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Scouting for gold in the cold

  • Written by Paul George
Klondike Derby
All Fired Up – younger Scouts take on Speed Fire Building – a challenge to see whose skillfully built fire can burn through twine strung above the flames the fastest.
Gold fever set in recently for over 150 cold-blooded local Boy Scouts at their annual wintertime outdoor adventure, the Klondike Derby.

The event, held at Ensign Ranch on the outskirts of Cle Elem, attracted winter hearty Scout troops from all over Scouting’s local Northlakes district that includes Woodinville, Bothell, Duvall, and Carnation.

The event has teams of 6 to 10 boys called a patrol, travel and compete at various gold rush themed activities to see which Scouts have what it takes to be crowned “Kings of the Klondike.”

Each patrol must build their own handcrafted dog sled — in this case powered by teams of teens, rather than teams of dogs.

At each station on the course, the Scouts are presented with a challenge, that they must tackle using teamwork, Scouting skills and outdoor knowhow.

Stations included the Snowblind Sled Obstacle Course, Team Snowshoes, Rope River Crossing, Speed Fire Building, Emergency Shelter Building, and the unique Bungee Run.

The run has the Scout harnessed to tree using a bungee cable, and has him run as far out from the tree as he can, before being yanked back and to the ground, thrown into submission by the powerful snap of the bungee cord — call it horizontal, bungee-induced gravity.

The competition’s finale is the heart-pounding all-out “Dash to Dawson” – a sled race where Scouts sprint in a stampede to pull their sleds across the 200 yard snowfield, vying to be the first to get crew and sled across the finish line.  The winning team this year used a rather ingenious bamboo constructed sled, which cut out on weight while not sacrificing strength.  Although much bamboo was not unlikely to have graced the actual Yukon of the 1890s, the unorthodox design paid off.

After the Dash, the points were totaled and an awards ceremony was held to recognize the most skilled Scout patrols, with awards for the top finishers at each station, and the naming of the winners of the overall competition.  The top finishing patrols for Scouting’s Northlakes Klondike 2013 were:

• 3rd place — the Muffin Tops of Troop 627, Bothell;

• 2nd place — the Holy Hedge-Sharks of Troop 909, Woodinville;

• 1st place —  repeating as champs and “Kings of the Klondike”  the Falcons of Troop 909, Woodinville.

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