WALLA WALLA, Wash. (AP) -- Greg Davenport, survival specialist, wrote that a few years ago, during the survival-training week he spent in a one-man rubber raft on Oregon's Nehalem River, ''I had more fun than at any other time during my training.''
Some of that experience does sound like fun.
His group, for example, would raft all day. They would stop and rerun especially challenging rapids.
Parts of the experience, however, sound less appetizing.
''For food, we ate crawdads, worms, slugs, and various vegetation,'' Davenport said. ''I will never forget how it felt to eat a banana slug. It was as if someone had squirted a bottle of Elmer's glue into my mouth. It took forever to get rid of that slimy taste.''
''Unfortunately, all good things must end, and on the seventh day we reached our final destination,'' Davenport said. ''After cleaning our gear it was time to transition into ocean survival -- my worst trip ever.''
Those enjoyable and not-so-enjoyable experiences came in 1987, during a seven-month stint of survival training while Davenport served in the Air Force. Then he spent six months learning to teach his hard-won skills to others.
Davenport, who now lives in Walla Walla and works as a physician assistant, graduated from Anacortes High School in 1977. He joined the military in 1982 and remained on active duty until 1991, when he enrolled in the physician assistant program at the University of Washington.
In conjunction with his medical practice, Davenport began Simply Survival in 1997. Stackpole Press published Davenport's first book, ''Wilderness Survival,'' in 1998. It published his second book, ''Wilderness Living,'' earlier this year.
Captain Scott O'Grady of Spokane, an Air Force pilot who was shot down in Bosnia a few years ago, praised Davenport's first book.
''A must-read for anyone who goes outdoors. Informative and captivating. It covers the principles of survival better than any book I have read,'' O'Grady said.
Davenport has a third book coming out soon. And he has five more planned. Each will deal with a specific environment, such as Snow and Ice Survival, Desert Survival and Jungle Survival.
Davenport has appeared on various television shows. He's also provided information for a number of magazines, including Backpacker, Maxim, Wilderness Way Magazine, Star and Men's Journal.
Davenport spent his first four years in the Air Force as a medic before he flew from Texas to Spokane's Fairchild Air Force Base to begin the survival-training course.
That course had 36 students divided into four squads. They spent several weeks in academic study. Then they put the book learning to work in jungle, ocean, desert, and Arctic conditions.
By the time the group started Arctic training, only 17 of the 36 students remained.
''The rest had quit, been hurt, or failed academically,'' Davenport said.
After successfully completing the course, Davenport remained in the Air Force as a survival instructor until he separated in 1991.
Overall, Davenport has conducted wilderness excursions for more than 16 years. Students from many nations and backgrounds have attended his courses.
DAvenport says the ability to live in the wilderness is rapidly becoming a lost art, and he wants his books and courses to help revive wilderness skills and to help keep them alive.
''We offer several open-enrollment global survival trips a year that range from 3 to 7 days and cost between $300 and $1,000,'' Davenport said.
Davenport provides his Simply Survival training courses to such organizations as the Coast Guard, Washington Conservation Corps and search and rescue teams.
''Our trips are designed with the group's desired outcome in mind,'' Davenport said.
According to the brochure, the mission and focus of Simply Survival are: ''To conduct safe, adventure-based courses that advance confidence, self-esteem, self-reliance, leadership, teamwork, and wilderness survival skills. To use seminars and wilderness adventure programs as catalysts for personal and professional growth.''
The courses run up to 21 days and may be tailored to encompass one or all of the programs offered by Simply Survival.
Simply Survival also teaches motivation and management enhancement courses at a large rope course on Davenport's 11-acre property near Stevenson, Wash., 45 miles from Portland.
While many programs may be delivered to any location, most take place near Stevenson.
One thing for sure, if you want to know how to find your way or keep warm in the wilderness, Davenport can teach you.
He can also teach you how to keep from starving, although it my involve chowing down on grubs or banana slugs.
On the net: www.simply-survival.com
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