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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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Upcoming EMS Lecture

Upcoming EMS Lecture

True North is very pleased to announce that it will be participating in the “UPMC Morning of Education” on Friday, October 18 sponsored and organized by UPMC Prehospital Care.  This purpose of this event is to provide continuing-education training and credits to EMS personnel and other medical professionals in and around the Western Pennsylvania region. The theme of the program is the “Outdoors” so all of the lectures will focus on emergency medicine issues in remote locations where definitive medical care is delayed. Erik will kick off the day with his lecture “Cool Lessons: Dealing with Hypothermia in the Backcountry.”  He will then be followed by two physicians who will each talk about altitude sickness, then the treatment of venomous snakebites. All in all, it should be an informative and fun day … Especially since it will which will be held at the Pittsburgh Zoo!

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Drink Your Urine?

Drink Your Urine?

One of the most common questions that I am asked during one of my wilderness first aid or wilderness survival courses, or during a lecture, is the the following:  “Is it okay during a survival situation to drink one’s urine?” This definitely is a good question for several reasons, most of all, since it is being asked within the context of helping to stave off dehydration, the idea appears to make sense.  After all, as one may reason, if one is dehydrated, one needs water, so one shouldn’t waste it, even if it is one’s own bodily waste product.  More to the point, however, so many people ask the question because they have seen it discussed and done so many times on so-called reality television programs.  This wouldn’t be so bad except that there are people who, during a wilderness emergency, actually have resorted to drinking their urine. So, what […]

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Into The Wild – Is the Mystery Solved?

Into The Wild - Is the Mystery Solved?

It seems that stories about the struggle to survive and overcome great odds in the unforgiving wilderness rarely endure.  Sure, an account may effect big headlines in the newspapers, and people may actively chatter about it amongst themselves with particular emphasis on the gory details, but even this quickly fades and people just as quickly forget.  While many know the basic facts about the Donner Party, few seem to know the real details, much of it inspiring, and fewer still seem to know anything about the U.S.S. Indianapolis.  This is a shame … For them, and for us. However, the story about the death of Christopher McCandless, who in 1992 slowly starved in an isolated bus near Denali National Park long endures.  Many of us, of course, read the accounts that Jon Krakauer wrote, first in Outside in 1993, and later in his 1996 book, Into the Wild.  And, certainly, the […]

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Equipment Review – LifeProof iPhone Case

Equipment Review - LifeProof iPhone Case

About two weeks ago, I cringed slightly when I paid $79.95 for a LifeProof case to protect my iPhone 4 mobile telephone.  However, at this point, I can easily say that I couldn’t have spent my money better. To be clear, it’s not that I necessarily minded paying such a high cost to protect my iPhone, because the simple reality is that my mobile telephone is far more to me than just a luxury or convenience, it is a genuine work tool.  Primarily, of course, I use my iPhone to help run my True North programs.  Among so many things, I can quickly respond to client emails during the week or help direct them to a meeting site should they suddenly become lost; I regularly use a mix of Applications to check the weather forecast, sunrise and sunset, and topographic maps to help with planning; and, of course, depending on my location, […]

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Movie Suggestion – “All is Lost”

Movie Suggestion - "All is Lost"

I am usually very reluctant to make the effort to see, or to recommend to others, a movie that is “survival” themed.  That’s because most are usually junk in that they are based more on entirely contrived drama than actual fact or reality.  However, I just watched the trailer for a movie that is to be released in October that I might just have to see. All is Lost is an American film about a man who becomes lost alone at sea after his sail boat sinks soon after being struck by an adrift commercial shipping container.  The film appears to be unique in that there is very little dialogue and the only cast member is actor, Robert Redford.  There isn’t even a soccer ball named Wilson! Anyway, check out the official trailer below. If anyone is interested in seeing it too, just let me know … I’ll even buy the […]

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How to Fix Broken Zippers

How to Fix Broken Zippers

If you are like me, then you have faced the aggravation of dealing with broken zippers on gear and clothing.  While it is a simple problem in theory to fix, the reality is that it is potentially quite frustrating, time consuming, and expensive (relatively speaking). This morning, I came across the website of FixnZip, makers of zipper repair products. Check out their website for more information.  And please check out too their videos below. I am intrigued enough that I plan on buying a few repair kits.  I’ll be sure to let you know what I find out. ——————— How to fix a broken zipper on a jacket:   How to repair a broken tent zipper:

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Discounted Courses for Volunteers!

Discounted Courses for Volunteers!

Are you interested in a way to help protect the environment and save some money on a True North course too? On Sunday, October 6, True North will spend the day volunteering in a wonderful event that will benefit, not just our local communities, but our entire region.  We don’t want, though, to keep all the fun to ourselves … True North wants You to join in too! Organized by Paddle Without Pollution (PWP), the purpose of this event is to clean up debris along the banks of the Kiskiminetas River near Leechburg, Pennsylvania.  PWP staff and many volunteers will paddle their kayaks and canoes in search of the debris that sadly pollutes our waterways like bottles, tires, televisions, bicycles, and plastic industrial drums (to name just a few), while other staff and volunteers manage what is brought to shore for pick up later by the local government for proper disposal. To […]

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True North featured in Backpacker

True North featured in Backpacker

True North is very pleased to share that it is mentioned in the September 2013 issue of Backpacker. This nationally distributed magazine features a wide array of information and articles focused on wilderness hiking and adventure.  First published in 1973, it has since become one of the leading journals in the outdoors industry. Erik was interviewed in May, and then again in June, for two articles related to water.  One focused on filtration and purification of water, while the other on finding it using land navigation skills.  You can check out his remarks regarding one of them in the Skills section under Instant Upgrades “Pro Tips” on page 44-45. But we’ve just so happened to provide a copy of it below! We certainly would like to thank Backpacker for the shout out, but we especially want to thank all of our friends, partners, and, most definitely our clients, who really made this possible. […]

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