One of my friends is part of the volunteer Search and Rescue team in Marin that I had planned on joining this year. Because of my upcoming move, that won't be possible, but I did get to take part in one of their training sessions last night. Clara, Ted and I drove up near the west peak of Mt. Tamalpais, and then sat around freezing our respective asses off while waiting to get started. Clara and I considered murdering Ted for his gloves and beanie. We restrained the impulse, mostly because we were depending on him for teaching us how not to get lost in the mountains that night.
Once the whole team was gathered, we were split into groups of 6-8 and given a series of coordinates in the area. From there, we needed to plot the points on a topographical map, plot a course that wouldn't take us over any steep drop-offs or ravines, and then get to each point using a GPS and/or compass.
Other than the fact that we got to learn some cool Rambo shit, it was a full moon, and it was a rare opportunity to be up in the Marin highlands at night. When we weren't laughing about something immature, it was dead silent, and you could see for miles all around. Some of the coordinates took us on some off-season "trails," although we intersected with the main road a few times.
We managed to make it back to the command post without any injuries, casualties, or getting too far off course, and were greeted with hot chocolate and boxes of beef-flavored cup o' noodles. It was a good night. Got to do some night hiking, got to use my beloved head-lamp, got hot chocolate (!), and got to learn some new skills.