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8 August, 2002

Learn to Return

No need to dig out the leg warmers or brush up on doing the moon walk, but it did seem to be a throwback to the 1980s as the new TEA class felt a little like McGyver as they attended Brian Horner's field safety class,"Learn to Return".

In order to better prepare us for our upcoming adventure, Brian taught us the basics of protecting us against the harsh environment of the poles and gave us tips to survive in the field. As he taught us how to tie various types of knots, I found myself wishing I had been in scouts. I also knew my granddad would be so disappointed that I didn't know how to do this already. Being a true "Florida girl" I also had to learn a few new vocabulary words like: polypropylene, glove liners, and neck gators.

After a morning of knot tying, braiding, and movies showing frostbitten toes, it was time to go outside for some hands on application. We bandaged fake wounds, turned garbage bags into ponchos, made makeshift mukluks, and learned how to make impromptu buttons for emergency fastening. As the long day in the sun moved on, it became time for a picnic snack.

But there was no wine and cheese in our basket. Instead we nibbled on a potpourri of rations. Did you know they come in flavors? While all varieties were somewhere between a dense shortbread cookie and a thick pie crust, some brands had a mild flavors such as lemon or cherry. For those needing a little variety, Brian also taught us the best way assemble a high calorie, lightweight food pack. Some of Brian's favorite items: Slim Jims, macadamia nuts, and tubes of frosting.

While Brian has been teaching survival training for many years, you may have seen him on TV when the National Geographic channel recently reran the Norman Vaughn story. Brian was part of Mr. Vaughan's 1993 team when Norman returned to Antarctica in hopes to climb the mountain that was named in his honor. I'd recently watched the story and was tickled to think that he was teaching our class.

There was no doubt we completed our training feeling a little more confident about ourselves and our ability to use our "McGyver skills" when in a tough situation.

Looking like Heresy kisses, David Brown, Amy Stoyles & Lars Long demonstrate the latest fashion in garbage bag ponchos

Susy Ellison of Glenwood Springs, Colorado shows off her well-tied knot

Making a mukluk out of makeshift materials

Sean Lally makes a button for emergency fastening

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