It’s nearly pitch black and I’m standing there on the side of the road, snacking on Immodiums trying to be cool but if you know me, that’s not actually possible. I say “nearly pitch black” because you people like to wear your headlamps and turn around and blind everyone and kill their nightvision. Damn it take an astronomy class, you’ll learn about that real quick. I hear some people I know from a nearby group so I walk over and say hi to Dan from Puerto Rico best ico and some of my new teammates and Dave arms me with a pump action, paintball pistol. Everyone is standing around, talking about what is going to happen or what to expect, experiencing our usual pre-ruck jitters and I’m over here hoping I don’t have to fart so I’m not too nervous. Eventually we are told to head over to another area, outside of the parking lot and we form up. Queue more standing around, forming up into our squads and counting down the time until sunrise. Apparently the cadre were on a coffee run so that meant we got to stand around and get our gear sorted out.
Out of nowhere (ostensibly the parking lot), the cadre show up and start telling us we are bad people doing bad things in a bad place while using bad Russian accents. Kind of hard to take them seriously when you’re laughing at their terrible accents and whatnot but hey, low crawls. Sure thing. In pants and on a smooth deck? Not a big deal. Go backwards? Sure? They did insult us and call us names and make us low crawl over the deck toward the parking lot we just left (psst…hey it would have been faster if we never left the parking FYI). We’re all made to form up into two lines and start hiking up the road but that we have to put our hands into the belt of the person in front of us. Luckily for homeboy behind me I don’t have a belt on so he gets to put his hands down my backside and feel my silkies.
As we’re walking, Cadres Mikhail and not-Mikhail (Danny…ail?) make the rounds and start telling us we’re going to be hurting in a bad way and how we’re not going to enjoy our short futures. One of them talks to me and then tells the class I’m a Korean sympathizer and that I turned them all in. First of all, no. Second of all, I’m not Korean. I’m actually Chinese/Laotian best tian so…so I got promoted to being Korean. Turns out there’s another Asian in the group so we get jumped into the Korean Street Gang™ We eventually get to where our their Welcome Party would begin when the Cadre ask for their Korean Street Gang™ to come to the front. Kelli goes up, I go up and the Cadre keep yelling at someone in with a headband on “Get over here Street Fighter” and so I run up to him to get him to come by, maybe he’s hard of hearing…or maybe he’s not Asian. Have you met Jonathan Hurtado? I have…turns out he’s Columbian? I reckon you just gotta not be able to pass for a local I guess. No wonder he didn’t want to join the gang…he eventually saw The Light.
So the Welcome Party starts. Those who were singled out for extra good living got to come hang out with the KSG™ and they had to do headstands in the mud, more PT and then less PT and then more PT. ALL OF THIS WILL STOP IF YOU WILL US WHERE YOUR CAMP IS. WHERE ARE YOUR WEAPONS? WHERE IS THE CLOSEST MCDONALDS? (Seriously, some of us are hungry and want to know.) WHAT IS YOUR NEXT OBJECTIVE? Some of these people are tough to crack aka impossible so they send for more people to be interrogated. Flutter kicks, pushups, mud boarding, Roman chairs, dragging through the mud, more headstands. Nobody breaks. KSG™ gets cold so we ask for PT and we do about a minute of jumping jacks (10 seconds for me) and then we are all to form up. Chris Way is giving us a briefing when we come under attack and have to evac to the woods. This turns out to not be a smooth move because uh, oxygen. Or lack thereof.
Nobody cares 😨. More hiking, more bitching, more not-breathing and we get to a pond/lake called Dude Hole. Elevation 8700 ft. Oxygen content, not enough. https://www.google.com/maps/place/39%C2%B051’39.2%22N+105%C2%B024’47.7%22Wfirstname.lastname@example.org,-105.4154477,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x0!8m2!3d39.860893!4d-105.413259
We hop in the water where it’s cold everywhere (but not here) because we are still somehow children. At the top of Dude Hole there are some rocks called Dude Throne (elevation 9200 ft. Oxygen content, still not enough. Plenty of gasping for air though. They’ve got that in spades). So as one giant class we trudge across the water’s edge and up through the cliffs. I actually felt pretty good here. Last time I was at altitude for more than a couple of days I got altitude sickness and was the biggest bitch so I guess the only difference is…I had altitude sickness last time? We climb up and take this sweet picture – thanks Kimmie! Thanks Colorado for not having o2.
After we took our scary, on high picture we split up into three teams. One stays up top and learns to rappel, one other learns some sneak attack stuff I’m going to use on all of you and the other half learns how to get lost in the woods while carrying items that litrly keep you from getting lost in the woods aka Land Navigation. Then I got shot in the stomach with a paintball gun.
I don’t really want to talk about the rest of the event as it’ll give away too much but it was a really fun experience. Someone said we should do a Jedburgh but I’m just a hater so that’s not going to happen. Like many of my other GORUCK experiences, you get to meet people from all over the country and find out why they hate their free time, money and apparently, oxygen so much that they’d fly out to Denver in the middle of summer to do this. It’s fun.
As Jenks said, “two minutes of Heaven is better than….two minutes of not Heaven.”