Expedition #2 - Ridgelines & Coastlines: Hiking, Paddling & Sampler

Words & Photos from Oliver K. & Marina F. - Ridgelines & Coastlines

For the second cohort activity, the outdoor groups (hiking, kayaking and island sampler) combined and drove out to Goldstream Provincial Park. We split into groups and proceeded to learn about certain life saving outdoor skills. First we were told about the rule of 3s as it relates to survival in the outdoor environment 3 Minutes without air, 3 Hours without Shelter (in desperate conditions), 3 Days without Water & 3 Weeks without Food. After, we learned the following about the essentials: fire, food, shelter and water:

Food: Here to find edible plants and such. Never eat the white berries! The climate that we are in is not the most forgiving and staying hungry instead of eating something but becoming sick is better.

Shelter: How to set up a makeshift cover where the rain flows right off the side leaving everything underneath completely dry. To roll up your rope correctly, we learned the Grenade Knot.

Water: How to sterilize water and transport it around. Iodine doesn’t taste good but it gets the job done. Boiling water at sea level for at least a few minutes, but higher altitudes it will take longer. Nifty tricks such as leaving a shirt out and collecting dew.

Fire: How to start a fire with shavings and kindling, and a flint and steel striker. After a few tries and burning a little too much char cloth, we successfully started a fire to boil the water that we collected and added some hot chocolate mix.

It was a nice way to end the day sitting next to a fire under leafy maple trees with a nice hot cup of cocoa, munching on a hotdog.

From Marina (Ridgelines & Coastlines Paddling)

Our day was pretty dang great!  I woke up and instead of sitting in a class, we got to be outside all day!  In the morning we took the bus up to Goldstream Park. When we got out of the bus we played some fun camp games then split into groups to learn survival skills.  The skills we focused on were fire building, orienteering, food, and tarp and shelter building.

A member from each group went to a particular skill station to become an ‘expert’ in it to later teach the rest of their group the skill.  I went to the fire building station and learned how to practically build a fire by splitting wood, making a good structure, using char cloth and lighting it using a magnesium fire starter rather than a lighter. Our group also got to watch Mr. Pope start a fire by using a bowline which was super cool to see in real life.  After learning a particular skill we went back to our groups and participated in a challenge, to survive in the wilderness!  We had to set up rain-proof tarps, use a compass to find ‘food’ and water, make a fire and finally roast a hot dog on our fires.  The catch was, the expert in the survival skill had to teach the group the skill without participating in the actual activity. The challenge was a lot of fun, and it was really satisfying to see our camp set up in the end.  

After we drank our hot chocolate and ate our lunches around the campfire, we walked down and explored the river. It was awesome! We got to see a bunch of salmon gathered in an eddy after swimming upstream. Overall, I had a great day.  It’s easy to get caught up in the stress of school or day to day life so by taking the day to get outside and really appreciate nature and the simple things in life was really awesome.

From Andrew G. -Ridgelines & Coastlines Sampler

For the second expedition day the Outdoor Sampler cohort traveled to Goldstream Provincial Park along with the other outdoor cohorts, where we learned outdoor survival skills. At the start of the day we played various icebreaker games and split ourselves into three groups. Each group was learning a different skill. Group one was learning how to build shelters, group two was learning how to build and light a fire, and the group I was doing food, water and navigation. We did small workshops in our groups for about an hour and a half in the morning.

My group learned skills like how to navigate in the outdoors, where to find water and how to make it safe to drink while compensating for certain factors like altitude and condition of the water around. We also learned “the rule of three”. This is the rule that tells you the order of your priorities if you are in a survival situation. About an hour before lunch the three groups merged together and formed five smaller groups with one or two representatives from each of the shelter, fire, and food/water/navigation groups. The representatives from each group were not allowed to use the skills they had learned, they had to teach the others how to do the skill they learned. I especially had trouble tying the ‘truckers knot’ used to tie up the tarp for the shelter.

After lighting our fire I had to teach my group how to use a compass bearing to find a pot and food that had been hidden in the forest. In the afternoon we went for a walk down to the stream and saw the last salmon heading upstream for the salmon run. During this day my cohort learned a lot of survival and safety aspects of being in the outdoors. I am sure that I will be able to use these skills on later expedition days and when I am going on outdoor trips.