The ground was soft. That was the first thing I noticed when we arrived. The scout leader said it was okay, not a problem for us. He said it had always been that way, in all those years that the Redground campsite existed.
I was 11 back then and wore my red scarf with pride. We had hiked for nearly a whole day and the younger ones, I among them, would not not have been able to go on any longer.
There would be two more days of hiking until Hideout Canyon. We all knew that and I think I was not the only one that felt regret at having come along.
Even with my aching legs there was one thing I was still more scared of – the darkening sky. I always hated thunder and lightning, then as now, gave me weird visions not far different from nightmares. It was as if the flash of the lightning turned my brain into survival mode, it made my mind a mental cinema screen to play horror movies in.
It was then the thunder that usually woke me from the suffocating fear, only to shock me with a violent, painful wave of panic. Continue reading →
The youth group reached Hailway Park Holiday Camp at about 4pm. 19 boys aged between 11 and 13 and two group leaders that had run the trips for the last three years. The group leaders, a protestant minister in his fifties and his 25 year old son, Chance, showed the boys how to pitch their tents. When most of the tents were standing in a semicircle Chance took two of the boys, Ian and Clancy, with him to collect wood for a campfire.
Chance, Ian and Clancy had trouble finding dry wood. By the time they returned the minister and the other boys had prepared most of the food. Chance and his father built and alighted the campfire. Like the previous years the evening was spent with food, songs and finally horror stories.
At 11pm, thirty minutes later than planned, the boys were told to go to bed. At midnight the minister went to sleep in his tent, Chance was supposed to watch the fire and make sure that none of the boys wandered into the woods. At 4am he should have woke his father to change shifts. Continue reading →