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Search and Rescue Literary Event

February 6 @ 12:00 pm - 3:00 pm

This year (and beyond) GARNA is focusing its efforts on making sure that those who enjoy recreating outdoors and on our public lands enjoy doing so responsibly! Join Chaffee County Search and Rescue (SAR), Colorado Outside-Wilderness Medical Associates (WMA), and GARNA to welcome author and dog handler, Sue Purvis, for lunch at the Trailhead/Simple Eatery.  Purvis will recount her experiences in Search and Rescue followed a book signing for her debut memoir, GO FIND: MY Journey to Find the Lost–And Myself. The program will begin with a PowerPoint presentation and slideshow by Purvis, recounting her trials and adventures training and volunteering for Search And Rescue.  Participants are welcome to treat themselves lunch at the Simple Eatery during Purvis’ presentation and book-signing.

Afterwards, Darren Stokes from Colorado Outside and Wilderness Medical Associates International, and Rebecca Hind from Chaffee County Search And Rescue, will introduce SAR, their mission, local volunteer efforts and present information on how to be prepared when recreating in the outdoors.  Hind and Stokes will be available to answer questions about SAR and inform participants about how to get involved and renew or purchase an SAR card.  

The event will take place on Wednesday, February 6 from 12 pm to 3 pm at The Trailhead & Simple Eatery in Buena Vista.  Free to the public and sponsored by GARNA, SAR and CO-WMA the program will inform our community about SAR volunteer efforts, the importance of purchasing a SAR card, and creating a culture of responsible and safe recreation in our backcountry.  

Read on for more information on GO FIND and author, Susan Purvis:

Synopsis of “GO FIND– My Journey to Find the Lost and Myself” by Susan Purvis:

Accompanied by her rebellious black Lab, Tasha, maverick Susan Purvis navigates her way through both deep snow and challenging relationships to find passion and  purpose as she and Tasha learn to save lives in the Colorado mountains.  Somewhere between hunting for gold in Latin America as a geologist and marriage to a new husband, 33-year-old Susan Purvis loses her way.  Susan comes to believe that a puppy and working on ski patrol at the last great ski town in Colorado will improve her life. When she learns about avalanches that bury people without warning, she challenges herself: “What if I teach a dog to save lives?” This quest propels her to train the best possible search dog, vowing to never leave anyone behind.

With no clue how to care for a houseplant, let alone a dog, she chooses five-week-old Labrador retriever, Tasha. With the face of a baby bear and the temperament of an NFL linebacker, Tasha constantly tests Susan’s determination to transform her into a rescue dog. Susan and Tasha jockey for alpha position as they pursue certification in avalanche, water, and wilderness recovery. Susan eventually learns to truly communicate with Tasha by seeing the world through her dog’s nose.

As the first female team in a male-dominated search and rescue community, they face resistance at every turn. They won’t get paid even a bag of kibble for their efforts, yet they launch dozens of missions to rescue the missing or recover the remains of victims of nature and crime.  Training with Tasha in the field to find, recover and rescue the lost became Susan’s passion. But it was also her circumstance—she was in many ways as lost as anyone she ever pulled out of an avalanche or found huddled in the woods. “Lostness” doesn’t only apply to losing the trail. People can get lost in a relationship, a business or a life. Susan was convinced that only happened to other people until Tasha and a life in the mountains taught her otherwise.

About Susan Purvis:

Susan Purvis is a Lead Instructor with Wilderness Medical Associates and the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE). She is a professional member of the American Avalanche Association (AAA), the Explorers Club, and a Wilderness Medical Society member.

Susan’s love for adventure and medicine has taken her to the hottest, coldest, and highest places on earth: Ethiopia, Antarctica, and Nepal. As a wilderness medicine expert and extraordinary speaker, Susan has worked on film sets for National Geographic Channel, truTV, appeared on the science documentary, The Hottest Place on Earth, aired on the BBC and Discovery. She’s been featured or quoted in the Wall Street Journal, Smithsonian, on CNN, television, numerous magazines, and newspaper articles.

Since 1998, Susan has owned and operated Crested Butte Outdoors International, based in Whitefish, Montana (www.cboutdoors.com). Her mission is to teach students how to think critically in unconventional settings. Her 2019 teaching schedule is live.

An explorer by passion, Susan combines wilderness medicine, desert survival, exploration geology, and K-9 search and rescue to land jobs on all seven continents. She teaches high altitude medicine for the local Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Everest Guides. Susan has served as a medic at a remote field camp and ice breaker in Antarctica, explored for gold in the Dominican Republic and produced a documentary in the Amazon jungle. Susan also spent a decade working at an urgent care ski clinic in Crested Butte where she also worked as a professional ski patroller, guide, K-9 avalanche expert and SAR member. Susan was named a brand Ambassador for Marmot and received Congressional Recognition for her role in avalanche search and rescue.

When Susan is not teaching you can find her boating on the cold, clear rivers in northern Montana or in search of the last snow powder stash. Go Find is her first book.


February 6
12:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Event Categories:


The Trailhead/ Simple Eatery
402 E. Main St.
Buena Vista, CO 81211 United States


Chaffee County Search and Rescue
Colorado Outside
Wilderness Medical Associates International

Many GARNA programs require a liability release form be filled out each calendar year.

Your registration is secured upon receipt of payment. If you prefer not to register online (recommended), you may mail a check, made out to “GARNA” to the address below. Please include a note with the program you are registering for.

PO Box 1522
Salida CO 81201

Cancellation policy:

If we are notified of your need to cancel within 24 hours of program date, your program fee will be refunded except for a $3.00 administrative fee. If minimum enrollment has not been met by program date, programs will be cancelled 2 days prior to the date and we will refund the full amount.