It all began with the scouting. Lets just say it could have been the elevation, or it could have been the glare, either way, things spiraled into chaos quickly. During a typical recon mission, at about 10:00 hours, our caravan was ambushed. We should have seen it coming. It was broad daylight, and we were experienced veterans with a few rookies. We just should have seen it coming.
Black covered the right side of the van like a curtain, and our van rocked like it was hit by a wave. Before we could take a breath, the world was spinning and the seatbelt was cutting into my left clavicle. Our caravan was flipped, and by something so colossal we could only see the paws. Massive paws, larger than tractor tires. Next came the growling, it was deafening, and we were already stunned from the trauma. I had to close my eyes and cover my ears from the sound. I felt liquid on my fingers, I don't know if it was from my nose or my ears, I didn't care. All I cared about was the sound that made my head feel like it was cracking open like a chestnut on Christmas.
I awoke in a haze, and my watch showed 10:13. I looked at the rest of my team. Christine, my running partner, was unconscious, and others were kneeling outside. Our team lifted the van upright, and we turned around to make it to the rendezvous point. By the time we were closing in on the tag off spot, Dr. Provost was turning the corner of the hill, and was 15 seconds from where we were supposed to be. I turned to Clark, and we knew what had to be done. He kicked the side door open, and in one swift movement, took control of the steering wheel. 10 seconds. I readied myself for takeoff, but wait! Where was Christine!? She was awake, albeit concussed, and ready to jump out of a van moving at 45 mph. 5 seconds. In one last effort we looked to each other and said, "just like we practiced; tuck and roll."
Christine & Josh (nicknames TBA)