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Outward Bound

Excerpts from Michael McCroskery's Diary

Course: Canyonlands, Utah; Oct. 1-30, 1994

Day 2, October 2, 1994
Went down a heavy cliff, slip rocks, etc. My breathing is heavy, sweat high. My mind has to be kept on one thing and that is making it through in one piece; some close moments. I'm able to catch myself with help from others (crew, spotter). We make it down, my mind is blown away; I'm in one piece and still able to keep going. I see water. When we get down to where the water is, we learn to iodinize it. Time is short and it's time to move on. Now we are moving vertically. We are doing canyoneering (South Long Point); we see a spot to camp. Yesterday was tarps, now it is time to learn some basic camping cooking. At round table, we discuss our goals and expectations. Mine is "Do it, not just say it."

Things to remember:
1. Point toes faceward down rock
2. Iodinize the rock
3. Watch out for slip rocks
4. Watch out for cryptogam

Day three, October 3, 1994
I have slept well compared to night before. We all get our stuff ready for trip horizontal (slant canyoneering). See ruins up at top. Look for places to hook foot onto when climbing. Coming down is harder than going up. The ruins are just awesome. My mind is truly focused now-it needs to be for the solos; finals will be upon me. In a way, I'm glad and also not. Seeing the sites is what I truly want to do (find a focus to life). Also, I have really gotten to know the other people I'm with. It will be a shame to have to say good-bye. The other way to get home is something that is on my mind because I miss it, but the only way to survive is not to think about it. My mind has to be focused on only one thing

Things to remember:
1. Iodinize the water
2. Foot steps
3. Look for grips in rocks
4. Stand up on rock
5. Look out for cryptogam
6. Don't leave tracks (this is wild country and leave it that way)
7. Help others all the time. Look for dangers and pass on.

Day 26, October 26, 1994 (In Finals stage)
We get up, eat, get day packs together for ruin siting. We see some pictographs and then the All-American Man (Red, White, Blue Man). Coming back, we all get stuff together and then we head out. Going is easy. We see caron spot and place note. We find junction to switch onto, and go towards road where we head down. On way to road, we see campsite and signs. On road, we see sign to Angel Arch, run into campers and trucks are coming down road. We find place to camp; it is a small overhang. After set up, we see vehicle we ran into going the other way. We set up for dinner. At night, Stove acts up. We all get rested for next day.

Day 27, October 27,1994, Leader Day.
Get map experience - better compass. This is the day we are to meet up with Mike for visual check and get help on traverse. We arrive at meeting point at 11:30; Mike arrives at 1:15. He has had to check on the other groups. Traverse is successful. At the top, we see Gary and Rich, and also both Ian and Jeremy from the other group. We continue our descent and scouting. Mine is best. We get onto a highly caroned trail. At one point, I get frustrated because we stop to look at the map and scout. "We are on a caron trail, we can't get lost. We just follow the carons." After about 2 minutes we continue on trail, heading in the direction I thought we were supposed to take. At one point, I thought I dropped my watch. At stop point, I go back a way to look. Similar to France. Same mistake. I didn't tell the others what I was doing. Eventually we find camp spot, set up tarps, start cooking, then go to sleep. We are to head into Canyonlands Park tomorrow (Druid Arch Map). That night I cannot sleep because of my watch dilemma.

Day 28, October 28, 1994
We get up. Hurrah! I spotted my watch. Bizarre? I thank God for that. We all eat; we make cinnamon rolls. Before leaving, we see a ranger who runs into us. He asks us some questions until we tell him our program is Outward Bound. He praises us because our campsite is best. Low Impact. We head down a bushwhack trail to get to Squaw Valley trail. Heavily caroned again. At the top of high rock, we run into a friend of Marcy's. We eventually continue; we find a dirt path trail. We stop for lunch, then continue on. Going is great. We're almost there. At one point, we run into 3 men. I ask distance. Only 1.5 mi; I'm psyched. Then I see a sign for 1.1 mi. I just have this feeling of total energy. At seeing site from a slick rock, I have a tremendous amount of energy. Not far from campground road, I get this tremendous surge of energy and I feel like I'm crossing the finish line in a race.

Our group is the second to arrive. Bummer. We thought we were going to be the first. At campsite we greet the other group there. I get into a hackie sack game. When other group arrives, we all dive into kill barrel and have a feast (popcorn, fruit, and peanuts). I think I really ate a lot. Dinner from our unit is beans/rice. Then all groups get together and we hear chat from ranger. Discuss BLM Unit divisions, political involvement, etc. Afterwards, we have final debriefment. Our unit got along real well. My stomach hurts that night, feels like it is bulging out; I ate too much that night. In a way it is good that the 11 mi. run is next morning.

Day 29, October 29, 1994
Get up; eat banana for energy for run. We all stretch and are shown map of the course. Starts at about 8:15 a.m.; I go out pretty good. I think I could have taken in more water beforehand. Terrain is trail, slick rock, and little climbs, 3 check spots. Throughout the course I missed spotting 4 carons. Energy is lost trying to find way. Fortunately, the person behind me helps out. Race in some aspects turns out to be a teamwork effort. In many areas I just have to stop and walk (slick rock, long ways). I get my energy boost, and at points I stop and walk. Technique is to walk up dirt paths at elevation, otherwise I will be treading dirt. After 3 point, I walk a good ways. I plan on saving my energy until I know I am almost at end. I recognize certain areas. I start back up running. At road, my calves are really starting to give. I can only run with my legs almost completely straight; I am relieved when I get to finish line.

I completely underestimated this course. Considering I live at near sea level and ran on flats, I feel I did a good job. I need lots of rest afterwards. I drink GookinAid (ERG)~Fruit. When almost everybody gets in, we break out lunch. Only sandwich--cheese and tomato. Then we all get group gear together, clean stoves plus other equipment. Then personal gear is checked in. I have everything except a spoon, which broke. I am only charged a $1. I'm bummed out. Compared to what others are charged, that's good. I was really lucky. The only other thing I lost was a glove to my right hand. Oh, well, in Florida I won't need gloves. I did get a Tigers' cap from Glenn, who found it on his course. (That was nice of him.) That night is another party night. Its theme is a Pumpkin. Our setting is a pumpkin which we set on a stump; we attach a wool cap, gloves, name tag, shirt, pants and boots to it. This represents Tom -the person who never showed up. We figured the 29th would be a good day for him to show up. Dinner consists of chili, corn bread, salad, Cool Aid (blue) drink. Dessert is vanilla ice cream along with vanilla cookies with candy corn; I get a 2nd helping of dessert, also chili and bread. Funny scene with Glenn. Then our 2 original groups break up after certificates are given out. Then in our group we receive our outward bound pins. We are to present pins to someone else in the group. Mine goes to Patrick; he always pushes himself and that is what I want to be like in life. Then back to fire, pick up hat, glove and name tag from Tom. Then I go to sleep. Tomorrow is leave day and I want to be ready.

Day 30, October 30, 1994
I get up and get my sleeping bag packed and ready to turn in. I'm no slacker; I'm the first person to bring stuff over. Seeing stuff, I yell Hurrah. Time to Go. We are given chocolate chip muffins for breakfast. We all head out to Moab first, where we stop for breakfast and food items. At food market, I look around, then check my blood pressure. My systolic is high (2 below borderline high) due to stress and tension from course; 78 rest pulse. Race effects are kicking in, which explains all this. I go into bathroom, look into mirror, and just freak out. The Mountain Man face is not for me. We continue on. On the bus, I get to read a USA Today map someone bought, also Newsweek. Someone got a package of various candies which was shared among everybody. We arrive at Holiday Inn at 12.