Our family had never been rogaining before, but once we learnt what rogaining was, we immediately knew we would love it. All of us feel happy when we are outdoors, especially somewhere in the middle of nowhere. We love the way tramping through the bush makes us lose our inhibitions, coercing us to compose silly songs, talk nonsense and simulate man vs wild survival scenarios. It really is a time of bonding and creating unforgettable memories.

We were ready for adventure when we arrived at Argadells. We would not be disappointed. The maps were distributed. All was quiet as competitors everywhere planned and schemed. Our family eagerly poured over the map and discussed which route would give us maximum points. After marking out a very ambitious plan of attack, we sat back and waited. It was not long before the mingling began. There was a hive of activity as  friendly veterans came by to check out what we had planned. It was helpful to discuss our route and receive advice from our competitors. We settled on a revised plan of attack and locked it in.

The race began at 12 noon. For the next 6 hours we followed the map to the controls we had planned to visit. The spectacular scenery was very distracting. There were rocks to throw, dirt to dig around in and, of course, cliffs to climb. The kids were ecstatic whenever they discovered a control, especially if there were lollies to be found. Looking out for the orange and white flag gave purpose to the long, long bushwalk.

Secretly us adults were happy to have children on our team because it meant we had an excuse to turn in for the night. However, not before attempting to catch a few of those closer controls. This night time endeavor was not quite as successful as our day trip, as it was much more difficult to navigate in the dark. The children were quite tired by now, and keenly feeling the effects of the spiky spinifex grass and prickles. As we trudged back to the Hash House at 11:00 pm, they started to cry and beg; “Can we never do this again, please?”. We were worried. Had we pushed them too far, and ruined our chances of ever rogaining again? However, once we had them tucked into their sleeping bags, they had slightly changed their tune; “Can we never do this at night again, please?”.

The next morning, the troubles had passed. We set off again for one last hike. Old hands now, we left the navigation to the kids, who successfully located our final control. Time was up at 12 noon. We sat and watched all the teams return to the finish line. Then we waited for the results. Being very competitive, our kids hoped we might win. And they were not disappointed. As we were the only team in the Novice/Family category, we won first place in this category. It was the perfect ending to a wonderful weekend.

When we returned home, we reflected that it felt like we had been away for ages. We believe this is because we were so consumed by the amazing countryside, the need to navigate and find the next control, that we did not spare a thought about jobs at home and at work. We may as well have been on another planet. What a great way to spend 24 hours! But next time we will take gaiters.