Klondike Derby

If you've never had any connection to Boy Scouts, you may not know what a Klondike Derby is. Even though I've heard of it for the past few years, I still didn't really know what it entailed. Well, after having spent all of Saturday in the mountains with lots of boys and numerous sleds, I get it.

The boys first have to build a sled for their patrol. It looks something like a dog sled. It's pretty cool (and oftentimes scary) watching these young men utilize power tools as they create their own sled. Most patrols seem to use a similar basic design. Although, as with any creative venture, there were definitely some original ideas out there. Some sleds were painted, some were named, a couple even had wheels underneath the skis. I'm hoping they had some means of rotating or retracting the wheels so they could take full advantage of the downhill snow action.

Once the sled is complete, next comes the task of choosing someone to ride on the sled with all the gear. Our guys had this one down - they picked the lightest kid in the patrol. The remainder of the patrol members get to play dog - they pull the sled with the gear and the chosen boy on it. There was some creativity in this portion too. Most used a big rope with loops tied into it for each boy to hold onto and pull. I did see a couple, though, where it was designed more like an ok yoke - ropes attached to a board. Instead of pulling from a loop, the boys would be behind the board and would push. Good thinking!

Of course, gear is necessary for this 4+ hour adventure. Each boy needed to have a day pack complete with water, first aid kit, a change of clothes (kept in a HUGE ziploc bag), snacks, compass, Scout handbook, kleenex, and anything else he felt was necessary. The patrol also brought along lunch, as it would be eaten somewhere out on the trail.

Most of the boys camped the entire weekend (not mine). We came up on Saturday morning bright and early. Less bright than early for my part. The boys had to have their sled loaded and ready to go by 9:00 a.m. for inspection. Then the event was off and running around 9:30 a.m.

They would go down/up a trail for a bit until they arrived at an activity. I'm not sure what the activities all consisted of, as hubby & I volunteered to help at the snowshoeing activity. That one was pretty cool, because some well-experienced guys from REI came out with 20 pairs of snowshoes and told the boys what to do. Our part was just to tell them how they could earn "gold nuggets" (up to 5) and then track their earnings and disburse said nuggets. Pretty easy job, really. Plus we had a picnic table (half buried in snow) to sit upon. We really did have to sit on the table - the benches were at about snow level.

Our kids on snowshoes

This was to be a 4-hour event and somewhere along the way, the boys would stop and eat their lunch. The idea was to do as many activities as possible and earn as many gold nuggest as possible so they could participate in an auction later on that night. While I'm sure the auction was great fun, we were quite cold and tired, plus hubby was working a pretty bad headache, so we headed back to town around 6:30 p.m. Hopefully our troop got some good stuff at the auction!

My snowshoes

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