Pathfinder Club Experiences
My parents were leaders in the Mullumbimby Seventh Day Adventist Pathfinder Club. My whole family of three brothers were very actively involved as well as members. Some the memories and experiences were:
- My father led us on several three day walking trips through the Lamington National Park on the border of NSW and Queensland from O’Reilley’s to the Numinbah Border Gates or vice versus.
- Walking through crowded and heavily treed rainforest walking trails …. Huge rainforest trees overhead ….. leaf mulched walking trails that went on for kilometres …. Down slopes and over little running creeks ….. scenic waterfalls falling over cliff faces into a pool below.
- Being dropped off at O’Reilley’s Guest House on Friday afternoon and thirty of us plus the leaders walking down to Moran Falls ….. across steep open cow paddocks which had formally cleared of huge rainforest trees in the early 1890’s …. Then to a rainforest track along Moran Creek ….. when the creek came to the cliff edge, these became the falls …… these falls fell off from the vertical cliffs which fell 300 metres to the rainforest below …….. we would drop stones over and work out the speed of sound and the time the noise came back and then work out how high the cliffs were ……. Camping in little pup tents on the edge of the cliffs …. Digging a shallow ground hole for my hips at night and finding threads of luminescent fungi in the soil ….. putting them in a jar and seeing all glowing together …… camping over Sabbath ….. having a big bonfire on the Friday and Saturday night ….. the leaders telling us stories ….. then commencing the main walk on Sunday and Monday ….. then walking to the main NSW Border track.
- On one trip, the mist was so thick, drips fell off the vegetation ….. Backpacking with raincoats on over our packs …… Through the mist where all you could see of your fellow walker ahead of you …. Was this black bobbing shape in the swirling mist ahead ….. Johnny Kemp was one person who comes to mind here ….. On one trip, we all missed a shortcut we had been told about and had to camp out over night in soaking rain on the narrow walking trail …… Having to light a cooking fire with wet wood and cooking the best meal I had ever cooked …. Lifting up the tent edge from inside and seeing the glow worms in the moist bank outside.
- Then out a rocky cliff knob called Wagawn where if it was a clear day, you could look out over Northern NSW ….. otherwise it was swirling mist ….. then walking down a steep slope through trees to the Bush Rangers Cave used by bushrangers in the late 1800’s as a base for their escapades ….. the Cave was huge ….. at least 150 metres long, * 50 metres high and 50 metres deep …. with a sandy floor …. Finding a brown gecko on the rocky roof at the back of the cave and bringing it home.
- The walking down open cleared slopes to the border gates between NSW and Queensland …… there was a covered truck to meet us …. The sense of achievement ….. We had made it!!
- Being at a big regional Pathfinder weekend at Sawtell on the mid Coast of NSW …. having learned signalling with excellence, my brother and I were the ones to signal across the small river about the requirements of the rescue party for a mock rescue of downed plane on the other side …. One club had to follow compass bearings and find the injured plane members ….. they then had make stretches and get them all out to the river …. Another club had to make a raft out of tyres and tree branches and ferry them across the river ….…. Another club had to make more stretchers and give first aid to the injured people ….. then get them all the hill and make them ready for the ambulance to take them all to hospital.
Benefits of my Pathfinder experiences:
- I learned about being innovative and practical in trying situations ….. learning how to make do when you had few choices ….. learning teamwork with different team members having different talents which could be mutually shared for the greater good ….. a real sense of community and togetherness ….. developing a spiritual approach to life that took in the revelation from God’s Word and from His Creation ….. learning to be adventurous ….. pushing out the boundaries of life …. Learning technical skills which I wouldn’t have learnt otherwise …… camping in varying conditions of rain, wind or sun….. lighting different fires ….. making fire without matches cooking a great variety of food in a tin billy or fry pan …. Leaning a multitude of knots for different purposes ….. many of these life skills I learned in the Pathfinder Club activities.