Wilderness Survival Immersion Program Details

You are registered for the Wilderness Survival Immersion with Wilderness Awareness School! 

This page 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 are you are able due to several tasks that you will need to prepare for participating in this expedition.

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 in this program. 

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 expedition 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, 

Jared Archbold
Adult Program Manager
Wilderness Awareness School

Richie Rivera Booth
Lead Instructor

A note from your expedition leader:

Thank you for signing up for the Wilderness Survival Immersion. This course is an amazing building block for individuals wanting to learn wilderness survival skills and expand their connection with nature. Survival Immersion 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 by identifying indicator species, 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 travel through 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 as a stationary survival situation. 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. 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 our budding tribe. 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, Survival Immersion

Wilderness Survival Immersion

When

This program will run from Sunday, June 27 at 3:00pm until Saturday, July 3 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

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 (no sugar). 

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. Bottle Filters (bring 2 of these), SteriPens, Iodine and Chlorine are all acceptable. Aqua Mira Chlorine Dioxide drops is a staff favorite. Hand-pump filters are sluggish and are not recommended. 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 hadn’t happened.

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-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 Lindsay 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 expedition 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 for Survival Immersion

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
  • Sports Bra/Athletic top (if needed)
  • Belt – adjustable
  • Stocking cap
  • Sunhat
  • Cotton bandana (2)
  • Water Socks/Tevas/5-fingers
  • Strong, waterproof army surplus type 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, non-insulated, wide mouth. We recommend this one)
  • 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, NO folding knives. Knives are available for purchase at the time of online registration or by emailing [email protected] up to the Thursday before your program date. Knives will NOT be available for sale once you arrive at your program.
  • Heavy duty trash bag
  • 5 feet of duct tape wrapped around a short pencil or pen
  • 50 feet of parachute cord
  • Emergency whistle
  • Compass (simple Suunto or Silva compass with adjustable declination)

Optional:

  • Sunscreen (unscented)
  • Sunglasses
  • Lip Balm
  • Leather/Work gloves (for skills)
  • Notebook pad & pen/pencil
  • Small sewing kit
  • Camera
  • 2 Ziploc baggies 
  • Small duffel bag to store non-required gear at our School Land
Wilderness Awareness School