Archive for the ‘General’ Category

“Reality Television” is Not Reality – Part II

"Reality Television" is Not Reality - Part II

After too much delay, this post is a follow up to one that I wrote in early August (Part I) wherein I criticized a Bear Grylls video.  In it, Grylls, while “lost” at sea, gave himself an enema in order to stave off the effects of dehydration.  While what he did was technically correct, both biologically and medically, and he did mention that the source of his contaminated water was “freshwater,” it gave many viewers the impression that they could potentially hydrate themselves using a seawater enema. Since I must admit that I was even confused — after all, hydration enemas have, in fact, been successfully used in genuine survival situations at sea — I turned to Jake Griebe of SOWMAS for his professional opinion.  Jake is a paramedic and chief instructor at Wisconsin-based SOWMAS, a school which specializes in combining wilderness medicine and wilderness survival.  Jake is a great friend […]

Read more

Lions, Tigers, and Bears … Relax!

Lions, Tigers, and Bears ... Relax!

You want to spend more time in the Great Outdoors but you are more than a little nervous at the prospect of sharing the forest with vicious animals who are waiting to eat you? Well, all I can say is … Dude, relax!  Trust me, you and your kids are not likely going to end up as an appetizer on the menu of a gastronomic bear (or, for that matter, any creature) the next time you decide to venture to the Laurel Highlands, Allegheny National Forest, or any of the other countless beautiful lands that this region has to offer.  Don’t believe me? … I’ve got the statistics to prove it! Collective Fear I have found that the fear of “wild animals” is one of the biggest ones that people have when considering the prospect of spending time in woods.  Which is unfortunate because, frankly, it is a fear based […]

Read more

The Power of PMA

The Power of PMA

In all of his wilderness survival courses, True North instructor, Erik, repeatedly stresses the paramount importance of PMA … Positive Mental Attitude.  As he explains to his students, in a survival situation, it really doesn’t matter how much technical experience and training you have, or even what cool equipment you have in your backpack, that will help determine if you live or die.  Rather, it is what is in your head and heart that most counts.  A video-diary that Lexi Deforest, a Colorado college student, recently recorded when she became trapped in the mountains after her foot became detached from her leg in a climbing accident is an excellent example of the power of PMA. Thanks to Jake Griebe of SOWMAS, a Wisconsin based wilderness medicine and survival school, Erik just watched Lexi’s video which has since gone viral.  We’ve provided a video link below for you to watch.  But […]

Read more

Janée’s Latest Race Report

Janée’s Latest Race Report

Janée filed this report as she prepared last minute details for her adventure race this weekend.  *          *          * A lot of time and energy has gone into preparing for those 24 long and grueling hours!  The race begins at 8:00 AM this morning and will end at 8:00 AM tomorrow. Because I have some final race preparations to complete before the race begins, I have reduced the last several weeks since my first post into a series of bullet points: I spent one weekend in Ohiopyle biking and running the same trails that I will be hitting this weekend. Lessons learned: #1: Wear high socks on race day to protect from the stinging nettle JUNGLES that I will be facing. #2: Blackberry thickets are everywhere in Ohiopyle, and can either be an excellent PMA-booster or the bane of my existence. #3: […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

A “Bug Mac”

A "Bug Mac"

For anyone that has taken any of my courses, it comes as no surprise when I now write that I always refrain from teaching about edible plants and, instead, proclaim the merits of insects as a primary food source.  When I do, most often, the look on a student’s face is confusion … Did I mishear?  Is he kidding? Well, for those who are skeptical, or think that I must be crazy (perhaps both), please consider checking out the audio link to a recent National Public Radio story: Time for a “Bug Mac”? There you will learn about an extremely popular restaurant in the Netherlands whose “bug buffets” have been selling out. And if you want to learn more about potential food sources in an emergency situation, consider registering for one of True North’s wilderness survival courses.

Read more

A Lesson Learned from Pittsburgh EMS

A Lesson Learned from Pittsburgh EMS

Thanks to the generosity of Pittsburgh EMS, I enjoyed a memorable day riding along with the crew of “Medic 4” as they worked another busy shift on the North Side. My goal was to develop a better understanding of front-country emergency medicine.  Despite my experience in wilderness medicine courses over the years, I wanted the chance to see the front lines of medical care and to see some of the best medics around in action.  Crew Chief Jim Sabo and his paramedics, J.D. and Dalbey did not disappoint.  Not only did they provide great medical care to all of their patients, but they were wonderfully caring and patient too. I learned much today, but one lesson in particular stands out.  While protocols and procedures are certainly important in providing quality emergency medical care, so is the ability to remain flexible and adaptable to whatever the particular set of circumstances happens […]

Read more