Pathfinder Challenge
From Their Point of View

This year's Oregon Conference Pathfinder Challenge was held on the slopes of Mount Hood toward the end of August. Pathfinder Challenge gives Pathfinders a chance to test their skills in real-world situations, while still working within the guidance of a mentor.

Below you will find four accounts written by Pathfinders who participated in this year's challenge. While experiencing similar situations and challenges, each took something different from the experience.

On the 4th weekend of August, more than 30 pathfinders set out to hike 6 miles over challenging obstacles such as a lava bed. We did our best to navigate to a campground near Laurence Lake. On the last day of the trip, we tried our hand at building a raft with a set of pallets, inner tubes and a few yards of twine. And to guarantee a fun trip, we played a fun soccer-type game with the rafts on the lake. Just ask any of us and we will tell you how much fun we had! – Ruben Lopez, age 12

I went on a 6 mile (felt like 10) hike near Mt. Hood over the weekend. We started out at the lava rocks and spent the night. I slept like a baby! I was the only one in our group to get more than six hours of sleep. After that we trekked through another mile of lava rock which took about two hours. After a few near-death experiences we reached checkpoint one. Let’s just say we weren't happy when we didn't get our ice cream. Six hours and MORE near-death experiences later, not to mention crossing the river five times and getting soaked, checkpoint two came in to view. AGAIN we were deprived of ice cream but for a good reason. By the time we reached camp we were tired, wet, hungr y and ready for bed. We quickly ate our M.R.Es and passed out (I slept better on the rocks!) We woke up the next mor ning greeted by the cold, and to top it off that was the day when we went on the lake. We put together our own raft and played a game of water polo. We sadly lost 6 to 13. After losing we went over to the boys and “forced” them in to the water. We all had a pretty good time. I would do it again if I had to. – Alieha Dryden, age 13

My experience on the Pathfinder trip was both exciting and challenging. One of the experiences that stood out most in my mind was the six-mile hike. We saw it all, lava rock, boulders, dirt, gravel, water, and thank the Lord, pavement! On this hike, we learned to trust each other, some of us with our lives. Most importantly, we learned to trust God. Another good experience was building rafts, and playing a ultimate Frisbee type game in the water. This exercise helped us to practice our knot tying skills, critical thinking skills, and teamwork. I am very thankful that I was able to have this experience with my Dad, who at one point saved me from falling off of an embankment, by grabbing my arm. This reminds me of my heavenly Father, and how he keeps me safe. This Pathfinder trip helped me realize how our heavenly Father will protect me anywhere and everywhere. I also learned that I can trust my friends to work as a team to accomplish a common goal. – Robert Estrada, age 13

August 23-25th was the weekend I learned how backpacking can get intense. How? Well when my team and I arrived at the lava bed, we were very surprised. WE all thought that we were going to sleep on flat ground, turns out the lava bed was actually going to be our bed. We did it anyway and it wasn’t so bad sleeping on the lava rocks. It’s like when you want God to give you something, and He gives you something better. The next morning we were to hike across the lava bed and end up right next to the river. We had other ideas. The map said to go SW, we chose to go west instead. When we got to the end of the lava bed, there was a very, very steep path down to the river. We knew it wasn’t the right way but we went down anyway. Though we had some trouble, we were all there to help each other out. I learned the importance of following the map we are given, it’s always safer. Just like God wants us to continue down the right path. – Fernanda Rinza, age 13