Monday, January 24, 2011

Coolest postcard ever +

Just received the coolest postcard ever. Yes, that is a piece of the Berlin wall in the centre of it! Amazing.

This came from Justyna, who also just finished her Basic Outdoor Survival Course, just outside of Winnipeg.

Here's an exerpt from her email:

We spent 5 days learning all kinds of survival techniques and sleeping in all kinds of makeshift homes. One night was in a tent, for one they gave a parachute per 9 people and we slept under those, one night we piled snow for a couple of days into these huge mounds and then dug little homes inside the mounds (2people/mound) and slept in those one night. They were like a little igloo/cave combination i guess, except that we didn't cut blocks of ice and pile it, we just dug into huge piles of snow. They're called quinzees. And our last night was in little cabins.

So on the 6th day we got dropped off at the edge of a lake with a gps coordinate, a pair of snowshoes and a backpack of equipment (including a piece of a parachute, saw, shovel, radio, knife, 12 candies at 50 calories/candy and 3 little packets of juice crystals to mix into your water). Our last meal was a rabbit that my fireteam parter killed and i gutted (it was boiled rabbit though so it didn't taste that great.) Then we were by ourselves for 3 days with not much but a brain full of knowledge. Let me tell you, it was an adventure.

The coldest it got was -37 deg C. But the many tasks we had to accomplish in 3 days (shelter, continuous fire, smoke signal tower-took hours to build, rabbit snare, a number of signals for the plane to see, and continuously boiling snow over the fire in my little canteen cup) kept me very busy. Surprisingly I didn't feel hungry until the 3rd day (they had deprived us of food a bit in the 5 days leading up to it so my stomac had shrunk a bit already by solo time.) It did get a little lonely though and i got a little anxious every evening at sundown (which was around 6pm) as my pile of firewood never seemed to be big enough and the nights were long and cold. I collected wood in between every little task i did (like cutting down trees or gathering boughs-which was a never ending task as you need boughs for everything you have to build,) and giant piles up to my waist would burn out in an hour or two. i was pulling full dead christmas trees out of the ground (in the swampy areas there were many dead ones) and even those burned out as quickly as i could collect them.

When it came to evaluation time on the 3rd day, my tasks were all deemed to be good and i didn't have to re-do any of them (unlike my comrades, most of whom had to either re-build or upgrade their smoke tower signal). We all got to light our smoke signals at the end of the exercise. They were like mini volcanoes that turned into infernos (they work both for day and night cause of the massive plumes of gray smoke that come out of it during the day-no plane can miss that, let me tell you, and the fire tower that's created afterwards works great at night for a signal). Pretty cool to see!

Assuming you passed, there were 3 things you could have had written for each component on your course report: passed, barely passed or easily passed. My course report reads "Easily passed all PO Checks". Yea, that's right!


I think it's time I admit that my younger female cousin may be tougher than me. ;)

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