|Posted by Ivarr Bergmann on May 27, 2020 at 11:15 AM|
Yesterday we were able to field all three members of the training group together. While i have had assessments and drills with both of the others individually over multiple trips, scheduling and civilized life had separated our paths from group training, however this seems to be stabilizing and schedules are coupling so I suspect for the most part you'll see us together over the coming months. The only time we were all three together was a group meeting we had a couple of weeks ago. The physical objective of this final Scout/Drill was to explore the outskirts of the base and head north to the lake, but over top that it was also to get a feel for one another and see how we work together as a group. I mentioned to them at the beginning I don't want to be anyones leader, commander or anything else in that sort of way- I stated to the boys at our meeting that "we're all adults here and the mission/ vision of what this is all about is clearly obvious on my website and other garbage that I post". Refreshingly we all agreed on this. Whats more is we ALL WANT TO BE HERE FOR THE SAME REASON. It was abundantly clear that we're all on the same page starting from the smallest details like the simplicity of field rations to the over-all objective of putting together a group "Spiderweb Strategy" on a group level.
We hike in about a mile before putting on face-paint. Once our CAMCON was strait and in order we immediately stepped off to the west and turning north deciding to Hand-Rail the main access road. Huginn took point w/o being asked- I like that shit ! I took up the rear position with Bjorn in the center. I was most impressed with Huginns memory and feel of the land with just one prior visit to this place with me a few weeks back. He had no map and never (that I saw) looked at his compass. I could tell he was simply feeling the terrain. I never really worried he was going to get us lost. It was evident his experience was in the game and even as he went I would anticipate direction in my head that were the correct routes and as a matter of someone that knew what the fuk he was doing my anticipation was matched by his actions.
I will say Bjorn is an excellent middle man. Just as competent as Huginn was at the lead. There was no shortage of guys looking back at one another to be sure we were all still there...
I will say I QUITE enjoyed just hanging at the back. I quite enjoyed not being a one man team with all the absolute burdens and responsibilities being on me, and whats more Is I thoroughly enjoyed not having to hull 3-4 days worth of kit that is my usual compliment when out there alone. I even sported a simple light weight 20 round mag in my M4 (green tip ammo) Picking up the rear of the line was a very welcome relief that I had not fully anticipated. It was amazing having the weight of being alone off my shoulder for a day, and it was equaled later by the amount we would accomplish on this scout.......
We must not forget about our lead scouts. The two dogs constantly stayed in the lead no matter who was in the lead position guiding the group, only occasionally breaking away to check on the rest of us but always returning to the lead.. It seems nothing gets done with out dogs. The Olaf and Mishka were the stars of the show in terms of clearing the way with their noses and bells to warn predators and moose we were there. Once again it was quite a pleasure to see Bjorns dog grow and come into his own as a wilderness dog. The Olaf and him make great companions.. These two are the best way to keep the group safe as we train.
As Huginn guided the group I felt 100% confident in his lead. As we went I felt like we should be getting close to something that was related to the base and once again his instinct was delivering. As we went I was expecting to see an old fence post, old Government trespassing sign or something old. The forest was a healthy mix of openness, swamp, shin deep marshy filth and tick vegetation. With that being said Im of the habit of not exactly taking the same path as the leads in front of me to save energy and to spread out our sphere of relative control in the event of OPFOR issues, plus staggering my path might put put me at an advantage if aggressors from the front if they cannot anticipate where the tail end guy is -ANYHOW... doing this payed off as I spotted something the group would have otherwise passed right by.. On one piece of ground I circles around into a lower areas in stead of following the groups direct path.. Sure enough I spotted a concrete formation that I thought was a bunker. This would have been amazing as the chances were it laid undiscovered by others over the years. Sadly upon further inspection it was merely the sewer drain for the Admin area of the base and it was super closed off with re-enforced concrete. This told us we were getting very close. However a sew drain means access points at some point, someplace, so we changed direction and followed the obvious route that would lead us to the immediate perimeter of the base. Bjorn then took the leade from there up a while. (Again its was very fluid- Like Huginn Bjorn simply just stepped up)
With Bjorn in lead we crept close to the edge of the forest that meets the base perimeter.. It was evident we were very very close and Huginn was right on the money. Not just by the sight from the thinning of the trees and the abundant of light coming in low down on the trees, but the radiant head bouncing off the low growing vegetation that shot heat at us like Greek fuking Fire- IT WAS HOT..You knew you were close to a clearing simply by the temperature shooting up to what felt like 10 degrees hotter. Soon low and behold Huggin original direction combined with this alternate route Bjorn was leading had put us right where we needed to be but he also delivered to us the surprise that was finding this old, and totally overgrown sewer cover with access...We wont get into the specifics but I think the picture speaks enough about it..
From this point on Bjorn would take lead for the remainder of this portion of the creep until we would would eventually get to the lake. It was abundantly evident by now we were forming a tempo/rhythm of non-verbal and communications that was becoming much easier as we went. I appreciate that Huginn would look back to be sure I was still there and safe and that no raping from bear was in the happening..We didn't use traditional military hand signals and for that i was sorta grateful because it meant we were communicating on a level removed away from the mechanics of military training- This was something all our own.. We just used looks and mocking gestures combined with simple commonsense ,low report, mimicking actions that usually did the trick. At one point Bjorn came up to an old satellite dish. I could tell what it was but I wasn't 100% so I made a stupid child like radar dish tracking imitation with my hand and he immediately understood what I was asking and confirmed it. When we rallied up for a pause I asked them about what I was seeing in terms of the group getting a tempo and it was unanimous by all we were indeed adapting to each other very well. And this is what we all want for a group-and what I always envisioned in a REAL functioning group. Adults that get to know one another and are mature enough to stick to the script. Though we are just 6 months in to this, I feel slow is steady and the steady pace will grown and improve.
After finding and digging out the undiscovered man-hole, it was marked on the maps and GPSs and we continued under the hot afternoon sun. We followed the outer perimeter of the base for a short piece then broke off into the deep forest as to make a huge circle to reach our main objective. Sweat was rolling down my face with no reprieve from endless spiderwebs and face-paint conspiring to make my face itch in constant teasing. The forest was heating up relentlessly. Bjorn continued in the lead- We later rallied up and he looked over his admin shit consoling with the rest of us as to our next action item and how to go with it. We were on the way to the lake. Once settled and we all knew what was next, we then kept going about our way remaining in Creep Mode, silently moving through the forest. Again cutting through soaked marshes, thick Alder and Devils Club. This will only get harder as the green season hasn't fully exploded yet- GOOD TIMES!
We eventually reached the lake. The remainder of that portion of the trek was uneventful but mentally and physically exhausting. Even the dogs were ready to have a long well earned break. The plan was to rest there, have lunch and assess that lake and over all TA: MOSCOW for future use. It was quickly decided by all that this TA is FAR superior to TA: Rhodesia and that this TA will be the TA we use for the 3 day drill coming in a few weeks. Whats more is it will also be used for improvised raft drills, Rucksack Raft Drills and a rucksack float drill, as well as fishing and improvised survival drills this green season. This was my 4th trip to this TA in the last month so I was all for this being the exclusive use TA, and all agreed with much less time here. This area was MUCH less trafficked and used compared to TA: Rhodesia and this area will be the main TA from here on out. And whats more is it has Urban and the wilderness combination we simply will not find anywhere else... It was unanimous..
I needed water. I had plenty in my backpack but I didn't want to use it, but rather planned on taking it from the lake. The lake water was nice and chunky as there was only so much reach in my arm to avoid the muck and slime at the waters edge. I did have my filter bag in my LBE and It was put to use. I used chemicals to kill the water in a metal Austrian canteen and then I sent it to the water bag to remove the muck and slime. I was having dehydrated Raspberry Crumble for lunch. It ended up tasting like Raspberry Iodine in the end but it was still a welcome feast to a hungry belly. The Olaf helped me finish it off.. It was a nice pause by the lake. It rained a few time and sunned a few times, all in the matter of the short time we were there. I have 0 tolerance to wet and cold so it wasn't long before my sweaty clothes started to cool me down. I was just on the cusp of being uncomfortable but the view and company of my friends was enough to keep it away. The time was spend jaw jacking, talking about kit and life, with healthy amounts of discussion on how to get the best from this training area. I re-inforced them Id rather spend the time driving here once or twice a month then going someplace closer once a week and getting much less from it. Its simply worth it to me. I think we all came away from the discussion with that adult like way of making a mature decision.. We also had a visit by an otter but that will be in the v ideo soon...
After we a long break we once again assed up and struck off into the wilds once again.. I warmed up quickly and soon the shivers from remaining static vanished. I was soon back to sweating and breathing in the warm afternoon air. It had been a very long day at this point and it was reaching late afternoon. I saw some tired in everyone, especially the dogs.
As we left the area, and some time up away from the lakes, we returned to and just skirted the Missile base just ever so slightly on the perimeter. However this was enough to remind us that if we are there on foot, others can get there too. I was in the rear. Suffice to say I did not follow the others in a line as I mentioned before. (As they read this I don't even know if they knew this). From what I remembered and to my perception (I could be wrong as to where they were- It was a ways up) they were on an old path and I took a path that was in the brush .. Just as all 5 of us had come around and we were all heading in a direction that would take us to the forest to the north, out of no where came the low hum of an ATV. I saw the reflection of the chrome around his front light, just to my right, through the trees as he passed one of the Launch Bunkers and I yelled "Contact" and dumped off into the brush. If i had have been on the road/path directly in line with the others were on I would have been made. They were far enough ahead that they had plenty of time to take cover and with the turn he made there was a smaller chance the ATV would have seen them but surely he'd have seen me If i had have been walking in rear of the single file directly behind them. Its amazing how fast and quiet his ATV was... The dogs in the lead seemed to follow Bjorn and Huginns lead. I did yell for The Olaf and Bjorn had gotten Mishka. I think The Olaf went to Huginn first then me..He did eventually come to me in a rapid fashion like he knew what was happening, and I laid on top of him. Having been shot at a few times here in Alaska I promptly dumped The Olafs bell harness- Its still sitting there.. As the threat passed and i went to find the others it was evident how effective their CAMCON was. We eventually regrouped and sat it out back in the forest- We could still hear then but there was no way they could see up. This was a SMASHING example of NPC-OPFOR (None-Playing Character- Opposing Force).....
We continued deeper into the forest heading north this time. We were well away from the base at this point . We found an old dirt road that was on Bjorn's Sat pics and followed it. Its just seemed to go on forever and later investigation on the net would show it did indeed just go into the beyond of the wilderness. Ive spoken of the "pull" in earlier Blog Posts. Bjorn felt it, as did I, but we all pressed on regardless. I had mentioned that the Army had cabins back there at one point. From WWII to the 70s for Officers to hunt and fish and this further fueled the "pull"... Bjorn was in the lead, I was middle man this time and Huginn was the tail man. I must admit I did not look back at him as often as I should have- This will be something I will work on. We eventually came to a place where the path dropped down into a marsh and we stopped. Plus we had Raven dive screeching us. I had never seen this behavior before but knew it either meant we were coming up to something they were eating, and that would donate a possible predator kill that may still have the predator on it, or they were nested there but most Ravens nest in the mnts. Just then we saw a nice semi dry pile of bear scat. Adding all these things up we decided to save this path for another day and head back to the Missile Base. I was hoping to find some old cabins and mark them on the GPS for future use. Maybe next time..
That was one tired Puppers!
End-X had been called. We simply followed the road back to the Missile Base and headed to one of the Rocket bunkers for a simple AAR/Peer Input type thing. We ended up staying there a VERY long time putting us in the field and Wilds for nearly 10 hours. We shot some vids and just hung out. We actually did "interview" type videos. This should be interesting once the video is done. Its a totally new thing for me to have such video, as it was new for them too. They did VERY well and even I was "interviewed". They go over their gear and their thoughts for Evasion Survival Alaska in regards to what I put out and what they found upon their start here- There response was amazing- So please watch once the vids goes up soon. . i think you all will enjoy it. When we realized how much time had passed and how late it was getting at that point we simply took the road back to the vehicles- Just then the sky opened up. It was raining HARD. The familiar roll and drip of the rain off the brim of my boonie cap was a welcome sight..
In closing I will say this group has a 90% of surviving. The coupling of attitudes and purpose is amazing to me. Its safe to say I trust them both..We spent the entire day scouting nearly 10 miles of terrain just tasking, and never once argued, there was no bickering masked as debating decisions, no "alpha" chest beating bravado, and no one trying to recapture their younger days as soldiers by coming off as this was a military unit. And there was no politics discussed nor was there any real moments of indecision..
Some Kit shots.. They discuss this in the next video..