Archive for May, 2011

WFA – Hooray!

Our group had the opportunity earn our Wilderness First Aid certifications by completing the WFA Expedition. Powerful and exciting realizations happened in an environment we could all relate to – the outdoors is our classroom! Our Instructor taught us how to be a Rescue Team, where we were each assigned a specific function related to various emergency situations. We learned the ABC's of Wilderness First Aid as well as how to complete a thorough incident report.

The Rescue Team has a leader, who directs all other members according to their roles in an emergency. Learning all about Rescue Breathing, CPR and dealing with choking situations is of vital importance in the backcountry. Since our beautiful models were off on another photo shoot, we had to settle for Ms. Props and her lovely sister!

The Portable Field Defibrillator is a very reliable device that is used in case of a cardiac arrest. We learned that this impressive machine gives you the power to help save a life – in a situation where every second counts!

Other Wilderness First Aid lessons we learned included head injuries, dislocations, sprains, fractures, burns, bleeding, heat-related issues, and insect bites. Best of all, we felt like we had really accomplished something, as none of had successfully completed any type of educational pursuit in quite some time. Thanks, Expedition Therapy!

Playing The Slots…by A.M.

I had just arrived at ET earlier in the day. I got my gear, then joined the group on a Canyoneering Expedition. I was motivated to get over my fear of heights when I voluntarily decided to come to Expedition Therapy. This decision was a challenge I set for myself. When I was younger, I had an opportunity to rappel down a rock face, but I froze and could not move. I look back on that now and realize that I had been overcome with so much fear that I felt totally paralyzed from head to toe. All I could think about was my intense fear of heights and wanting to quit, so I bailed.

I had never imagined that I'd be facing this challenge yet again on the same day that I arrived. The Expedition Therapy Instructor Team provided me with a thorough safety lesson, which included rope handling, breaking, knots, canyoneering techniques, and the verbal commands used to communicate with each other. I learned that Ascenders are mechanical devices used when you are ascending the rope; Setting The Anchor is the point where the rope is secured to the rock with bolts, rocks, slings or other gear; The Chock Bag is filled with resin for gripping the rope better; Belay is a command word that means to secure a climber with rope; Abseil is a term used to describe sliding down the rope under control, such as in rappelling; Chimneying is a climbing technique where you put your feet on one side and your back on the other, then work your way up; and then there's the Crux, which is aptly named, as it's the most difficult part of the course.

After my safety lesson was checked off by my Instructors, I double-checked my sit harness, rope, knots and helmet. Then I asked an Instructor and a fellow student to do the same. Down I went, into the cavernous mauve and coral sandstone slot canyon, filled with confidence and awe! I spent the rest of the day "playing the slots" and now I really love canyoneering. I realize now that I had to let go of that huge burden…fear. As soon as I had the knowledge, the techniques, and the skills dialed in, I felt so much more confident. I was on top of the world and feeling light as a feather as I wound myself inside and through another slot! I have challenged myself to complete more of these slot canyon routes and am really looking forward to our Rock Climbing Expedition next week. Stay tuned…