John Dobbins to host wilderness workshop at Bookworm of Edwards on Tuesday |

John Dobbins to host wilderness workshop at Bookworm of Edwards on Tuesday

As a Marine veteran, John Dobbins uses his skills and knowledge personally and when helping distressed hikers at campgrounds.
Special to the Daily

Our outdoor lifestyle creates many opportunities. But it also comes with inherent risk, and sometimes the risks catch up to you.

John Dobbins, managing partner of SOLO Colorado, will lead a hands-on workshop of basic wilderness survival skills at the Bookworm of Edwards. Attendees will learn skills like splinting a broken bone, how to use your watch as a compass, and more. Tickets include a copy of the book “How to Stay Alive in the Woods” by Brandford Angier. 

John Dobbins’ personal copy of ‘How to Stay Alive in the Woods” has seen more use then most. The edges of the cover are roughed up and exposed, the pages dogeared and marked. It’s obvious that the book has been used well over the years, especially since becoming involved with SOLO, an organization that has been providing outdoor safety and survival training for over 40 years. Dobbins first got involved with SOLO two years ago.

“I was looking for a way to do my Wilderness First Responder Training and my EMT training together. SOLO had a program that let me do it in four weeks,” Dobbins said. “They were an intense four weeks, but after that I was hooked.”

Since then, the Marine Corps veteran has taught countless courses for other people interested in getting similar certifications.

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“Even if you don’t reach a full certification, being prepared is crucial,” Dobbins said. “Accidents happen. You can’t control that. What you can control is how you react to those accidents. Are you going to be the one yelling and waving your hands in the air? Or are you going to be the one that can help?”

Dobbins knows first-hand that preparedness not only helps you in the long run, but also makes you a valuable resource to others, especially when you are off the well-worn trail. After a couple collapsed in his campsite in the Grand Canyon, Dobbins spent 13 hours on a mission to get the unresponsive duo out of the canyon and to first responders.

“I was flying a marine flag in my campsite, which tells people not to mess with me, but also that I’m here to help,” Dobbins said. “So I worked on carrying them out the only way I knew how.”

He carried their packs up the trail a short way, hiked back down to carry one of the unconscious hikers up to their packs, and then returned to carry the next one.

“By the time first responders could meet us, we were seven tenths of a mile from the rim,” Dobbins said. “I looked in their packs. All they had to eat were Oreos.”

John hears countless stories from other people every time he does a training.

“Everyone has a story of a time they needed knowledge like this,” Dobbins smiled. “If you like your friends, it’s probably a good idea to know this stuff before heading out.”

If you go …

What: Wilderness Survival workshop with John Dobbins
When: Tuesday, Aug. 13, 6 p.m.
Where: Bookworm of Edwards, 295 Main St., Riverwalk at Edwards
Cost: $30, includes workshop, appetizers and a copy of “How to Stay Alive in the Woods”
More Information: Call 970-926-7323 or visit

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