Basecamp Survival Week Program Details

You are registered for the Basecamp Survival Week with Wilderness Awareness School! 

This packet contains important information about the course. You will need to make your travel plans and prepare physically and mentally. Please read it thoroughly. It’s essential to do this as soon as you are able due to several tasks that you will need to prepare for participating in this program.

We need you to return the following paperwork to us as soon as possible: 

Because of the nature of this program, we must have this form no later than May 1st to approve your participation. 

Please note: the Medical Record and Physician Examination form must be filled out by a physician (MD or ND). This will require you to make an appointment with your doctor for a complete physical exam. This form is necessary for this program due to the combination of physical stress on your body and the isolated wilderness setting – it is for your, and our, safety. 

These logistics are essential to help us provide you, and all of our participants, with an outstanding experience. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation!

If you have any questions regarding your registration, please contact Wilderness Awareness School at 425-788-1301; our office hours are 8:00-4:00, Monday through Friday.

We are looking forward to a powerful, exciting week!

Sincerely, 

Dan Corcoran
Adult Program Director
Wilderness Awareness School

Richie Rivera Booth
Lead Instructor

A note from your program leader:

Thank you for signing up for the Basecamp Survival Week. This course is an amazing building block for individuals wanting to learn wilderness survival skills and expand their connection with nature. This experience is as much about learning individual skills as it is about relying on others. We experience learning through exploring, gathering food, building shelter, storytelling, and living with the bountiful landscape. 

Be prepared to push yourself beyond perceived physical, emotional, and mental boundaries amongst the elements of nature. This week will be a life changing experience on many levels and students will be challenged. Participants learn how to better flow with natural processes and rely upon nature’s bounty for food, water, and shelter.  

We will cover various ancient skills such as fire by friction, primitive shelter construction, locating food and water, and much more. As a result of participating in this course you will experience an increased level of comfort in the wilderness, a greater confidence in a survival situation, and a greater connection to your environment. This comes as a result of an individual realizing the abundance of nature and how to be in various environments with minimal gear.

We will carry some basic gear; a packing list is included. We ask that all participants bring all of the required items. Many of the items are clothes that you will be wearing. Before setting out, we will look over everyone’s gear and help you to sort out unnecessary items. Please go over the required list carefully. It might surprise you to see that certain items like “tent” or “sleeping bag” are not present. I assure you that the list is accurate.

We will spend a large portion of our time exploring varied terrain near our shelter site, being aware of our surroundings and on the lookout for potential food, water, and shelter resources. Much of our time will be spent in a base camp. There will be many skills taught in this course. There will be opportunities for both solo and group challenges. Be prepared to be out in the elements, close to earth in all weather.

We will be traveling in a wilderness setting. The wilderness is unpredictable, and unforeseen circumstances may alter the flow of the course if emergency action is required. Rest assured, we say this as a precaution and to fully express to you the potential realities of a wilderness expedition. Both of our lead instructors are certified Wilderness First Responders. 

Please note: This program is intentionally designed. Students will not be given a syllabus of the specific daily plan. This omission is not intended to create feelings of confusion or mistrust. Our goal is to allow students to learn from their own responses to the challenges of survival in the moment. We will be giving you a well-rounded set of skills that you will remember within your body. The best way that we know to do this is through experiencing hunger, lack of sleep, being cold, and other realities of survival situations. 

We are not attempting to scare you with this information. We are trying to paint an accurate description of this survival course. There will be challenges, but there will also be simplicity and pure joy. We encourage deep connection with self, the land, and each other. I am looking forward to a safe, powerful experience with you all. This course will undoubtedly be one you will never forget.

Richie Rivera-Booth
Lead Instructor

Basecamp Survival Week

When

This program will run from Sunday, June 25 at 3:00pm until Saturday, July 1st at 3:00pm.  We will start and finish at these times at the Wilderness Awareness School Land in Duvall, Washington.

Where

From our land in Duvall we will travel in school vehicles to our Western Washington survival location.

Contact

Our office is your primary contact for administration questions. Wilderness Awareness School is open 8am-4pm (Pacific time). The office number is 425-788-1301. You can also email [email protected]

Directions 

Driving – You can find a map and driving directions here.

Please meet at the School’s Campus, Linne Doran, no later than 3pm. Note that we are NOT meeting at the school’s office.

Our land address is: 20410 320th Ave NE, Duvall, WA 98019

What to Expect

Please read the following information carefully…

Weather

Summer in Western Washington will most likely be dry and warm during the day and cool at night. It can be rainy and cool. It is critical that you bring everything on the enclosed gear list, as it has been designed for your safety in these conditions.

Food

We will be dining on many of nature’s delicacies! Be prepared for periods of minimal food for at least 3 days. Realize that you will still be working on your other survival needs during these times. More information on what to expect and how to prepare is included below. Please arrive fed on Sunday and have a small snack ready to eat while we prepare to head out.

Water

Staying hydrated will be one of the keys to having an enjoyable experience. We will be purifying our water as we go. Please bring some form of water treatment for the trip and test it beforehand, so you are already familiar with it. Bottle Filters (bring 2 of these), SteriPens, Iodine, and Chlorine are all acceptable. Aqua Mira Chlorine Dioxide drops are a common favorite. Hand-pump filters can be bulkier but will be accepted. REI has a good selection of this gear. If you do bring a bottle filter or SteriPen please bring some purification tablets/drops as backup in case those items clog or break. Two 1-liter bottles are required.


*Another note on hydration-please show up well hydrated for this course. Please refrain from drinking alcohol, attending sweat lodges, saunas or any activities that may dehydrate you the day before the class. We wouldn’t mention it if it didn’t happen in the past. 

Preparation

Your preparation can make a big difference in your experience. We will have a modified diet throughout the week (unless you normally eat wild berries and insects) and it is key to know how your body reacts to little or no food. We suggest that you do at least one 24-48 hour fast prior to the trip. Drink plenty of water and take note of how you feel. 

Another way to prepare is to limit the foods that you will go without during the trip. A general “cleanse” (minimizing or removing grains, sugar and dairy) would aid you. Essential things to remove are caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, and recreational drugs. If you are a daily coffee drinker, you will want to wean yourself slowly at least a month prior to the trip.

There will be no smoking, alcohol, or recreational drugs on this trip. If you use these substances, plan to be off of these entirely at least one month prior to the program. This trip is very strenuous, and it is NOT the appropriate place to go through a heavy detoxification and/or quitting an addiction. Feel free to contact staff if you have further questions about this.

If you are not in good physical or cardiovascular shape for this trip (and even if you are) – it will be essential that you train physically before the trip. You will function better mentally and physically if you are in good shape. Use this experience as a reason to get into excellent physical condition. Go for runs, hikes, bike-rides, etc. And then build up to doing those things with limited food! Obviously, you should consult your doctor before doing these things.

Lastly, you are welcome to educate yourself and practice survival skills in advance.  Read articles or books (see below), research edible and poisonous plants, practice sleeping outdoors with just a wool blanket, practice making a fire using only one match, go to a spot in nature and observe, etc. In general, get outside and practice camping.

Recommended Resources (not required)

Plant ID:

  • Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast Jim Pojar, Andy MacKinnon

Medicinal Plants:

  • Medicinal Plants of the Mountain West Michael Moore

Food & Fiber:

  • The Essential Wild Food Survival Guide Linda Runyon
  • Food Plants Nancy Turner
  • Plant Technology Nancy Turner

Survival Skills:

  • 98.6 Degrees: The Art of Keeping Your Ass Alive Cody Lundin
  • Primitive Technology 1&2 David Wescott
  • The Ultimate Guide to Wilderness Survival John McPherson
  • Bushcraft Mors Kochanski

Participant Required Gear

Please note that watches, lighters, cellphones, flashlights, whiskey, sleeping bags, and many other “camping” items are not on the list. If it’s not on the list, we won’t be bringing it!

  • Wool or poly blend hiking socks (2)
  • Hiking shoes (well broken in) –Heavy boots are not recommended!
  • Long john top (wool or synthetic)
  • Long Sleeved shirt (lightweight bug and sun protection- cotton/synthetic)
  • Mid-weight Shirt/Sweater (wool or fleece)
  • Mid-weight jacket (wool or synthetic)
  • Long john bottom (wool or synthetic)
  • Sturdy pants (synthetic)
  • Quick-dry shorts (optional if wearing “convertible” pants)
  • Underwear (some men prefer boxer briefs)
  • Sports Bra/Athletic top (for women)
  • Belt – adjustable
  • Stocking cap
  • Sunhat
  • Cotton bandana (2)
  • Water Socks/Tevas/5-fingers
  • Strong, waterproof army surplus *poncho, made from heavy rubberized canvas or heavy duty ripstop nylon with grommets – NOT cheap, plastic ponchos found at sports stores
  • Day pack, capable of carrying 20-25 pounds, and around 1800-2500 cu. in. (30-40 liters)
  • Two 1-liter water bottles (NOT a 2 liter bladder; recommended: metal(single wall/non-insulated, wide mouth)
  • Water treatment: See Water above 
  • Small Personal Medical kit with tweezers
  • Personal Medication/Necessities (Eyeglasses -contacts not recommended, tampons for women)
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, and dental floss 
  • Sharp sheath knife (Mora/Frosts Knife recommended, available for sale @ $20).  NO folding knives.
  • Heavy duty trash bag
  • 5 feet of duct tape wrapped around a pencil or pen
  • 50 feet of parachute cord

Optional:

  • Mosquito Head Net(highly recommended, something you can use while sleeping)
  • Sunscreen (unscented)
  • Sunglasses
  • Lip balm
  • Emergency whistle
  • Leather/Work gloves (for skills)
  • Notebook pad & pen/pencil
  • Small sewing kit
  • Compass (simple Suunto or Silva compass with adjustable declination)
  • Camera
  • 2 Ziploc baggies 
  • Small duffel bag to store non-required gear at our School Land

*Poncho examples are here and here. Be sure and get something long enough to completely cover yourself for sleeping under in the rain.

Wilderness Awareness School