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Using the Outdoors to Find Your Bearings

Using the Outdoors to Find Your Bearings

Usually at some point while teaching a wilderness survival course, I explain to a class that the skills and knowledge that they are acquiring isn’t just limited to dealing with an emergency situation in a remote outdoors location.  Their wilderness survival ability is also applicable to Life in general. That’s because survival isn’t really so much about how much gear that you have in your backpack, or how much specialized training that you have.  Rather, in any survival situation, it’s what’s in your head and heart that most matters. So if you want to be a good survivor, and even test your chances of being one, oftentimes you can just look to see how you are “surviving” in your daily life.  This may sound odd, but the simple truth is that the hardships that we sometimes experience in our daily lives — whether being laid off unexpectedly from a job; being diagnosed […]

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CNN Interviews True North

CNN Interviews True North

Last Friday, CNN news anchor, Brooke Baldwin, again interviewed True North’s own Erik Kulick on her program Newsroom.  This time, she wanted to ask about his thoughts concerning the rescue of Louis Jordan, the sailor who was rescued one day earlier, approximately 200 miles off the coast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, after apparently spending 66 days lost at sea in a sailboat. Given that this admittedly inexperienced sailor showed none of the expected hallmarks of a castaway, like severe sunburn, blisters, profound dehydration, and weight loss — not too mention that both of Jordan’s shoulders appeared remarkably normal considering that he stated to the U.S. Coast Guard that he had broken his shoulder early on in a storm — the media grew skeptical as the story developed. So Brooke spoke to Erik to ask his opinion about Jordan’s account. Just below, then, is a transcript of their talk.  And if you like, you can watch […]

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Congratulations Survival Grads

Congratulations Survival Grads

True North is really proud to welcome our newest survival graduates who completed our Basic Wilderness Survival (BWS) course this weekend.  Some might think that this was some simple Spring camping trip, but, trust me, they’d be wrong … definitely wrong. After all, Winter would better describe the conditions!  This crew of four not only arrived bright and early at the trailhead, despite ample snow on the ground at Quebec Run Wild Area in the Laurel Highlands and the forecast upcoming overnight low temperature of 14 degrees, but they put their nervousness and physical discomfort aside to work hard all day, laughing and smiling throughout.  Even when they emerged from their tents the next morning with frost on their hats (where it had actually hit 12 degrees overnight) they continued to amply demonstrate positive mental attitude — the hallmark of the survivor — at its finest. We enjoyed a wonderfully diverse group who took our BWS […]

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True North Announces New Partnership

True North Announces New Partnership

True North Wilderness Survival School is proud to officially announce that it is partnering with the Allegheny County Parks Department to run a series of outdoor education programs throughout 2015.  The schedule will include courses in wilderness survival, land navigation, and first-aid, to name just a few. These events will help to meet several goals all around, but, more importantly, will offer many benefits to the Western Pennsylvania region. ACPD is eager to develop and manage programs that will help contribute to its mission of enhancing the quality of life and well being of the residents of Allegheny County by showcasing the beauty and diversity of its extensive park system, while also offering outdoor educational opportunities that will help foster a deeper respect for the conservation of its natural and cultural resources. In turn, True North is excited at the prospect of working with a broader range of outdoor enthusiasts to help develop […]

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Emergency Water Sources

Emergency Water Sources

In a wilderness emergency, especially one in which you suspect that you may not be rescued within 72 hours, potable water can be critical to your survival.  This is because by that point – perhaps even sooner depending upon certain factors like the weather, your level of physical exertion, and medical condition – your bodily functions begin to become impeded and your mental status impaired. So, while you may have the necessary equipment to filter and purify water, you have to first find it. Can you? Just in case you are uncertain, let me share with you a few ideas and tips to consider. Where to Look Here are a few suggestions on finding sources of water: Keep in mind the basic truism that water doesn’t flow uphill or run along the top of ridgelines, so you’ll have much better luck looking in low spots, like valleys and drainages. There, not only […]

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Staying Warm on a Cold Night

Staying Warm on a Cold Night

Speaking from experience, it’s seems that whenever one has to suddenly deal with an unexpected problem, rarely does it occur in perfect conditions.  This, most especially, when it involves the outdoors.  So, in this vein, my mind regularly ponders varying ways and means to effectively stay warm if one of my “day hikes” should ever turn into a overnight.  Out of this, then, let me share with you a product that you may want to consider adding to you gear inventory. Now, of course, whenever I head out into the woods on some adventure, I am properly prepared to meet my seven priorities of survival — in particular, Priority #3 Shelter — but my concern is that even if I can protect myself from the wind and rain, it may still be hard to stay warm. Build a fire, right? Building a fire to dovetail with my shelter seems to be a […]

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Preparation: The Key to Dealing with an Emergency

Preparation: The Key to Dealing with an Emergency

As I regularly explain to our students in our wilderness survival and medicine courses, one doesn’t need to be an Army Ranger or a medical professional to benefit from these types of emergency training.  After all, whether it’s a mountain top, a state park, a roadside accident, or a burning building, each of us may still at any moment be called upon to protect ourselves or the lives of others from some threat.  Then, thereafter, we may need to live with the consequences of our action or inaction — Or, heck, perhaps we won’t live. At the moment of truth, it really doesn’t matter so much the size of your backpack, the fancy equipment in it, or your general professional training (I’ve heard of a group cardiologists who froze when a colleague collapsed of a cardiac arrest during a conference).  Rather it is your head and heart that most matters. So […]

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Our Newest WFA Providers!

Our Newest WFA Providers!

On behalf of True North, I am really pleased to announce our newest group of certified Wilderness First Aid (WFA) providers.  Travelling from as far away as Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and representing a diverse mix of backgrounds including an Emergency Medical Responder (EMR), an outdoor educator, and a geologist, the group all shared the same desire to learn how to stabilize, assess, and treat patients in wilderness or other austere locations when frontcountry help isn’t immediately available. After they learned the fundamentals of keeping themselves safe while properly assessing a patient, they learned such important topics as dealing with traumatic injuries, environmental issues, like hypothermia and hyperthermia, and a mix of medical problems.  Then they ended the course by running through an involved scenario — with four of the best “patients” around! — that tested their newly acquired skills and knowledge. I want to thank each of them for all of their […]

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WMS Approves our Courses

WMS Approves our Courses

True North is proud to announce that the Wilderness Medical Society (WMS) has recently accepted our Basic Wilderness Navigation and Basic Wilderness Survival as approved courses in its Fellow of the Academy of Wilderness Medicine (FAWM) program.  This former, then, provides 6-credits of “Land Navigation” (05-15), while the latter provides 11.5-credits through a mix of core and elective components as part of the FAWM Survival, Field Craft & Equipment topic area. The FAWM is geared towards those professionals, like physicians, nurses, paramedics, and other related outdoor educators, in any recognized medical discipline or vocation, or who are a current student or resident of such a program.  The fundamental purpose of the Academy is the support the mission of the WMS to advance healthcare, research, and education related to wilderness medicine. This addition to our programming is just another in True North’s ongoing efforts to provide superior outdoors training at fair and reasonable prices that meets the demands of […]

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The New Year Ahead

The New Year Ahead

I am sure that many of you, like me, take advantage of the slow and peaceful days between Christmas and the New Year, to quietly reflect on the preceding twelve months.  Doing so offers us an opportunity to consider what went well, and just as importantly — perhaps even more so — what didn’t, with the hope that we can make the most of our future. So, as I sit here planning the year ahead for True North, I cannot help but appreciate how terrific the current year has been, and be thankful for it.  This most especially since we were able to build upon what we had started in years past to bring some of the finest in outdoors education and programming to an expanding list of clients, friends, and partners.  Now I’m even more excited about what we can do in 2015! The Year in Review 2014 stands as a milestone for several reasons, but I […]

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