Snow covered plains and roaming buffalo at every turn-this was the start of winter in Yellowstone. Several months ago I was able to experience the beauty of Yellowstone National Park while I completed my Wilderness First Responder Course. I completed my course with NOLS, the National Outdoor Leadership School. If you haven’t heard of NOLS, here’s a snippet. NOLS is a very well-known non-profit school that provides classes all over the world focused around wilderness leadership skills. With this course I have learned how to give medical care in backcountry settings where communication can either be delayed with more urban care. Giving medical care in the backcountry alone can be tough enough, but adding on freezing temperatures and snow to the mix certainly added an interesting twist. Throughout the duration of the course we covered A LOT of different information regarding possible injuries we might encounter. Take for example, spinal cord injuries, fractures, cold and heat injuries, cardiac and respiratory, mental health, and poisons. We were taken through step by step on how to clean and dress wounds, and handle what could be intense situations for prolonged periods of time.
Now, this course was not cheap by any means. Thankfully, my AmeriCorps Education Award helped me pay my way for this course. Throughout college I had completed several AmeriCorps terms, and completing my term at MHYC as an AmeriCorps Leadership and Conservation Corpsmember, I accumulated a number of scholarships. Though my education awards are excellent ways to help pay back my never-ending student loans, they served another great purpose to help me push my limits and expanding my skill set.
Completing this Wilderness First Responder course, I am now confident in knowing what it to takes to help tend to minor and potentially life threatening injuries. I am able to step up and lend a helping hand to someone in need in my everyday life whenever I decide to step onto the trails. By the time this course ended, I had befriended many people from around the country, and was able to effectively network with people in similar fields within natural resources. Being freshly certified WFR in First Aid/CPR, AED & airway Management, and Epinephrine Auto-Injector, I am ready to head out onto the trails and into the backcountry on leisurely days and into my career. Whether you are experienced in the outdoors, or are trekking out for the first time and simply want to be prepared for what ever nature can throw at you, I would highly recommend enrolling in a wilderness medicine course. There are courses all over the U.S. and abroad. What’s next for me? Completing a Community Emergency Response Team Certification with the City of Thorton, where I will gain more training focused in disaster preparedness and medical operations!
Adventure is out there! But it’s good to be prepared