Anna’s Grey Wolf Hike – Aug 2020

It’s another sunny weekend (despite earlier forecasts of rain) and another Grey Wolf hike, this time led by Anna. She’s chosen the Pipeline Track loop in St Ives, and is leading three younger Cubs on her “Adventurous Journey”. They set off ahead of the adult leaders, armed with a map and two-way radio, so we can check-in on their progress.

We’re doing a circuit, descending via the Bungaroo Track to Middle Harbour and returning via the Pipeline Track. After about 45min and a slight navigational error by the Cubs, which costs them a bit of time, we meet up with them again where the Bungaroo Track reaches Middle Harbour.

At this point Anna decides it would be a good idea to have afternoon tea on the other side of the creek, which the Cubs carefully cross over a series of moss-covered stones. So far, no wet feet…

…although a rising tide makes the return journey over the same rocks too difficult, so the Cubs head a bit further upstream to the Stepping Stones. Here a series of huge stones across the creek provide a way across the creek. We wait patiently for the Cubs to walk upstream, cross the creek and return to where we are. Until our radio crackles into life: “We have a problem”. Heading up to meet the Cubs and ascertain the problem, it appears that at least one of the Stepping Stones has been washed away in the last heavy rain.

 

So, it’s shoes off (or in some cases shoes on), for a wade across the creek. A slightly more “adventurous” journey than originally planned!

With a tiny bit of enouragement from the Leaders (the Cubs could happily have stayed in the creek for hours), Anna has her group re-shoed and on the move again for the return leg along the creek and up the Pipeline Track. There’s another quick break when Anna radioes in to advise of a First Aid stop, after one of the Cubs cuts their finger on a leaf. Fortunately, Anna remembers some of her First Aid training!

Then it’s a constant climb back up along (and sometimes on top of) the water pipeline to our starting point.

Well done Anna… great leadership and an enjoyable bushwalk for the Cub Scouts and adults.

Isabella’s Grey Wolf hike – July 2020

My Grey Wolf walk was the section of the Great North Walk from Mount Kuring-Gai to Berowra. It was 10.56km long and the elevation gain was 306m.

The people who I led on the walk were Grace, Amalia, Charlotte, Sina, Kira, Syssy, Chris and my Mum, Tanya. We started on the 12th of July at around 10 am and finished off at about 2:30 pm. The track started on Glenview Road at Mount Kuring Gai. We walked along the Benowie Walking Track and went up the mountain until we reached the Berkley Trail. We went right along the Berkley Trail until we got to Crowley road in Berowra, which is where we stopped and drove home. The weather was cool and windy, and we thought it was going to rain, so we brought rain jackets and non-cotton pants, but we were very lucky, because just as we finished the walk it started to sprinkle, and then rain.

I navigated the way with a compass and two maps. The two maps were because the walk continued off the Hornsby map and kept going on the Cowan map! This was annoying, but at least it worked. The compass was very useful when I wanted to know which path to take or if we were going in the right direction.

My favourite part was at the saltmarsh. This is a type of marsh that has lots of salt in it from the sea and provides a unique habitat for many animals. we had to cross it, so luckily there was a boardwalk that went across the big marsh. It looked like a giant field of long grass, but if you went up close you could see that the soil was actually all mud. It felt so cool walking across the flat saltmarsh landscape when everything else around me was steep and rock with lots of hills and cliffs everywhere.

From far away it looked like the people who were walking across the boardwalk were actually just walking around in the grass, and at first I thought that they were being very silly and were going to get bitten by a spider or a snake living in that long grass, but then I discovered that it was a saltmarsh and there was a boardwalk. It looked very beautiful. The funny thing was that there was just a lone tree right in the middle of the saltmarsh. We stopped for lunch there. When we were walking across the board walk to the other side, I saw a bright red dragonfly.

I would do this walk again, and I recommend it to you because it was very beautiful, and I enjoyed it very much. The cliff next to the saltmarsh had trees, plants, grass, and roots of all sorts sticking out of it. It felt wonderful to look up at it. Next time, if there was the same amount of people or more coming, I would bring even more extra water, because by the end the extra water had ran out and I still could have drunk more. This means an extra bottle or something like that to make sure no-one goes thirsty.

Amalia’s Grey Wolf hike – July 2020

My Grey Wolf Walk

On Saturday the 4th of July 2020, at 10:15am, my group and I set off on the Thornleigh to Hornsby part of the Great North Walk. The people in the group were me, Isabella, Grace, Kira and Charlotte (from Scouts), and of course the adults Tanya, Chris and Brian. It was 9.52km long and took about 3 hours and 26 minutes. Of that time, about 3 hours and 15 minutes were spent moving.

On my walk I had to stop regularly to check the map to see which path to take. I also carried a compass with me, and I used that sometimes as well. My mum also asked me a lot where we were on the map. I used contour lines, rivers, paths and other landmarks as well as using my compass to figure it out.

In planning for the walk, I asked everyone to bring:

  • A backpack
  • Food for lunch
  • A water bottle
  • A sunhat
  • Sunscreen, and
  • A personal first aid kit

On the walk, one of my favourite things were that there were lots of beautiful flowers and scenery.

We had lunch on top of big boulders and had a wonderful view from where we had lunch. Walking through the bush, we were surrounded by fascinating bird calls of all types.

We had lots of fun making impersonations of characters from movies that we had watched (especially Hela from Thor: Ragnarok).

At one point, we had sat down to have a snack on top of some rocks (not the big one in the picture), and Isabella fell back and did a nice backwards roly-poly! Luckily, she stopped herself before she rolled all the way down the hill.

We once crossed some big boulders that were stopping water from flowing through, creating a mini waterfall. There were lots of holes in the rocks created by erosion, and one particularly big one was connected to the waterfall and had a giant mass of bubbles wobbling up and down in it! It almost made me want to jump in like a bubble bath.

Overall, I think this walk was a very good choice; it was fun, had lots of wonderful flowers and scenery, the weather was just right, it was not too long or short or up and down, and it had just the right amount of people! I feel that after this walk I am now more confident in my map reading skills than before. I would love to go on this walk again.

Amalia (Patrol Leader)

Virtual Cub Program launch – Mar 2020

Making the best of our self-isolation situation, we launched the Virtual Cub Program with our first video-conference call to introduce to the Cubs what we’ll be doing for the next two months. A new experience for most of the Cubs, it enables our youth members to keep in contact, socialise and undertake some joint activities.

The program has also been designed to let Cubs continue their progression through the Achievement Pathways (ie. earn badges) through some fun and engaging activities.

Some the activities we have planned over the next couple of months include:

  • Minecraft Monday
  • Virtual Scavenger Hunt
  • Virtual Pet Night
  • Scouting Bingo

We’ve also got some “Challenges” for the Cubs to undertake at home, including the ISOLATION CHALLENGE and the CAMPING CHALLENGE!

 

Family Camp on the Colo River – Mar 2020

As the threat of Coronavirus looms and lockdowns seem only a matter of time, we escape reality for a couple of days at Camp Bielany on the Upper Colo River… It will be the last camp we have for a while, so the Cubs (and parents) enjoy the opportunity to get outdoors while we still can! (Thanks Sarah and Rod for the photo contributions!) – more photos in our Cubs Photo Gallery.

We’ve got a fairly quiet first night with a few families arriving on Friday: the first task for the Cubs is demonstrating their ability to get the fire going…

The equally important next task is to cook some marshmallows… the theme of this camp being not so much “Surviving Coronovirus” but “Eating Marsmallows”. Fortunately the Cubs were not responsible for Coronavirus panic-buying, as marshmallows were still available in the supermarkets and we had a good supply at our camp!

The next day brings many more families – we have 16 Cubs in total (plus many older siblings and Future Cubs!) as well as Jade, Charlotte and Aiden from our Scout section. There’s also lots of outdoor activities taking place… The main activity is swimming and “tubing” on the Colo River, the last pristine river in NSW which flows from the Wollemi National Park down to the Hawkesbury River.

Of course, it’s not ALL play when you’re a Cub… more serious activities involved building a bamboo teepee, putting up the tents and making some notes on how to improve the design of future camps…

All this activity generates a healthy appetite: fortunately there are still marshmallows available to sustain the Cubs, Scouts and siblings through the evening!

As the day winds down, the Cubs seem to adapt well to their electronic-device-free surroundings, playing card games by torch-light as the day draws to a close…

There’s a bit of overnight drizzle, but we awake to a sunny and cloudless morning, and a last chance for a swim, before heading reluctantly back home.

Gordon Creek Bushwalk and Investitures – Feb 2020

We’re off on our first bushwalk of the year – a loop down to Gordon Creek in East Killara. We like to challenge the Cubs a little on our bushwalks, so we’re starting out with a short “off track” section down to Middle Harbour Creek.

Once we reach the track at the bottom, the Patrol Leaders (who have a topographical map) lead us in the correct direction, along Gordon Creek. Although we are now now a marked track, the storms a few months ago mean we still need to negotiate some fallen trees and branches!

Our destination is a flat and sandy clearing by Gordon Creek, where we are investing three of our Cubs who joined last year – congratulations to our newest 2nd Gordon Cubs:

  • Genevieve R
  • Angus W
  • Connor W

And thank-you to Kira, our investiture photographer!

The last part of the walk is up from Gordon Creek back to the end of Barrie Street, where the Cubs still display an alarming amount of speed and energy as they power up the hill!

More photos on our Cubs Photo Gallery page!

Burning Palms Loop (Grey Wolf) – Nov 2019

Track: Burning Palms Loop Track (Royal National Park)

Length: 8.2km
Grade: 4
Start/End: Garawarra Farm Carpark
Duration: 4 hours

After a long drive across Sydney (thank you Toby and Dad), we arrived at the Royal National Park at 10:00am. After checking out the portaloos in the Garawarra Farm carpark, we set off on our hike starting on the Garawarra Ridge Management Trail. After 3.11km we turned left to join the Coast Track, an epic multi-day walk between Bundeena and Otford. After a while we stopped at a lookout over Werrong Beach to have morning tea, making sure to not get too close to the edge of the cliff.

After morning tea we resumed our hike on the Coastal Track, walking initially along the newly constructed board walk, then down a steep slope, as we passed puffing walkers going the other way. Around 4.42km we entered the palm jungle. My friends and I found the palm jungle very exciting . After the palm jungle, we emerged onto a boardwalk over thick lush grass. We stopped briefly to admire some hang gliders floating above us.

Our next location on the walk was the Figure of Eight Pools. Sadly it was high tide and not safe to go near, so we instead continued to Burning Palms Beach and had lunch. We spent 30 minutes on the beach eating. After we finished eating we decided to explore the rocks, and one of us was silly enough to fall in and get wet.

After lunch we walked along the beach and headed back onto the track. This part of the Burning Palms Loop track was the hardest as it was up a very steep hill, all the way from the beach to the top of the ridge. It was so steep we needed to stop several times to allow everyone to catch their breath. On the track we stopped to look at some facts about the land and history on the signs along the track. After approximately 4 hours we had completed the Burning Palms loop track, stating and finishing at the Garawarra Farm Carpark. Everyone was hot and sweaty and ready for the long drive back to my place to cool down and relax. Thank you to all my friends for supporting me on the walk, and to Toby and Dad for giving up their time to allow it to happen.

 

 

Soccer Competition and BBQ – Dec 2019

We usually finish Term 4 with our traditional Iceblocking activity: this year we decided to do things a bit differently! After the unfortunate cancellation of the District Soccer Competition due to heavy rain a few weeks prior, the Cubs voted to finish the term with a Soccer night. Even better, we were joined by 1st Gordon and 2nd Turramurra, adding a bit friendly rivalry to the evening. It also meant a bit of initial chaos as we herded about 70 Cubs onto the three soccer fields at the St Ives Village Green (a HUGE thanks to David Howard from Primary Soccer, who kindly donated two sets of goal posts and let us use his professionally marked fields).

The Cubs enjoyed a couple of games of soccer, very professonally refereed by three of our of Scouts – thanks Luke, Lachlan and Alex. (More soccer photos in our photo gallery!)

For those not playing and younger siblings, there was also a game of bocce –  a ball sport closely related to British bowls and French pétanque. Traditionally a match is started by throwing a smaller ball, or jack, into the playing area. As it was a bit hard to see the jack, Cub Scout Bocce used a bright red, and now slightly dented drink bottle (thanks Nico!).

And how else to finish a fun evening then with a sausage sizzle – thanks to Garry and John for cooking what must have been about 120 sausages for a never-ending queue of hungry Cubs!

Another Stony Creek Cleanup – Nov 2019

It’s exactly a year after our last clean-up of Stony Creek in Gordon, and the area around our Scout Hall. This activity is back by popular demand from the Cubs, who are excited about what they might find this time. Last year we ended up with an abandoned bicycle, a shopping trolley, an office chair – and many bags of garbage.

After scouring the creek and bush, the competition is on for who has managed to collect the most garbage… Anna and her patrol have a strong claim for bragging rights, managing to  drag a cane chair from the depths of the valley back to the Scout Hall!

The end result is both impressive and depressing… the Cubs manage to amass an impressive collection of two shopping trolleys, a cane chair and a gold trophy – as well as five big bags of rubbish. But it’s sad that within a year of our last clean-up, there’s so much garbage that’s been thrown into the bush.

Spring Cub Camp – Oct 2019

Day 1: we put up tents and toast marshmallows

Despite the forecast of a wet weekend, 18 hardy Cubs headed off to Cataract Scout Park for our Spring Camp. A break in the rain allowed our Cubs to put up their tents, which they managed with minimal adult help… before retreating to the shed for some marshmallows by the fire.

Day 2: we learn some new skills in the morning…

The weather is overcast on our second day, but after some heavy overnight rain there’s some respite in the morning. Almost all the Cubs survived the night – a couple have retreated to the dormitory after a leak in their tent. After breakfast, we break up into smaller groups to brush up on some of our core outdoor skills…

1. Navigation

Armed with a compass, the Cubs create a basic compass around the bush, with a “hidden treasure” at the end. The groups then try and follow each other’s trails.

2. Cooking

Always a favourite activity, the Cubs make damper, cooking it over the campfire.

3. Bush Shelters

Utilising different “construction techniques”, each Cub group collects sticks and branchs, to build a basic shelter.

4. First Aid

From dealing with cuts and bruises to tying an arm bandage, the Cubs brush up on their First Aid skils.

…and have some fun in the afternoon!

To the untrained eye, our afternoon’s activity could look more like a forced march through a dangerous obstacle course than fun. But to the Cubs, Challenge Valley is one of the highlights of our Camp as the Cubs climb over obstacles, swing into pools, clamber through water-filled pipes and stomp through muddy puddles. They end up very wet and cold – and surprisingly happy!

We finish the day with two investitures

We finish our second day by investing Will and Parker, two of our newest Cubs. They make their Cub Scout promise and are welcomed to the 2nd Gordon Cub pack with a rowdy cry of 1-2-3 WOLF under a moonlit sky.

The day is not quite finished… before retiring to their tents, our exhausted Cubs enjoy some marshmallows – and iceblocks – by the campfire. It’s been a great day!

Day 3: we head underground as the sun comes out

It’s a cold but sunny morning on our final day, as we wake to a cloudless sky. A couple of Cubs volunteer to cook breakfast for us – and others take advantage of the last opportunity to poke sticks in the fire. (If there was an Olympic event for running around with burning sticks, the 2nd Gordon Cubs would be contenders for a world record…!)

The highlight of Day 3 is the Caving Adventure, with the Cubs heading underground and squeezing through some tight passages as they explore the natural caves at Cataract.

Then it’s time to pack up the tents, clean up the site and have a debrief with the Cubs before we head home. The verdict: a great camp, but next time more activities – and more mud!

A huge thanks to Justeen and Shane (who ran the activities) at Cataract Scout Park – and to David, Simon, Garry, Rick and John – our Parent Helpers who helped run the activities and ensure everything went smoothly.