Maryland Outdoor Club
Fri, Sep 24 2004 - Wilderness Survival Course Weekend (View Original Event Details)

Event Organizer(s): Jason Craver, Emilio Ungerfeld
Participants:Emilio Ungerfeld, Jason Craver, Maria Maranto Dickey, Leilani Ho, Robert Koeckert, Gail Pritchard, stacey patmore, Margie de Marcaida, Meg Victor, Matthias Hess, Molly Freitag, Anne Smith, Katie Stofer, Peter Howley, Alvin Liem

Write Up:
The Vienna Metro was my first challenge. I was literally on the wrong side of the tracks for a while, bravely scouting out the meeting spot that was clearly not the right one. After almost getting a speeding ticket getting over to the other Vienna Metro, I wound up making a wrong turn and getting my car impounded in a lot that I paid $10 to get out of and then drove back and parked in the same lot anyway. Hmm-the score thus far: Metro: 1 Jason: 0. The rest of the group showed up and after a brief mad scramble and negotiations, we figured out who was sitting in what car and with whose equipment, and caravaned on our merry way.

The trip began with a core group of hard-charging, muscled, outdoor-obsessed adventure junkies with no fears. We had among us some of the most crazed nature fanatics that ever donned a L.L. Bean shirt, ready to eat tree bark and reenact 'Survivor' episodes.

We braved the D.C. weekend outbound traffic, and plodded ahead the best we could. When we decided to stop for dinner, one car of the aforementioned hard-charging fanatics charged into a small town bar/grill where I'm sure they scared the heck out of the other patrons, and the rest of us charged into Burger King, where no one seemed to even notice us.

At about 11 pm, we all made it to the KOA we were camping at for the night. Some members had arrived ahead of our caravan and met us there. We all got our tents set up and slept until we got up with the sunrise and took our group to a local McDonalds for breakfast. To make it an official MOC trip, we purchased beer and ice, threw it into a cooler, and zipped off to meet our instructors down the road.

Byron and Reggie were ready for us and met us just outside the George Washington National Forest. These two men had enough military experience to start their own branch of the military and had done some of the toughest things we could ever dream of. They were real MacGyvers, and they carried MUCH bigger knives than Swiss Army ones. You could literally drop these men anywhere on Earth, and you would find them a week later happily putting the finishing touches on a condominium they had created. Byron and Reggie were friendly and made sure we all had the things we needed and that any potential problems were taken care of.

Shouldering our packs, we all hiked into the woods on an old logging trail. On the way Reggie stopped to pick up a box turtle and we learned how easy it was to prepare a turtle to eat and what part of the turtle NOT to eat. We made it to the spot Byron and Reggie had impressively prepared for our group, complete with two separate parachute canopies and log benches that would be our classroom, fire circles, and dining areas. We then separated into two groups; one went with Reggie, the other with Byron. Introducing ourselves to our instructors, we told them of our experiences in the outdoors and what we hoped to gain from the weekend. It was a long list of things we gave them and they were great at taking a week long course and cramming it into a weekend for us.

We learned the seven priorities of survival, which are: Positive mental attitude, wilderness first aid, shelter, fire craft, signaling, water, food.

1. How to make a very sturdy shelter from only a 99ยข plastic trap.
2. How to tie four important knots to help make our shelters.
3. How to find water and make water collection devices.
4. What the best food sources are in the wild.
5. How to help in a medical emergency and treat in the wild.
6. How to signal for help to be rescued.
7. How to decontaminate water with iodine, bleach, or filters.
8. How to make a snare trap to catch animals.
9. How to make a fire even in the pouring rain.
10. Seven ways that a fire will benefit a person in the wilderness.
11. How to lash l

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