Yesterday I attended a Search and Rescue class given by a Maine Guide. He was teaching us how to find a member of our own hiking/camping party if they "went missing". The class basically consisted of one groovy middle-aged female, 4 young teenage bucks (6, if you count the 2 who got "lost"), and one mature gentleman. A teen girl joined us for the class time, but had to leave us before we trekked into the woods.
Our mission was simple: Mike and Max - two of the teens who already know the ropes (and the woods) set out at the beginning of the class to get "lost". Our fearless leader, Bo, taught us how to initiate a search and then we went out and applied what we had learned. We finished our indoor classtime around 4:30pm and headed out just as the sun was sinking to the horizon.
Yes, we had flashlights!
Here we are early in the search. See that ill-fated communication device in my hand? (I'm the black blob on the left...) It didn't make it to the end!
The search went pretty much according to plan - I don't think we screwed up too much, but there were many things that Bo did NOT tell us beforehand that this groovy searcher learned the hard way.
- Always pack extra wool socks. (In my case I'd even recommend TWO extra pairs!)
- Velcro my boots so they can't come unzipped and get filled with snow.
- Always have extra clothes, socks and shoes in my car! (I had to drive home in borrowed pants, borrowed socks and no shoes!)
- My Kingdom for SNOWSHOES! (aka "People with short legs and small feet WILL sink through the snow with EVERY SINGLE STUPID EXHAUSTING STEP!" This should explain the three previous items)
- Always secure important gear (I lost a flashlight AND Bo's walkie-talkie!)
- Military crawls over thin ice can be great fun! (Stepping through the ice into ice water is NOT fun.)
- Backpacks are NOT a good way to carry gear you want to get to while you're hiking - you know, like FOOD and Water!
-You can sweat like a son-of-a-gun even at below 0 temps.
-Long hats are cute for shopping excursions but are a royal nuisance in the woods.
-Keeping up with teen boys can really make you feel more old than groovy.
-There is nothing more beautiful than a State Trooper in an SUV! (Bo's dad - He picked us up after our extremely strenuous marsh crossing)
- After 3.5 hours of constant hiking in the Maine woods on a winter night through thigh and, in places, hip deep stupid snow, a warm bath and lots of ibuprofen are my friends!
-By the grace of GodI can keep going, even when I think I can't. Halleluiah!
Did I have fun? I must have because I am already plotting my next trip out!