GORUCK NAVIGATOR 004. White Mountains, NH

Somewhere in the wild, where the foliage becomes standard flooring…Where stars become night lights… Where what you bring in, and what surrounds you is absolutely all you need… Somewhere amongst this freedom, we can touch a sense of challenge and purpose from the origins of man. GORUCK Navigator 004. The White Mountains of New Hampshire. This is where myself and my team mates experienced the greatest outdoor adventure I have endured.

For those unfamiliar, GORUCK is a company that strives to bridge the gap between military and civilian worlds, by having Cadre (Active or past Special Operations Service members) lead “Classes” through physical and mental endurance challenges. The goal, Build better Americans. Navigator is a hands on 3 plus day course where we learn orienteering, basic wilderness EMT, hunting & gathering, water procurement and countless other means of backcountry survival. There is plenty of chow and beer to go around, but do not let that fool you into believing Navigator is not a difficult undertaking. To this date it was the most difficult event I have participated in, simply because it is a real life situation. Once into the wild, there is no “cab ride home” As a team we have to use the skills taught along with both physical and mental strength, to succeed. To survive.

Team… Identify your target, choose a course… Shoot an azimuth and step forward. Bushwhack 5 plus hours ascending 4,000 plus feet in elevation. Traverse across the Appalachian Trail as the sun sets and choose a course off trail, back to base camp. Descend, using only the map and compass… Keeping an arms distance from your team mates, headlamps illuminate a mere 6 foot radius around you… The pace crawls, follow contour lines along the ridge traveling 200 meters in one hour… Boulder hop down a creek bed from 3,300 feet to 1,700 feet with only the flow of water and starry night revealing the next foot fall… Wet feet, throbbing arches, physically drained bodies. 13 hours and 51 minutes after summiting, return to camp. After 18 plus hours negotiating the wild, drink a beer with breakfast and feel more alive then you ever will from 9-5 on any given day…

Always earned, as anything worth doing in life should be.

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