Klondike Derby and Winter Camping
January 28 – 29, 2011
Friday evening we met at the Elks lodge at 5:00 and loaded up the trucks and cars. We headed out and made it to the Walpole Sportsman’s Association around 6:00 pm. We had already heard reports that some troops were having a hard time getting to their sites because of the heavy snow so we knew we were in for some work. When we arrived several troops were moving their equipment as close to the trail as possible to minimize the distance to carry it. One nice thing to see at scouting events like this is how the different troops work together in times of need. At one point one of our trucks got stuck in some heavy snow. As the boys were working to dig it out some boys from another troop came to help and together they were able to get it out. Later that evening our boys got the opportunity to pay it forward. While unloading the trucks, one troop had a lot of gear and not enough hands to get it moved off their trailer efficiently. Since we were waiting to get our gear in, all the boys helped the other troop get their gear off of the trailer. Once they moved on we had all of our sleds on the ready and as soon as our truck pulled up we had it unloaded in a matter of minutes. We used the sleds to get all of our gear up to the site and just put it all on the side of the trail. Now it was time to turn that pristine snow covered area in the trees into a camp site.
Building the Campsite
The boys grabbed shovels and made a path into the site then created a circular fire pit. They extended the ring and made a circular seat all the way around so that there was plenty of space to sit and relax in the warmth. With the raised fireplace in the center this made for a great place to stay warm and to dry out.
While some of the boys started a fire, the rest of them began digging out areas for their tents. They did a great job setting up the tents without getting snow inside of them. Once the gear was away in the tents there was only one more project left to be done.
One problem with camping in below freezing temperatures is that all of our water would freeze if we left it out overnight so we needed a place to store it out of the weather. The boys flattened out on area and created a large pile of snow. After letting it set for about 30 minutes they started hollowing it out. This structure is called a Quinzee and worked perfectly as insulated storage for the water. When we went to get the water in the morning not a drop was frozen.
By the time we had the whole site together everyone was still very warm but ready for a break. We started some water boiling and all sat by the fire drinking hot chocolate and having some high energy snacks. One of the patrols brought Jiffy Pop popcorn which was a new experience for some of the scouts. It was fun to watch it pop and everyone enjoyed the popcorn. After a lot of talking and relaxing everyone headed to bed. The adults double checked that all of the scouts had all of the equipment to stay warm through the night and we were very pleased to see that they were all well prepared.
The Klondike Derby
Saturday we were up at the crack of dawn, and got a fire going. The boys then cooked a hot breakfast. One Patrol had eggs and sausages and the other had Egg and Bacon sandwiches on English Muffins. Once breakfast was cleaned up the boys assembled all of the provisions for their sleds and headed off to the Klondike Derby.
While they were out having fun at the events, a couple of the adults stayed behind to run the “crossing the creek” event. It was crowded all day and the snow made it a little more difficult than previous years but all of the scouts who came by had a lot of fun.
Around noon, the boys came back to the site for a relaxing lunch of hot soup around the fire. Then they headed out for the afternoon. At the end of the event we attended the award ceremony. The Klondike team tied for third place in the “tomahawk throw”. After the ceremony we packed away all of the tents and brought all of the equipment down to the truck via several trips with the Klondike sleds. Bringing the equipment back down the hill to the truck proved to be a lot easier than it was to bring it up.
Tearing it all down (literally)
Once we had policed the area there was only one last thing for the boys to do … test the strength of the Quinzee they had made. First they started by walking over the top of it in a single file line with the lightest going first. When that didn’t have any effect they went 2 by 2 and so on with no effect. Finally 5 of the largest boys stood on top of the Quinzee and one broke through. After that, pandemonium set in as the Quinzee was brought to the ground with smiles and laughter all the way.
After that, it was down to the cars and back to the Elks. The boys were unanimous in their feelings that it was a great weekend and they decided that next year they wanted to take a weekend to practice all of the events so that they would be ready to win more ribbons in the competition.