If you read my last post, you’ll know that I’m currently away in Utah on a Wilderness Medicine elective. I’ve just come back from the first evolution, the alpine section, and have one night in Salt Lake City before hitting the road tomorrow morning to head to the Green River and Desolation Canyon to take on the next portion of the course.
I certainly don’t have time for a thorough write-up of the last week, but I thought I’d give a quick “pic of the day” from the last week to give you an idea of what I’ve been up to. The pics certainly can’t show all the learning that’s been going on- while there is certainly a large component of this course that many would consider recreation, I think I’ve learned more practical medical skills in the last week than I have in quite some time. Sure- I don’t know when I’ll next be using an avalanche beacon or when I’ll next use an ice axe to “self arrest“on the side of a cliff, but the skills of dealing with medical emergencies is non-hospital settings and with limited means is certainly important.
Without further ado (and because I don’t have much time…)
T-minus 1 day… I went shopping. I knew I wouldn’t be enthusiastic about much of the food available on our trip, so I packed a significant personal stash to keep me going (I ate more nuts in the last week than I have in the last few months). I also rented double plastic boots, snowshoes, and an ice axe from REI.
Day 1- The hike up. I’ve never hiked in snowshoes with a big pack before, so why not add in dragging a loaded sled to the process! Our group of 20 (12 students, 4 residents, 2 fellows, and 2 attendings) hiked up to our site near Lower Red Pine Lake in the Wasatch Mountains.
Day 2- Water. Our group was broken into 4 teams of students and residents, and each day we had different tasks. On our second day my team was in charge of water, which we filtered from this lake.
Day 3- Snow. Yeah… this happened. A good 6” of “dust on crust”.
Day 4- Home. This tent was my home for 6 days. I shared it with two other medical students, and with overnight temps dipping into the teens (F) I got very familiar with the workings of my 0o mummy bag.
Day 5- Hike day. On our last full day we hiked up to the ridge leading to the false summit of Pfeifferhorn. The views were stunning.
Day 6- Out. This morning we woke at 6 to pack camp and head back to civilization. My feet won’t miss the heavy double-plastic boots, but I will definitely miss these mountains.
I plan to write more about the actual medical aspects of this course, but for now I hope you enjoy these pics!
And for those that see the t-shirt picture and think this was a warm-weather hike, this is how I was dressed most mornings in camp.