Training October 10, 2009
By Tom Mahood
On Saturday, October 10, 2009, members of RMRU met in Garner
Valley for tracking training. Present were Lee Arnson, Joe Erickson,
Michael George, Mike Herman, Tom Mahood, Chad Marler, Chuck
Springer and Les Walker. The training was lead by Chuck Springer
and Tom Mahood, but everyone pitched in various ideas and techniques.
The (cold) morning began with a review of basic tracking techniques
and tools, such as tracking sticks. Different tracking philosophies
and concepts were discussed, as well as night tracking techniques.
As with most endeavors, there are forms to fill out, and so
the proper way to fill out a tracking report was covered, along
with the importance of accurately sketching the print in question,
or the use of digital photos.
Just over two weeks prior, there had been a successful RMRU
search for a missing mountain biker, which involved considerable
tracking efforts. This incident provided substantial discussion
and relevance to the training.
Morning was concluded with two teams following previously laid
tracks over several hundred yards. The sandy soils of Garner
Valley, with areas of pine needles, made for some challenging
tracking. Yet all did very well.
After a break for lunch, Les was instructed to “get lost”,
something he showed great aptitude at. He drove his vehicle
up the road a bit and proceeded to simulate a lost hiker. After
sufficient time for Les to get appropriately lost, the rest
of the team arrived at his vehicle and proceeded to track him.
Chuck and Tom decided to arrive at the vehicle after the rest
of the team to allow them to take full charge of the situation
and initiate the search from the very beginning. Although Les
proved very cagey, wandering around bushes and leaving assorted
clues along the way, the team eventually discovered him sitting
comfortably on a ridgeline, thus ending his “lostness”.
All in all, this proved a good warmup for the MRA Search and
Tracking recertification testing upcoming this March.
The Tracking Teams
Tracking Sticks in action!