Monday, March 9, 2009

How we spent our President’s Day Weekend!!!

Over the President’s Day Weekend, Jeff and I went to visit my parents up in Tahoe. We decided to take a leisurely drive down to Mono Lake with my mom. I hadn’t been there since I was little, and Jeff had never been. It was a beautiful drive down and the scenery was spectacular…
…these are right out of Bridgeport and are the backside of Yosemite. To give a small sense of scale, Bridgeport sits at an elevation on 6772 ft., so those mountains are pretty high. Our destination, Mono Lake, was just as I had remembered…very flat with the tufas sticking out of the water.

We took a lunch break, had a nice leisurely walk down to the water’s edge, then headed back home. On the way home, just outside of Walker, we came across this memorial.

It is to commemorate a fire plane accident that happened in 2002, killing all on board and setting the town of Walker on fire. It was a very humbling place…seeing the trinkets that people have left over time and seeing the rows of tee-shirts that other firefighters have left. We saw shirts as far away as New York and Alaska. We took one side trip…up the road to Sonora Pass (I think) and saw the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center…the following is a blurb from their website about what they do…
“The Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center (MCMWTC) is one of the Corps most remote and isolated post. The center was established in 1951 as a Cold Weather Battalion with a mission of providing cold weather training for replacement personnel bound for Korea. After the Korea conflict the name was changed to the Marine Corps Cold Weather Training Center. As a result of its expanded role it was renamed the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center in 1963. MCMWTC operated on a full time basis until 1967 when it was placed in a caretaker status as a result of the Vietnam War. The training center was reactivated to a full-time command on May 19th 1976.

The center occupies 46,000 acres of Toiyabe National Forrest under management of the U.S. Forrest Service. A letter of agreement between the Forrest Service and the Marine Corps permits the use of the area to train Marines in mountain and cold weather operations.

The center is cited at 6,762 feet, with elevations in the training areas ranging to just under 12,000 feet. During the winter season (October - April) snow accumulation can rear 6 to 8 feet. Further, severe storms can deposit as much as four feet in a 12 hour period. Annual temperatures range from -20 degrees to +90 degrees Fahrenheit.

The MCMWTC conducts formal schools for individuals and battalion training in summer and winter mountain operations. The training emphasis on enhancing overall combat capability.

Marines at the center are also involved in testing cold weather equipment and clothing, and developing doctrine and concepts to enhance our Corp’s ability to fight and win in mountain and cold weather environments.”
(My parents have gone jeeping up in those mountains and have come across the troops in full gear, with tents, rifles and anything else they needed.)

All in all…we had a great little trip and I highly recommend it as a day trip to anyone wanting to get away.
-Kim N.


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