Monday, May 22, 2006


Wee Jasper Weekend

We took a bunch of scouts and venturers out to Wee Jasper over the weekend. It was fantastic. It's been so long since I had a weekend where I could really get away from it all, and it's been even longer since I last went camping. So just for that it was a great weekend.

Saturday afternoon I did a bit of abseiling. Nothing too extreme - scouts aren't allowed to abseil anything higher than 30 metres - but still lots of fun. The bigger of the two drops had a section where you couldn't touch the rockface even if you wanted to.

That night, the rock team took four venturers and myself through the Dip cave and into the Gong Room. It was the first "real" caving I'd done - I've been into caves before, but only ever the ones upright through and have hand rails and stuff. As one of the instructors said, proper caving is just rock climbing in the dark without a harness. To get into the cave, we had to climb down a wire ladder that was secured to a steel pole across a hole in the ground. Inside you had to climb over big rocks, hurl yourself over big drops and squeeze through tiny holes. At least twice we had lie down on the ground to pull ourselves through a small crevice. And more than once we'd get into a chamber and thing "well, there's no where else to go", only to find that actually there was. The Gong Room itself was amazing. It was full of all sorts of cave features, but because it's so hard to get to, it was all fairly intact.

Part of the reason I'd gone caving on the Saturday night was so that if the caving group on Sunday was all full someone could have my spot. Turns out it was a good plan, so I spent most of Sunday doing some more abseiling. Fortunately, one by one the scouts and ventures all gave up, so we pretty much had the big drop to ourselves.

I got home very dirty, and with lots of cuts, scrapes and bruises. But it was well worth it.

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