Today I went to the Caledonia Rambler's Trip Leader Primer at the Forests for the World.
It's been at least 6 years since the club has hosted one. We had some guest speakers from Overhang.ca who hosted the interactive part of the day.
For the first few hours we huddled under the shelter at the Forests for the World and listened to various experienced people from the club talk about leading hikes. There were discussions about preparation, what to do at the meetup before the hike, and the different ways to lead a hike.
Some like to lead from the front, some from the back, and some mingle in the middle. I choose which style depending on the hike and who there is to help. I'm not the fastest hiker, so I always pick the fastest to be in front when it's a steep hike up.
After the lectures, we then practice leading a hike with the help of Overhang. We go through all the routine that we would do on a real hike. Along the way though, there is things that happen. Today we had to deal with a broken leg.
You wouldn't normally just move someone, rather you access the situation first to decide if you should send for help. But if there was a danger, ie bear, or forest fire, then you might have to move them. During our simulation we were told to make a stretcher with what materials that we had on hand. Sadly, I didn't pack much. I suppose I should carry esssentials like cord, knife, etc.
|Our failed stretcher. I was the victim who broke the wood twice.|
|Rambler's President Nowell trying out a stretcher that his group made|
We used a bigger piece of wood that was slightly rotten, thinking that it would be strong enough. Nope, I fell through twice after the wood broke. It would be better to carry a small saw in first aid kit that the club has so we could cut through tree branches if needed. For live trees, smaller branches have more strength then big slightly rotten ones.
If we are high up and there are no trees, hiking poles would come in very handy! I always use them when I am alpine hiking and so do many others, so there would be no lack of poles to use. Actually, poles might even be better for in the bush as then you wouldn't need to cut down branches. Of course, it depends on the situation.
|Packs make stretchers more comfortable|
|Practice moving victim|
|Moving victim over a 'tree stump'|
It was a very informative day and I hope that they host more in the future. The leadership aspect of the training could be applicable to all outdoor activities including Bike touring, Mountain Biking, Kayaking, and rock climbing, to name a few activities.