Ta'if Scout Camping: Part 2

I spent both nights being miserably cold and uncomfortable. I am sad to say, but I was not well prepared. I really need a decent sleeping bag, and a sleeping pad would be nice. I have tried twice to get to the one store that people say has some of this kind of equipment here, SACO World in Jeddah, but I failed twice. The fact that the taxi drivers and I don't speak the same language and that street addresses are not used really works against me.

Hills and towers in the distance.

A tree has taken root near the edge of one of the terraces, and provides shade for the grass below.

During the second day of the camp out we worked on merit badges with the boys. We split the scouts up into groups, and rotated them through working on orienteering and rifle shooting merit badges. The rifle shooting was done in a very organized and safe way by the leader of the other troop. They used air rifles because, as the leader explained, only a Saudi can get a license to own a gun, but anybody can buy an air rifle. I did a bit of shooting later in the day after the boys were all finished, and did really well, even after not shooting for eight years.

A bluff at the edge of the escarpment. I think my brother would like climbing here.

Neat rock formations, and you can see some of the scary switchbacks.

While some of the scouts were shooting, most of the scouts worked with one of our scoutmasters and me on orienteering. Most of the boys caught on pretty quickly, and were taking bearings like pros very soon. We had them set up a three point orienteering course, and then run a course set up by another group. All but a few boys completed all of the outdoorsy requirements and now just have to do some of the writing requirements to complete the badge.

Every rose has its thorns, but every thorn doesn't have a rose. This is an actual tree, about twenty feet tall, entirely covered with two inch long thorns. The branches look really cool thrown on a fire.

After the merit badge activities most of the younger scouts went on a five mile hike, a requirement for advancement. The older boys did a bit more shooting, and then built a sweat lodge as part of indian lore merit badge. A sweat lodge is the Native American equivalent of a sauna.

One of the scouts works on the sweat lodge. It had stone walls and a juniper roof.

We had a big communal stew for dinner, and chappel (cherry-apple) pie filling for dessert. Later, one of our scoutmasters brought out a sky lantern to launch. It was huge, maybe five feet tall, and was very beautiful flying into the night sky. I would love to attend a lantern festival in China sometime, and see thousands launched at once.

I would say these were glacial erratics, but I don't think glaciers have ever come this far south. As a judge of size, notice the camel next to the tree in the middle right of the picture.

We packed up the next day fairly fast. Most of the scouts were eager to help in any way. We had an uneventful ride home, and I took a nice hot shower, and then it was naptime.

Check out Part 1 of the adventure!