Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Are you sure this is the right trail?

Looks like fate has decided for me on tonight's blog: it is time to write about scouts.  Well, at least to write about tonight's scouting experience (the other scout stories will just have to be backfill when I'm out of ideas ... not likely to happen any time soon so don't hold your breath).

View of Garden Of The Gods from the Visitor's Center
Supposedly beginning at 6:00pm sharp (which for you non-Mormon readers actually means around 6:10pm or so) we were to leave from the Visitor Center parking lot in Garden of the Gods (GOTG); "we" being at least two leaders and a handful of 11 year-old scouts.  The plan was to hike the "green trail" which eventually connects with two different "red trails" that form a loop around GOTG that results in a little over a five-mile hike (you can look up the names yourself if you are that concerned about the details).  I think it was the Z-Team who was quoted with the phrase "I hate it when a plan doesn't come together."  (Bonus points if you know the actual reference from 80's pop culture).

There were, in fact, three adults (if you count my two peers) and 8 children (apparently this was a bring whoever wants to walk for hours kind of event).  Only three of the boys are 11 year-old scouts but whatever.  The boys were actually pretty good.  I am very proud of them!  The adults ... probably should have let the boys lead us using maps, compasses, or even listen to the one boy who suggested we say a prayer after the third time we got lost.  As this was my very first activity with these scouts (if you don't count the one meeting I had with two boys when no other leaders showed up and there was nothing planned for us to do), I felt it was not my place to step in and take charge ...

I should have chanced it.

The outermost "road" is
roughly what we traversed
Our "three-hour tour" (more Bonus Points up for grabs) actually ended up taking almost three hours ... but it should have been completed LONG before that.  We hiked probably over 8 miles (the boys didn't really complain too much but that might have been out of fear we'd let the wolves eat them).  The last 3 of these were back-tracking to find the trail we were supposed to take (which I knew and actually tried to point out but was ignored by two, apparently more knowledgeable, adults) ... in almost complete darkness.  Using cell phones as flashlights and talking loudly (so no one could get lost) we finally made it back to our cars.  Those who had thought to bring water had long before exhausted their reserviors.  The poor boys drug themselves to the cars and literally fell into their seats.  I felt terrible for them because it was our fault as leaders for not knowing where we were taking them.  But it made me smile a little bit to see the two other "adults" sweating profusely (is that bad? yeah, probably) because this was clearly the most exercise they had done in years ... or at least the most all at once.

On the plus side ... I wasn't even winded from the trip.  True, we took some breaks, but for the most part we walked at a relatively quick pace for nearly 2.5 hours.  So I think I can tackle the Manitou Incline within the next few weeks (if my nephew Alex is up for it) and I look forward to running on relatively flat terrain with my sister Jaimee in preparation for a 5K in October (to support fallen officers).  So it wasn't a total loss.  :)

In case you have earned no Bonus Points in this Blog,
here are some pretty big hints!


  1. I'm glad that you found your way out... The kids were begining to get a little worried.

  2. We need to get out running!! I ran last night... awesome! Give me a call sometime and we'll go!! Glad you're safe!

  3. Having recently been to the Garden of the Gods I can imagine what it must have been like for you and the others! But that's awesome that you were more than up for this experience! Loved the references to "The A-Team" and "Gilligan's Island"!

  4. Looks like all Bonus Points go to Jeremy! Way to go bro!