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Van Kervelsvlei Hike

Hello scout families, Van Kervelsvlei, has got to be the Bermuda triangle of the garden route. Firstly on the map it is spelt Vankersvelsvlei, which is open to many tongue twisting derivatives, when actually, its real name is Van Kervelsvlei. And ust the very nature of the place has geologists in dispute about its e!istence and its relationship to the underground water systems in the area. "n first reconnaissance of the area, #ain and Badger took a wrong turn getting there. "n the hike day, Badger, $tag, %anda got stuck in sand & ' times, "tter on a motorbike took a wrong turn and a tumble, and (ichard Vokes took a wrong turn. $couts were dropped in patrols at different points in the area and had to hike appro! )*km in. +hey all got there, but like our organisers, every patrol at some point had to deal with some sort of disorientation.

,ow # know it might not look like it, but upfront we did a lot of preparation for this hike. #ncluding that one of the scout patrols had a hiking shovel. Hmmm.

"ur recent scout training focused on the scoutcraft mapping badge, and scout meetings were working on -patrol system.. "n the +$ side we prepared for every eventuality, with e/uipment, people, procedures, etc. and ust as well, because everyone got tested on this one 0 Hmmm.

+hese were patrol hikes, and basically a practice run for )st 1lass advancement badge. For this badge, the candidate needs to plan and e!ecute a 2 day patrol hike. And basically everyone gets a turn one day. Albatrosses were first drop3off along (heenendal road. Kingfishers were ne!t. +hese 2 patrols ended up together and got confused in the criss3cross tracks in the trees and ended up cutting out to the ,2. +hey lost a lot of time, but hey, no pressure, en oyed a late lunch at 4roothoek. %ressing on they arrived at Van Kervelsvlei well after their estimated arrival time, actually close to -give up and camp time., but with cell phone contact we knew where they were, and late arrival was good enough. Albatross patrol

Kingfishers patrol

$wifts and 5agles, same story, /uick e/uipment check, briefing, and drop3off along (uigtevlei road, $wifts took the southern entrance, 5agles dropped further up. +hese patrols had to work their way up in an easterly direction via trig beacon to Van Kervelsvlei. +hey too got confused by some of the tracks in the area, and sometimes one cannot see landmarks, even things like oceans, because ones vision is obscured by trees. And here we are talking tracks in plantations, not dense bush and bundu bashing, ust so many trees0 Both patrols lost precious time wandering, but also recovered, $6$7ed in good co3ords, and made a late arrival and still made daylight.

Swifts patrol

Eagles patrol

"n return, each patrol was thoroughly debriefed, and we /uickly learned where they had gone wrong. +he forest tracks were /uite tricky in places, and they didn7t always have the visibility to get obvious landmarks for confirmations that one needs when plodding along a map. $ome of the training didn7t work. +he navigators were not always thorough enough with the 8"11 system and their logbooks. "verall the scouts were e!tremely resilient after a long day7s hike, and spirits were high, despite the sore feet. $o day two, was a planned 9Km e!it. 5ach patrol got thorough briefing, they knew what had gone wrong and they all /uite confidently discussed their plan ahead. (outes were fairly similar, a contour along the top and then take one of the tracks dropping down to the gravel road on the ocean side towards the ,2, then follow the road into 4roothoek. $ounds simple enough, again not that straight forward. Arrival times were higher than e!pected, there were 2 disorientations, but all patrols were home before the cut3off time. By minutes ... shooeew 0 #n preparation for -Van Kervels., we investigated all the safety basics, hiking procedures, lost procedures, google etc. and co3ordinated it into a )st Knysna hiking )*), which we implemented, with the help of some e!tra special, behind the scenes people and e/uipment: %iet from %.4.Bison, use of your land and e!clusive use of the Van Kervels hut. (obyn ; #ain, your picnic spot, and your <!< ; its big full fuel tank. (ichard Vokes, your bakkie, not so big fuel tank, your work towards organising radio7s and the end event. +hanks for your generosity and time that you have contributed to scouts and these events. =e sincerely hoped that you en oyed it as much as we did. Also to the scouter team, ever present, ever willing. ,ever panicking 0 Ha ha "f course, plan as you might, there is always something to learn, and something to improve on. $o we will be -sharpening the saw.. "ur 8"11 system, did get used and was in some ways effective, but it was not bullet3proof. +hat will be upgraded to -8"1A+5. > 8og, "rientate, 1o3ordinates, Altitude, +ime, 5!plain. Along with a few other improvements. %arents please give us your feedback, good or bad, we can only improve our group if you let us know. =e7ve included our names, numbers and emails below, if you need to contact one of us privately. +o our navigators, ie, scouts testing for their mapping badge, and lining up for their )st class badge, # must commend you on the good work. +here was a lot of planning work done before the time, with routes being checked on maps and google earth. And like most of what we do, there was more done right, than wrong. And for the patrols that did at some point loose there way, since you knew where you were, but were ust in the wrong place, well technically you were disorientated, not lost. Big difference. And since getting lost is the best learning e!perience, you7ve done the hardest part of any navigation course. =ell done. Bank it. +o our patrol scouts, # must say we were very impressed at the punishment you guys took. Although these hikes were only )*kms in and 9kms out, because of tricky navigation and mistakes along the way, they turned out to be tougher than e!pected. +his was certainly one of those character building events, where you pushed yourselves beyond your own e!pectations. And # must say # was ama?ed at your resilience, good morale and dedication to patrol. #t is nice to see, and the makings of strong friendships and winning patrols. $o to the patrol members, not the navigators, we7d like to credit you with an additional 9 hiking kms, which you can use towards advancement badges and hiking badge @ re/uires 9*Kms A. $o that7s 2*Kms for you to bank 0 And then, en oy a nice break. =e7ll be putting hiking on hold for a while, with -B%3badge day3optional3 canoeing. coming up on the 22B2' Feb, and then a sailing camp CBD 6ar not to be missed. =ell done to all, thanks to all. +hat was /uite a weekend.