Recipe: No-Bake Protein Bars…

This is adapted from a recipe originally posted by Jessica Allen over at  For awesome fitness related content check out her site or follow her on Twitter.  To see her original recipe post, click here.

Peanut Butter No-Bake Protein Bars...

The first time I made these No-Bake Protein Bars they were amazing!  I have adjusted and tweaked the recipe every time I’ve made them to experiment with flavors and texture.  I like to have a more solid, slightly drier bar so that they will hold up better on the trail.  The original recipe was very soft (and yummy) and would essentially melt once it started to warm up.

So, here’s what I use:

  • 1 cup organic Almond Butter
  • 1 cup Peanut Butter
  • 1 1/2 cup organic local honey
  • 2 cups of protein powder
  • 1 cup of rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup flax seeds
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder (optional)
Protein bar ingredients...

Collect all your ingredients along with a microwave-safe mixing bowl (Pyrex or glass)...

Then start mixing…

mix peanut butter, almond butter and honey...

Add the Almond Butter, Peanut Butter and Honey to the bowl. Then microwave for 90 seconds...


Mixed butters and honey...

Carefully mix thoroughly until smooth...


added dry ingredients...

Add the remaining ingredients, except for the oats, and stir. I find that it's easier to mix the oats in last after all the seeds and powders...


chocolaty mixture...

Add the rolled oats and mix everything trying to get the oats evenly integrated.


mixture poured in to Pyrex storage containers...

Pour the mixture into Pyrex containers or a glass baking sheet with the lid (you could cover with plastic wrap if you don't have a lid). Spread the mixture evenly across the bottom and place in the refrigerator to let the bars set up. I usually leave mine overnight...then cut the servings I want as I need them.


If you are not a big fan of chocolate, you can use plain or vanilla flavored protein powder and skip the cocoa powder.  The natural peanut butter and honey flavor is awesome so the chocolate is just a bonus.  These make a great post-workout snack with a good ratio of natural sugar, carbs, fat and protein.

I tend to do a lot of fasted-state workouts if I run or lift in the mornings so this is a nice snack to have directly following the workout…followed by a real meal about 30-45 minutes after the workout.


Weekend at the Overland Expo 2012…

Every Wednesday afternoon for a couple months now (I think) I have been a regular participator in the Adventure Travel Q&A Twitter Chat hosted by J. Brandon (@AmericanSahara) and Katie Boué (@TheMorningFresh).  The chat is sponsored by the Overland Expo and my first week participating in the chat, I won a day pass to the 2012 Overland Expo at Mormon Lake, just outside Flagstaff, Arizona.  I had never heard of it, and had no idea what I was getting in to, but it was only a couple hours drive and an excuse to go camping.

I spent a little over 2 days walking around and looking at some of the most amazing overland travel machines and gear I have ever seen!  I was introduced to people who have made overland excursions a lifestyle and spend months (or sometimes years) on adventures across the planet.  I won’t get into detail about who was there, who had the biggest/bestest rig or gave the best classes.  Suffice it to say, it was a huge show with many impressive products on display and many knowledgeable people sharing their wisdom.

I’m a hiker and backpacker, primarily.  I travel light and lean and don’t require a lot of support.  Whitewater rafting is a little different and closer to the Overlander mindset.  However, this event introduced me to a whole new way of thinking about travel and adventure.

What it really did was get me thinking about how I might be able to travel and seek out adventure with a new family.  I will be getting married in October to a beautiful, adventurous woman and we’ve talked about having kids.  Exploring the world with a young child is a much different experience than we are used to.  Seeing the way some of the people were equipped for their overland adventures really got my mind racing about the travel possibilities with my future family.  We both want to raise a child that is no stranger to travel, exploration or the outdoors.

I’ve got a lot of thinking to do…but the possibilities are exciting.

Wilderness Dave is contributing to the Hydration Summit…

Hydration Summit  is teaming up with 15 outdoor bloggers to discuss Hydration on the trail. We hope that you will join us on Hydration Summit, starting June 4th, as we discuss and review hydration practices, safety and technology.

This 5-week discussion summit will be taking a very in depth look at every aspect of hydration. Some of the topics explored by our team of bloggers will include filtration, gear, proper use and cleaning of gear, health risks and so much more.

We are also looking for your stories of how you stay hydrated on the trails. Please come and join the conversation by Registering at Hydration Summit and share your personal story. Registered members will have chances to win gear, receive special discounts and offers and discuss all of the topics.

For more information please visit the Hydration Summit website.

Trip Report: Paddling Buffalo Bayou…

We had talked about this for a while.  I had heard, and confirmed, that the Houston REI rented out kayaks.  So, once I got a few extra bucks in my pocket, I made arrangements for us to rent a couple of kayaks from REI and paddle part of the Buffalo Bayou.


Twin kayaks on the Honda

They said it couldn’t be done…

The look on the face of the guy at REI who saw us pull up in a 2004 Honda Civic to pick up our kayaks was priceless.  With some help, we got them secured to the roof of the car.  He found the spectacle entertaining enough that he insisted on getting a picture.  The put-in for Section 5 of the Buffalo Bayou was less than a mile away so I was not all that worried about the kayaks.  We drove out of the parking lot of the Houston REI and up a side street through a beautiful neighborhood to Briar Bend Park.  Access to the Bayou at Briar Bend is behind the park.

Access was pretty easy, even toting heavy 10ft plastic recreational kayaks.  The beasts we rented were not like the sleek, light sport kayaks I’m used to.  These were the heavy, lumbering Old Town Vapor 10 kayaks.  Short, wide and made of heavy plastic, these boats were nearly 50lbs without any gear and made to take a beating.  I would consider them a pretty good beginners kayak, with a relatively flat bottom and very wide mid-section they were very stable.  I’m not sure if I could have tipped it over if I tried.

Buffalo Bayou kayaking

Our plan for the day had options: We initially thought we would paddle downstream from Section 4 (Briar Bend Park) to the put in for Section 5 (Woodway Memorial Park) and if it didn’t take too long we would just paddle back upstream to Briar Bend.  The Bayou is a pretty slow moving water way and paddling upstream would not be difficult.  Plus, we did not schedule a shuttle or plan for leaving a vehicle at a designated take-out.  Plan B was to drift on past Woodway Memorial on to the other side of Memorial Park and perhaps further if we kept up a fast pace.  We expected to be out for about 4 hours.  Without a shuttle, we had decided we’d just pull off the bayou wherever we wanted and grab a cab to take one of us back to our car while the other waited with the kayaks.

So, with options for the day, we carried our giant hogs down to the water and prepared ourselves for an afternoon of paddling.


Always bring more food than you need.  We were running a little late that morning getting started, so we did not get the chance to run by the store to stock up on snacks for the afternoon.  I had packed water, almonds and a couple of apples.  Turns out almonds and a couple of apples are not enough food for a 5+ hour paddling trip.  Make sure to pack enough food and water to last longer than you anticipate being gone.

The put-in at Briar Bend is nice.  It’s tree covered and an easy walk to the water’s edge.  The Bayou is very narrow here so this is one of the few places with an actual riffle of fast moving water.  I set up Merelyn at the lower end of the rapid so she didn’t have to push-off in to a fast current and then set myself up a little higher (just for fun).  Once on the water, we got ourselves settled in to our boats and began our paddle trip.

The water on the Bayou is slow and murky, exactly what I expected from a Bayou.  It is definitely a leisurely paddling trip, we kept up a decent pace but it was still plenty slow enough to enjoy some of the more scenic turns.  Old growth trees, hanging their heavy, gnarled limbs over the water as if guarding the muddy shoreline.  Vines draping low as they weave between the tree branches added to the dense vegetation.  The Buffalo Bayou winds it’s way through the heart of Houston.  So, from time to time, the trees open up to reveal some building or another peaking through the greenery.  Much of the Bayou is adjacent to high-end private estates or golf communities so the architecture seen from the water can be impressive.

As we paddled along, learning how to handle the new boats, we started to see the signs of wildlife along the waterway.  Often, something would slip in to the murky water before we could get a good look at what it was.  But we did see snakes, turtles and fish as well as a variety of birds.


Know the skill level of your party.  Little did I know, Merelyn had virtually no experience in a kayak.  I’ve seen her use the sit-on kayaks on trips to Mexico and she handles the paddle with confidence so I never suspected her lack of experience.  On most whitewater trips, I don’t assume anyone has experience unless I’ve paddled with them before.  I would normally run through a quick “how-to” and talk about fitting the kayak, posture, paddle grip and technique.  Along the way, once I realized she was struggling with certain parts of paddling, we did a quick lesson on steering, stopping, correcting, etc.  It’s important to know the skill level of your adventure partner and, if you are the one lacking experience in a particular skill, you should not feel embarrassed or afraid to ask for help.

We reached our first take-out option pretty quickly.  We stopped for a minute to discuss our options: paddle back, or keep on going?  Ultimately we chose to keep on going under the assumption that the next leg would take us about the same amount of time as Section 5.  We had a quick snack of some almonds and I ate one of the apples (Merelyn was afraid they were too old and not good anymore).  The next section proved to be much more technical than the first.  The path of the Bayou became more twisted and littered with debris.  Consequently, the water moved even slower forcing us to work harder.  We both had assumed that as we neared the Memorial Park area, there would be places where we could get out of the Bayou prematurely if we were getting tired…this was not the case.  The shoreline continued to be a thick, matted jungle of shrubs, vines and tree-limbs.  And where it wasn’t so heavily vegetated, the shore was either too steep to ascend or was private property and clearly not welcome to trespassers.

We paddled on.  The map we had picked up from REI showed the Bayou Paddle Trail and the areas where access was available.  However, the map was remarkably small and lacking in detail and many of the supposed access points were not marked.  Without knowing exactly how far we had to go, or how long it would take us, uncertainty began to weigh on my hungry companion (“almonds are NOT food”).  The Bayou was loosing it’s charm.  The shear volume of litter and trash that choke the waterway was disturbing to both of us.  Some parts were worse than others but it seems that the Bayou has been the personal dumping ground for the population of Houston.


Know your equipment.  The ability to rent expensive equipment like rafts and kayaks is great, it grants you the opportunity to participate in an activity that you otherwise couldn’t afford.  The problem is, most times you are renting equipment you may have never used and may never use again.  In some cases, this can be a deadly problem.  Luckily, in our case, I had experience with several different styles of kayaks and once I knew there was an issue I could address it.  Again, don’t be afraid to ask about your equipment.  Let the outfitter know that you want them to walk you through the features of the equipment you are renting.  You’re paying to use it, get the most out of it by knowing what it can do.

Shortly before we came to the Hogg Bird Sanctuary, Merelyn and I stopped and she complained about not being able to find a comfortable position in the kayak.  It was wearing her down, constantly having to shift around to find a stable position.  This is when we realized that she had never found the foot braces.  They had been pushed so far forward by the last person to use the kayak that she didn’t even know they were there.  Once we adjusted them so that she could reach them, and fine tuned them until she was comfortable, everything changed.  Suddenly, she was comfortable in the kayak, had better posture and a stronger stroke.  She was re-energized and anxious to reach familiar ground.

We never did see the exit point at the Hogg Bird Sanctuary (beginning of Section 7) and looking at the map, decided we’d shoot for a take-out at Eleanor Tensley Park (just short of Section 8).  The Bayou straightens out after the Hogg Bird Sanctuary and we were able to make good time, especially with Merelyn’s new-found mastery of her kayak.  The cruised along at a good pace, the bayou opened up at the shore and we no longer felt “trapped”.  We pushed to a spot along Eleanor Tensley Park where we could pull the kayaks out and wash them off a little before dragging them, and our gear, up the hill to the parking lot.


Always have an exit strategy.  It’s always good to have a plan, and a backup plan.  But makes sure your plans are well thought out and you are prepared for them.  As much as “eh, we’ll figure it out when we get there” can make for a great story and adventure, it can also create pain, misery and resentment.  It’s best to have a clear, well designed plan for concluding your excursions.  One that everyone is informed about and agrees with.  

It was getting late, so I called a cab company (the only one in town) and put Plan B into action.  The answering service for the cab company hung up on me when I failed to find a physical street address for the park.  Turns out, this park has NO listed street address.  It has no address on any of the signage either, nor the website, nor the map.  This, as we were to find, makes the park invisible to cab drivers.  I looked up an address (not even sure it was a proper address) online for the park, but without the numbers displayed somewhere we were gonna have problems.  I finally convinced the dispatcher to send a cab our way.  I watched, who I believe was our cabby, drive by the park 3 times before I got a phone call from him angrily asking where I was.

I was berated, in broken English, for sending this guy on a wild-goose chase to an address that “does not exist!”.  I watched him drive by two more times while I had him on the phone and could not get him to understand that the giant green grassy area with the trees was THE PARK!  I finally waved down the irate cab driver who was crawling along the roadside, getting honked at and I’m sure receiving various unpleasant gestures, and had him pull in to the parking lot.  I sent poor Merelyn with this inconsolable, and incomprehensible,  man who would not stop insisting that the park did not exist.  As they left, I pulled the kayaks the rest of the way up the hill, into the shade, and crawled in to one (hammock style) to take a nap.


It’s all about attitude.  Even in some of the most stressful and crazy situations, laughter and calm sets everyone at ease.  Life is too serious to take seriously.  When things start to go wrong, they can be made worse by arguing, complaining and fighting with others about the situation.  Or, when things turn for the worse, you can accept it, go with the flow, have a sense of humor and unite to meet the challenge head on.  Cooler heads prevail.

Some time later, Merelyn arrived in her car.  She had brought food (hers was already consumed, I’m sure within seconds of it being passed through the drive-thru window).  She filled me in on the antics of the poor, distressed cab driver who clearly had signed on for more than he could handle that evening.  He really could not let go of the fact that the park address did not exist…it could also be that the address issue was the only thing Merelyn could understand between his thick accent, propensity for leaning on the horn and apparent inability to navigate traffic.

We loaded up our gear and strapped the kayaks to the top of the car again and headed home.  We ended the day sunburned, tired and hungry but we laughed all the way home (mostly at the cabby).  It was an adventure and, like all good adventures, it was more than we had bargained for.  In the end, we had a fun day together and a story to tell.  What else really matters?

Rescue Situation in Prescott…

After breakfast I left my buddy Bryan to get ready for the race and milled around Whiskey Row in the crisp morning air watching the mountain bikers warm up.  Saturday was the 50 Proof Pro Race followed by the 25 Proof Amateur Race of the 9th Annual Whiskey Off-Road Mountain Bike Event.  Bryan and his team were competing in the 25 Proof.  I had come up to Prescott for the weekend to help cheer Bryan on, take pictures and offer support.  Bryan’s wife, Amanda, and I were to drive up Thumb Butte Road to the overlook where the riders would be trudging up a steep grade before making a sharp turn on to a single-track trail that would lead them back down the mountain.

Amanda and I waited until Bryan’s Race was kicked off in true Prescott style…two crusty old locals dressed in 19th century western wear shooting their revolvers into the air signal the start of the race.  After a brief stop at an outdoor retailer for local trail maps, we were headed up Thumb Butte Road to the overlook to wait for Bryan.

The road to the overlook wasn’t too bad.  It was a worn, twisty dirt road up the mountain but it had clearly seen regular use.  It was very narrow, at points not wide enough for two cars to pass.  Cut in to the mountainside, the road had a steep rock wall on one side and a nearly sheer drop down the mountain on the other side and the shoulder at the drop off was very soft in places.  Near the top, Forest Service Personnel was guiding traffic and helping people park along the shoulder.  He had us park close enough to the edge to force Amanda to climb through the cab and get out of my truck on the driver’s side.

The overlook where everyone was staged to greet the racers was only a couple hundred yards away.  We reached the top and I took photos of the riders and spectators as we waited for Bryan.  Once Bryan had come through, our work was done and we headed back to the truck.  My plan was to get Amanda back in to town to wait for Bryan, and I would head out for an afternoon hike and meet up with everyone later for the concert that night.  As we started toward where the truck was parked, a guy in a Toyota Forerunner was pulling out to head back down the mountain road.  He paused next to use to say hi and asked if we needed a ride.  There was a gorgeous white Husky-Mix dog in the backseat and while we fawned over the friendly puppy we explained that our vehicle was very close and we were happy to walk.  He insisted it was no trouble and we politely declined again.  He waved good-bye as he pulled away and Amanda and I chatted about what a beautiful dog he had.

As we reached my truck, movement caught my eye on the mountainside and I looked up to see a vehicle tumbling down the steep, rocky grade.  It took a second for me grasp the reality of what I was seeing and all I could say was “OH SHIT OH SHIT OH SHIT OH SHIT!”  Then, instinctually, I stripped off my camera and Camelbak, threw them in the back of my truck and took off down the road toward the accident as fast as my legs would move.  I could hear Amanda running behind me, asking if that was the truck with the dog.  I knew it was but did not want to admit it out-loud.

photo by Julian Gonzalez

The truck had stopped, inexplicably, less than halfway down the mountainside.  I could see it clearly from the road once I reached a point directly above the mangled wreck.  Not knowing what I would find, I knew time was not on my side.  I pulled my phone, keys and wallet out of my pocket and tossed it to Amanda and telling her to call 9-1-1.  Then I bolted down the slope, sliding, scrambling and hopping through the boulders and brush.

I quickly found the dog.  She had been ejected from the vehicle, seemingly early in the roll, and seemed to be OK.  I grabbed her leash as she approached me and did a quick check to make sure she wasn’t bleeding or showing any obvious injuries.  She looked OK enough and anxious to get to safety, so I yelled for Amanda to call her and sent her up the slope.  Then I continued my quick descent toward the vehicle to find the driver.

As I got closer, I could see the Forerunner had caught up on a rock outcropping and had just barely avoided tumbling the remaining 300+ yards down the mountainside.  I could hear the motor still running as I approached and that’s when I saw the driver.  He had also been ejected from the vehicle only about 30 ft from where the Toyota precariously hung to the rock.  I could see he was propped up against a rock and sitting up (good signs) and I quickly worked my way to him, calling down to let him know I was on my way and not to move.

Anatomy of a Crisis

Survey the situation

  • Am I in danger?
  • Is the victim OK? What is the Mechanism of Injury?


  • Speak to the injured person, even before you get to them…don’t sneak up on them.
  • Try to communicate, talking is the fastest and easiest way to asses the mental condition of the injured person.


  • Make sure the scene is safe, people are safe and everyone has a job.


  • Designate one or two people to approach the victim while being careful not to cause further injury or create further danger.

Initial Impression

  • What is the condition of the injured person?  
  • Are they in a safe location, can they be moved to a safer location?


  • Primary Survey
  • Secondary Survey
  • Collect Vital Data (SOAPnote)
  • Formulate a Rescue Plan

Assign and Delegate

  • In a group, give everyone a job and delegate responsibilities


  • On-going assessment
  • Rescue Plan

I quickly looked him over as I approached and, though he was scratched and bleeding from head to toe, none of the lacerations were deep enough to need immediate attention.  So when I got to him my focus was on assessing his mental state, then I could work on assessing physical injuries.  I asked how he was doing.  It may sound like a ridiculous question to ask an accident victim but their answer can tell you a great deal about their mental state.  He answered calmly, saying that he thought he was OK.  I introduced myself and asked his name, which he quickly was able to give.  So far so good.  I then asked him if it was alright if I touched him so I could check him out for some basic injuries and he answered in the affirmative.

Patient Assessment: The Primary Survey

Find out what happened, find any life-threatening injuries, treat life-threatening injuries, prevent further injury from occurring.

Central Nervous System

  • What was the Mechanism of Injury (MOI)?
  • Are they complaining of neck or back pain?
  • Do they have sensation or movement in all four extremities?


  • Are there any obvious deformities?
  • What is their chief complaint? Where does it hurt?
  • Do all the “chunks” feel normal?


  • Where are they?
  • Are they complaining of being cold, hot or wet?
  • Do they feel hot, cold or damp?

I continued asking him questions as I checked him for injuries, trying to determine his Level of Consciousness (LOC) while also determining the level of his physical injuries.  I asked if he knew where he was, what day it was, why he was here.  All of his answers were clear and positive.  I also asked if he remembered what happened, and could give me any details of the accident.  He relayed the story to me in enough detail for me to be confident he had not been knocked unconscious and had probably not suffered a major concussion.

“If an individual receives a heavy blow to the head or face, he may suffer a brain concussion, which is an injury to the brain that involves a temporary loss of some or all of the brain’s ability to function. For example, the casualty may not breathe properly for a short period of time, or he may become confused and stagger when he attempts to walk. A concussion may only last for a short period of time. However,if a casualty is suspected of having suffered a concussion, he must be seen by a physician as soon as conditions permit.Remember to suspect any casualty who has a severe head injury or who is unconscious as possibly having a broken neck or a spinal cord injury! It is better to treat conservatively and assume that the neck/spinal cord is injured rather than to chance further injuring the casualty.” – – Head Injuries and General First Aid Measures

The physical check was encouraging as well.  He had some bruising and lacerations from head to toe, but no obvious deformities.  He had sensation in all extremities, good circulation and respiration.  His right shoulder seemed to sag a little and I asked about pain there, which he confirmed.  He had also scraped his head on the right side bad enough to have pulled the skin away from part of his right ear.  The surface injury was superficial enough that the bleeding had already stopped on it’s own.  There is always the worry of a possible head injury, so I continued to encourage him to stay as still as possible and not move his head.  I performed a quick cervical check and nothing felt out of place, nor did he complain of any sensitivity or pain.  Everything seemed to check out on the initial assessment and he was very lucky.

photo by Julian Gonzalez

He explained that he had lost traction on the road and began to drift on the loose dirt.  Before he could regain control, the vehicle hit the mountainside and then careened across the road and off the edge.  He recalled the drop and his experience in the vehicle as it rolled stating, undoubtedly, it was the scariest thing he’s ever experienced.  He also recalled being ejected from the vehicle and assured me he hadn’t moved a single step from where he had landed.  He then asked about the dog and I let him know the dog was found in good shape.

Symptoms of Dehydration in Adults

The signs and symptoms of dehydration range from minor to severe and include:

  • Increased thirst
  • Dry mouth and swollen tongue
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Palpitations (feeling that the heart is jumping or pounding)
  • Confusion
  • Sluggishness fainting
  • Fainting
  • Inability to sweat
  • Decreased urine output

All of these symptoms can not only be the underlying cause of many backcountry medical emergencies, but will also make rescue and medical aid that much more difficult to administer.  Assessing a patient’s level of dehydration is important and in extended rescue situations, keeping the injured person hydrated (if possible) is a primary concern.

I made sure he was comfortable and we began our wait for professional rescue.  Dehydration can complicate any medical situation, so I asked if he was thirsty.  I told him I had seen some water bottles up-slope and could get him one.  I worked my way up to where much of the debris from the crash had spilled (it was a yard sale all the way down the mountain).  I found two water bottles and spotted a larger water container that might have some water in it for later.  He drank the first water bottle pretty quick and I used part of the second to wash some of the dirt and blood from his face.  He also asked if he could have his ball cap because the sun was in his eyes, so I found that and brought it to him.

It took a while before anyone came down to us.  The first person to join us was a Forest Service guy, also with Wilderness First Responder training.  I had kept the victim engaged and talking while making sure he didn’t move around.  I was beginning my second assessment when the FS Responder arrived and I let him do the assessment.  He confirmed all of the conclusions I had reached on my initial assessment, making me feel better to have a second opinion confirm my own.

Patient Assessment: The Secondary Survey

Measuring and recording vital signs helps you understand how much Oxygen the brain is getting and sets a baseline for later assessments.

Respiratory Assessment

  • Respiratory Rate: Count the number of breaths per minute (10-20/min)
  • Respiratory Effort: Observe the ease or difficulty with which they breathe.
  • Ask if they feel shortness of breath or are having a hard time breathing.

Circulatory Assessment

  • Heart Rate: Find the pulse and count for one minute (50-100 bets/min)
  • Effort: Blood Pressure Cuff is ideal, but you can also check the pulse at different locations for strength of pulse.
  • If you have trouble locating a pulse at the extremities it may be a sign of low blood-pressure.

Central Nervous System

  • Establish the Level of Consciousness (LOC)
  • AWAKE: Conscious and Alert (how alert and aware are they?)
  • VERBAL: Unconscious, but responds to sound
  • PAINFUL: Unconscious, but responds to pain
  • UNRESPONSIVE: Unconscious, comatose

Integumentary System (Skin)

  • Skin color: Is there perfusion of blood to the skin?
  • Skin temperature/moisture: Are they hot or cold to the touch? Are they wet, dry or sweaty?
Vital signs should be continually monitored.  Repeat the Secondary Examination every 15 minutes or so and note changes in the patient’s condition.

As more rescue personnel arrived on scene and better equipped medical service was available, we got him patched up and stabilized.  They were able to get a cervical collar on him to protect his spine, we got his right arm in a sling to stabilize that shoulder and I continued to make sure he had water.

photo by Julian Gonzalez

Eventually, full rescue was on site and in the cramped space available to us, we got him strapped into a rope extraction rescue stretcher and the pro-crew hauled him up the slope while I collected their gear and helped haul it out.

All together, the rescue operation took almost 3 hours and the Forest Service had to clear-cut a 10ft wide direct path from the road to where we were.  The response crews did a good job of handling the situation safely, quickly and efficiently.  If I have any complaint at all, it is that many rescue personal are more apt to treat the situation more-so than the patient.  At one point he was actually asking for more water and no one was listening until I made them give him water.

The whole time, the truck was still running and all of us were concerned that it would catch fire and complicate our rescue effort.  But it never did.  Once the road was cleared of emergency personnel and vehicles, a large crane truck and wrecker came in to extract the mangled Toyota.

I believe I did everything I could and I followed the procedures as I had been trained to.  Later I visited the hospital and talked with the wife of the guy we’d rescued.  She was shaken up, but glad he was not hurt worse.  This was not the first accident I have witnessed, nor the first one where I was the First Responder.  It has reminded me of the importance of Wilderness First Aid and First Responder training for all of us who spend time in the backcountry.  If you can find a certification course near you, it is well worth the time, money and effort to go through the training.  You never know when it will be YOU in this situation.

I would like to hear your stories.  Have any of you been in a first responder situation?  How did you handle it?  What did you learn from it?  How did it change your perspective on safety and preparedness in the outdoors?