This morning I got a call from the ranger at the Great Smokey Mountains National Park warning me that there is flood danger in the park right now. Little did he know that I was already warm and cozy in my bed 500 miles away
Our elective may have come and to early icy ending, but it burned bright while it lasted. Skills were learned and friendships were forged. I can say with certainty that we were all reluctant to part company and we hope to meet again in the real world.
Today the decision was made to evacuate Camp Wesley Woods. We were still without power, but beginning to get into the swing of gathering water from the creek to flush toilets. However a dangerous weather front is moving in with high winds, which is not an optimal combination with the ice laden trees in our little valley. Already about 6-7 trees have had to be cleared from the road way. Our onsite director made the call for us to pack our gear as though we would not be returning. We rendezvoused at a local church where the Red Cross had set up a disaster shelter. Light, lunch and electricity are nice to have.
We have been amusing ourselves as we patiently await an ultimate decision from the top brass on the remainder of the elective.
It's a cold one here at Wesley woods. Power went out last night at 7:30 from all the ice accumulating in the trees. Had several fallen down over the road and power lines. CWW staff was out early in their 🚜tractor to clear the road. But power company says might be days until power. So no heat, no water, no wifi. We've been scooping water from the creek to flush the toilets and huddling around the ⛽️gas fireplaces. Group bonding was strong last night around Cards Against Humanity by headlamp.
This morning we had a great set of lectures from Mark Ellis on Lighting, foot care, and hypothermia.
Afternoon lectures we canceled (as speakers could not make it in) and we are out jn Maryville enjoying the hospitality of Little River Trading Post. (Recall, they have 🍺beer). Some are across the street doing laundry and we will have dinner together in town before returning to cold, dark Wesley woods.
We hear tell from Kirk that WFR training is on for tomorrow night. It is supposed to be ZERO degrees. ❄️
Another great day here at Wesley Woods. Had lectures from Dominque Wong, Chuck Clements, and Tricia Feeney. We learned about Legal Issues in wilderness medicine, Anaphylaxis, Water treatment, wilderness ethics, Tactical Medicine, Cruise Medicine, and even a little airline medicine.
We are having some pretty dicy weather with freezing rain and sleet. The WFR crew had to postpone our night time exercises tonight and the CWW left early leaving a small task force of students in charge preparing dinner. Geoff, Issy, McKenna and I had no trouble banging that out. Including a fantasy desert of baked smores.
Quote of the day: "it's like eating toothpaste - but delicious!" - Pheobe after tasting a butter mint.
Sunday brought everyone back from their various excursions to warm up by the fire in our lodge. Spontaneous movie night thanks to Erik with Star Wars Episode IV. Everyone is trying to rest up in preparation for our extended night time search and rescue tomorrow night.
It's Valentines Day here in the Great Smokey Mountains. We have the whole weekend off. People have gone in many directions. Some to try their luck at fishing in the GSMNP, others drove down to rock climb and camp near Chattanooga. Me? I'm working furiously to finish my senior project for med school, doing laundry and otherwise taking it easy (and of course, updating this blog). Everyone seems to have contracted kennel cough, and between long days, short nights and close quarters, no one has been spared. A few people stayed local and went for day hikes - cold cold day hikes.
It's Friday the 13th, folks, and that means it's the perfect day to get lost in Camp Wesley Woods. chh chh chh hha hha hha. We spent the morning learning some land navigation skills form the CWW staff and then immediately took it into action combing through the woods to collect waypoint stamps. Team Hangover (karaoke participants) hot some hot competition from Team Wolfpack to collect all their stamps and get back before lunch. Radio chatter was rather rowdy.
Following the morning exercises we rallied at River Sports in nearby Knoxville for a couple hours of climbing in their rock gym. This was fantastic and exhausting. They gave a talk on appropriate gear for multi day hikes, and then offered us a generous discount on their regular priced merchandise. Of course that discount was almost unnecessary since half their store was on winter clearance sale. Many of us came away not only with necessities but also some gear we had been drooling over for several seasons.
We disbanded afterwards each to their own gastronomic peril. My car had the pleasure of delivering our Australian friend's to their first experience at Cookout for burgers and milkshakes. After a day of hiking and climbing - it was all that by body needed and deserved.
Today was a full day outside doing WFR scenarios with Fred and Kirk. Kirk also had a side project going on to collect forensic evidence of how far different size people would move a 175lb deadweight mannequin. Needless to say we are all pretty exhausted.
This evening we had a talk from a former USAF Pararescue operator come biomechanical engineer about his adventures and about the 🔬science behind concussions and helmet protection.
Following this a few diehards went out to a local bar for Karaoke and brought down the house. Selections included. Baby bye bye bye, It Wasn't Me, Suzy Q, Uptown Funk, and Wagon Wheel. When you've only been in town two weeks and you are already gaining notoriety with the locals, that can only be a good thing right?
We kicked the day off with a student talk on how to build and use an alcohol stove. And continued with several legendary hours on dive physiology and equipment and hyperbaric medicine, from a researcher at Duke.
We spent the entire afternoon outside with Fred and Kirk work on WFR scenarios. I delivered a high fidelity performance as a patient with a broken femur, couldn't have asked for a better team to get me out of the woods.
Today we learned about hemorrhage control, and the history and who's who of the Wilderness Medicine Society from the current president of the WMS, Brad Bennett. We had student presentations on Knives and Food Selection
In the evening we had an awesome guest lecture back at our lodge on Sunscreen and Poinson Ivy and Blisters from a local former special forces dermatologist.
Afterward we had an impromptu shake down/tutoring session with lighting camp stoves.