Curriculum – Foundational Backcountry Knowledge

Desert DAWN’s Wilderness Pathfinder Adventures center on learning from nature and appreciating the gifts that nature provides and on living in harmony with nature without exploitation or struggling against nature. The curriculum is mostly focused on the use of low technology gear and nature’s resources in order to become more self sufficient and confident in the backcountry.

Following is the curriculum details for Foundational Backcountry Knowledge (WPA – 1)

Health & Safety

Dress for Success in Nature

Bare Necessities

Basic First Aid

Personal Hygiene

Backcountry Signaling

Nature Observation

Traditional Navigation

Cardinal Directions (natural signs)

Reading the Sun

Reading the stars

Night Walking


Weather Observation

Weather Safety

Physiology of the Human Body in Various Environments


Life Zones

Mountain Ecology


Plant Safety

Plant Identification

Understanding Wood

Tree and shrub growth

Wood Grain

Basic Skills

Camp Craft

Camping Ethics

Camp Hygiene

Knife Craft


Design and Construction

Science of cutting

Knife Safety

Knife Maintenance Knife Use

Knife Grips and Strokes

Basic Cutting Techniques

Reading and Using the Grain

From Log to Finishing

Rope craft


Design and Construction

Science of Rope

Rope Safety

Rope Care & Maintenance

Rope Use – Knots

Fire Craft

Fire Ethics and Ecology

Science of Fire

Fire Safety

Fire Construction and Maintenance

Fire Lays

Match Fire

Flint and Steel Fire

Fire woods (qualities and sizes)

Fire Use

Fireplace Cooking Arrangements

Camp Cooking

Download The Curriculum Outline – Foundational Backcountry Knowledge WPA – 1