Monday, May 21, 2012

WFR Finished

I just finished the 8 day WFR course, so I am officially certified. In addition to all the classroom lectures we did a total of four simulations.

The third simulation was by far the worst because it included basically an overwhelming rush of patients in a very limited setting, with only 6 care providers. Fortunately I was designated as an assistant, and we were told to act as if we had no medical knowledge. The assistants were mainly just babysitting patients and doing patient carries in a Stokes Basket when needed. It was actually a bit hard to sit with a patient and have to pretend to not know how to help them.

The fourth simulation wasn't as bad, because we had roughly 45 care providers, probably more than the number of patients. The main thing about this simulation was just that it was supposed to be unexpected. They had initially set it up similar to the other simulations, with designated primaries, assistants, and patients. When we got to the side they tried to surprise us by telling us that the patients were already on scene, and we were all primaries (care providers). It wasn't that bad, considering that the change made it a lot easier. Since we hadn't really been told much about the scene we didn't have the opportunity to plan around it. The 'surprise' didn't really change much, so we were able to just roll with it.

This coming week is CD (Camp Director) training week, so I have another week of straight training to look forward to.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

WFR training

I arrive at Philmont on Saturday morning after a 2 day bus ride, and just hung out all Saturday.

Sunday morning started WFR training (Wilderness First Responder) which is basically learning how to treat all sorts of injuries in the backcountry, where medical help is quite a ways away, either in time or distance. I figured this would be pretty useful for me, either for any type of future outdoor job, or just for personal use, since I'm almost constantly in the woods somewhere.

The classroom lectures go over all the medical conditions and proper treatment of almost any type of injury you might find in the woods. We've covered trauma all over the body and all types of environmental events, such as hypothermia or snakebite. The classes can get pretty long, but they cover all the information pretty well, especially different scenarios we might encounter an injury in.

The more exciting aspect of the course is the hands on scenarios and simulations. We started with basic patient examinations, to determine vital signs and obvious injuries. This course is nice because we actually get into makeup and do a more realistic simulation, rather than just trying to fake a broken leg. Our first major simulation was a car crash caused by a seizure in the driver. We had a total of 13 patients with a variety of injuries all happening at the same time. One particular patient was on a bike and had been run over by the car. He had broken both femurs and had brains spread out across the pavement (obviously dead). The instructors had bought sheep brain and threw it on the road, and dumped several gallons of fake blood under the patient (people only have 5-6 quarts of blood). It actually looked really realistic to have someone laying in a large pool of blood, with bones sticking out of their legs.

Tomorrow is another major simulation, in which I will get to be a patient. I will be told what my injuries are, and the instructor will add makeup, broken bones, and fake blood, depending on what the simulation is. Its actually really fun to act like you are injured, especially if you are supposed to be antagonistic towards the rescuers. This can be pretty realistic of patients in a traumatic event, often in ASR (shock).

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Packing up

I'm almost finished packing up for my next trip. The past few years I have been perpetually packing or unpacking. I am going to be spending the summer working at Philmont, a boyscout backpacking camp in northeast New Mexico. I will be responsible for running a camp with five other staffers, and will be teaching teamwork skills and LNT camping to all the crews of scouts that come through the camp. Another fun summer.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Pinhoti Trail Journal

I just (finally) finished transcribing my trailjournal from the Pinhoti trip, and copied everything over to my blog. Read it here.

Roughly 335 miles in 18 days. I had been using a voice recorder every night, and it just took a while to find time and motivation to type everything up. With an upcoming trip I finally pushed to get everything written down so I could move on to other things. Enjoy!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Lightning storm

There was a lightning storm last night, and I took the opportunity to try to get some good pictures. Most of them didn't turn out, and it seemed like a lot of the good strikes were when my camera was processing the previous picture. I still did manage to get a few relatively good ones. These were all straight out of my bedroom window, with long exposure, but no tripod.

IMG_0454 IMG_0446 IMG_0439 IMG_0435 IMG_0424 IMG_0416 IMG_0390 IMG_0367 IMG_0358 IMG_0352 IMG_0336 IMG_0334 IMG_0278 IMG_0272

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Past

In addition to my future travels, I am also going to write about past travels I have taken. I don't intend to do a play-by-play of them, but I will post highlights whenever I get a chance.

Quick summary of previous trips:
Appalachian Trail thru hike
Florida Trail thru hike (twice)
Alabama Pinhoti Trail thru hike
Georgia Pinhoti Trail thru hike
Alabama trail roadwalk
Mississippi Canoe (headwaters to gulf)
Staff at Philmont Boy Scout Ranch (06,07,11,12)

I have recorded some of these trips on trailjournals, in a day-by-day format:

Also, I tend to take a lot of pictures, which I have recently been adding to flickr. I think these tell a much better story than words:

New Camera

In 2011 while hiking on the Florida Trail my camera broke. I was using a Canon A480, which I had also used on my Appalachian Trail hike.

I was hiking in Ocala National Forest, and wanted to take a picture of a pond and sunset. When I was pulling the camera out of the case, I hit the on button, and the lens tried to open while in the case, which broke something. The camera was still usable, as long as I pushed the lens in by hand each time. I've been using it for the past year like this, but on the recent hike of the Florida Trail, a bunch of sand got in the lens, causing dark spots on the pictures. I finally decided to upgrade.

My new camera is the just released Canon SX260HS. I have been eyeballing the SX230HS for a while now, and this is just an even better version. The main useful features are the built in GPS, 20x optical zoom, and 12 megapixels. No really exciting pictures yet, but I've been trying the camera out around the house, and I'm definitely liking it. The GPS is going to be really useful for documenting future trips.