Wilderness Survival – in the winter!

Shelter #2 could easily fit 4 or more YNC members.

Shelter #2 could easily fit 4 or more YNC members.

Sunday’s weather could not have been better, making us all feel like winter wilderness survival can’t be that tough. But it can, and so we were very grateful for Lyse, Craig, and Ashley – all Halifax Search and Rescue Volunteers who shared their expertise with us.

Lyse started us off with an activity that got participants thinking about what are some of the most important things to consider if a person gets lots in the woods. Did you know that although both warmth from a fire and building a shelter are important, you might consider building a shelter first in the winter because it is easier than starting a fire in the winter?

We then trekked into the woods, crossing a cute little stream and twisty tree on the way. We arrived in a patch of forest used by the Search & Rescue folks to run their training courses. Although they use the area frequently, it was in good condition, because they follow Leave No Trace principles to reduce damage at the site.

Lyse then led a discussion on some factors to consider when buidling a shelter, including wind direction, rain, and ground cover. Using our new knowledge, we divided into groups and built shelters using only a tarp, some rope, and one foam pad. Once complete, we all toured around and learned about each group’s shelter. Each one was quite different, and quite clever in its design (see the photo gallery for this field trip for photos of each shelter).

After our shelter building, we enjoyed the hot chocolate that the Search & Rescue volunteers had made for us. So generous! They also popped out a few instant shelters for us to try.

We then moseyed back to the Search & Rescue base, soaking up the warm, late afternoon rays of sun. Thanks big time to the Search & Rescue volunteers. We had such a great time with you, and learned a lot of important information.