Saturday, June 9, 2018

Vigu - Axxell Wilderness Guide school

I graduated as a wilderness and nature guide from Axxell a month ago, so I think I could very well make a post looking back at the fantastic time I've had as a student there.

We started with hiking in the Lemmenjoki National Park for six days or so in September 2013. The most important thing here was to get everyone to know each other and learn the basics to those new to it. I can't say I actually learned much here, but I had a great time and it was nice to do a more traditional hiking trip with lots of time around a fire in a real wilderness.

The next course was an orienteering course in October. Again I can't say I learned a lot, since I had done all that earlier, but it was a great course nevertheless and I had a good time.

In November it was time for the basic survival course. Ingvar Krancher held the course according to the corresponding Swedish Army manual of the eighties. Good times.

The next course for me was Nordic Skating 1 in January 2014. At this point I was pretty much a beginner, but I progressed rapidly after this.

In March we had a telemark and ski touring course in Hemavan in Sweden. A great course, but I won't become a telemark skier. I learned a lot of other stuff, though.

And then there was the climbing course in May. At that point I wasn't too interested in climbing, something which has changed a little. It's hard to find time for everything, though.

A Wilderness and Nature Guide should know something about the flora and fauna around, hence the botany course in June.

During the summer 2014 I got back into sea kayaking after a longer break due to back problems and small children. The next course was suitably enough Sea Kayaking 1.

In October we prepared food. A lot of it, for 130 persons for the Vigu 20 year anniversary party. And the food was excellent.

A four day first aid course in November. If I recall correctly November also had courses in entrepreneurship and safety, but I have no blog posts from the lecture type courses.

In February 2015 the four day ice skiing course took place. Good times, though most of it was familiar to me, since I had done my share of winter outdoor stuff before that.

In May it was time for the single most fun course, the white water canoeing course. Pure fun and adrenaline.

During 2015 and also several courses about nature guiding for groups with special needs, which taught me a lot. No blog posts from these, though.

In August Vigu Sea Kayaking 2 took place. I learned to relax completely in the kayak even in difficult waves.

In March 2016 it was finally time for the long specialization in sea kayaking, about which I've made a number of posts. A number of excellent courses which took my kayaking to a whole new level. This was for me the absolutely best part of the entire Vigu time.

In 2016 we also had a three part mountain biking course, of which I led two parts. I'm happy to see that a number of participants from the first four day kickstart course now are active mountain bikers.

Now only a few courses were left. A leadership course with mainly lectures was excellent and reinforcing my on ideas in the matter. In February 2017 everything finally fell in place for the Vigu Nordic Skating 2 course. By now I gained a lot of confidence and knowledge, but this course still taught me a lot about weaker ice, the kind of ice I had avoided until now.

In March we went to Narvik for a ski touring course. A fantastic environment with real mountains, The course culminated in almost everyone falling ill with resulting puking and stuff in a remote mountain cabin.

I still waited for the survival and bushcraft specialization, otherwise I would have graduated by now. It finally started in August 2017 and consisted of three courses. Excellent stuff and the winter survival course was actually rather demanding.

That's it. Taking the Axxell Vigu education was one of the best decisions in my life. I learnt a lot, got a lot of new friends and had a lot of fun all the time.

I definitely recommend this to anyone having the possibility to attend. You need to understand Swedish reasonably well to participate, though. At the time of writing there is still a little time left to apply for this year.

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