For the last two years I've been working on a little side-hustle. A side-hustle that took up more than forty hours a month, pulled me away from a ton of family events, pushed me physically, and didn't pay a cent. I'm talking about Mountain Rescue, of course. And earlier this year I found out the hard way that I wasn't quite ready to join the group.
Joining the group as a Rescue Technician involves at least one year of training (my group had eighteen months, just the way the schedule worked out) that culminates in a three-day test called Rescue Trials. The year of training meant that one weekend every month was dedicated to technical rope, swiftwater, underground, or alpine training, plus additional classroom and side practice to hone our skills. Also, for much of this time, I could help with actual missions, and I got to help pull a guy out of a mine, perform area searches, and do some light medical assistance. It was hard and rewarding and, when the test rolled around in July, I felt ready.
The test didn't go well. Some things happened in July and our proctors made the decision to postpone the final round until October, and then we failed in October. I could easily blame it on some health-related issues or lack of knowledge, but in the end I can't disagree with their assessment. I, and the rest of my group, was not ready to be Rescue Technicians, and it showed in our performance.
We were graciously given the option to join the next class, so now I'm back in the recruit phase, helping where I can with a (very motivated) fresh group of candidates. There are a lot of things that sting about this development. I've given up a lot over the course of 2019 in order to train and prepare to be a part of the team - my personal coding, solo adventuring, and blogging have all been placed second-tier to Mountain Rescue - and there's no clear end in sight. Also, the family has been just as much a part of this process, and redoing the recruit process puts plenty of additional strain on them. However, we started this endeavor as part of a larger project; the goal isn't to be a Rescue Technician, but to contribute to CAMRA over the next decade, and an extra year as a recruit is small potatoes compared to that.
Where does this leave things? I guess that means I'll be continuing the side-hustle, with little to no free time to pursue my older hobbies. Maybe this is a natural evolution for my family. Everyone likes to have a side project, and maybe my path is veering away from solo ventures into volunteering as part of a team, which is definitely healthier in the long term. There are many ways that we can answer the mountain's call, and for now, Mountain Rescue is mine.