Archive for November 2013

What Do You Carry in Your “Day” Pack?

What Do You Carry in Your "Day" Pack?

Yesterday, news station WNEP reported that in Gouldsboro State Park, located in Northeastern Pennsylvania, a search began for a lost woman who had gotten separated earlier in the day from her companion while on a day hike.  Happily, the search ended after four hours as a rescue.  However, if she hadn’t been found before nightfall, this event could have easily been now reported as a body recovery.  Why?  Because the pair had prepared their backpacks only for a “day hike,” and not for current conditions, let alone an unexpected overnight. While waiting to be found, what made the situation difficult, even painful, for the hiker was the sudden drop in temperatures yesterday to below freezing.  Although temperatures had been chilly most of last week, they were largely seasonal, even mild.  In fact, I did yard work on Saturday wearing a light jacket and shorts.  However, temperatures surprised many of us […]

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A Thank You from Venture Outdoors

A Thank You from Venture Outdoors

Last Sunday, True North ran a training program for the folks at Venture Outdoors, a non-profit organization based in Pittsburgh whose mission is to make outdoor activities, like hiking, climbing, and paddling, more accessible to people of all ages and experience levels.  As such, its staff and volunteer trip leaders need to know, not just how to run a smooth program, but how to deal with the unexpected.  So last week’s program was designed to help them better prepare for outdoor medical emergencies. Today, we received a really nice thank you note from them: “Thank you for arranging a fantastic training for VO staff and volunteer leaders. The real-time emergency response with actual EMS made the scenario incredibly realistic.  We look forward to setting up more outings with you in the future!“ But the simple truth is that this event wouldn’t have been such a success had it not been for […]

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Did He Really Need to Eat his Dog?

Did He Really Need to Eat his Dog?

The first words of a man recently rescued and recovering in a Canadian hospital after surviving almost three months along the Nottaway River, about 800 km from Montreal, are reported by the Daily Mail to be, “I want a new dog.” What happend to the old one? He ate it. When I read the initial accounts of this incident in the news last week, it sounded like an amazing story of survival.  Especially since, after spending so long stranded in a region where many others before him never even returned, his discovery and rescue was so dramatic.  Adding to it were the reports that he was forced to eat his “beloved” dog to stay alive.  I continued to follow this story because such incidents can be good learning tools by letting us learn from others’ successes and failures. But when I read the various timelines (like another Daily Mail article) […]

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An Evening with YMCA Indian Guides

An Evening with YMCA Indian Guides

I spent a really enjoyable evening around a campfire this past Friday evening with roughly 150 Indian Guides and their fathers at YMCA Camp Kon-O-Kwee Spencer.  Conveniently located in Frombell, Pennsylvania, about an hours drive north of Pittsburgh, the camp provided a wonderful setting to help kick off their weekend. The theme of their weekend was “Wilderness Survival” so the group had asked me to show them the basics of making a fire and to introduce them to wilderness survival. The YMCA Indian Guides program is designed to foster companionship between a father and his son through such shared activities as campouts, monthly meetings, community outings, and competitions.  This particular group hails from the Wexford, Pennsylvania area, and the ages of the children is between 5 and 8 years old. Right on time at 8:30 that evening, a long stream of kids and parents marched single file through the dark […]

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