First Month Pregnancy Symptoms And Stories

Search and You Shall Find

A Note About SAR Blogging: One thing with writing about SAR is that I sometimes have to omit certain details--things that team members are told to help us carry out a search but that aren't intended for public knowledge. I'd love to include everything I know about every mission, but unfortunately I can't. So that's something I have to constantly keep in mind when I write. And occasionally I can't write about a mission at all.

Below are most--but not all--of my blog posts, categorized in several of many possible ways. As I add posts to my blog, I'll include most them here. Within each category, the posts will be roughly in chronological order; however, when I blog updated information about a previous mission, I'll put those posts together with the others related to it.

If you're interested in reading posts in their exact chronological order, you can do so by going directly to Deb's Search and Rescue Stories and using the Blog Archive in the right-hand column to start at the beginning. I've also got entries categorized there in a different way -- generally by the type of mission.

But this is what you'll find here:
Click to skip to....

The Ups And Downs Of Search & Rescue

Taking part in a search and/or rescue that makes a difference in someone's life is a great feeling. That is, when a mission ends with the find of a living, breathing, and hopefully smiling person or, at the very least, a living, breathing person. And knowing you had a role, however small, in saving a life is difficult for me to describe. Sometimes, though, saving a life isn't possible, and, of course, that's not easy on the team, let alone the family and friends waiting for news of their loved-one.

Being in SAR also means being accessible at any and all hours of the day, and no matter what we're doing. That doesn't mean, as volunteers, we're required to respond; we do so when we're willing and able. For some, that's much more often than others, but you just never know when that page or phonecall might come in, so meals, social events, sleep, movies and so forth, get interrupted.

And those calls don't just affect SAR team members; they also impact the lives of our families. That's why I wrote a blog post titled, A Tribute To My SAR Spouse, to thank my husband for being so supportive and understanding of my Search & Rescue "habit," day or night.

My first blog post: Becoming A Search & Rescue Volunteer

SAR Stories With Happy Endings

Subjects Found Alive If Not Always Well

I'm very glad to say that most of my blog entries fit into this category (and the next one about strange--but happy--endings). It's what we always hope for when we're called out to find and/or rescue someone who needs help.

Sometimes, I write about more than one mission in a post, and sometimes one has a happy ending and the other doesn't (or doesn't get resolved), so some entries may be listed in more than one category.

And though I call these happy endings, that doesn't mean there aren't injuries or health problems. Sometimes, the injuries and other medical conditions are serious, but at least the subject of our mission survived the ordeal and had a decent, if not, excellent chance of a good recovery.

My First Mission: Two young hikers take longer than expected to climb a mountain and, without lights, lose the trail in the dark.

A Thanksgiving Rescue: A mother and her three kids leave their hotel for what's supposed to be "just an afternoon hike," but only two of the children return before dark.

Out Of Bounds: A snowboarder who leaves the boundaries of the ski area gets lost in the backcountry.

A Man And His Horse: A hearing-impaired cowboy gets lost on the job.

Once Was Not Enough: A man who was rescued just the night before goes missing again. He's found the following day, which I report in my next post, Update: Missing Man Found.

James Canyon Rescue: A young artist falls off a cliff into a narrow slot canyon filled with water while setting up his canvas. He sustains injuries and is hypothermic, but his life is saved.

Woods Canyon Rescue: A young man is reported overdue by his girlfriend when he doesn't return from a dayhike.

From "700" To "200": A tourist goes for a hike, which takes longer than she expected. With no light, she can't see to walk out. (200 is our pager code for a search. The 700 was a previous "disaster" call-out.)

A Rescue On Mt. Elden: Off-trail hikers "cliff out" in the dark.

Two Nights In A Row And Now On Stand-By: A busy couple of days, and then some. The stand-by call turns into a mission, evacuating stranded campers at Havasu Canyon. I write about that incident in my next blog post, Grand Canyon / Havasupai Flood.

An All-Nighter On Kendrick Peak: Two men try to take a shortcut that doesn't work out.

Carrying A Man Off Mt. Humphreys: A man experiences chest pain while climbing Arizona's highest peak. After evacuating him on a litter, we later find out just how serious his condition was. I blogged about that in my next post, A Life Saved After All.

A First Snow's Mission: A couple gets lost while day-hiking on the Arizona Trail, but they aren't at all dressed for the weather.

The Volvo Wasn't So Lucky: A young couple on a multi-day backpacking trip didn't check the weather report before parking 20 miles down a dirt road and setting off for their hike.

Same Subject Different Day: A man who was rescued, along with a dozen others, on Christmas Day tries to go back for his vehicle but is unprepared for the long walk in deep snow.

Putting Skills To The Test: A 12 year-old girl goes missing from her home.

A Wood-Cutting Outing Gone Bad: A man falls into a canyon.

No Map, No Clue: Four college students attempt to find a cave at night without any way to navigate and without any light.

Three Ongoing Searches: Sometimes everything happens at once. This multi-mission blog post includes one story (about a missing 7-year-old boy) that ended well and two that didn't really end at all. I give more information on the happy ending in another blog post titled, Missing Boy Found.

Lost And Found: An elderly woman with advanced dementia walks away from her family's campsite.

A Short Walk Turns Into A Long Night: An experienced outdoorsman makes a few mistakes.

Hikers, Party of Eight: A group of family members are overdue from a hike through West Fork, a route involving some swimming in the narrow canyon.

Up And Down The Mountain ... And Up And Down ... And Up ... And Down: Yes, I made three round-trips during this one, for the man with the sprained ankle.

A Lot of SAR Lately: First, we search for two men who'd rolled their jeep in a very sparsely populated area near Ash Fork, Arizona. Then we move on to an overdue party of six in West Fork canyon.

Tracks! I See Tracks!: A family of five sets out for a 20-minute walk that instead turns out to be a very long, chilly night.

A Trail Lost: Two ladies go for a dayhike, using just a hand-drawn, cartoon-like map for navigation, and lose track of the trail.

Stranded: Dozens of elk hunters are stranded along Forest Service roads following a blizzard.

Out-Of-Bounders Beware: A 19 year-old snowboarder gets lost in the backcountry during a blizzard.

Search & Rescue Stories With Odd (But Happy) Endings

Sometimes There Are Strange Plot Twists In SAR

Sometimes (well, often actually), SAR missions can take some odd twists. People pop up in places you'd never have guessed, or calls for help may not be what they originally seemed. But, in the following cases, at least the subjects turned out to be okay.

Hurry Up And Wait ... And Wait: A call for help comes in, but things aren't what they at first appeared to be.

He Plugged His Ears?: A 15 year-old hunter loses his way when his GPS runs out of batteries and he has no spares.

The Boy Who Ran: A teenager runs into the dark woods when a Sheriff deputy approaches his vehicle to see if the occupants are okay. But the boy, who's not dressed for the cold, doesn't turn up.

Two In One Day: A hunter goes missing and turns up in a rather unusual place. Then a man goes hiking with nothing but a water bottle and gets himself "misplaced."

Two In One Day, Take Two: After one double-header, our team has another. This time, an abandoned baby carriage and rental car are found in a parking lot near a bridge in the wee hours of the morning. Then, later tht night, a young lady injures her knee while hiking up a mountain. She gets a rather unorthodox carry-out.

Moving Targets: Two mountain bikers call for help but then won't stay put.

Drunk On Devil's Head: An argument on a mountain ends when one party goes over the side.

Searching x 2 & Rappelling x 6: A woman who's left stranded on a dirt road calls for help, but I guess her boyfriend had second thoughts. (The rest of this entry is about a training session.)

Looking For The Boy Who Wasn't Lost: I just don't get it. Some people really perplex me.

Are They Really Missing?: An elderly couple doesn't return home one night after going to cut firewood. Our team is called out the next day, when a neighbor reports them overdue.

What A Strange Mission: As we search for whoever might have been heard screaming up on the mountain and reported by passing hikers below, we heard a blood-curdling scream ourselves. Was that animal or human?

Stories With Sad Endings

The Hardest Part Of Being In SAR

This is the toughest aspect of Search & Rescue--when things don't end the way we'd all hope. And sometimes, you get a call and know there's not much, if any hope, for survivors.

Not Always "Code 4": A husband and father goes for an afternoon walk in the woods on a sunny winter day but doesn't return to his car.

Mid-Air Collision: Two medical helicopters end up in the same air space at the same time in the middle of Flagstaff. I followed up this post with Helicopter Collision Update.

Cinder Hill Cindy: A two-year-old missing person case comes to a close. I followed up this post with Update: Cinder Hill Cindy Has A Real Name.

A Plane Crash In Sedona: A sightseeing flight ends badly for three family members. (In the blog post, I report that the pilot survived. However, I recently learned that he died three weeks after the crash.)

Young Hikers Missing in Grand Canyon: From one to as many as four students from Northern Arizona University don't return after a weekend backpacking trip to a remote area of the Canyon. Find out how the story ends after it's determined that just one young man is missing in my post, The Search For Bryce Gillies Is Over.

Daylight Makes All The Difference: We searched all night but didn't find the missing hunter until first light. Even had we found him sooner, there would have been nothing we could have done.

A Search Near Munds Park: A woman and her dog go missing on a cold night, and conditions quickly deteriorate.

An Unhappy Ending For A Little Boy and His Family (and SAR too): Little Emmett Trapp's mom awoke from a nap and discovered her 2-year-old son--one of her four children--was missing from their home in Dewey, Arizona. After family and neighbors searched the area without luck, they called 9-1-1.

Search And Rescue Stories That End With The Ol' 10-22

Hurry Up! Okay, Now Go Home.

Our code system for call-outs includes the 10-22, which means "mission canceled." Sometimes those cancellations come while we're en route to the SAR building or en route to the staging area on scene. And sometimes we go a very long way only to turn right around. That's just part of the whole deal.

Our team has had many more 10-22's since I joined than I have blog posts about them. Sometimes, I just mention those call-outs in other posts, and sometimes I don't mention them at all. Needless to say, we've probably had just as many 10-22's as actual missions since I first got my pager, including these.

Never Too Early For A Joy Ride: A quad ride in the middle of the night doesn't quite go as planned.

Such Are SAR Calls Sometimes: A six-hour round-trip drive for our team, but at least all ends well for the lost hikers.

Eleven Hours Of Sleep And I'm Back On Track: This post isn't just about a canceled mission, but it does start out that way. At 3am, our team gets called out to search for 4 overdue hikers, who turn up when we're well on our way to the area where they'd been hiking. But my day wasn't over yet.

Search And Rescue Stories With No Endings

Where Are They?

To me, the most frustrating SAR missions are those that aren't resolved. The following are blog posts about searches that didn't result in finds (or at least not for a while after the search was scaled back). Hopefully, eventually, we'll learn what happened to all of these people. If we do, I'll add the related blog posts here.

Looking For A Sheep Herder: A man disappears on the Navajo Reservation.

48 Hours And Counting: A man sets off for a fairly routine, short winter ride on his ATV but never comes home. This story is continued in my post, Where Is Mark?. Months later, I posted another entry about this case when some new evidence turned up. See: An Ongoing Mystery. And on 6/10/09, I posted Found. But I'll leave this case under "SAR Stories With No Endings," in part because what exactly happened to the subject--how he got there and under what circumstances--is still unknown.

The Mystery Of The Man With The Van: An ill man leaves his unlocked van, with the keys and cash inside, near a highway overlook and disappears. There's more about this mission included in another post, entitled Three Ongoing Searches.

Search And Rescue News

Some of my blog posts contain new information about past missions that took place both before and since I joined the team. Occasionally, I also include SAR news from outside the county or from other states or countries.

Cassie: Our team gets a new, four-legged member.

Updates And Clarifications: Information on previous missions, including "Cinder Hill Cindy" and the flooding in Havasu Canyon.

Recent Happenings: Updates on a recent plane crash, a past, unsolved disappearance, and more.

Missed Missions And Being Missed: Sometimes you just can't make it when your pager goes off.

Five Out Of The Last Seven Days: SAR activity comes and goes in spurts sometimes.

Good News And Bad News: Updates on recent SAR stories in the news.

Our New SAR Building: Finally, our team moves into new and larger digs on the other (and, for many of us, closer) side of town.

The SAR I Missed While On Vacation: a couple of missions and some tech team training

Losing One Of Our Own: One of our youngest and extremely skilled and talented teammates loses his life in a car accident.

A Grand Canyon SAR Mission: A man from North Carolina goes missing in the National Park, but his rental car is found at a trailhead, giving search teams an area to begin. Learn about the outcome in Grand Canyon Search is Over.


Our new Search & Rescue Building

Learning SAR Skills: Ongoing Training & Practice

Continuing Education And Improvement

Search & Rescue is much more than some initial, basic training. Being part of a team--or at least this one and many others I'm familiar with--means ongoing practice, learning new skills and reinforcing old ones. Some of the training is optional, while other classes are mandatory for our members.

I don't blog about every training I take part in, but the following are those I've written about


Practicing A Tension Back-Tie During Tech Team Training

Training: The types of training we receive in SAR

A Mock Search: At least once a year, we practice our skills during a rather extensive pretend search, but we treat it like it's the real thing.

Don't Tell But....: I'm recruited to be the patient for another mock search.

A Mock Search ... And Then Some: The mock search goes well, until one of our teammates takes a real fall.

PLB's And Plenty Of Zzz's: Our team has a Personal Locator Beacon training session. This entry includes news about what has (and has not) been going on lately.

Training: A teammate and I snowshoe to the top of the chairlifts to improve our fitness at altitude.

The Test: Word is, anyone who wants to be on the technical rescue team will need to pass "the pack test." So that would include me.

Rock Rescue Academy: This is the five-week training "camp" for those who want to be on the Technical Rescue Team, a sub-set of our general SAR membership. After a year and a half on the team as a regular "ground-pounder," I decide to try to qualify for Tech.

Those Wonderful Search & Rescue Dogs: Members of our team work with K-9 handlers from another county.

Training & News: Our team holds a training session for Line Search and Probability of Detection. I also include some SAR news in this post.

Navigation Boot Camp & News: Our teams puts on a 3-day class on Alternative Navigation, Map & Compass and GPS for members of other organizations and departments either involved with or related to SAR.

Searching x 2 & Rappelling x 6: The Rock Rescue Academy continues after two back-to-back missions.

Rock Rescue Practice: A few of us get together at the SAR garage for some practice rigging up anchors and ascending before the proficiency test.

And More Practice: My teammates and I continue to work on our tech skills in preparation for the upcoming proficiency test.

Trusting My Gear And My Teammates: Being suspended 100 feet above the ground between canyon walls isn't exactly in my comfort zone.

Snow Play SAR Style: Snowmobiles, a snowcat, the Mattracks and more


Practicing Ascending

Volunteering For SAR

I wrote the article below with the purpose of explaining what wilderness (aka mountain/ground) Search & Rescue is all about, as I see it--what's involved in becoming part of a SAR team and being part of a team. I've gotten so much out of it myself that I wanted to share the experience and the opportunity.

Search And Rescue
Becoming a Search and Rescue Volunteer

Are you intrigued by stories about wilderness rescues and searches for missing hikers or mountain climbers? If so, perhaps becoming a Search and Rescue....

Search & Rescue And Social Media

I've really enjoyed interacting with other SAR volunteers and professionals online, most of whom are from other counties, other states and other countries. I'm always interested to find out what they're up to, SAR-related or not, and how their teams or organizations operate.

In late 2008, I signed up for Twitter and soon began following--and being followed by--other Search & Rescue folks. I've put together a directory of those I know of and will update it each time I come across a new SAR member or organization that "tweets."

Search And Rescue
Search & Rescue On Twitter: Follow These Good Folks

Are you involved with SAR yourself? Or just interested in following people who are? I'm putting together a list of Search & Rescue professionals --...

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