Everybody who applies to the Backcountry program loves the outdoors. They love the sun on their faces. They love the wind in their hair. They live for the challenge of pushing their bodies to the limit. They love testing their endurance.
Day 2 of Orientation is not one of those sun in your face, wind in your hair kind of days.
They do get to test other types of endurance. Like…how long can you sit in a chair?
Day 2 is mostly classroom work. There is a morning class and an afternoon class. One of the classes applies to the outdoors. It’s a basic maps and compass course. The other is an important class for understanding state health and safety policies. Half of the crews are in one class, the other half in the other, and they switch after lunch.
One might think that in our high tech 21st century with GPS that there wouldn’t be a need for archaic methods as a paper map and compass. One would be wrong.
A GPS needs a clear view of multiple satellites to work. The Backcountry is full of canyons that block satellite signals. And what would you do if your GPS battery died?
Therefore, all Backcountry CMs are given basic instruction in how to use a good ol’ map and a compass together to navigate their way through the Backcountry.
Health and safety are two very important topics for the Backcountry. Everybody tries to be as safety conscious as possible, but things do happen. It’s important for everybody to know CalOSHA guidelines and the process of filing claims for injury.
After the classes are over…gear check!
And then dinner.
And Day 2 is done.