Sunday, October 28, 2012


Well, I finally did it.  I am a certified Wilderness First Responder, having just taken the Wilderness Upgrade for Medical Professionals, aka WUMP.  I have been wanting to enroll in this course for two years now and, two days ago, I completed it.  (The first time I planned to do it I got jury duty so I held off, good thing, because I broke my hand right before I would have gone so I would have had to cancel anyway...)
Me on a backboard

It was really fun.  REALLY fun.  There were 19 students, some were people taking a month long EMT-B course with the final week in wilderness medicine, but there were 8 physicians and a nurse as well as other EMTs and paramedics who wanted to add to their skill sets.  The classroom sessions were jam packed with information and stories and then we would do scenario after scenario to reinforce the learning process.  We learned how to make traction splints out of sticks.  Cervical collars out of baseball caps.  How to roll people safely and how to warm them up if they get cold.  It's all about thinking outside the box and using whatever resources you have very creatively.  We practiced with a mass casualty incident and a night time rescue.  My friend and I slept in a tent for 5 nights and drove 2 days in each direction to get there and back.  The weather was perfect and the setting simply gorgeous (we were in Cullowhee, NC).  We even had a little time to go fishing but we didn't catch anything; it was relaxing nonetheless.

Foraging was sort of out of the question due to the time constraints and the location but I did find a tiny wild strawberry, some mint, some bittercress, and a few other greens.

We had to prepare all our own meals and my chili, stroganoff and baked beans were just the thing.  People started to ask, "What did you can for dinner today?"  I fielded a lot of questions about canning during the week.  They have a really nice set up there for cooking - a pavilion type area with picnic tables and a concrete slab at waist high for the camp stoves.  It was perfect.  The place was covered with ladybugs which were swarming at the time, and butterflies flitted about when it was warm.  The nights were cold, though, and I was grateful for my thermarest pad and wool blanket which I used under my sleeping bag for added insulation.

Would I do it again?  Absolutely.


  1. Wonderful! I would love to take a course like that. Good for you!

    1. You know, they have all sorts of courses there for everyone, not just for medical providers, and they are certainly closer to where you live....

  2. Sound like a wonderful course....Coffee is on


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