a first in a series of blog posts documenting her training with True North Outdoor School. My name is Janée Romesberg, I am 23 years old, I am in the middle of training for the upcoming 90-mile Lionheart Adventure Race in Ohiopyle, PA, and I sort of hate running. Really. Allow me to explain. I have been involved with organized sports (mainly soccer) since I was 5 years old, played on several traveling leagues during my adolescent years and played varsity soccer throughout my high school and college careers. I love competition and am no stranger to training hard; I simply cannot bring myself to just run for long periods of time without becoming bored to tears. After graduating from college and coming to the realization that I no longer had a competitive outlet, I looked for other ways to get that fix. I […]

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Lost Hiker Saves Self by Staying Put

Lost Hiker Saves Self by Staying Put

Durning the recent Independence Day holiday, hiker James Bane did what many of us around the country did that weekend … He decided to spend the day hiking.  But when he finally realized that he was hopelessly lost on Mount Hood in Oregon, he did what few others actually do in the same predicament … He decided to stay put. This not only saved Oregon thousands of dollars in taxpayer money that would otherwise have been spent searching for, and retrieving, James, but it likely kept him from getting injured, even saving his life.  And, just as importantly, his decision likely kept many of the dozens of searchers out looking for him from getting injured, even saving their lives too. As reported in The Oregonian, Bane, 62, an experienced hiker, found himself suddenly lost in the late afternoon.  When darkness approached, he dialed 9-1-1 to tell the Clackamas County Sheriff’s […]

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Exploring the Bear Claw

Exploring the Bear Claw

Despite all the rain and mud, I enjoyed a fun two days exploring the Laurel Run section of Quebec Run Wild Area (QRWA).  It is hard to describe, though, what was the best part.  Could it be because of the two terrific people who accompanied me?  Or was it because we hiked through woodlands that are little visited by others?  Tough call.  It must be both! True North recently received final approval of its permit application that I filed about six months ago with the Pennsylvania Department of Forestry to teach outdoor skills courses, like wilderness survival and land navigation, at QRWA.  The Rangers in the Laughlintown District Office worked with me to assign a section that they thought would best serve our student’s needs while minimizing impact to the land, plus other public use.  Ultimately, we decided that the Laurel Run section would be the best setting.  The only […]

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Upcoming “Wilderness First Aid” Course at Exkursion

Upcoming "Wilderness First Aid" Course at Exkursion

For anyone who is interested in becoming certified in Wilderness First Aid (WFA), or who wishes to renew their certification, Exkursion has added a course to their Summer schedule. It will be held on two consecutive Sundays, August 5 and 12, from 3:00 to 9:00 both days.  The cost will be $185. This is a great opportunity for several reasons.  First off, wilderness first aid training provides a potentially life saving skill for anyone who spends time in the woods or any remote setting.  It is also a terrific confidence builder.  After completing the training, you will be better equipped to assess trauma and medical problems, and you will have a better understanding of how to treat such common wilderness maladies as shock, hypothermia, bleeding, fractures, dislocations, bites … the list goes on. In turn, this particular course is great because the program is being taught by SOLO, the oldest, […]

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One Tough Navigator

One Tough Navigator

Congratulations to Mendl B. of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for completing a private lesson in Basic Wilderness Navigation. We first met earlier in the week at Commonplace Coffee in Squirrel Hill on Forbes Avenue for a “classroom” session to discuss the fundamentals of land navigation … like the parts of a compass; the differences in compass types genrally; how to read a topographic map; the difference between Magnetic North and True North; plus many other points.  There, Mendl bought me a cup of coffee that might be the best that I ever had! Then, yesterday, as part of the “field” session, Mendl braved a blazing sun and a 103° heat index to walk on and off trail at Hartwood Acres County Park to practice the practical elements of navigation.  He learned that while navigation is fairly easy conceptually to learn, it is a bit harder to do in actuality.  However, half way […]

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Team True North

Team True North

Training for Team True North has already begun in earnest. Janée Romesberg will be representing True North Outdoor School in the Lionheart Adventure Race from August 11-12.  Lionheart is a 25 hour race beginning in Ohiopyle, Pennsylvania, in the beautiful Laurel Highlands, which involves mountain biking, trail running, kayaking, rappelling, and orienteering over an 85 mile combined course. Janée has already completed the Basic Wilderness Navigation and Advanced Wilderness Survival courses in recent months, but she will be working with Erik and Larry to refine many of the required skills that she will need for this race. Follow Janee’s personal blog posts about her training experience with True North at the links below! Training for Lionheart Continues  

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