A group of Logan West teens were lucky to escape lockdown in early July while they tackled an 80km canoe trip near Gladstone.
The week-long canoe trip happens once every three years in the Seventh Day Adventist Church’s Pathfinder program.
Pathfinders is the church’s equivalent of Scouts and Guides.
Bryce Pedder, 15, from Logan West was one of 15 Pathfinders representing the area in a group of 80 teens from clubs over Queensland.
As lockdown neared completion on Saturday night, July 3rd, he was enjoying his last night of the trip camping on Hummock Island near Gladstone.
“We were based on the beach of Hummock Island, just camped up off the sand in under the trees,” he says.
The island was the final stopover in the trip that started at Middle Creek in Eurimbula National Park on Monday, June 28.
“It was a night of mixed emotion,” he says. “We wanted to continue canoeing because we had a lot of fun, but we were also glad to be finishing.”
They canoed 15 to 25 kms a day, stopping to camp overnight at various sites.
They rose early on the final Sunday, with a three-hour paddle left before finishing at Turkey beach in Gladstone.
“We woke at 4:30am, packed everything into our canoes, and paddled three hours from where we were to Turkey Beach, arriving just before 10am,” he says.
Upon completion, Bryce earned a badge for his Pathfinders’ sash, representing the skills he learned across the week.
“I learnt how to cook on a camp stove without burning everything, how to pitch a tent fast in the rain while keeping dry, and how to pack weeks’ worth of food and equipment in the tight spaces of my kayak,” he says.
Alan Aldridge from the Park Ridge Men’s Shed and Seventh Day Adventist Church started with Pathfinders 40 years ago.
He’s one of the main organisers of the yearly Pathfinder trips that rotate on a three-year cycle.
“Next year they’ll walk through Carnarvon Gorge, and the year after that they’ll go out to North-West Island off Gladstone and help the national park rangers and snorkel on the reef,” he says.