These are my stories as a volunteer member of the Sheriff's Search & Rescue team in Coconino County, Arizona. I'll share what it's like to go from a beginner with a lot to learn to an experienced and, hopefully, valuable member of the team, as well as the missions, trainings, and other activities along the way.
About Coconino County
About Coconino County
Encompassing 18,661 square miles, Coconino County, Arizona, is the second largest county in the U.S. but one of the least populated. Our county includes Grand Canyon National Park, the Navajo, Havasupai, Hualapai and Hopi Indian Reservations, and the largest contiguous ponderosa pine forest in the world. Elevations range from 2,000 feet above sea level along the Colorado River to 12,633 feet at the summit of Mt. Humphreys in Flagstaff.
June 23, 2009
The SAR I Missed While On Vacation
So, when I got back to Flagstaff late Saturday night, June 20th, I couldn't resist calling the SAR line and listening to the last recorded message. It was from Friday evening around 8pm--a call-out regarding an overdue, juvenile mountain biker. But I didn't read anything in the newspaper about such a search in the days that followed and haven't heard anything from my teammates, so I'm wondering if that situation resolved itself.
I did, however, see a couple of other SAR-related news stories in previous issues of the Arizona Daily Sun, including Body Recovered From Oak Creek Canyon (which I'm assuming some of our tech team members were involved with) and Searching Dangerous Depths, the latter about the special new (and expensive!) camera the Sheriff's Department recently acquired that can be lowered into deep, confined spaces. In this case, it was used to continue the search for German physicist Reinhard Kirchner, who disappeared in the Hell Hole Bend area of the Little Colorado river back in April, 2007. But nothing but rattlesnakes were found in the particular sink hole that was searched last week.
I know I also missed some Rock Rescue Academy training while I was away, but I don't know exactly what or how much. Kindly, one of my experienced teammates emailed me and offered to get together with me next week sometime to do some rope work, so that should help refresh my memory of what I've already learned and maybe even catch up a little. He tells me the next tech training will be on July 25th, so I'll have a little time to practice before then ... which is right before I go away again for two weeks and three weekends, when Steve and I will be canoe-camping in the Boundary Waters of Minnesota and doing some hiking in the North Country too.
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