On July 28, four members of the Wazoo Crew set out across the beautiful state of Colorado to spend some time together in the woods at the Gray Bearded Green Beret’s (GB2) Wilderness Skills Course. A shut down of I-70 added a couple hours of creeping traffic to our drive, so once we arrived, we couldn’t have been happier to be out of the car and in the woods!
A lot of instructors enjoy teaching survival classes, likely because a lot of students enjoy learning survival skills. What really stood out about this class, however, is that it was a well-rounded outdoorsman course. Sure, it’s great to know how to survive and improvise if needed, but it’s better to have the proper plan, equipment, and navigation skills to prevent a majority of survival scenarios in the first place.
In this class we started with knife skills, and techniques. Why? Proper use and respect for your sharp stabby things can prevent a lot of first-aid emergencies in the field. You want to enjoy your time outdoors, right? So don’t cut your trip short by poking holes in yourself.
Navigation was another huge component of the course. Being able to read a map and navigate in the field could be your single greatest skill to get you back home.
We spent hours plotting routes, shooting bearings, and trekking through nav courses to put these skills to the test.
We slept in shelters constructed from our own tarps, wool blankets, and whatever natural materials we could source to make a mattress.
Breakfasts consisted primarily of bacon, fry bread, and coffee - Can’t go wrong with that! We skipped lunches but were rewarded with cooking a large portion of meat and veggies in lard for dinner. They called them Fat Pots and boy did they hit the spot after a long day.
Most nights we ended up cooking in the dark, and thanks to Colorado, usually had a sprinkle of rain with a touch of lightning to keep us on our toes.
The course also covered various tarp shelters, wild edibles, water procurement, fire-making, and improvised traps. If it sounds like something you’d be interested in, GB2 is hosting courses all over the country with some great instructors. If you do sign up for a course, I’d recommend signing up for his membership which will save 20% off your registration. It’ll pay for itself right out of the gate!
For those that may not be interested in an in-person event right now, check out his book, Surviving The Wild, which covers all the same knowledge and principles but you won’t get the hands-on skill experience. It's also available on Amazon. He also has entire online video series so there are really no hurdles to expanding your skill set.
This was our first class as a team, and I hope there are plenty more to come. Maybe we’ll get to see you at the next one!
For those of you that made it to the bottom, look closely at the photos and you may find some prototype items we were field testing while we were out too.