“You’re on my time, now!” – Tom Zuck, to cadre Dan
We end up walking for a while. This might have been my favorite part of the event, now that I think about it. Not because of the walking because uh, no, but what’s cool is there are lots of fantastic conversations going on. Eventually, someone has an incident and they have to drop from the event. That’s 43/45 who are now left. This leads to an evacuation and this was right around when the moon set. I figured the sun was coming up soon and kept lying to myself all night just like in Shreveport. Pro-tip: look up sun and moon times. I know it’s coming up soon!!
I swear the sun was going to come up any minute now. I checked when sunrise was and it was just after 0800 so I thought we were close to endexing.
Nope. Not even.
Eventually we has a cadre change and Dan rolls up so we get to walking.
We’re walking around with our headlamps for a bit when and Dan decides that we need to make our patrols in the dark like they do in the real world. He said it takes about 30 minutes to get adjusted to the dark and after a while, we’re able to see far off in the distance with minimal light. I’ve seen this movie before back in Austin Heavy 010. The soundtrack to this part of our journey is filled with lots of “shit!”, “fuck!”, slipping, sliding, stumbling over roots, rocks being kicked. It’s great. I wholeheartedly recommend it. We ended up walking in the dark for four hours.
I never hallucinated so much in my whole life #fulldarknostars trail hiking is insane. Speaking of which, Dan saying “There’s nothing better than eating shit in the middle of the trail in total darkness with a 60# ruck on your back” didn’t get nearly enough attention because we were all so tired, but in hindsight it is hilarious to me. – Tom
And the hallucinations were real! I thought it was sleep deprivation but I’d only been up about 20 hours by this time but your mind will play funny tricks on you when it’s just the darkness of the forest and moonlight. I kept seeing random people beside me walking through trees off the trail but nobody was there (obviously). It was only later that I found out everyone else was having a similar experience.
Some of my chat highlights:
– I ended up chatting with Chris (I asked his name and he said “we met at Bragg. We’re FB friends dude.” ‘Oh.’ We spent a lot of time chatting – why we got started, why we keep coming back, favorite classes, favorite memories. he had Jason J as his first Cadre lmfao. “I thought I was trained”
– literally anyone who has had Jason J had some stories about him. Across the board, they were all fantastic stories of suffering, misery, regret, and life getting way more real than anyone wanted. I want to say that’s a weird way of bonding with strangers but everyone had a knowing look of “he fucking sucked but was cool, sorta”
– Nikki said some girl passed out at burpee 175 (walking pneumonia) during a Jason J event
– I overheard people talking about HTL behind me and someone quoted me about absolutely showing up after Heavy because if you don’t, then you gotta restart everything and do another Heavy again (this is not a bad idea as Heavy is #1 unbeatable). Always fun to come across that.
We eventually finish rucking our asses off in the dark and head back to the start point where Dan tells us to change our socks if we have ’em. I did have ’em but fuck that I’m sitting on my ass and enjoying this cold ass Clif Bar. The twelve miler is a team event and the team took off at a blistering pace aka just walking.
So the 12 mile ruck march.
– I’ve accepted my fate and now I don’t even get mad at myself anymore. I’m just embracing my dumb decisions (but more awesome than dumb)
– I took the time to focus on my labored breathing and contemplate rolling my ankle intentionally to end it all (no courage to actually do it)
– I was certain that we should totes go this or that way way (wrong… twice)
– People are being chatty with me and I’m not being responsive because I’m focusing on breathing and walking/running without dying
Ever been walking alone in the woods? Nearly alone, anyway. I kept seeing bobbing lamps off in the distance and thought they were close but nope.
Eventually we are so far behind that Roony had to wait up for us to give us directions. Then we got lost again like 10 minutes later at a crossroads.
We get directions and link up with Roony and then we ruck away. Eventually he says “let’s step it out some” and my friends leave me. Step it out? Bitch…what do you think I’ve been doing?
We eventually link up with the rest of the class as they were forced to wait for a few of us stragglers with an angry, angry Cadre Dan.
I was going through the woods in my buddy team and I heard Cadre Dan yelling. First of all WTF was he doing here (Roony was with us)? Second of all I knew nothing good was going to happen.I’m kinda glad you were so impossibly far behind. Gave him a chance to cool down and start cracking jokes.
Once we all formed back up, we had a short but brisk ruck march back to the start point. Here I can’t even keep up ’cause I’m smoked and have to give up my ruck like a scrub. We eventually head back to the lake by the start point and are tasked with walking into the water. Everyone is a bit nervous because it’s cold as hell but Dan heads to his ruck, pulls out his cadre patches, and tells a story about the history. The standard? 3 Heavies with him. He then asks those of us who earned his patch to step forward. Dunno if I earned it. I’ll have to try again.
“Name your Heavies and tell me which one was your favorite.” – Dan
“Nashville 100. Bragg 2017. This one.” – Chris
“Normandy 2016. Bragg 2017. This one.” – dude who I traded patches with to get the 017
“Normandy 2016. Bragg 2017. This one.” – Scott
“Normandy 2015, which was way cooler than Normandy 2016. Bragg Heavy. And this one…which is not my favorite one.” – Bee
Dunno why but I can’t help making comments like that. Then we walked up to Dan where he patched us with his cadre patch. When it was my turn to get patched, I asked if we were getting our rucks wet cause I had a flight to catch (good call Nikki) but he told me to shut up and get back in line. Then he asked for those who have done over 5 Heavies to step forward and get out of the water where he beered us. Then 3+, 2+, first Heavy and believe it or not, there were four first timers to GORUCK overall.
So at endex, you always take a class picture after the cadre say some words to the class. Everyone was laughing and enjoying their beers and having a good time but Tom was talking a bit loudly while Dan was waiting for him to finish so he could say one more thing. Tom realizes everyone is looking at him and tells Dan, “you’re on my time now!”
I hadn’t laughed that hard the whole weekend. Thanks, Tom!
A nice compliment I received by someone over the weekend, “you’ve got a good coconut dude. Not a lot of people can suffer and still crack jokes.”
Now that I’m retired from Heavy I’m just going to suffer and not crack jokes!