Project Location: Hackberry Springs Trail, Superstition Mountains, Tonto National Forest; Phoenix College
Project Partner: Phoenix College Outdoor Adventure Skills Instructor, Dave Brown (Leave No Trace Training); SOLO Wilderness Medicine, (Wilderness First Aid Training)
Hitch Accomplishments: Completion of Wilderness First Aid (WFA) Certification Training; Leave No Trace Field Training; Introduction to Backcountry/Wilderness Backpacking and Camping
Tuesday, February 13, 2018: Following last week’s completion of the BLM Wildland Fire Training, the Phoenix Field School crew headed into the backcountry this week to first complete Leave No Trace Training (LNT) and then Wilderness First Aid (WFA). On Tuesday morning, the crew met bright and early at ACYR and were ready to leave for the Superstition Mountains by 8:00am. After braving a little sprinkle of precipitation, the crew arrived at the Hackberry Springs Trailhead by 9:40 a.m. After divvying up gear, backpacks packed, boots on, the crew was ready to hit the trail! The crew hiked in three miles and were able to enjoy the incredible desert scenery as well as discuss wilderness trail maintenance along the way. After arriving at the designated campsite by 12:30pm, the crew broke for a lunch. and then scouted the surrounding canyons for a water source. After first only finding a shallow pool, the crew came upon the spring which was teeming with plentiful water (and tadpoles). The crew relaxed knowing there was fresh water nearby as they all were initially skeptical of being encouraged to leave behind extra full water bladders that took up unnecessary room in their packs and added unnecessary weight. Following lunch, the crew gathered around the spring and discussed methods of purification and participated in a demo of Aquamira (a chlorine based chemical purifier) and the Katadyn 6L gravity filter. Following the lesson the crew enjoyed their fresh water and returned to camp to conduct a lesson on tarp shelters. The crew learned to construct a lean to and A-frame tarp shelter without the need for trees. Using a tarp, some cordage, stakes, and trekking poles the crew learned to assemble the items using clove hitches, trucker’s hitches, deadman anchors, and a cow hitch. The crew participated in the setup of the A-frame as it was being taught and then applied all of the knowledge learned in order to work together to construct a lean to. The crew discussed pros and cons and scenarios in which either would be useful as well as what other items that could be used in order to improvise. As the lesson was wrapping up, Phoenix College, Outdoor Adventure Skills Instructor, Dave Brown and his daughter Carolan arrived, greeted us and set up camp. Once they were settled, the crew circled up and began their LNT lessons. One by one the crew went around sharing their subjects. The lessons lasted well into the evening and concluded after dark. While the crew was conducting their lessons and discussing backcountry etiquette with Dave and exchanging stories, Ian prepped a dinner for the crew consisting of dehydrated refried beans and instant rice. After a lively dinner, the crew cleaned up camp and retired for the night.
Wednesday, February 14, 2018: Phoenix Field School had a relaxing and gradual start to the day on Wednesday morning, waking up between 7:30am and 8:00 am ready to take on the day. After a breakfast of oatmeal and instant coffee, the crew broke down their tents and packed their bags. David chatted with the crew about the upcoming semester and future pursuits/ interests before finishing his breakfast and hitting the trail along with his daughter back to the trailhead. The crew stuck behind at the campsite/LNT outdoor classroom a bit longer in order to go over a backcountry stove lesson in which they received a demonstration of the MSR Whisperlite and Pocket Rocket and Snow Peak LiteMax. They discussed the pros, cons, and applications of each as well as typical field maintenance and cooking protocols. Once water was boiled, the crew then participated in a backcountry dish cleaning demonstration in which the water was strained, food particles disposed of in a trash bag and grey water dumped in a pre-dug sump hole. Once the dishes were clean, the sump hole was filled, the crew swept the camp for micro-trash, enjoyed a final Chocolove bar, adjusted their packs and began the hike out to the trailhead. Once the crew arrived at the trailhead, they broke for lunch before returning to Phoenix. The crew returned to ACYR by 1:45pm and all got situated in the computer lab and worked on the online training portion of their OHV/UTV course (the field training day will be next week). Within two hours time, all crew members all were certified. The crew concluded the day with discussing logistics for the remainder of the week and were lined out with expectations for upcoming two day Wilderness First Aid (WFA) course.
Thursday, February 15, 2018: On Thursday morning, the Field School crew, joined by three ACE BLM Phoenix District interns and four ACE AmeriCorps Conservation Corps members from Flagstaff, met at Phoenix College at 7:45 am and got settled into the classroom. This week’s WFA training was taught by Mike Englund, a SOLO WFA instructor with the Central Arizona Mountain Rescue Association. After going over introductions, Mike went over the expectations of the scenario-based WFA training which focuses on the basic skills of assessing and responding to various medical injuries and emergencies while in an outdoor, wilderness setting. During day one of the training, Field School Students learned about surveying the scene, patient assessment, charting vitals, emergency and evacuation plans, spine and head injuries, shock, and wilderness wound management. The students worked together during team-based scenarios to correct assess and respond to the different types of medical emergencies and injuries while in a field setting, as well as how to to perform traction on fractured long bones, receiving a demonstration of how to splint and stabilize fractures.
Friday, February 16, 2018: On Friday morning, the students met again at Phoenix College by 7:45 am for the second and final day of the WFA training course. The crew dove deeper into SAMPLE Hx, medical concerns, environmental exposure (heat and cold illness, allergies, burns, cuts, gashes, abrasions, blisters, and the what not. The crew practiced a wide variety of bandaging procedures. The day concluded with an elaborate scenario in which four groups (1 victim, 1 primary, and 1 secondary each) had to go through the complete routine of scene size up, patient assessment, treatment, and evacuation. Once finishing the scenario, the crew debriefed and returned to the classroom to take their final quiz, receive their certificates, and tidy up the room. The crew thanked Mike for the course, debriefed the week before breaking for the week.