January 2014

I am on the road, slowly returning from a fantastic WFR course that Deane Hodde and I instructed at the Wilderness Mission Alpine Youth Hostel in Windham, NY. We always rave about how great these courses are, but this one was truly exceptional. I drove up from NC and arrived in New York just as the snow started to fall. I was ecstatic that Deane's flight was on time because I was starting to worry about the road conditions as I continued North into the upstate. Deane and I rolled into the Good Tidings Camp and found Tom, our course sponsor waiting to show us around. After talking for thirty minutes, we decided we should park the rig and move in to our new accommodations. My North Carolina driving skills managed to park in the snow accumulating in front of the dormitory, and if my truck wasn't totally in the parking spot, the 18 inches of snow that fell over the next 24 hours hid my attempt. Fortunately, everyone managed to arrive on time and ahead of the storm. With the roads mostly snowed over, we got down to the business at hand and began developing our patient assessment skills. With no access to the outside world, we quickly bonded as a group of friends and outdoor professionals. Fortune smiled upon us and in freak weather occurrence, all the snow melted on the 8th day of our course. I've met many outstanding people through this work, but I really do look forward to spending time in the future with this group, whether it is playing silly games in the snow, picking and grinning with "The Revealers" or relaxing on a river somewhere in the world (hopefully free of medical responsibilities).  Anyhow, until then...Happy 2014! Be Safe and Have Fun!

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I headed up to Eastern Kentucky University to teach a WFR Recertification course to 13 great folks.  It was a pleasant surprise to see some familiar faces from past WFRs and past recertification courses. With lingering low temps from the polar vortex, these folks kept warm like it was their business!  They got to brush up on their skills and get new curriculum updates since their last WFR course.  Good luck to everyone and hope to see you again down the road! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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When the weather gets cold, it’s nice to think of Ecuador.  Six months ago I had the privilege of working for the Ecuadorian Rivers Institute (ERI), a US non-profit based in Tena, Ecuador.  The ERI works to protect whitewater resources, economic sustainability, and biodiversity in Ecuador by educating and advocating about river stewardship. I was absolutely blown away by the stunning beauty of the rainforest, and each trip down a river would yield amazing scenery and wildlife.  Paddling the best preserved rivers in Ecuador is adventuring through a treasure of jungle and whitewater. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA The ERI is sorely needed to shield these ‘less-touched’ rivers and watersheds from the ravages of resource hungry locals, as well as to conserve areas which have already been badly affected.  Logging and mining, both legally and illegally, are major economic activities, and Ecuador is consuming its resources. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Over two months, I had the chance to see the incredible pace of development, and I’m glad I had the chance to see it when I did.  Justin Padgett put me in touch with Matt Terry, the President of the ERI, a few years after I completed my ACA instructor certification with Justin in North Carolina.  The teaching, listening and patience skills we worked on over the course of a few weekends have been valuable in many applications, and I was able to put some refined strokes (and rolls) to the test in Ecuador too.   Reed Gilbert    

blog2 Scott and Jason headed to teach a NOLS Wilderness Medicine Institute WFR course from December 14-22 at UNC-Greensboro's Piney Lake Experiential Education Campus. We were joined by 23 great students representing colleges and universities around the southeast. We had a young, excited group who got to start and end the course with some heavy rain: a great environment for learning wilderness medicine. We used the Piney Lake campus woods and water to the fullest, and headed off to nearby Hagan-Stone State Park for a night of special ops. Everyone headed home for the holidays and everyone prepared for their next adventure, whether it was off to New Zealand or Africa or finishing that last semester of college. Good luck out there and Merry Christmas from Scott and Jason!

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