The Inaugural Brewha Bushwhack

It’s March 21st early on a Saturday morning at Byrd’s Adventure Center, the day is just getting started and it’s still a bit cold with the sun behind the clouds. There is excitement in the air, no one knows quite how this event is going to go. Race organizers Pack Rat Outdoor Center kept everything very secret. All the teams are in front of the pavilion anxiously waiting for Rick to call the teams up to get our passports we would use to track progress and checkpoints the race. Once all the teams received their passports, you could hear everyone planning and plotting out their route.

Rick from Pack Rat speaking to the group before the race.

Rick from Pack Rat speaking to the group before the race.

Each section had 3 opportunities to get points, one was finding the location where a password on a tree would be proof of our position, the next was completing a challenge unique to each section, and then you had to identify a type of tree. With the map laid out in front of our team, sections got plotted onto the map one by one, with a total of 10 points on the map. Now we had to decide which one was first and the order we were going to do them. Our team chose the challenge of tying knots first. It was like we all got done at the same time; all the teams were running in every direction with a large group headed towards knots tying station. We were the third team to make it to the station. But there was no event person to tell us what to do. We waited for a bit and decided to continue on. The next spot we went to was Archery. Wow, this was a cool station, we had to string our own stick bow and shoot an arrow into a hay bail. Next we plotted our heading and climbed up a big hill until we got to a rope spanning a chasm. We had to use the webbing we brought with us to make a harness then pull ourselves across the rope to the other side.

Archery Daniel Goodwin, Jeff Morrow

Archery Daniel Goodwin, Jeff Morrow

Next we made our way to the saw and split. Here you had to use a two-man saw to cut a 12inch section of log and then split it 4 times. Once we were done here we headed toward the cavern. Teams had to climb up the side of a rock face using a rope and pull ourselves through a hole at the top. Once at the top we identified the tree and pushed on to the maze. We made short work of the Maze! Three of the team members were blindfolded and the fourth told the others how to navigate the maze. The only major rule was you couldn’t step outside of the course if you did you had to restart. Now that we had completed all the challenges on the west side, we decided to go the ones at lower elevations. But we were starting to run out of time. Some of the events got bottlenecked, on one we had a 35-minute wait. We needed to hurry!

Saw and Split Jeff Morrow, Daniel Goodwin

Saw and Split Jeff Morrow, Daniel Goodwin

We took the most direct route to the next station, which was pretty much down the face of the mountain. We came to a big field and with a quick look at the map, we quickly headed to the tree line. We were at the fire starting challenge; I had been looking forward to this. I spent 3 weeks practicing starting a friction fire, and I felt confident. As I worked on that our team gathered wood for the fire. The time was now or never, with nothing but smoke I decided not to put any more time into the bow drill. With a few sparks we had a small fire, now all we had to do was get it to burn the string they had set up. Now we need to make a decision whether or not to push our luck and go do the rope climb before we ran out of time, or to move on to sections closer to the finish. With time running out we decided not to climb. If we ran into another bottleneck there, we would not have enough time to finish the race. The next event was immersion. We knew we were going to get wet here wading out in the deep part of the water to find the right buoy with the password on it. We knocked that out pretty quickly and then made a mad dash towards our last event. This one was a canoe challenge. When we got there we realized we made the right call by not going to the rope climb because there was going to be quite a wait here as well. For this challenge we had to paddle up the Mulberry River and portage our canoe around the rapid, put back in at the top, then float down the rapid. Now that we were all done we only had ten minutes to turn in our passports. With that knowledge, we felt pretty good about not doing the rope climb!

Each section had 3 opportunities to get points, one was finding the location where a password on a tree would be proof of our position, the next was completing a challenge unique to each section, and then you had to identify a type of tree. With the map laid out in front of our team, sections got plotted onto the map one by one, with a total of 10 points on the map. Now we had to decide which one was first and the order we were going to do them. Our team chose the challenge of tying knots first. It was like we all got done at the same time; all the teams were running in every direction with a large group headed towards knots tying station. We were the third team to make it to the station. But there was no event person to tell us what to do. We waited for a bit and decided to continue on. The next spot we went to was Archery. Wow, this was a cool station, we had to string our own stick bow and shoot an arrow into a hay bail. Next we plotted our heading and climbed up a big hill until we got to a rope spanning a chasm. We had to use the webbing we brought with us to make a harness then pull ourselves across the rope to the other side. Next we made our way to the saw and split. Here you had to use a two-man saw to cut a 12inch section of log and then split it 4 times. Once we were done here we headed toward the cavern. Here we had to climb up the side of a rock face using a rope to help pull ourselves through a hole at the top. Once at the top we identified the tree and pushed on to the maze. We made short work of the Maze! Three of the team members were blindfolded and the fourth told the others how to navigate the maze. The only major rule was you couldn’t step outside of the course, if you did you had to restart. Now that we had completed all the challenges on the west side, we decided to go the ones at lower elevations. But we were starting to run out of time. Some of the events got bottlenecked, on one we had a 35-minute wait. We needed to hurry! We took the most direct route to the next station, which was pretty much down the face of the mountain.

We took the most direct route to the next station, which was pretty much down the face of the mountain. We came to a big field and with a quick look at the map, we quickly headed to the tree line. We were at the fire starting challenge; I had been looking forward to this. I spent 3 weeks practicing starting a friction fire, and I felt confident. As I worked on that our team gathered wood for the fire. The time was now or never, with nothing but smoke I decided not to put any more time into the bow drill. With a few sparks we had a small fire, now all we had to do was get it to burn the string they had set up. Now we need to make a decision whether or not to push our luck and go do the rope climb before we ran out of time, or to move on to sections closer to the finish. With time running out we decided not to climb. If we ran into another bottleneck there, we would not have enough time to finish the race. The next event was immersion. We knew we were going to get wet here wading out in the deep part of the water to find the right buoy with the password on it. We knocked that out pretty quickly and then made a mad dash towards our last event. This one was a canoe challenge. When we got there we realized we made the right call by not going to the rope climb because there was going to be quite a wait here as well. For this challenge, we had to paddle up the Mulberry River and portage our canoe around the rapid, put back in at the top, then float down the rapid. Now that we were all done we only had ten minutes to turn in our passports. With that knowledge, we felt pretty good about not doing the rope climb!

Once we got the passports turned in, it was time for some refreshments. Fossil Cove Brewing was a big sponsor of this event. I walked to the bench and the fine man handed me a special Brewha mug and asked me which kind of beer I would like to have. Oh those first sips tasted so good they turned into gulps. I looked at the bottom of my empty mug and thought man that was good. When I look up, he said “would you like another?” Heck, yeah I would, that is when he said those magic words, “you can have as much as I want”. Next they brought out the barbecue. It was going to be a good night. With our bellies and our glasses full they started to give the awards. Pack Rat did an amazing job giving out awards, I can’t say that enough. They went out of their way to make sure every kind of category received an award. Some of the awards included last place, the best team dog, best team name, best team shirt and many more. Job well done for team Hot Pants for taking first place with a total of 188 point out of 200!

Team Muffin Commando Squad Left to right Daniel Goodwin, Dustin Cole Sanders, Ellis Gregory, Jeff Morrow

Team Muffin Commando Squad
Left to right Daniel Goodwin, Dustin Cole Sanders, Ellis Gregory, Jeff Morrow

A big thanks to Pack Rat for a hosting such an amazing event! I know our team, Muffin Commando Squad, had a great time and we will be there next year.

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