badge 2002

Freezing and Trailing

...or an amazing tale of hardship, frustration and other stupid reasons...

badge 2003

Right, so this page is about a thing called the "Friesland Trail" (or Fryslân Trail according to the guy who makes the badges...). A scouting thing, where you walk about 10 hours (this year (2003) our team started at 5.20pm), trying to solve difficult puzzles which you need to understand to know where you have to go, using obscure objects to tell you the route, following bleeping or reflective things through dense woodland, all this trying to avoid getting wet at places where the organization constructed weird and wonderful devices to cross rivers and canals and attempting to keep your feet dry during routes that cross swamps, moors and flooded paths. All the while hoping the weather doesn't turn for the worst, that nobody breaks anything and that the teams who finish the trail earlier than yours don't drink all the beer...
Organized every year by a group of people from the scouting region Friesland for about 150 idiots of the northern provinces willing to take part in it, this Trail-team, as they are known, sadistic by nature, have chosen the second weekend of chilly december for their yearly quest.
So why take part? Actually... somehow it's quite good... Go nice places, meet new and interesting people, oh, and not getting shot. And of course, most important of all, to be able to reply to people numbingly asking you what you did this weekend: Oh, I tracked reflective silver painted treeleaves with animals painted on them through dense woodland at 1 in the morning, with a flashlight and a backpack filled with dry clothes. The looks you get just cheer up an entire day.

Right, that clears things up, you must now know being a Friesland Trailer is cool and very sensible.
WHAT!? Still not convinced?? You strange thing! *sighs* Let me see how I can make the obvious more obvious.

Aah, lets start off with some photos taken of the Trail of 2002. These nice photos were taken by Yours Truly (well, mostly anyway). Okay, 2002 might not completely be the best example, I wonder... Let me explain. In 2002 our team was the quickest of all teams walking that year's Trail... yes! SHOCK HORROR!! Anyway, herefor the pictures are mostly of people getting drunk afterwards, which is of course also an important part of any Friesland Trail.

Femke having a quick snack to stay
sharp and vitalized.
Arne, Gerlof, Rene and Inze (Dirk)
Several of my teammembers, including Aglamian Dirk,
trying to work out route 12.
Femke taking of her walkingboots at the youth-hostel (for
the lack of a better word for it) where the Trail concluded
this time.
Gerlof and Inze (Dirk)
Gerlof en Dirk showing in weeting amazement
how fucking fast we were this year.
Hans and Gerlof
While zillions of groups are still lost out there in the (literal) freezing
cold, inside it's getting so warm, that camera has some trouble
Inze (Dirk) and Rene
Lightened by slacky candle-holders, still a little stunned by our
achievement Dirk and Rene start on their first beer.
Gerlof, as always, his very happy self.
In the meantime, Femke slaughters
herself another beer.
Boukje of Scouting the Brimzen from Buitenpost.
Joost, Erik and some Joost friend
Three members of the other team from my scoutinggroup, trying
to think up excuses to account for their humiliating defeat.
Inze (Dirk)
Even more beer, glorious beer... this is starting to fabricated
a rather wrong image of Scouting, isn't it?
Joost, two obscured people, Baukje, Gerlof, Inze (Dirk), Rene and Femke
I tell you! We are all very responsible people! Just look at us! Scouting rulez!
*gets up and leaves to get another beer from the fridge*

Secondly, in my quest to convince the world of the joyfulness of Trailing, I present to you a selection. A selection of puzzles, ie routes, from the route-booklets of 2002 and 2003. It's just a small selection, because most of the puzzles appearing in the booklets require external objects, ranging from maps to wooden dragonheads, of which scanning is rather problematic, due to the lack of my possession of them. And some routes just require you to track lights, reflectors or beepers, which are even harder to scan, since they belong to the Trail-team. It would be too much to explain the routes in fullness to you, but their appearance here, should at least give a feeling, of what kind of stuff we have to put up with.

Frontpage booklet 2002 Route 3
I don't exactly remember what the point of this puzzle was exactly. I don't think I even knew when we had to figure it out. It goes something along the lines of this (an example): You start on the front wheel, at the top, you go anti-clockwise, counting the distance along the circumference to the first spoke. This number (after some fiddling with some information mentioned) gives you a number of steps. At this first spoke there goes a line inwards from the outside of the wheel, with a 30 next to it. Again, with some information mentioned before, you can now figure out that your direction is 150 + 30 = 180 degrees. Thus now, use your compass and walk the number of steps in the direction of the bearing calculated.
Repeat process, now starting from the first spoke.
(this is one of the hardest puzzles I have ever done on any hike)
Route 6

This is basically something we call a 'strippenkaart'.
It is too much to explain to you now how a stippenkaart
works, but if you ever want to know, let me know (you
never now when I am in some weird mood, feeling like
making a new insane webpage). It basically is a twisted
map, on which the road you want to follow is now a
straight line, starting from below going upwards. (they
usually get way more systematic than this one, with
just a straight horizontal line, with some vertical lines
on the left and right)
Route 12
I don't remember the exact point of this puzzle, but it involves looking up the coordinates on the grid. Each
coordinate (eg 2340 - 5725) stands for a crossing, where you have to look up that coordinate and then conclude
from the picture which path you need to take. (I think it had something to do with which way the figures in the
picture were looking (or it was something completely different, like something with lines).

Frontpage booklet 2003 Route 3
Opposed to what the big map on this page seems to suggest, it has no use what so ever (not that I ever figured out anyway). The route is quite simple, as you might have figured from the lines through the first column of numbers. It's a compass route, where the numbers stand for a number (1 to 9), a compass bearing and the number of steps. For example, 2.30.42 stands for the second bearing, 30 degrees and 42 steps to the next bearing.
Route 13

And for last a compass route that seems at first rather
impossible (only the symbol for 0 is given, 1 and 2 were
filled in by me during the route). It's here that the
landscape comes to the rescue. All the symbols stand
for a digit. The route started on a path going from about
northeast (45 degrees) to about southwest (225 degrees).
Keeping in mind that the first bearing has to have three
digits, a more accurate bearing of the path gives us 220
degrees for the first number. Two crossing further on, in
same fashion the symbol for 1 was worked out, and after
that (with the exception of no 5) the rest was easy cruising.
My favourite route for 2003.

And so we come to the end of this ramble. My creativity has run dry, but by now you must have been converted. My powers are omnipious, or something like that. Walking a Friesland Trail may have seemed weird, stupid, insane, nonsense and horribly out of your mind at first, but now you know better. Friesland Trails are very cool. Repeat after me now: "Friesland Trails are cool. Friesland Trails are cool. Friesland Trails are very cool. I will overthrow Reinder for you and set you, Pixel, upon the Aglami throne. Friesland Trails are cool. Friesland Trails are very cool."
Thank you. Goodnight. You have been a great audience. *bows*