I’ve written at least once about my love of the outdoors and it’s true. As much as I love writing, playing games, or any of a number of other things that I enjoy, being outside has always had a special place in my heart. That doesn’t mean that I’ve always had pleasant adventures as one such instance proved.

When I was thirteen my family moved to England. I went to the local school and–true to form–quickly became unpopular and a target for bullying. Despite that, I eventually made a few friends and got involved in DofE, The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.

As much as I could ever figure out, the DofE is designed to help kids develop for life an work by getting them involved in volunteering and extracurricular activities. It has four sections; Volunteering, Physical, Skills, and Expedition. There are three levels; Bronze, Silver, and Gold which are separated by age as well as the length of time each section must be performed before being completed. I had no problem with the first three as they required you to take your own initiative, but the last one was a group effort and that is where I ran into trouble.

As it sounds, the Expedition involves traveling cross country. Most kids do it on foot, although you can take more challenging methods–such as horseback–as you move up the levels. We had a practice Expedition first, to get us used to it and in which our groups leader came with us. The only problem I experienced on that one was underestimating how hungry I could get. On our actual Expedition our leader watched from an extreme distance, but wasn’t there to aide us. That is when the trouble started.

It started–as some ladies may expect–with boys. Two of them to be exact. The DofE stipulates that there must be at least four people in an Expedition. Why? If someone gets hurt then two people are required to go for help while the third stays with the injured party. I asked our group leader what would happen if one of the people going for help got injured? Wouldn’t the person accompanying them have to leave them behind to continue on for aide? I never got a straight answer to that.

As a result, we got paired up with these boys who were taller, faster, and had no interest in slowing down for us girls. At times they got so far ahead that we could barely see them and we didn’t have time to consult our maps. Suffice to say, we got lost on more than one occasion and stood around while these boys–who seemed to know everything–tried to figure out where the heck we were. I shouldn’t have been surprised. When do men ever admit to not knowing where they’re going?

Eventually, we did make it, and we did complete our Expedition. We even had a little adventure involving wading through a muddy field that tried to such our boots to Hades, but I digress. Perhaps a bit more planning should’ve been done on our part. Perhaps it’s not a bright idea to drop a group of teenagers off on their own and expect them to work together.

All I’ll say is this; if you go on a hike, pack strong boots and know where you’re going.

Group of young hikers

Disclaimer: I do not own the imagery used in this blog post and have no artistic claim to it


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