Captivated by the adventures of Robinson Crusoe, a young Dan Whiting signed up for a wilderness survival hike in search of similar swashbuckling. It didn’t turn out as he had hoped. “The only thing I learned was that you can get really hungry and really thirsty in the desert.” Whiting vowed to approach his own outdoor adventures differently. He now believes nature can be abundant and nurturing rather than barren and trying—provided you have the tools to understand it, that is.
Although Whiting has studied dozens of field guides, he learned his most valuable lessons via firsthand experience. To wit: he has eaten 78 plants to date and knows just as many recipes. On one expedition, Mr. Whiting was delighted when a participant turned to him and said, “I had no idea there was so much food up here.”
The wilderness expert acknowledges that people may learn skills that could one day save their lives. But his ultimate goal is to transform the way people think about being outdoors. “When you are familiar with animals and plants, you feel free. When you have intimate knowledge of how something tastes, feels, smells, then there’s no fear of it anymore. It’s just everyday life."