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Raising Children In Uncertain Times

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The scariest aspect of being a parent, by far, is uncertainty. Anybody with children will attest to this. When you are responsible for the health, happiness, safety, and security of a small child who cannot fend for themselves in any way, unknown outcomes become a constant thought and fear. But there’s a very simple way to dispel of the irrational fears, which far outweigh the rational ones.

The day I found out we were expecting our first child I bawled like a child myself. That moment will forever be chiseled into my heart. Everything I’d wanted finally came true. Immediately after those first few minutes of excitement though, the panic attack began and I couldn’t breathe. What if my wife were to miscarry? What if we got into a car accident while she was pregnant? What if I was unable to support my growing family? What if baby didn’t make it through the delivery? What if my wife didn’t? What if neither of them did? What if she got sick after being born? What if that shady looking guy at the grocery store pulled a weapon out and I didn’t make it? How would they grow up without their father? Every conceivable bad thing went through my head all at once, and those thoughts lingered for months.

Everything went well, both baby and Mama were safe and healthy after delivery. And the fears began to change as the world did. 10 months after the birth of our first daughter we found out we were expecting another baby girl. Once again, the full range of fears washed over me. Some previous fears weren’t there, and some new ones crept in, but it was still a lot. A couple of months later, in early 2020, those fears shifted entirely to ones I never imagined I’d ever have. What if my business didn’t succeed because everybody is out of work and struggling to even pay their bills? What if the hospital wouldn’t do my wife’s scheduled c-section if she refused a certain test? What if they wouldn’t let me be present for the birth of my child after refusing me admittance to every single appointment and ultrasound during the pregnancy? What if the riots in Portland moved 8 miles south to where we live? Are my children going to be okay with all of the smoke from half of Oregon burning? 2020 brought up a wave of possible scenarios which are absolutely terrifying to a parent, regardless of how strong that parent is or how unafraid they claim to be. We want nothing for our children but to provide a good, stable environment for them to learn and grow in. When the outside world starts shifting in a way that could potentially jeopardize that, our initial instinct is to worry.

But worrying is a reaction. It is a rocking chair. It gives us something to do, but it gets us nowhere. And as parents, sitting stagnant in the face of uncertainty is single handedly the biggest mistake we can make when it comes to keeping our children safe and secure. When the outside world becomes unstable, we parents need to work even harder to provide stability in the home for our children. This doesn’t mean we should simply work more hours to get more money. Money can easily disappear. You can’t eat money. Money only has value because people believe it does. What has true value are skills, tools, community, a healthy marriage and family, and high morality. With those things, you can navigate an ever changing world no problem.

As a testament to this, here’s a good personal story. With our first daughter, we spent a total of 5 days in the hospital. 2 days of labor, then 3 days of recovery. At the end, we were excited to go home but also nervous because we wanted to rely on the system in place. We were surrounded by professionals who knew what they were doing far better than we did. All my wife had to do was pick up the phone next to her bed and anything she wanted or needed was there in minutes. With our second daughter, my wife spent 2 days in the hospital and was counting the minutes until she could leave that place and come home. There was no desire whatsoever to stay. And the difference was, in the 17 months that had elapsed from the first birth to the second, we had built a stable home life for our family. We had chickens, had started a business so we weren’t dependent on others for a paycheck, had gotten into a routine of raising our daughter, and we had welcomed more love into our home than ever before. We had built a life we wanted with what we had, and after experiencing an unprecedented level of nonsense in 2020 we had no desire to rely on the system for anything any longer.

As parents, we so badly want to provide for our children. Our most important role is to give them a safe environment to learn in. Part of that learning is getting hurt, and there are rational fears that we all have that go hand in hand with that. We worry about our children running with scissors in their hands because we know how quickly and severely they could be injured if they fell, which children often do. We fear what would happen if our newborn were to suffocate in the middle of the night, which they easily can. In these instances though, we simply don’t let them run with scissors and we make sure there’s nothing in that newborn’s sleeping area that could obstruct their airway. We make the necessary adjustments to ensure their safety. And we should do this in the face of all uncertainty.

If you’re worrying about the future of your employment because of new rules and regulations, start building a business of your own and diversifying your income.

If you’re worrying about how you’re going to feed your children then get chickens, plant a garden, start canning food, and get to know your community.

Worried about what will happen if the lights were to ever go out? Learn skills so if that time comes you can not only survive but thrive.

It is literally our job to ensure our children crush. And we need to act like it. Fear is a lack of preparation. What we saw in 2020 was billions of people around the world who had not prepared in any capacity for disaster. We saw heatwaves, forest fires that blanketed the country with smoke, power outages in the middle of snowstorms which crippled cities, and an untold number of businesses who had to close their doors forever because they had saved no money for rainy days. And the one common denominator to the reaction we saw through all of this was fear.

Beat the fear with high morality. Learn skills so you can help not only yourself, but others. Grow your own food so you can help others. Help your community so when you need help they’re there.

The greatest gift we can ever give our children is the ability to watch us be strong in the face of uncertainty. When they see us out in that garden, or changing the bedding in the chicken coop, or working on our businesses, they’re watching people work hard to provide and help others. They’ll remember that.

And, finally, the most important thing to remember today, and in the future when things get crazy again is this: Our young children have no idea any of it is happening. While you’re worrying about whatever it is that’s got you down, all our children are worried about is why mommy or daddy is acting strange. Uphold the family above all else. Let their carefree laughter ignite a work ethic in you that will dissolve all fear, and crush harder than you ever have. The natural world and the world you see in the news are two entirely different realities. Make sure you’re investing your time and energy into the one that actually matters.

-Woodshop Bear

Lifestyle

Sometimes you have to take quality into your own hands.

But it took several visits to different BBQ joints for my wife and me to realize that most places could have been better.

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By: Chile.Bear.de

I like to grill. I’ll man the BBQ for free. I’ll smoke whatever meat I can get my hands on. But it took several visits to different BBQ joints for my wife and me to realize that most places could have been better. Our tastes had improved. We hadn’t gotten better, per se. We started recognizing that most of this could have been better executed.

Take BBQ sauce, for example. Look at the ingredients list on the back. The first ingredient is often corn syrup. Behind it is a bunch of other stuff you don’t exactly want in your body, Dextrose, maltodextrin, and other big words that don’t compare to real food. This realization was enough for me to figure out my own sauce recipe, one that’s only four ingredients, and they are ingredients I can control the quality of.

The source of your meat is important, naturally. Higher quality meat will affect more than the flavor on your plate. It also affects the cook: how long and hot you can run the grill. This I learned the hard way with a feedlot brisket instead of proper, pasture-raised beef. There wasn’t enough fat to protect the meat, and it burned.

The quality of seasonings is essential. You need to know what you’re coating your food with. But it doesn’t have to be the most expensive brand. Some of my tastiest steaks were seasoned with the cheapest garlic salts.

For smoking meats, wood pairing is more important than people realize. I find that smoking beef over hickory is pure heresy. People swear by it, but it objectively tastes worse than using oak or mesquite instead.

“Hickory is what we’ve always done,” I’ve heard people say. They simply do not know any other way.

“Quality” isn’t just part of a job title. An instructor phrased the word as “having a taste for quality.” Understanding your sense of taste takes time and heartbreak. It takes getting to know under and over seasoning. It takes intentionally under and overcooking food. It takes knowing the lower and upper limits. It takes learning right and wrong methods. With these, we can properly hone in on quality.

It’s not good to taste something and immediately give it an 11 out of 10. That’s the phrase I use to describe something that’s THE BEST one’s ever had. It’s not a victory. It means the taster has yet to learn how good food can really get. So when someone tells me my food is just an eight or a six out of ten, I listen hard: I’m about to learn something new.

Quality is used to describe tools, watches, fine glassware, etc. Quality is not limited to physical objects, though. It affects what we consume: our digestion and what we see and hear. The movies and music we consume affect us too, ya know.

Quality is a state of mind, a habit that affects our very behavior. As we hone better quality within, so will we find and create better quality around us.

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Lifestyle

Making Your First Sourdough Is Easier Than You Think…

After 93 days in Sourdough Land —making 500 loaves, 100 croissants, and 200 cinnamon buns, I’ve learned it’s really not as difficult as you might think. Once you wrap your head around a few concepts, do it a few times in a row, it all starts to make sense. Let me show you…

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By: Filipina Bear

Hi, my name is Roselle, AKA Filipina Bear.

Back in Sept 2022, I decided to go “all-in” on baking everything naturally —meaning, leavening bread only with a sourdough starter and not instant yeast or active yeast bought from a store.

The road to mastery is paved with failure —I know that already. But I wanted to get good fast. I just wanted it to be like second nature. Mainly because I wanted to make everything from scratch for my family. You just can’t fully trust what you buy at the store at all.

To master something in a short period of time, you need to fail fast and often.

If it were three years ago, I’d have staged (an unpaid internship) at some local bakeries. A month of baking 100 loaves a day will hone your skills fast!

But I’m a mom now, and I need to be able to control my schedule. I can’t just take off to bake bread all day.

So I did the next best thing.

I did the max I could do with the equipment I had in my tiny kitchen.

I baked 4-6 loaves of sourdough every day. Lots of trial and error. Lots of lessons learned —what to do, what not to do, what I could do next time, etc.

There’s a lot of ground to cover, but I’ll keep it as concise as I can for my first article here.

Let’s get started.

The sourdough process

In the simplest explanation, sourdough bread baking is just mixing your dry ingredients in with your wet, let it ferment until it’s almost double in size, shape it and then bake it.

This is literally what the “no-knead” or “overnight” method is.

It’s the lazy man’s sourdough —where you mix everything and don’t do anything until the very end.

If you choose to make bread this way, that’s literally all there is —mix, wait, shape and bake.

Is it too good to be true? Lazy-man’s sourdough?

You can take your chances with the no-knead / overnight method. It’s worthwhile to do it at least once.

But just like everything in life, nothing is as easy as it seems. There is no free lunch.

If you can make the “no-knead” or “overnight” sourdough method work for you —more power to you!

I would do it if you’re in a pinch and need bread but don’t have time to do all the steps.

If you want to know the full process in detail, please continue onto my new website, where I give you step-by-step instructions, including detailed pics and videos:

Click here -> How To Make Sourdough Bread

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Lifestyle

How to Survive the Winter… Literally

This piece will serve to familiarize the reader with the signs, symptoms, and treatments of these common, sometimes deadly winter afflictions, as well as the importance of preparedness and proper training in recognizing and treating them early.

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It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year…To Suffer a Cold Injury
Recognition, Prevention and Treatment of Common Cold-Weather Medical Emergencies

By: Patrick Norton of ARTOS Survival


Right around this time of year, bears of all types are heading out into the wilderness to partake in their favorite winter sports. Be it hunting, skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, or snowmobiling, the risk of suffering a cold injury greatly increases in the late fall, summer, and early spring months. Bear in mind that snow and freezing temperatures are not required for one to experience a cold-related emergency. Even in warmer climates, especially in places such as the desert or at sea, where drastic temperature drops are common at night or during and after a submersion incident, hypothermia, frostbite, or non-freezing cold injury can also occur. This piece will serve to familiarize the reader with the signs, symptoms, and treatments of these common, sometimes deadly winter afflictions, as well as the importance of preparedness and proper training in recognizing and treating them early.

First, it is crucial to have a baseline understanding of the physiology of heat production and heat loss in the human body. There are three ways the body can produce heat on its own: resting metabolism, exercise, and shivering. When the body is given energy as food, chemical reactions take place to convert energy to power the mechanisms that keep it alive and allow it to work. One of these energy conversions is turning the potential energy in food to heat energy. This resting metabolic rate will increase a bit in cold conditions, but it does not provide enough heat to sustain life in winter weather. The second form of heat production is physical exercise. Exercise is a great heat producer, whether through short bursts of intense exercise or constant, moderate motion. Exercise does have some constraints and concerns, however, that need to be considered. Athletic ability, conditioning, stamina, and endurance, as well as the availability of energy in the form of food and water, are limitations for exercise. Sweat production is another concern associated with cold injury. These highlight the importance of physical fitness, acclimatization, proper nutrition and hydration, effective winter clothing and layering, and activity regulation, which will all be addressed later. The last physiological method of heat production is shivering. Yes, shivering is a mechanism for the body to create heat, not just a symptom of hypothermia. Shivering will be addressed more later in the hypothermia sections of this article, but essentially shivering is a response to a drop in core body temperature that creates heat at a rate of approximately five times that of resting metabolism. Again, this form of heat production is fed by food, water, and oxygen. Shivering also decreases dexterity, hindering the victim’s ability to perform essential tasks required to keep warm in the first place. This will bring us to the importance of preparedness and prevention of heat loss, but first, a crash course on the forms of heat loss.

There are four types of heat loss that occur in cold environments: conduction, convection, radiation, and evaporation. Conduction is heat transfer through direct contact, for example, body heat transferring to the rock one may be sitting on. Convection can be thought of as heat loss due to air passing over the patient. Radiation is the indirect transfer of heat from a hot to a cold object. Heat is also lost through evaporation, either by sweating or breathing. To maintain adequate body temperature, it is imperative that the outdoorsman mitigate heat loss from all three forms of heat transfer and evaporation. When this is combined with proper nutrition, hydration, and activity regulation, the chances of avoiding cold injury will greatly improve.

The most important thing to do to fight hypothermia and other cold injuries is to establish preventative measures to ensure it does not happen in the first place.

In order to be prepared, one must also carry the proper gear and supplies, research the area’s conditions, acclimate to the environment and make a solid plan for the trip and for possible emergencies. Also, before the wilderness enthusiast even leaves the house, he must train! This training includes learning effective and efficient wilderness living, survival, and medical skills such as camp, shelter, and fire building, camp cooking skills, proper wilderness layering, smart activity regulation, and wilderness first aid (WFA). All too often, many people go out thinking they know exactly what to do because they have either been hunting or snowmobiling for so long that they automatically have gained survival or medical skills through osmosis, or they have watched enough hours of YouTube to know it all. This is not the case! Assume you will not rise to the occasion when an emergency happens. In general, these are the people that get into critical situations or die, whether due to cold injury or something else. Take the time to learn proper skills. Teaching all of these skills is beyond the scope of this piece, but learning to make effective shelter and fire quickly, efficiently, and safely. Learn to properly layer and regulate exercise.

The most effective and easy way to layer is the modular, three-layer system. This includes a form-fitting, moisture-wicking base layer of wool or synthetic fabric; wool is preferred in the author’s opinion because it does not become stinky due to sweating. The second piece of this system is an insulating layer, also of wool or synthetic material. Down layers are acceptable only in dry cold. This layer should not be too tight; the idea is to hold heat in the negative airspace of the fabric. The final layer is a breathable, waterproof shell. Gore-Tex is preferred, but there are other materials that do the trick as well. The purpose of this layer is to protect the wearer from wind and water while allowing the other layers to breathe and expel any moisture that has built up. Do not forget to also wear warm headwear, footwear, and hand-wear. Do not over-tighten footwear, as this can inhibit circulation to the feet and toes. The following is a simple example of how to employ this modular system along with proper exercise management. Imagine a snowshoer wearing this three-layer system at the bottom of a fairly steep slope. The next step in the expedition is to get to the top. The wearer is fairly certain that he will create heat through the exercise required to get to the top, so he sheds his middle, insulating layer. He begins to climb but maintains a moderate level of exertion using a steady pace, following a switchback pattern up the hill rather than forging straight up the hill as fast as he can to mitigate sweat production, which could freeze or increase his chances of hypothermia or other cold injuries. If the hill climb is quite long, he can take frequent rests as he begins to feel himself start to sweat or overexert. Certainly, by the time he gets to the top, he will want to take a good rest, eventually donning the insulating layer again before cooling off too much. This is an easy-to-follow example, but it is important to be strategic and diligent, no matter how complex the scenario is.

In concluding the topic of prevention, adequately fueling the body is required to perform exercise and simple tasks and to power the metabolic heat production mechanisms addressed earlier in this article. Be sure food is consumed regularly, in proper amounts, and according to the intensity of activity. Remember, food intake should be increased in colder environments, whether intense exercise is involved or not. Carbohydrates are converted into kinetic and heat energy very quickly, which is likened to tinder in fire building. Fats and proteins will provide more sustained energy, comparable to larger pieces of firewood. Lastly, proper hydration is of the utmost importance to prevent not only heat injury but cold injury as well. It allows for adequate perfusion to supply oxygen and nutrients to the cells and to circulate warm blood to the vital organs and extremities. Pre-hydrate before activity and hydrate often during activity. Make sure to have electrolytes available so the body can absorb the water it is supplied. Under normal circumstances, food provides the body with enough electrolytes, but under strenuous activity, the rule of thumb is one liter of electrolyte replacement for every two liters of regular water.

If these measures fail, cold injuries may happen. There are different types of cold injuries, and each has different levels of severity. Cold injury may also occur in conjunction with other injuries. This is why in a wilderness setting, the primary patient assessment not only includes airway, breathing, and circulation assessment and intervention but spinal disability and environmental measures as well. It is recommended to take a WFA course, at minimum, to learn to properly carry out a patient assessment, which every patient deserves. The first type of cold injury is hypothermia.

The key to treating hypothermia is to recognize the signs and symptoms early and treat them immediately.

The signs and symptoms of hypothermia vary depending on severity. These include shivering, goosebumps, loss of fine motor function, stiff extremities, clumsiness, poor decision-making, and confusion for mild hypothermia. When these symptoms increase and the patient begins to become more uncoordinated, including an altered gait and falling, and begins presenting signs of obvious mental status changes, the patient is considered to have moderate hypothermia. These symptoms are often called “the umbles” or stumbles, fumbles, and mumbles. To treat mild and moderate hypothermia, dry the patient, dress him in warm clothing, move him to a warmer location protected from wind, and encourage movement if possible. In moderate cases, the patient may need to be put in a sleeping bag with an insulating pad between him and the ground. The patient should be given warm drinks with plenty of sugar if he can swallow. The caregiver should also put hot, but not scalding, water bottles or chemical heat packs on critical places such as the torso, back, armpits, and groin, with a layer of clothing in between. Once the patient is warmed, he may begin to have solid food such as candy or energy bars progressing to full meals with fats and protein. Fires with a reflector wall or space blanket will also help rewarm the patient. Most times, rewarming a mildly hypothermic patient can be done in the field, and the patient may continue the trip once ready. In moderate cases, this becomes more difficult but can still be attainable. Keep in mind the rewarming process may take a long time and may not always succeed in the field. Be persistent and do not allow for any more heat loss.

If hypothermia progresses, the patient may stop shivering due to energy depletion and show a profound decrease in mental status, muscle rigidity, and lowered heart and respiratory rate. This is severe, or profound, hypothermia, a life-threatening condition. The patient likely will not be able to swallow, so giving warm drinks and food will not be possible. In cases of moderate or severe hypothermia, the patient should be put in a hypothermia wrap (hypo-wrap) or “hypo-burrito .”Many useful modifications can be made to improve the hypo-wrap, and it can be viewed online or learned in a wilderness medicine course. However, the basic principles of the hypo-wrap remain the same in all iterations. Begin by heating water bottles or activating chemical heat packs. Lay the patient down on a large, waterproof sheet, such as a plastic tarp or drop cloth. Put the patient in at least one sleeping bag or wrap them in blankets with an insulating pad underneath. Place the bottles or heat packs in the critical areas mentioned above, including by the feet. Finally, wrap the patient in the waterproof sheeting tucking the edges under the patient to keep warmth inside the wrap. A cloth or scarf may be placed over the patient’s mouth to prevent evaporative heat loss. The photos in this article show how this should look. When handling this patient, be very gentle so as not to cause cold blood to circulate to the heart. This may cause a life-threatening heart arrhythmia. Keep in mind that the patient’s pulse and respiratory rate may be difficult to detect, so go slow with the assessment. If they are absent, CPR may be performed. However, when in doubt, give only rescue breaths. Due to the preservative nature of cold, the patient may appear deceased, but given in-hospital warming and resuscitation care, many patients do survive. Remember: “the patient is not dead until he is warm and dead.” In most cases of mild or moderate hypothermia, evacuation is generally not necessary, and the patient can be rewarmed and continue acting as long as their mental status returns to normal. With severe hypothermia and some cases of moderate hypothermia, the patient should be quickly and gently evacuated to a higher level of care.

Frostbite is a condition in which tissue, most commonly that of the fingers, toes, ears, nose, and cheeks, freezes locally. The fluids between the cells of the tissue freeze, causing damage from the friction between the ice crystals and constriction of blood flow due to blood clots in the blood vessels of the affected regions. Frostbite is categorized in much the same way that burns are. Superficial frostbite, also known as frostnip, affects the outer layer of skin, causing it to appear red at first, then grey or white and waxy. The patient may experience numbness, tingling, or pain. Partial-thickness frostbite affects the tissues underneath the outer layer. The signs and symptoms for partial-thickness frostbite are much the same as for superficial frostbite, but the outer tissue may feel hard and frozen, while the underlying tissue may be softer. Full-thickness frostbite, occurring deeper into the muscle tissue of the patient, will also have similar signs and symptoms to those of superficial and partial-thickness frostbite, but the outer and underlying tissues will feel hard and frozen. It is difficult to determine the severity of frostbite until after it is rewarmed, but the presence of blisters within 24 to 48 hours of rewarming may indicate a partial-thickness injury, while the absence of blisters may indicate full-thickness frostbite. The treatment of frostbite is mostly the same across the board when it comes to severity. The patient should be brought to a warmer place, and wet clothes and jewelry should be removed. The affected area may be rewarmed if there is no chance of refreezing. This can be done by skin-to-skin contact or sticking fingers in the armpits, but rubbing is not appropriate as this can cause more damage. Do not expose the affected area to flame or rub snow on it. Ideally, the injured area should be rewarmed by submersion in 99°F – 102°F water. This is best done in a hospital setting since a constant warm water supply is required. Under-thawing can result in further damaged tissue. A flush of pink indicates that rewarming is taking place, and blisters may form. This process will be very painful. Pain management measures, such as Ibuprofen, are appropriate here. After the area is rewarmed, use extreme care when handling the area, place padding between fingers and toes and wrap and protect the rewarmed part. Encourage the patient not to use the injured body part. Quickly evacuate any person with frostbite, being gentle with the injured area. It is imperative to avoid rewarming if the chance of refreezing is high during evacuation. Preventative measures for frostbite are similar to those of hypothermia, with the addition of being especially careful to cover at-risk body parts and not touching frozen, metal objects. Frostbite is generally not life-threatening but can lead to loss of function and even amputation. Remember, it is easier and safer to stay warm than to treat a cold injury.

The final injury that will be addressed is a non-freezing cold injury, commonly known as trench foot. Trench foot is caused by prolonged exposure, usually in the feet, to cold, wet conditions, resulting in a lack of blood, oxygen, and nutrients to the extremity. The symptoms of trench foot include swollen, cold, painful, white or gray, shiny or mottled feet. Pain, numbness, or tingling may occur. Capillary refill may be slowed. This can be tested by pressing fingers on the affected part and watching the color return to the area. This should take less than two seconds. In severe cases, blisters or gangrene and long-term disability may develop, as well as the need for amputation. If the patient experiences any numbness or tingling, be suspicious of developing a trench foot. Treatment of trench foot involves rewarming the affected area at room temperature, elevating the affected body part, and bed rest to avoid further trauma. Avoid trench foot by being very diligent in keeping your feet dry and warm. It is important to dry and change socks frequently, avoid over-tightening footwear, sleep with warm, dry feet and pay special attention to the needs of your feet, examining and massaging them at regular intervals. Sometimes getting wet, cold feet is unavoidable, but care should be taken to keep them as dry as possible by using terrain to your advantage and the proper equipment, including plenty of thick wool socks and galoshes or waterproof boots with gaiters. In general, non-freezing cold injuries do not require evacuation.

Although not exhaustive, this article will give the reader an informative introduction to understanding, recognizing, and treating some of the more common cold-related injuries that may occur during outings in the wilderness. The most important takeaway should be that preparedness and prevention are the preferred and safest methods for addressing these conditions. Proper research and training are encouraged before heading out into the wild. The author believes that it is incumbent upon everyone who works or plays outdoors to take a two-day wilderness first aid course to prepare for their next trip. Visit artossurvival.com for more details on WFA and survival courses in Northwest Montana, or find an instructor near you. Stay warm out there!

Patrick Norton
Owner/Lead Instructor
ARTOS Survival
Patrick@artossurvival.com
(510) 406-685
P.O. Box 1431 Eureka, MT 59917
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