Don’t get lost… Land Navigation class dates are set for February 23 and March 24 – link
REI Asheville “Reality of Survival” – February 15th – link
REI Brentwood “REality of Survival” – February 18th – link
The calendar for the rest of 2018 is posted up here: BPO Calendar
Stay tuned for REI class date announcements and 2019 Survival 101 dates.
Not all those who wander are lost, but if you want to make it home or to another destination, it is best to spend some time honing your navigation skills.
Join BigPig Outdoors on November 11th or December 2 to learn or polish those skills.
Click here for more info: Land Navigation class
The above are my two reasons why this update has been a long time coming.
Without further ado…
Team Workouts – Going strong every week. Sharbs forgot his kettlebell one night, which inspired the painful, “Follow-the-leader” interval . Yep, that is a dog at our workout too!
BUSAR is a 501(c)3 non-profit. To help us help others, go here… teambusar.org
Since my birthday falls in October, I get to pick the training mission for the team. I believe that some aspects of life are best appreciated when under adverse conditions, so I pulled out my list for planning..
Last year, we crossed the Smokies via Ekaneetlee manway and swam Fontana to our pickup. 2015 trip This year, I figured I would switch it up and invade Tennessee from the North Carolina side of the park, traversing 3/4 of the park, mostly off trail.
Drop off’s would done at night in Fontana Lake, with each team not knowing their location. They would have to determine their location and rally at a UTM point. The simple rules were that you could not use established trails, except for Jenkins Ridge up to Spence, and sleeping gear would only be jackets and garbage bags. We would follow the Defeat Ridge manway from the AT down to Middle Prong trailhead.
Somewhere on Horsehoe Ridge…
Foraging and tracking..
Rally points, pullup contest winner, and Defeat Ridge manway…
Routes in red, purple, and yellow..
Rescue Swimmer II –
Herrington, Jutkofsky, Jernigan and Grieco knocked out the final part of the Public Safety Rescue Swimmer course. BUSAR’s Jason Benjamin instructed. Lots of water time, simulated rescues and a night scenario.
GRSM Tech Team Training –
Herrington and Grieco attended the Smokies Tech Team training focusing on patient packaging and setting up a highline.
VDEM SAREX – AAR by Doc Miller
Workouts – Finally cooling off. Greg is getting ready to test for a Combat Rescue Officer slot in Alaska, so we have been doing a lot of military PT to support him. Lots of pullups, pushups, situps, and flutter kicks. His PT test is at the beginning of December in Anchorage.
Every year I migrate South to Florida to wear out my welcome at my in-laws for ten or so days. Without my usual distractions, I entertain myself by harassing my mother in-law about her excessive amount of cups for two retirees or the fact it is always Christmas when I come down…
On this trip, in an effort to maintain sanity on both sides, I ventured out more, to keep myself out of trouble and seeing more of Florida. I hit the gym, met up with friends, checked out the gun stores, the army surplus stores, and even rode around with a buddy to check out the stellar homes he builds. http://georgedmorissette.com/
I also managed to break away for three good side trips that are worth mentioning to any fellow travellers that need some outdoor stimulation.
Greene Deane’s Foraging Walks – http://www.eattheweeds.com/
Florida is a whole different world from the mountains, and while there is a lot of crossover, there are a ton of different species, both native and exotic. The best way to learn plants is to hook up with an experienced forager, so I follow my own advice and jump on plant walks any time I can. This was my second trip with Deane and it was at Spruce Creek Park, up by Port Orange.
Deane’s walks are great, not only for his encyclopaedic knowledge of plants, but because he teaches at various locations. Spruce Creek offered several different habitats, including one that has salt tolerant species.
The winner of the taste test was the Creeping Cucumber http://www.eattheweeds.com/creeping-cucumber-melothria-pendula/ That is a 10 y.o. girl’s hand, so it is really jelly bean size.
With Sea Purslane coming in a close second.. Maybe first if it was grilled like Deane mentioned. http://www.eattheweeds.com/sesuvium-portulacastrum-maritime-munch-2
As with any foraging class, you can’t just take a class and walk away owning the information. You need to do your homework and start eating it. I bought two Florida foraging books for this trip and read them while I was down here. They were both okay, but I find Deane’s website more useful.
There is also a handy list of forgaging instructors for you travels: http://www.eattheweeds.com/foraging/foraging-instructors/
Permanent Orienteering Courses – http://www.us.orienteering.org/new-o/resources/permanent-courses
While orienteering isn’t as popular in the U.S. as other countries, there are still groups scattered all across the country. Some of these clubs have graciously taken the time toset up permanent courses in their state. For wayward travellers that may not be in town during regular race times, this is a great opportunity to see the local woods, get some exercise, and work on your land navigation skills. I slipped away to two courses that I found on http://www.floridaorienteering.org/
Moss Park Course – It was damn hot, so I decided not to run it, and threw on my pack for both the beginners and advanced course. I had worn long pants and boots, thinking I would be busting scrub, but the vegetation was pretty open, making me wishI had worn shorts and running shoes. Higlights were gopher tortoise and armadillo sign everywhere, and the sandhill cranes that tried to mug me in the parking lot.
Florida Agricultural Museum –
We all make mistakes, but on this day, I was on a roll. I downloaded the map of the Florida Orienteeering page and took time to check the hours of the museum. Unfortunately, I must have forgotten what day it was, as I arrived to see a closed sign at the entrance.
Mistake #1… Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays
Well, like any person that just drove 2 hours would do, I continued on in hopes I could persuade them to let me hike through their woods. After striking out with the farm hand, I got lucky when the manager heard my sob story and granted me permission.
Thankful for the opportunity, I figured it would be prudent if I only did one course and ran it to save time, so I picked the longer of the two. Having not planned for running, I didn’t have a ziploc for my map to protect it from my sweaty hands.
Mistake #2 – Running through the Florida scrub in 90 degree weather, my map was almost obliterated by point #5
And Mistake #3 was assuming the terrain would be similar to Moss Park, so I wore shorts and running shoes..
Three mistakes before I got started meant good times ahead and the chance to pick my poison..
Or slogging trails..
But fortunately, I was able forage for some of these tortuous little bastards on the fly, which I learned from Deane are edible http://www.eattheweeds.com/sandspurs-sandlot-sadists/
Not your typical day of Florida vacation, but I loved it!!
Note: The map shows the controls as numbered, but they must have changed them to letters and not updated the map yet.
Many thanks to Florida Agricultural Museum for indulging a wayward traveller that escaped the in-laws for some respite in the thorny, hot ass Florida scrub.
Looking forward to visiting with the family in the future. Word on the street is that the hours are posted on their website… http://www.myagmuseum.com/