Back Country Skills
There are numerous trails and parks found in the greater Sacramento
area. With a large variation in terrain and difficulty, there’s no
need to go to the coast or all the way up to the Sierra Nevadas. Area
trails and parks are somewhat unknown and this lack of experiences
makes it seem like some of these places are not worth going to.
This is where Recreational Equipment Inc., better known as
REI, comes in. REI provides an opportunity to develop skills with a
In the Sacramento area, REI’s Outdoor School has been steadily
developing for the past few years. REI offers numerous classes every
month and is still adding new classes. There is a wide variety of
classes offered, from Stand Up Paddle Boarding to Sunset Photography
to Back Country Skills.
This past Sunday, REI offered its Introduction to Back Country Skills
class. The class met at the Roseville REI before venturing to Hidden
Falls Regional Park, where the actual class would take place. When
everyone met in the parking lot, the instructor handed out a GPS,
compass, map and emergency blanket. She also had the group preview the
trail and compare the maps provided to see if there were any new
As the group walked toward Hidden Falls, the instructor pointed out
the numerous variations of poison oak, edible plants in the area and
plants important to the Native Americans. The instructor also gave
tips on how to use the GPS more effectively while out hiking.
The four parts of a successful hike: plan, notify, execute and share,
were also introduced. During the planning stage, the decision on where
to hike is made. Local conditions are checked, such as whether or not
the trail is open or covered in snow, etc., and hikers begin to gather
proper permits and check trail rules.
The notifying stage requires that the destination and time of return
are left with someone responsible who is not going on the trip.
Another good idea provided by the instructor was to leave behind the
license plate and make of the car being used. In the event that the
hikers do not check in, this provides an easy way to see if the person
is still out or if their cell phone died and they couldn’t check in,
but have left.
The execution stage is the stage when hikers go out on the hike. The
final stage is to share the experience or record memories from the
The class also covered the 10+ essentials, what to do in first aid
situations, different types of clothing and when they should be used
and how to signal distress. REI covers these topics in excellent depth
and has other great how to’s available at
The class was very informative and was a perfect introduction to back
For more about the classes offered, please visit