Carson City SAR headed West from the City proper last weekend to perform our August practical training in the cooler temps at Lake Tahoe level. If you are new to the area or otherwise unaware, Carson City does hold about 12 square miles of “The Lake” and a short stretch of beach beginning at the South near Skunk Harbor and ending just North of Chimney Beach.
The general idea for this event was an area familiarization of both Skunk Harbor and neighboring Prey Meadow with other tasking including; converting GPS formats, navigating to a GPS point, GPS general information, shooting compass bearings, a history of searches in this area, and drone work (we always try to garner as much from our training time as possible).
Time constraints of the lead trainer prevented the placement of our own GPS targets. As a terrific fallback we went to Geocaching.com to select targets. Although there are over 2,600 geocaches in Carson City, geocache availability in this area is spotty but adequate and does work well for the “navigating to” portion of the training. If you are not familiar with the…sport?…hobby?…pastime?, go to Geocaching.com for more information on “…the world’s largest treasure hunt.”
As stated, Carson City SAR does have a surprising history of search missions in this area. It gets DARK in this area at night combined with difficult terrain, limited trails, thick Manzanita growths, and boulders. It can be fairly easy to lose one’s sense of direction. Cellular phone coverage throughout this portion of Carson City is hit and miss. If cell service is available, a 911 call could go to Douglas County, Carson City, or Washoe County depending on where one is standing when the call is made. Because of the “hit and miss” cell coverage, cell phones burn through the battery charge quickly as the phone continues to search for or bounce from one cell tower to another. Carson City Dispatch has received numerous calls in which the party is not only lost but reports that their cell phone is just about dead. Put your phone in “Airplane Mode” as you leave your vehicle to conserve the battery for when you really need it. Obtaining a Phase II 911 GPS location on the Lost Party’s phone is also often an issue due to terrain, tree cover, etc. Handheld GPS units and GAIA are not immune as a couple of our Team witnessed first hand. For all these reasons and more, if lost, STAY PUT.
Besides being a beautiful place to get away from the City, there is a significant amount of Nevada history in Skunk Harbor and Prey Meadow with its dirt track known as Slaughterhouse Canyon Road. The geocache titled “Trestle” provides interesting information and links to additional information. You can also visit our “Skunk Harbor Snowshoe” post from February 2017 for a couple additional photos and a short video. Just scroll down on the Home Page.
Unfortunately the Team was not able to complete any drone work on this event but was able to check off a number of other tasks with the added benefit of having all of our newest recruits in attendance. For our editor’s benefit the Team needs to work on taking more photos. Overall, once again, a great day!
Check out the sites below to learn more about visiting Lake Tahoe from Carson City and about Skunk Harbor.
visitcarsoncity.com; Lake Tahoe
visitlaketahoe.com; Skunk Harbor