Wilderness First Aid

March 11-12, 2023

Over the weekend I spent two days getting certified in Wilderness First Aid. It was put on by REI and NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School) out at McKinney Roughs Nature Park, one of my favorite hiking destinations in the Austin area.

I went Saturday and Sunday, 8am-5pm, for 16 hours worth of instruction. We went over the basics of first aid response and focused on all the bad stuff that can happen when you are out in the wild. It was a fairly high level overview of everything, as the point is really to just give you some idea of what you are doing and how to react so you can stabilize an injured person until highly trained help can actually get to you, if need be. Also, we were trained in determining the severity of injuries and situations so we will know when to evacuate patients or not.

We had classroom instruction supplemented with “scenarios” where we got to put on makeup and fake blood and have people try to diagnose the problem. The first day was a little awkward, but by the second day everyone felt a lot more comfortable and it was actually pretty fun.

the perils of hanging a bear bag

I met some cool people, including a guy that hiked the PCT last year. It was nice being with people who all had a similar passion for the outdoors.

Despite being surrounded by medicine my whole life, I realized I’ve never had any formal training in any kind of first aid. I’m very glad I took this course, though I’m hoping to never have to use it.

In other news, I am continuing my endurance training schedule. Today I just got done with a 5 mile full pack hike around the neighborhood and I am planning on 14 miles this weekend, probably out at River Place Nature Trail, which is the best and toughest hike in Austin.

I also have dug into spreadsheet hell and started really getting resupply strategy in place today. The first few weeks are going to be a little nuts with boxes, as it’s looking like I’ll need to send my microspikes and maybe even my ice axe to Idyllwild so I can get through Mt. San Jacinto. Damn snow just won’t stop. I enjoy the planning aspect of it all, but I’m also glad that trail towns have gotten a lot better with resupply so I don’t have to send all my boxes from home. I’m going to send a few at the beginning and then start resupplying in towns and sending stuff to myself further up the trail as I get used to it and understand the nuances of it all.

Onward to the trail!