Naracoorte Scouts tackle rookie hike

The 1st Naracoorte Scout Troop took part in the recent South Australian Branch "Rookie" Hike at Mount Crawford forest.

Naracoorte was represented by one team, a patrol named "Sinking Flamingoes".

They were led by patrol leader Ethan Finch, assistant patrol leader Brianna Boyington, Ashley Miles, Caleb Garrod, and Jacob Drew.

The patrol were anything but "sinking" in their abilities to smash out the 15km overnight hike. Their navigation, hike, cooking and teamwork skills were put to the test as they negotiated the terrain new to them, in the Mount Crawford Forest.

The five young Scouts were all participating in their first overnight hike event, and they all took on the challenge and completed all that was required of them in great spirits.

The weekend began with the help of program advisor for Scouts of the Limestone Coast, leader "Redgum" aka Gavin Scott, helping with transporting the troop to the site.

The team travelled to the site after their week of normal life activities which saw them already exhausted, but keen for adventure.

The trip took four hours of winding roads into the dark night. They arrived and set up the hiking tents in the dark. Fortunately there were plenty of great sites to choose from in the designated Scout camping area.

Fifteen patrols descended on the forest with more than 90 Scouts attending plus their leaders, from across the state.

After a great night's sleep the Scouts began their hiking weekend with the challenge of lighting a fire for toasting their breakfast.

The challenges came at them all day; plotting their course on the map using coordinates, using the repeater radio for all point check-ins, navigating the steep terrain of the forest area, trangia cooking on the track, rain, sickness, heavy packs, sore feet, long trails.

Saturday was a long day and the final checkpoint was a welcomed sight. They walked into camp tired, but triumphant as they had completed all the tasks.

As the stories were shared around the campfire pride was ignited in the team as they realised they had made it to every checkpoint without getting off course. They may have taken a long time to complete the course, but they did it with skill and camaraderie.

After a cold Saturday night sleep, the scouts were up bright and early to cook pancakes on their trangia stoves (a feat in itself!) and then off on the hike for the day.

The team were a little deflated at being the last to leave for the day from the campsite.

However, as each checkpoint was reached skilfully, and with a steady pace, the Sinking Flamingoes gained confidence as they began overtaking other teams. Sinking Flamingoes didn't make any deviations from the track and stuck together as a team the whole way, the sun shone, spirits were high, no injuries happened and returning to base they found they were in 3rd place after leaving in 15th place.

The organisers at base were in disbelief! Sinking Flamingoes were awarded the "Best Hiker" award and rewarded with lollies, all the sweeter for the sense of accomplishment that comes from meeting a challenge head on with your mates and nailing it.

BRAVO Scouts - Erica "Puggle" Boyington, 1st Naracoorte Scout leader.