With temperatures in the 60s on Friday, it looked like the annual Carroll District Boy Scout and Cub Scout Klondike Derby might be a little more Georgia than Yukon.
But by 4:30 a.m. Saturday when organizers were up and about in Krimgold Park, temperatures were in the low 40s and dropping, according to the National Weather Service, with a cold front bringing strong winds.
That didn’t deter the Scouts, who spent the day working through skill challenges that replicate the challenges of men and sled dogs in the Yukon territory in the late 1890s.
“63 degrees, 25 degrees—we’ll still be here,” Klondike Coordinator Trevor Colby said with a chuckle.
725 people registered for the event, which was held at Krimgold for the first time this year. That’s a pretty good turnout, especially considering the weather, Colby said. Last year, about 600 people participated, though the event has seen as many as 800 or 900.
“I was really surprised to see this many Cub Scouts, so that’s really good to see that they came out,” Colby said.
Patrols from troops all around Maryland moved through the different stations competing to earn beads. Activities included a fire starting, “ice” ramp, log sawing and a barrel race that simulated crossing the Yukon River with a sled.
Five stations in, members of Troop 224 from Sykesville agreed that the barrel rolling was their favorite activity once they figured out how to work in sync to move their sled faster.
Some members have been Scouting since kindergarten, and for others this was their first derby. Last year, they got pretty close to finishing under the time limit, but then everyone fell, they said.
Further up the hill, the “ice” slope activity, made out of black tubing and hay, required planning skills as patrol members used ropes to try to bring their patrol and sled to the bottom of the slide safely.
Booby Riegert of Boy Scout Troop 9 said the way the patrols approached the challenge from the beginning was the most important. “The last people who came here, they messed up in the beginning, and it took them forever,” he said.
“It involves teamwork and thinking,” added Joseph Sviatko, who said he was having a great day, one on which he wasn’t bothered by the cold.
The groups with the most beads at the end of the day won prizes. Some came from having the correct provisions on their sled and completing the task. Other beads came from working together.
“On the Boy Scouts side, a lot of it is geared toward skills that they’ve learned: fire starting, first aid, working as a patrol,” Colby said. “If they’re cheering each other on and in good spirits, that’s good showmanship.”
One new activity this year was a gold panning station staffed by the Central Maryland Gold Prospectors Association of America.
The troops may compete, but the end goal of the activity is teamwork, said Nicole Pape, who oversaw administration for the event.
“That’s what Klondike is really about, testing their skills,” she said, “And the ones that camped overnight really tested their skills.”
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During the night, the winds broke the supports for several awnings including the administrator’s awning and threatened to blow tents flat. Troop 9, of Upperco, saw its awning blow away into the trees, just feet away from going into the pond. Other campers had to call for clothing backup when their tents filled with inches of water, soaking their clothes.