Tahoe Nordic Search & Rescue, Inc. Tahoe Nordic Search & Rescue, Inc.

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May 2008

Cinco de Mayo is the festive occasion for TNSAR’s closing meeting for the 2007-2008 season. As always, vittles a la Schroepfer will be provided. Dinner will be served at 6:00pm with the meeting to follow.

Granlibakken Primaries All of you undecided super-delegates better make up your minds. Voting for the new Board positions will take place at the upcoming meeting. It’s still not too late to stage a coup……

GearHeads Please take a few moments before the next meeting and round up all the extraneous search gear that has gathered in the bottom of your search packs all winter. Headlamps, glowsticks, radio batteries, spare grousers…you know, typical stuff you keep in your pack all winter. Break it out and bring it to the meeting. Don’t worry, no one is counting all of those snickers and granola bars. Those you can keep. Prizes will be awarded for the person who finds the cliff bar with the oldest expiration date. I found one earlier this year with 2002 expiration stamp!

Über Bulbs It seems like every year my bulbs come out earlier, bloom longer, and are vegetatively bionic. Frost won’t kill them, extended freezing only agitates them. Even deep snow doesn’t threaten their hardiness. I don’t know if they are engineered by Monsanto or what, but either way they very rudely remind me that spring has sprung or will at any minute and it always makes me embarrassingly reminiscent of the passing search season. This year was no exception. Just a few short months ago I was telling everyone not to worry, the pagers will go off and we will have searches. Looking back now it seems like there were a few weeks this season when I was hoping that dern pager would just keep quiet. But lucky for us we did have an exceptionally busy season and I know that makes everyone happy. I have to admit, some years I have had ‘favorite’ searches. Usually they are the ones that I want to be over the quickest; howling winds, zero visibility, snowing so hard you can’t breathe, and no clue where the victim is. You know, the search where we are as lost as the victim. Until, of course, when we find them, “…Ah yes, here we are….” This year it was impossible to decide because we had searches from one end of the search spectrum to the other. Epic all nighters, multiple day and night searches, out of town ‘twilight zone’ searches, out of bound searches that are neither, searchers with classically horrific weather, even glorious sunset spring corn searches when we don’t know if we’re out for an afternoon ski or on an actual search. Lordy, what fun we have had. Yet through it all, I am always amazed that there is still so much more to learn. We have been at this, what some 33 years, and still we are learning how to do this. I once had a college professor who was fond of saying, “…perform the poem so that you can learn how to perform the poem…” And that is so strangely applicable to what we do. Not that we follow iambic pentameter search patterns or ski around hollering out, “…Dave, Dave, wherefore art thou?” but that we are still learning as we go. I find that humbling and strangely refreshing at the same time. It keeps us on our toes rather than settling back on our heels. I remember a search a few years ago when a group of skiers were preparing to head out on a search and we came across the victims’ car parked by the side of the road. We all looked at it, studied it thoughtfully, “…yep, that’s a car alright..” and then skied off in the other direction. Hours later it was painfully realized that we went in the wrong direction entirely. It was frightfully clear, in hindsight, that their tracks into the woods started right there where the car was parked. Elementary my dear Watson… or is it? Oftentimes, even though we know better, we get sucked into the vortex of what we think is the victim’s mind, “I’m sure they went that way, it’s downhill. No way would they have gone back up hill…” Actually some people do go back up hill, just when you least expect it, just when you are expecting them (and are convinced that that is what they thought about doing) to go the easy way, downhill. That’s just it, it is impossible to know. It’s that toe-heel thing again. How do we constantly strive to stay en pointe? I remember another search a few years ago when we had really good clues, excellent clues in fact, they were just in the wrong spot. The victim was nowhere near where her skis were found. Interestingly, there were other clues that night that were noted but not acted upon. It just so happened that several searchers noticed coyotes out that night, “hmm, now that’s strange…wonder what they’re doing out here…” and (sadly enough) it was the coyotes who found the victim before anyone else. I guess the trick is to always strive to be on your search toes, strive to always pay attention to your instincts, strive to ever so gracefully get in better touch with your own women’s intuition. Progress not perfection, someone once said……

Thanks to everyone for volunteering; for putting on a spectacularly successful Great Ski Race; for calling people up in the middle of the night; for reading grammatically challenged newsletters; for putting aside friends, family, work and obligations to go out in the middle of a snowstorm and search for mere strangers; for yet another great season here at TNSAR.

Ever dangling my participles

----B. Wright

The goal of TNSAR is to conduct fast and safe rescues, and to help educate the public on winter safety. If you would like to help TNSAR in this cause, please use the following PayPal donate link. Thanks!

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