Sunday, August 15, 2010

The 39th Annual Battered Boot Night Hike According to Beaver

Featuring Bruce Hunter, Shannon deLange, Brandon Scott, Kelly Brand, Mitch Ekels, and Steven Avery. Special guest appearance by Doctor, not a real doctor, but a local South African to ensure our survival.

The hike held in Kimberly was explained to be simple and enjoying. Little were we aware that the hike would develop into a full on adventure. We spent the night walking through the dark over rocks, hills, grass, fences and spiky trees (with special attention to the word spiky – many people have scares to remember them by).

Our hike was developed through the creation of a map following the coordinates posted in our information booklet. From there we were required to visit each checkpoint within a certain period of time or penalties would be implied. Although the ability to navigate to each point within the required time was made difficult by the use of a twenty year old map. Despite the difficultly of getting from point to point, the individuals in our group made the journey truly amazing. Each person was lively, enthusiastic, willing and able to overcome any adversity which came our way.

Our journey started at 8:20PM on Sunday 8th with two other troops from our contingent participating in the night hike. The first checkpoint [Foxtrot] took our group approximately an hour and a half to locate three point four kilometers away from base camp [Alpha]. The terrain during this portion of our travels were mostly flat but included a great deal of spiky bushes. Once at the first checkpoint, we spent forty minutes waiting to leave for the second point [Charlie]. We must admit this waiting session was quite cold and dark since lights were deemed inappropriate while waiting. While traveling to the second checkpoint we were unable utilize the map provided when navigating the local area due to changes in both terrain and human property such as fences and roads. We looked for many different land marks to identify our position in order to properly set our course. Although we found out quite quickly that the road we were searching for was not so near nor was the fence actually still in the original location as described on our map. After a long period of time going in different directions to locate a local road we soon found it was no where near the location we began to expect it in, eventually it lead us towards the second checkpoint that so many found to be hidden or non-existent. We spent a short period of time taking a much needed break enjoying a cup of hot chocolate and a sweet treat of Smarties. One of the other patrols pasted by us heading towards the final checkpoint while we were relaxing. (“Sadly” they had missed a few other points along the way.)
Quickly after being given permission to leave the second checkpoint we were on our way towards the third checkpoint [Echo]. This checkpoint was within a kilometer's distance of our first checkpoint we originally visited. Our group was determined to quickly complete the last two checkpoints before settling down for a short sleep. The trek included as well traveling over the same terrain experienced in our previous journeys. After about two hours, we found ourselves near a small farm which we decided to be just a bit too far off course. Within thirty minutes we stumbled upon the third checkpoint, spending less than five or so minutes at before departing for our final checkpoint [Night]. The last of our journey could be described as one of the greatest, most painful, mind blowing and sleepless times of our entire experience. Words cannot describe what happened or how the individuals within our group reacted.
By Brandon Scott

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