Class meeting time:

Tuesdays. 2-4:30 pm

Class meeting location:

SpHC 9; or as otherwise noted in schedule


Paper : Feb. 24th

Midterm & 1st Activity Points: March 2nd

2nd Activity Points: April 20

Final exam: May 12th (Wed.) 4pm- 6pm


Ken Gilbertson




Office Hours:

Office 107 SpHC


Course web url:



This course is designed to introduce you to non-competitive skills which will enable you to better understand the outdoor environment. You will learn basic skills pertaining to winter and spring in addition to becoming acquainted with outdoor recreational areas in northeastern Minnesota and northern Wisconsin. You will be introduced to equipment which will be centered around both winter camping and backpacking themes. Sound outdoor ethics/etiquette which will benefit the outdoors and those who use it will be discussed and practiced. Finally you will have the chance to go on two weekend outings to nearby outdoor recreation areas to practice the skills you will learn.


This course is intended to be the base-line for building your knowledge base in outdoor recreation as well as developing your physical skills' in outdoor recreation skills. Some of this material will be very familiar to you, while other subject matter in this course may be brand new. I have never found where a student can not gain new information - or be able to share new information - from this course.


So, in the spirit of optimal learning, I want you to come to class prepared in the following ways:

I expect you to:

  • Be prepared before class. Have your readings completed before you come to class.
  • Be dressed to be outside - no matter what the weather conditions. You need to learn how to be comfortable in the outdoors under any conditions.
  • Be open to new perspectives in performing an outdoor skill.
  • Practice what you have learned between class periods. This course does not focus on technical proficiency, beyond our camping trips. Still, you can not become comfortable in the outdoors unless you practice.
  • Arrive to class on time ready to learn and to share!

• Gorman, S. (1991). AMC Guide to Winter Camping: Winter Travel and Adventure in the Cold-    Weather Months. Appalachian Mountain Club.
Boston, MA
• Curtis, R. (1998).
The Backpacker's Field Manual. Three Rivers Press. New York.                     • Burns, Bob & Mike. (1999). Wilderness Navigation. The Mountaineers. Seattle, WA.
• Roberts, Harry (1997). Movin' On. Stonewall Press. (Click on the book title in the sidebar to access electronically.)

Attendance is very important. You are responsible for all information given both indoors and outside. After two unexcused absences there will be one full drop in grade.

The Points Given & Grading Based on % of Possible Points:



Grade Scale


40 pts.

92% = A


40 pts.

90% = A-

Final Exam

60 pts.

82% = B

Activities (10 pts. each)

20 pts.

80% = B-

Camp Trip

20 pts.

72% = C

Additional trip points for both

10 pts

70% = C-



62% = D


These figures are estimates of the extra costs involved:
• Food for both of the trips - $30.00
• Rental of personal gear from the Kirby Games Room (variable, depending upon need)
• Fishing license & trout stamp if you choose to fish during fishing outing.





Jan. 20

Introduction and goals,

Winter safety/ Causes of heat loss

Cold injuries

Winter clothing and gear (SpHC 9)

• Homework after this class: Readings - Gorman p. 56- 65 & p. 173-180; "No word for luck" & "Six ways to avoid cold feet" (both available at instructor's web site)

• Set-up drivers for dog sledding


Winter Camping Trip planning,

Trip expectations

Nutrition and menu planning (*turn in menu by end of class*) (SpHC 9)

• Topic Due for "Paper Assignment"
• Get trip commitments
• Homework after this class:
Readings - Gorman p. 85-96, & p. 18-24

Have skiis, boots, poles sized & assigned out of Kirby Games Room

Feb. 3

Backcountry Skiing

Meet at the Gold Street Soccer field at 2:10

• Homework after this class: Readings - Gorman p. 27- 55

•Trip planning groups assigned
•Work on getting personal equipment for weekend trip


Group gear for winter

Leave No Trace ethics

Gear making, and final trip prep (SpHC 9)

• Homework after this class: Readings - Gorman p. 149- 169

14& 15

Winter Camping Trip to Boulder Lake

Depart 7 am from Ordean Court


Trip Review

Snowshoes & Snowshoeing

• Homework after this class: Readings - Gorman p. 76- 81
• Finish the Paper Assignment

24 or 26

Dog sledding - Car pooling (meet in front of SpHC at 2pm)

• Turn in Paper Assignment
• Homework after this class: finish first activity points

March 2

Mid-Term Exam (SpHC 9)

• Turn in 1st Activity Points

• Homework after this class: Readings - Curtis p. 12-37, & p. 160-164


Equipment for backpacking (SpHC 9)

• Backpack Trip Planning groups assigned

• Homework after this class: Readings – Burns Chap 1-3


Navigation: basic map & compass use.

 (SpHC 9)

• Homework after this class: Readings - Curtis p. 117- 147


Navigating outside (meet at Bagley Nature Area at 2:10)


April 6

Trip Planning for backpacking/food/hygiene (SpHC 9)

• Homework after this class: Readings - Curtis p. 54- 98


Stream Trout Fishing: equipment, knots, flies (SpHC 9 - dress to be outside)



Final Backpack Trip Preparations (SpHC 9)

• Turn in 2nd Activity Points

• Homework after this class: Read Curtis p. 153-159


Stream Trout Fishing MEET AT 5:30AM IN FRONT OF SPHC

You must attend, but are not required to fish. If you fish, you must have a MN License.

April 30 - May 2

Backpacking trip to Rainbow Lakes Wilderness Area, Wisconsin

Depart 3 pm from Ordean Court Arrive back by 3 pm Sunday.


Course Review (SpHC 9)


May 12

Final Written Exam (4pm- 6pm)

SpHC 9

FINAL EXAM: Wednesday, May 12th 4pm- 6pm
The final exam will be a combination of practical skills (show me that you know how to do something by doing it) and written questions.


#1: CAMP TRIPS - The 2 trips conducted during this semester are designed to give you a greater opportunity to practice the skills covered in the course and to experience the outdoor areas of our region.

Winter Camping Trip to Boulder Lake: February 14-15
This trip is designed to introduce you to winter trip preparation, planning, equipment, and actual participation. These dates are rigid! Please make your plans for the semester accordingly.     Note: Use of alcohol or illegal drugs on camp-out will result in an immediate failure and expulsion from course.

Backpacking Trip to Rainbow Lakes Wilderness Area: April 30 - May 2
This trip is designed to help you learn about overnight backpacking, wilderness areas, wilderness navigation (both GPS and compass) and spring natural history. These dates are rigid! Please make your plans for the semester accordingly. Note: Use of alcohol or illegal drugs on camp out will result in an immediate failure and expulsion from course.

#2: Activity Participation (20 points)
To expand your exposure to a variety of outdoor activities other than are offered through this course, you are required to attend at least 2 different outdoor events from the Outdoor Program Calendar or pre-approved off campus events. Note that there are many free outdoor calendar events, if you sign up early for them! Each is worth 10 points. These must be an activity (not a lecture) that is nature or outdoor education based. FORM CAN BE PRINTED OFF CLASS WEB SITE.

#3: Paper Assignment (40 points)
You are to select something related to nature (snow crystals, moose, chickadees, plant survival, aurora borealis...) and write about that subject so that you will better understand it when out on a camping trip. Categories of information should include:
1.) What is it? (Your topic MUST be something that can be seen in the area of one of our trips)
2.) Where is it typically found?
3.) What is unique about it?
4.) Other interesting or relevant information
What is its "story"? (Natural history of the topic)
6.) How can you identify it and find it while out on the trail IN THE AREA WE WILL BE TRAVELLING.
7) References - these must be accurate and from professionally produced publications or media (written, video, CD). If you use a person, they must be recognized in the field as an expert. If you use the web, the site must be created through a professional organization (national organizations, universities, governmental). All of your references should be cited on a separate sheet of paper and in APA format.

*Papers need to be 4- 6 pages in length, typed.
*Must have at least 3 sources, no more than one may be web based.
*References must be cited in APA format.