*Military Adventure Training*
During the Winter of 1994 (IIRC) I was leading Military Adventure trg. About 10 of us travelled by snowmobile to a lake, app 12 hours north of our Base. Started out very nice, clear and cold (-30#C). Made good time to the lake, particularly as part of our route crossed the "barrens", a very hilly area that had a fire go through, making it indistinct and tough to navigate on. We arrived about an hour before dark and started setting up camp, and the snow started. It never stopped. All day, all night, from Monday evening until Friday morning that darn snow fell. Several feet each day. I made a point of going back through the barren ground each day, making sure that the trail was still visible. Made for long days for me, but necessary- the barrens were tough!
We woke up Friday morning to a flat out blizzard. Snow was still falling, only sideways this time. Wind was high, and visibility was up and down...from maybe a kilometre max, mostly a few hundred yards, then at times down to a few yards. Made the decision to go home as planned. Figured we were as safe on the trail as we were in the trees since we carried all our gear, and besides, it was adventure trg.
Camp came down ok, then off we went. First obstacle was a serious big hill, climbing from the lake to the start of the barren's- made it ok. Hit the barrens, and the trail was gone. 7 or 8 feet of snow had blown off the tops of the hills, and the trail was gone. My leader did ok for awhile, then lost the trail in the low ground. I Halted the team in a small patch of trees, dropped my Komatic (sled) and headed off to find the trail. Found it, but by then had lost the team. ...and my tent, sleeping bag, etc was in my sled. Bummer! Did have my axe, snowshoes, and basic survival gear, so I would have been ok...but just. Saw a small group of trees in the low ground through a momentary break in the storm, and headed for them....and found the team. Lost, and then found the trail several more times before we finally got in the trees and on our way home. Had a few more adventures, like a breakdown on the ice, whiteout, bad ice, really deep, soft snow....We finally reached Base. The weather was still so bad that I kept the team together and dropped each person off at their home.
Note: I considered making it home a real accomplishment. No one on the base figured we'd be home for days...in fact, they had the SAR bird planned for launch as soon as the storm abated.
When I finally made it home, I hollered "Honey, I'm Home" to be met with "You're 2 hours late. Supper is ruined, and I missed the wives club at the Mess"!!!
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