Why Wilderness 1st: Alyx Schwarz of Shoestring Adventures

We’re raising awareness about learning important skills to care for yourself or others who may become ill or injured in the outdoors by spotlighting members of our community who have earned their Wilderness First Aid Certification or higher!

Join us November 4-6 to earn your Wilderness First Aid + CPR Certification at historic Sturtevant Camp!

Alyx Schwarz, Founder of Shoestring Adventures, Wilderness First Aid + Wilderness First Responder

What inspired you to learn Wilderness First Aid? What was your favorite part of the experience?

A couple years ago, I decided to train for Mt. Whitney. I didn’t have many friends who would wake up at 4:30am on a Saturday for an all-day peak-bagging session, so I created a Meetup group. As soon as I began hiking with others, I felt a serious responsibility to have their backs if an emergency situation went down, so I enrolled in a Wilderness First Aid Course.

Have you ever used your skills in the field? Tell us about it.

On all Shoestring Adventures, we focus on preventing injuries and illness, but accidents happen by their very nature.

The most serious situation I’ve encountered happened when I hurt myself! I nearly sliced my finger off with a pocket knife, while preparing lunch beside a lake. Immediately, I attempted walking back to the car, but soon fainted. (Now I know, this was a parasympathetic acute stress reaction.) Both of my friends were First Aid certified and handled the situation like pros. That’s why I’m hosting a Wilderness First Aid course, so friends got each other’s back!

On another occasion during a trash clean-up, a volunteer went for a plastic bottle off the side of the trail and tumbled down. I checked for injuries and offered to clean the wound on his leg. Fortunately, his injuries were not serious enough to prevent him from finishing the hike, but I was grateful for the skills to assess the situation and take action if needed.

Whether you’re an aspiring guide or an outdoor enthusiast, I strongly recommend everyone learn Wilderness First Aid because you never know when those skills might save someone’s life, or you own!

Photo by Kristina Frost, Founder of Essential Explorer

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