Friday, December 14, 2007
Last of the new recruits...
Today is the last day for CLE Lab Finals, essentially a map-reading exercise. Students have to demonstrate that they met the outcomes of the class, basically that they can read maps and orient them to terrain, use a compass from map to ground and ground to map, adjust correctly for magnetic declination each way, and both give and use an 8-figure UTM. Pat Stevens set these objectives years ago, cribbing from his NCO school materials. Tim added a Warden's Service spin, now I get to implement. My attitude with these students is a personal tribute to Sgt Hamilton "Hammy" Anderson, RAFMRS, who once permitted me to descend all the way into the valley of Thirlmere (Lake District NP) when I should have been ascending the mountain of Fairfield, about three miles and 1,500 feet of altitude away. Once the fog lifted, I discovered where I was and had to retreat back to my start point, which took a good two hours of hard hiking. Hammy knew exactly where we were the whole time. Thanks, Hammy, for making me learn the hard way.
To pass, todays students have to demonstrate that they can find a point in adverse conditions, under pressure, using all their skills. The first group went up Harris Mountain in the dark and the rain. Since then we've been in the Sandy Stream valley in a foot of snow, bushwhacking in heavy brush. Most have done well. Some didn't practice enough on their own. Tough. This is a new reality TV show we call "so you want to be a Game Warden/Park Ranger." Think it'll catch on?