Tag Archives: Outdoors

Outdoor Pro Spotlight: Wilderness Medicine Instructors

Picture this:  You head out early after a spring rain with your paddling buddies to run some of the biggest rapids of the year.  Everything is going awesome until…  A paddler just down river from you flips, then egresses his kayak.  He struggles to gain the upper hand on the river’s force, but his leg slides between some large rocks.  The river rips his upper body down-stream, and, even over the whitewater roar, you hear an audible “THONK!”  “It must be his femur!” you think frantically.  But you are at least 2 miles walk to the nearest road…  What do you do next?  Are you prepared to help?

Night time traction splint practice- Lakeside!
Night time traction-splint practice- Lakeside! Photo: J. Watters

A similar scenario could happen during virtually any outdoor pursuit.  Fortunately, there are some very experienced outdoors-men and women ready to bring you up to speed on how to respond.  I recently had the opportunity to accomplish a Wilderness First Responder (WFR) course put on by the National Outdoor Leadership School’s (NOLS) Wilderness Medicine Institute (WMI).  Holy acronyms…  Anyways, it was certainly a beneficial experience hosted in one of the most beautiful parts of the country– Tahoe City, CA.  I had a chance to chat with our 2 instructors, Brandon Schwartz and Eli Helbert, and thought it would be cool to introduce you to them:

Continue reading Outdoor Pro Spotlight: Wilderness Medicine Instructors

Resilience via Mountain Therapy

Phew!  We’ve been all over the place lately leaving little time to post meaningful content, but are proud to welcome you to Phase 3 of the “101 Days From Now Challenge!”  We’re over a week into the phase, and I hope you have reviewed your phase goals and are on your way to living the life you deserve.  

If you haven’t started the challenge, why not check out our previous posts.  You can join in now, or start when you are ready.  Don’t forget to subscribe so you can keep up with all of our new articles!

Today, we’d like to share our experience welcoming Phase 3 at the top of Arkansas.  Enjoy!

jaw_20131013-IMG_0549Service members are no stranger to stress and demanding schedules.  Uncle Sam refers to their ability to thrive in the face of stress resilience (or resiliency).  Specifically defined, it “is the ability to withstand, recover and or/grow in the face of stressors and changing demands.”  -DCoE for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury.

One important way to build resilience is through an outlet.  It allows you to escape from everyday stresses.  It recharges your mind and body.  For me, that outlet is active and is most always outside.  My focus, stamina, strength, and overall attitude are directly proportionate to the amount of outside time I get.  In fact, exercise (especially when it happens outside) seems to be one of the best ways to build resilience.  Continue reading Resilience via Mountain Therapy

101 DFN… Weekend Adventure to the Top of Arkansas

We’re reaching “The First Ridge,” and closing in on the beginning of Phase 3!  If you have been with us from the beginning, or even if you are just getting started–  We’re stoked to have you.  Nice work!

To celebrate our achievement of Phase 2 and to get a jump start on Phase 3, a few of us plan to find the top of Arkansas this weekend.  It’s called Signal Hill or Mount Magazine and it sits at an elevation of 2,753 feet above Mean Sea Level.  This trek is fairly moderate in difficulty, and offers some of the best backpacking in the region.  Fall colors should be beginning to show, and the views should prove to be outstanding. Continue reading 101 DFN… Weekend Adventure to the Top of Arkansas

How We Discovered Our Bali

jaw_20121116-IMG_4211Bali is a place full of stories spun by foreigners who were the “first” to discover “Bali.” When I first arrived (in Kuta, mind you…), I was pretty turned off by this over-the-top find-yourself consumerism. The further we trekked from the airport, however, the more I grew to appreciate that many folks really do discover their own little slice of paradise. Continue reading How We Discovered Our Bali

Rogue Image of the Week: July 9, 2012

Cruiser | Usa Beach, Okinawa, Japan
Canon EOS 7D + Sigma 10-20mm
120s/ f8/ ISO 800
Moonrise | Usa Beach, Okinawa, Japan
Canon EOS 7D + Canon EF 70-300mm
30s/ f11/ ISO 640

Happy Monday!  This week’s Rogue Images were made by me on Usa Beach in Okinawa Japan during a perfect climbing/ surfing/ spearfishing/ beach cruising weekend.  All participants were successfully able to:  fire up | get dirty | scare yourself | bleed.  Enjoy.  -JW

Do you have an image that would look stellar featured here on Thrive Outdoors?  Send ’em on over to thriveoutdoors@yahoo.com!  Be sure to tell us a bit about the shot: where it was taken, what it was taken with, camera settings, why it’s so awesome, etc…  If selected, we’ll make sure to give credit where credit’s due, and link to whatever site you would like.

Keep The Faith

On 30 June 2009, PFC Bowe Bergdahl was taken captive by the Taliban in Afghanistan.  He is currently the only service member still in captivity in either Iraq or Afghanistan.

There is plenty of rhetoric against the circumstances of Bowe’s capture.  He’s been called many things.  Among them:  Deserter, and Traitor.  We don’t know exactly what happened to Bowe, and neither do any of the folks that speak out against him so quickly.

For the skeptics we offer some words from a keen White House official:

“Frankly, we don’t give a shit why he left.  He’s an American soldier. We want to bring him home.”

And a few words from the document that is the base-line guidance for this kind of situation:  Executive Order 10631, “Code of Conduct for Members of the Armed Forces of the United States,” August 17, 1955, as amended.


“No American prisoner of war will be forgotten by the United States. Every available means will be employed by our Government to establish contact with, to support and to obtain the release of all our prisoners of war. Furthermore, the laws of the United States provide for the support and care of dependents of the Armed Forces including those who become prisoners of war. I assure dependents of such prisoners that these laws will continue to provide for their welfare.”

This past Saturday marked the 3 year anniversary of Bowe’s capture.  A few of us wanted to remind everyone that he was still out there.  A couple of us even showed under “less than sufficient sleep cycles,” after a long Friday night.  It was painful, but worth it…

This one’s for you, Soldier.  You Are Not Forgotten.

  • Showtime:  0700
  • Participants:  6 US Service Members
  • Distance:  54 cumulative miles (9 mi each)
  • Weight in Rucks:  270 cumulative pounds (45 lbs in each pack)
  • Heat Index:  96.9 degrees F
  • Humidity:  84%

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For more information check out these links:

Support and info page for Bowe:  supportbowe.org

A recent, well written article from Rolling Stone

Facebook support pages for Bowe:

Waiting and Advocating for Sgt Bowe Bergdahl. US Army – POW

Waiting-for Bowe (Waiting-for Bowe Bergdahl)

Bring Bowe Bergdahl Home

Fire Up | Get Dirty | Scare Yourself | Bleed

Do More Than Just Survive…THRIVE

富士山 (Fuji San) in Pure Form

Fuji-san is a big deal.  It’s the highest point on all of Japan’s islands.  It’s on the ¥1000 note.  It’s the subject of countless photos, paintings, woodblock prints, poems… blog posts.

Katsushika, Hokusai, 1760-1849, artist | Teahouse at Koishikawa the morning after a snowfall
Between 1890 and 1940. Source: Library of Congress

富士山 may well be the world’s most climbed mountain- 250-300k people climb it every year.  The vast majority of these attempt it during the “official climbing season” of July and August.  At times, especially during Obon week, people have to wait in queues just to get to the next station. Continue reading 富士山 (Fuji San) in Pure Form

10 Tips to Help Your Camera Kit Thrive Where You Do

Near Thorong La, Nepal | 2011

In 2011 I had the opportunity to spend a few weeks in Nepal.  I traveled with a Canon Powershot G10 which is an amazing little monster, and great for travelers.  There were times, however, when I just didn’t have the focal range that I craved.  Some shots were  burned only to my mind because of the inherent limitations of a point-and-shoot camera.  (Check out the gallery at Rogue Images.)

This year, when I learned that I would make the journey one more time, I immediately began searching for a new toy.  Mirrorless system cameras like the Sony NEX or Olympus Pen lines really caught my eye due to their large, high quality sensors and compact body size.  For my money though, the technology is not quite there.  I wanted interchangeable lenses, great video capability, and most importantly, the ability to perform anywhere I perform. Continue reading 10 Tips to Help Your Camera Kit Thrive Where You Do

Adventure Journal’s ‘The List: 7 Great Ways to Poop Outdoors’

I came across this hilarious prequel to “10 Things to Wipe Your Butt With in the Woods” on one of my favorite online mags, Adventure Journal.  This article was written by Brendan Leonard who also runs the blog, Semi-Rad.  Adventure Journal’s editor, Steve Casimiro, has allowed me to give you a taste right here on TO.  Check out the first few “techniques,” then head over to AJ for the rest!


There’s pretty much one way to poop indoors: In a toilet. No real room for creativity. Or at least functional creativity. Outdoors, though, the world is your canvas. Dig a Leave No Trace six-inch hole and make yourself comfortable. Here are seven different strategies, of which we can recommend five. Actually, just four.

Source: Flickr, EarthOwned

1. The Squat

The original outdoor stance. Just like it sounds. Dig a hole, put your butt close to the ground, and make the magic happen.

2. The Tripod

Sometimes more comfortable than the plain old Squat, this is when you dig a hole, squat over it, and place a hand behind you for stability. It’s definitely a more active position and probably safer if you have any reservations about your, um, solid waste getting on your shoes or hiking boots – the Tripod puts your bum farther south of those north-facing feet.

3. The Tree Hug

If the roots cooperate, you can dig a hole close enough to a tree, and if the tree’s not too big around you can wrap your hands or arms around the trunk for support as you squat over the hole and rock it out…

…For the rest of this list, see the full story at Adventure Journal!

(Check out the comments, too.  There are some funny stories.)

When you are “finished” be sure you know what to do next by enlightening yourself with:  “10 Things to Wipe Your Butt With in the Woods”

And…  I promise the next article I post will not be focused on “body processes.”  No guarantees after that, though.

-Thrive Outdoors