On May 7-9 the SAIL Pathfinder Club held its last camp-out of the Pathfinder year, setting off for Pedernales State Park, west of Austin. This was the first time this year we were able to have a camp-out of our own, and the club split into two parts - those working on Ranger and Voyager went backpack primitive camping, while those in the Friend, Companion and Explorer classes set up a base camp. Each group had their own activities, with both focusing on First Aid and Rescue, among other things. Both groups got together for a Sabbath church service on the banks of the river, where Ray led us in a discussion of alters and thankfulness. We then crossed back over the river for a burrito lunch, before the teens headed back into the wilderness and the juniors headed off on a hike, complete with a mock First Aid emergency. Both campsites were visited by scorpions, the teens also had a tarantula head under a tent, raccoons digging through the backpacks at night, and a Barred Owl that visited the campsite. In the Junior camp, deer walked through the site. It was a wonderful experience to be out in nature together, and God sent a front through, breaking the 100 degree weather Friday night and keeping us cool and comfortable.
On Sabbath afternoon, May 1, we took a hike along the 360 Barton Creek Greenbelt - only this time we took the first half of the path a little slower than usual. The Pathfinders split up into pairs (staff included) and one was blindfolded. The guide would then help direct the blindfolded Pathfinder along the trail, describing the scenery (and obstacles) for their partner, introducing them to the flora and fauna through sound, smell and touch. The blindfolded Pathfinder, meanwhile, learned trust and ways to be aware of their surroundings without using their eyes. After a while the teams swapped the blindfolds, and the guide was now the guided.
It can be a somewhat unnerving experience to hike along a trail without being able to see. You have to trust your fellow Pathfinder, and learn to use your other senses to assist you. Interestingly, it was often the staff who walked the slowest and most cautious while blindfolded, while the younger Pathfinders were more bold and trusting. Maybe this is what Jesus meant when he said we must become like little children, and learn to fully trust him.