2.4.2008 That’s all you need to know to be in the know. Know what I mean? Granlibakken hut.
6:30pm. Be there.
Searches, sort of…On Tuesday, January 8th, TNSAR pagers went off for the second time this
season. With adrenaline pumping, head spinning (where’s my pack? Are my clear goggles in the
top pocket? Did I put fresh AA batteries in the beacon this season?), and my brain already
guessing (…will it be back side of Sugar Bowl? Five Lakes drainage? Peter Grubb hut?), I was
rapidly and excitedly gearing up for………San Bernardino County????? Bubble bursting out of
town San Bernardino as in Los Angeles southern California????? Yes, the pager quickly
reminded me, San Bernardino. This was the second out of town search called this season. On
January 4th, a 62 year-old hiker phoned for help after becoming disoriented in foggy
conditions at around 7000 feet near Green Valley Lake, San Bernardino County. Four days
later, OES put out a statewide call for assistance to aid worn out LA area searchers. Though
we scrambled schedules, canceled meetings, and re-arranged pre-arranged day care duties,
TNSAR crews never left the basin. But, let the record show, not for the lack of trying. Sad
to say, the search was called off on January 13th as the missing hiker permanently
maintained his missing status. The local Sheriff was quoted as saying, “…we searched as well
as we can…” And I’m sure they did. Or at least I hope they did for the sake of the missing
hiker’s family. One thing that this story reminded me of was the fact that TNSAR really puts
the haste into a hasty search. That may be one of the key reasons why we are so good at what
we do; we do it fast. Over the last three decades we as a search and rescue organization
have learned (perhaps the hard way sometimes) that time is truly of the essence. Tracks
disappear, sometimes rapidly in heavy snow or windy conditions. People freeze to death,
sometimes quickly. Comb the area last seen swiftly and thoroughly, find the tracks, and race
your partners to the victim. It’s the hasty bird that gets the squirrelly worm. We’ve never
been too good at or too fond of grid-type frozen body searches. But that’s not to say that
we are always as hasty as can be, which brings me to the third Search, sort of, for this
season. Sunday, January 20th, TNSAR members skied, snowmobiled, and sno-catted (?) over hill
and dale toward Hell Hole Reservoir. On the way back home they noticed a group of late
afternoon snowmobilers heading off toward Barker Pass. Hmm, that’s curious. I wonder where
they’re headed so late in the day? A few hours and a few fermented Bridgetender adult
beverages later, TNSAR phones start ringing saying that there is a group of lost
snowmobilers at Barker Pass. Hmm, that’s curious. Is there any more beer left in that
pitcher? I mean, quick pass the espresso and saddle up! Luckily the restrooms were unlocked
at Barker Pass and the lost snowmobilers were as comfy as could be until TNSAR members
finished their beverages and slogged back up to the Pass and escorted the wayward motorheads
back to the Bridgetender. I mean back to the trailhead parking lot. Oh well, all is well
that ends well no matter how long you have to hunker down inside a porta-potie.
Perpetuity (n)., pl, -ties. The quality or condition of being perpetual (seemingly
ceaseless). I didn’t add those parentheses, the dictionary did. And perhaps the developers
of the Hilltop property in Truckee are in cahoots with the wordsmiths at Random House. For
it seems to me it was not that long ago when I interviewed a TNSAR member who had just
returned from a private meeting with a Hilltop developer….and this said developer had
actually used the word ‘perpetuity’ correctly and in context when referring to the future
existence of the finish line for TNSAR’s Great Ski Race. Unbeknownst to the rest of us, this
said developer apparently knew that those parentheses existed in the definition of the word
perpetuity and that the real emphasis was on the word “seemingly” instead of ceaseless. For
it seems to me that a man’s word is more important and has far more long term impact than a
condominium project or another five-star hotel or the dreaded destination resort. The man
said that the Hilltop hill and The Great Ski Race finish line would remain untouched and
undeveloped in perpetuity, that we would always have our signature finish line hill. But it
looks as though parentheses are more important than commitments for some people. Maybe
dollar signs make more sense than traditions for these people. Maybe honoring one’s word and
relying on handshakes is something for John Wayne and the wild west and days gone by. Maybe
Allen Greenspan really is the Father and Ben Bernanke is the Son and a wad of hundred dollar
bills is the Holy Ghost. Maybe I’ve been sniffing too much ski wax this winter. What do I
know, I drive a sno-cat and groom ski trails through the woods late at night. ‘Nuff said.
Snowshoes Rule! As many of you already know, TNSAR’s favorite snowshoe guru, Gerald
Rockwell, has recently retired from Tahoe’s USGS field office. No longer an indentured
servant of Uncle Sam, Gerald is now free to concentrate entirely on his true love (sorry
Toni), the fine art of snowshoeing. When he is not in Washington DC lobbying Congress for a
new snowshoer’s bill of rights and the courageous, upcoming ‘right to snowshoe’ bill, Gerald
will be conducting snowshoe clinics by day and presenting snowshoe slideshows at night.
Sunday snowshoe services will be held throughout the Basin with Father Gerald at the pulpit.
If you miss Gerald here in the Basin, look for him at the Borders bookstore inside the Mall
of America, just outside St. Paul, MN. He will be autographing his new best seller, I Love
Snowshoes. I Can’t Stand Skiing, Never Have, Never Will. I Only Did It Because I Hadn’t Come
To Terms With My Inner Showshoe. I don’t know how he does it, but you can also catch Gerald
on Dr. Phil in the early afternoons or on the late night circuit with David Letterman and
Conan O’brien. Though the exact dates haven’t been published yet, Gerald will host a CD
release party and will be mixing his favorite snowshoe rap tunes at the Great American Music
Hall in San Francisco. A show definitely not to be missed. But I’m sure there will be a
follow-up music video with Gerald bumping and grinding with a bunch of scantily clad
snowshoe betties. And don’t forget to ask Gerald for your very own Keep Tahoe Snowshoeing
bumper sticker. Good luck Gerald! Now get out there and SHRED!
GSR 08 Most definitely will be epic this year but there is still much work to be done for
this year’s race. The race committee has been meeting regularly and divvying up tasks and
there is always room for more hands. This is a great opportunity for everyone to get
involved. Call Doug or Dirk to help out!
Don’t Forget! TNSAR will have two meetings in February. Monday, February 4th and Monday,
February 25th. There will not be a Team meeting the first Monday of March (the day after The
Great Ski Race).
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/01/27/CMK6TM66S.DTL Click on this link
to get to Laura Read’s article in the San Francisco Chronicle’s Sunday Magazine. True
stories from your own backyard. Nice Job Laura!
I groom, therefore I am
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