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2013.01 Survival CampOut

Wilderness Survival Campout Report

Joshua Martin (First Class Scout)

On Friday, January 25, we went to the Bovay Scout Ranch in Navasota, Texas.  Once we got there, we were blind-folded and taken by pairs to different places on the ranch.  On the way there, we heard coyotes howling nearby.  We each had to make a shelter for the night using only a knife, rope, and two tarps.  We strung a rope between two trees and put two tarps together to make an A-frame structure. We used another tarp for a ground cloth and one other as a blanket.  The night was long and cold (~ 58 F) and neither of us slept well.  About 3:00 in the morning, a storm came through and rained on us.  About 6:30 we took down our flimsy structure and tried to find the adult camp.  We quickly gained our bearing and returned to base camp.  We demonstrated some basic and advanced knots to earn our breakfast which, for our patrol, was cereal bars and homegrown oranges.  After breakfast, our patrols had a competition to see which one could be first to start a fire without matches to burn through a sisal rope eight inches about the ground. Our patrol used material from the inside of bark as tender and small twigs and bark as kindling.  Using a 10X magnifying glass, we focused the sunlight on the tender.  At first, we only got the tender to smoke a little because it was cloudy and windy. To our surprise, the tender spontaneously combusted after about an hour and started a small fire, but we did not notice soon enough to add more tender or kindling and the fire went out after about 10 seconds. About 30 minutes later, we got a small fire started and by adding more tender, blowing on it a little and shielding the fire from the wind.  After about 5 minutes, we were about to burn through the string to take first place in the competition. The other patrol was able to realize success after about another 30 minutes.

                We broke for lunch and had ham and lettuce pitas, without cheese and tomatoes that were supposed to be part of the lunch, but were not provided by an unnamed scout.  After lunch, Isaac taught us necessary information for the afternoon orienteering course.  We split up into our two patrols and each had a different course.  Unfortunately, each patrol lost one of it’s senior members to injuries.  John stepped in a hole and broke his right ankle.  I demonstrated proper first aid for an ankle injury.  While Manuel and Jarod tended to John’s ankle, David Gillman ran to get additional first aid supplies.  While in transit, David fell and broke his left collar bone.  Bobby found him in dire straits and he and Broseph returned him to the group. We stabilized his collar bone by placing his left hand on his right shoulder. We then placed his left arm in a sling and wrapped two binders around his torso.  However, with John and David’s injuries, they unfortunately died and were unable to help our patrols with the orienteering course. They turned into ghosts and had the power to take out others in the patrol during the exercise.

                The course consisted of ten points, each with a distance and azimuth from a starting point.  We used the Terrain Association method to map out the points of the course.  Then we started at the flagpole and went to various landmarks.  We had to collect two items on the course, which were worth points that we could use to buy back our gear.  The task was not easy.  We thought there would be items at each point, but they were not, just landmarks.  The first points were easy but then Jarod supposedly suffered heat stroke.  We put him in a cool spot under a tree and gave him water, but we didn’t have a phone to call 9-1-1, so he “died” amidst our best efforts.  The next few points were a little harder.  At our fifth point, which was at the gate of an old farmhouse, we found our first object; an “I’m Loving It” McDonald’s Frisbee.  When we got to the oil derrick, we had to estimate its height.  Bobby measured my height with the span of his fingers and then estimated the height of the derrick based on my height.  We guessed that the derrick was 11 me’s, which would have been about 56’.  Once we reached Point 8, we found our second object, a small purple and gold basketball.  I was so excited, I suffered a heart attack.  Unfortunately, Bobby was the only one who could have helped me, but he did not know CPR yet, and I died quickly.  Unfortunately, I also became a ghost and Bobby had to find the last two points on his own.  We finished the course in record time ahead of the other patrol.  Our reward ended up being getting all our gear back and a clear bead for “Above and Beyond” effort.  After dinner, we all sat around the campfire and made S’mores.  It was a long day so we were happy to be able to sleep in our tents that night instead of just under a tarp.

                Sunday morning was awesome.  The adults made us pancakes that we smothered in syrup.  I never knew pancakes could taste so good!  We packed up our gear, swabbed the toilets, and formed a police line to pick up any trash left in camp.  Before heading out, we circled up to do “Thorns and Roses” and David gave thanks for a good weekend and prayed for safety travelling home.