I think I can honestly say that I have never held such a deep, loathing, consuming, hate for any one I have ever met than for my leaders in outdoor leadership. But this hate is a very subtle hate that has been sired into my brain at such a deep level that I barely even realize I hate them-its more of a sensation; I look into their eyes and know that I should hate them even though I don’t hate them any more. As a soldier who is reluctant to relate his stories from the battle field because he knows that even after telling the story, no one will really understand what happened, so I feel in regards to hell night. But in the interest of not having to tell the same story over and over to everyone who asks about it (thank you family) I will write the story once and for all.
In review, many of you know that I am majoring in outdoor leadership at Columbia Bible College. My professor for this course has been through the military, police, and the UN (and owns a furniture business) and thus is slightly...militaristic in personality.
Preface: On Wednesday, my group of 15 first years is briefed that our mission for Friday will be a fairly typical search and rescue day hike activity--so bring lunch.
Disclaimer: Everything in this story is set up, the events, the people, everything was a big act.
The story begins.
Friday, 4:00am: every one ready to go at meeting location
Our group is split up into four groups, Echo, Foxtrot, Golf, and Hotel. We are forced to line up in our groups while a man dressed in military garb gives us our briefing. We are to stand feet shoulder breadth apart with our hands held behind our back, and refer to him as "YES PETTY OFFICER!!" (He was actually a petty officer in the British army). When in doubt, say his name and you'll get off the hook. And for goodness sake, NEVER make eye contact with the petty officer, or smile, such things resulted in many pushups. Each group is marched under "yes petty officer!"s supervision individually to receive one sleeping bag and one sleeping pad per group. We are then marched into the "transports" and drove 30 minutes to be dropped off at an unknown location on the side of the road. 10 minutes pass before team leader radio's us our orders. Hike to the top of the mountain. A fairly simple and even fun objective accomplished in 4 hours.
9:00am: upon reaching the summit, we receive information that there are people that require first aid 10 minutes down the path. After they are tended to, there are injured people 10 minutes down the path again. After they were tended to, etc etc. 6 hours later, after being yelled at by every leader (there were 3), massacred by our first aid subjects (there were 7), and being made a failure in front of our peers, we were ordered to our next assignment.
3:00pm: one member from each team was taken and told to get lost. Our objective was to find the missing member and monitor/record his/her vitals for an indefinite period of time. After the person was gone for a while, the remainder of the team set up a search and rescue plan to find the missing subject.
4:00pm: We found our missing team member. We monitored vitals in 15F or -7c weather in a foot of snow with only our day-hike gear.
8:00pm: over the radio we are told the day is over and now we need to reassemble and start down the trail.
9:00pm on our decent, our teams "happen" to run into a hysteric, panicking woman screaming "where are my friends, I lost my friends". While one team representative attempts to calm her down, the rest of the teams organize an impromptu search and rescue mission. We split up into our 4 groups and disperse down the highest probability trails. After 45 minutes Golf, my group, finds the two "missing subjects". The subject is hypothermic, has a spinal injury, and also happens to be on a very steep grade.
10:00pm. Echo is set up as operation control. Because the satellite phone is "mysteriously not working", Foxtrot is assigned to hike down to the car to make communications with Abbotsford rope rescue team. Teams Golf and Hotel are assigned to tend to the patients.
3:00am Saturday: rope rescue team, which is actually the juniors and seniors from outdoor leadership program, arrive and set a pulley system to get the subject off the steep grade.
4:00am: patient is off the grade and ready to be stretchered out by our teams. After going down the path 500m (a long distance to carry a stretcher) we discover a cliff on one side of the trail, we turn around and stretcher her out 8k to the nearest evacuation area.
5:00am: It was about now that people started swearing at eachother.
10:00am. after a night of walking with 3 people on each side of the stretcher, in 1 foot of fresh snow, in -10c/12f weather, on bouldery terrain, with no food (I had a bag of peanuts for the day), rest, water breaks, and 6 hours of stretcher carrying, we reach evacuation area. We are told that we are 3.5 hours behind schedule for the days activities, but will carry on to our next assignment which will consist of 6 stations. The first station is to take a one hour exam. Separated by 10m, we sat down on our packs and took the exam. To this day I have no recollection of what I wrote. Words would make sense individually, but when put together as a sentence, it would not compute.
11:00am: test completed, we found out that there are no more stations and that the stations were a lie to stress us out. We begin our hike down the mountain.
12:30am: reach cars in parking lot.
1:00pm: after 33 hours of go time, we arrive home.
In conclusion, I’m glad petty officer wasn't hiding behind trees yelling at us even though the leaders were. Lots of what happened that night was hilarious, lots of what happened sucked. Some of it sucked so much that people have been having nightmares about it. And I now distrust my leaders and yes, on a deep level hate my leaders more than I’ve hated anybody before-well, except for my ex. She was a cow.