Friday, April 18, 2014

Blizzards and Wilderness Medicine

Matt Rosefsky is a Wilderness First Responder instructor for SOLO and a regular visitor at the Spruce Knob Mountain Center. After leading a Wilderness First Aid recertification course in March, he reflected on why he loves teaching here:

Students in Matt's course near the yurts.
Ahhh, learning at TMI's Spruce Knob Mountain Center … Awesome course, delicious food, and beautiful views come to mind as I think back to being a student in the SOLO Wilderness First Responder course there in 2004.  I adored that holistic experience and SKMC so much that I became a regular annual donor.  Since then, I have guided 500+ outdoor adventures (based in Charlottesville, Virginia), become a SOLO instructor, and with great excitement came full circle to now teach SOLO courses at SKMC each year.  It feels great doing my best to give TMI staffers and other adventurers the knowledge and skills on how to prevent, equip to handle, and treat medical emergencies -- enabling parents to rest assured that their loved ones are in great hands at this magical place.

A magical place it is indeed, making my annual WFR teaching engagement there be, by far, the one I look forward to most each year.  Why?

~ The people (incredibly kind, warm, friendly, and with down-to-earth and environmental values at the core).
~ Mountain-top environment, ecosystem, microclimate and natural beauty.
~ Wooden deck with expansive view. 
More first aid practice.
~ Yurts!!!  Awesome big one with central kitchen, surrounding dining, library, and meditative 3rd floor bubble. 
~ Wholesome and plentiful home-cooked cuisine.
~ Conserving water (with everyone pitching in) by using the three-tub dish cleaning system.
~ Feeling of having come full circle, from cherished memories of being a wilderness first responder student at SKMC in 2004, to return as instructor (since 2012).
~ Having a yurt as a classroom. 
~ Getting to stay in a guest yurt. 
~ Hike in an hour or less to West Virginia's highest summit.
~ Campfire circle and s'mores.
~ Dark skies, and the bright stars & constellations that they reveal. 
~ Total absence of ticks and cellphone service.
~ Beautifully-painted bathroom murals depicting the area's flora and fauna. 
~ Supporting – both educationally and financially -- an important mission to educate and preserve mountain ecosystems, indigenous cultures and people.

A somewhat embarrassing and perhaps revealing admission:  despite having not been much of a recreational reader throughout my life, I recently completed the "Little House on the Prairie" book series and additional Laura Ingalls Wilder compilations.  Though I certainly do appreciate and take advantage of modern life's many conveniences and opportunities, sometimes I feel as though I was born in the wrong century.  Sometimes I crave to experience a life without electricity, electronics, and oil-based fuels, machinery and other products.  When living at TMI's Spruce Knob Mountain Center (especially when teaching there for a week or longer) I love the feeling I get of being reconnected to a more basic life on earth, in a community and environment that soothe my soul.  Thank you TMI and all of its supporters and fans for enriching my life, and the lives of countless others.

1 comment:

John Edward Harris said...

TMI and Spruce Knob in any season offers a synergy of unique alpine environment and environmental awareness. PS: Read the prequel to the Little House on the Prairie books by reading James Alexander Thom's Follow the River.