When a Cat Scout is invited to join the Order of the Arrowhead, s/he must first survive a rigorous initiation. Given a blanket, an egg and 2 matches, and wearing nothing but a loincloth, the scout must spend one night alone in the wilderness and survive without getting eaten by vishus wild animals.
Here are the stories told by the most recent initiates (thanks to Scout Raz for compiling these):
Scout Raz’s story:
I left the camp and starts looking for a good place to camp. Along the way I saw a family of Elk and I was afraid they would eat me but they just looked up and went back to eating the grass.
I wandered a bit and dropped my egg. I was in a panic but the egg started to roll…and roll….and roll….and it lead me to a cave up high where I knew I would be safe all night long. I was really lonely and a bit hungry but I decided I wouldn’t eat the egg because I was really grateful to it for finding the cave for me. I wrapped myself up in the blanket and quietly sings the song the Scouts sent me off with. I had a big meal before I left and wasn’t too hungry. I used a match to start a nice fire and wrapped myself tighter in the blanket and went to sleep. In the morning, the egg started to shake and rumble and I quickly scoops up my blanket and extra match and compass, put out the fire and followed the egg. After a long walk (watching out for cactus) I smelled the yummy breakfast Sammy has put out and followed the scent. What a relief to see my Scout pals again. Just before I got to camp, the egg stopped…..twitched a bit like it’s saying goodbye…and rumbles down a different path. I’m sure the egg is going off to help another Scout or a lost camper. I am sooooo very happy to have survived the night and to be back here with my Scout pals!
Scout Allie’s story:
I was soooo scared when I left the Campfire. Was I up to this? Could I make it through the night? Should I turn back? NO! I am a Cat Scout and I am brave and purrpared for anything….so on I went.
I walked and walked and walked….and then I saw a sign that obviously meant I should follow it….thank COD! I found a great spot that had water and lots of plants. Since I took the Botany test at Scouts, I knew which plants were safe to eat. Still, I was lonely. I wrapped my blanket around me and lit a fire to keep me warm. After it got dark, I stood at the edge of the campsite I found and I could see other intitiate’s fires….that made me feel better. (at least I HOPE they were other initiates!) For some reason, I couldn’t let go of my egg. It was a reminder of getting sent off and a symbol of life….I knew I couldmake it if I could just hold on overnight. All night long, I wrapped my paws around the egg and it comforted me. When I woke up I munched on some of the plants around me, cleaned up my campsite and grabbed my match and got ready to leave. As I picked up my egg, it cracked. OMC I was horrified….until a beautiful Canyon Wren hatched from the egg. The little bird chirped happily and flew all around me. I knew right then that I would be okay. The wren and I left the campsite and she stayed with me for the journey back. I used my compass and found the shortest way back to the campfire. How happy I was to see all my Scout pals again.
My little friend the Canyon Wren says hi to everyone. She’s going to rest here with us a bit (I told her she’s safe here with us) and then go on her way.
Scout Gracie’s Story:
With each step as I got further and further from the scout base camp my heart sank lower and lower. I was getting more afraid as I distanced myself from everyone. I decided it was time to put on my big girl scout pants and do this!!
Think, think, think was what I was telling myself with each step. First I knew I would need food and shelter because it would soon be getting dark. As I walked towards a beautiful water falls I noticed that there were some cactus and other plants. From studying hard for those botany tests in scouts I knew which plants I could eat safely and knew that the cactus would supply me with water. I found a stone that looked like a bowl then I gather up some plants to take with me. Great, food done now and it was time to find shelter as the sun was getting lower and lower to the horizon. I was drawn to this one fall of many because of its great beauty. I knew I had stumbled upon Havasu Falls and knew this would be my home for the night. There of course is plenty of water here for me to boil and be able to drink if I ran out, a field of flowers near by, and a place to catch fish. I went behind the falls and found a little cave. I liked this spot and knew I was home for the night. I did not feel afraid to be in such a small cave and knew there would be no big animals in here to scare me. Purrfect!
Today I noticed that a cute little chipmunk was following me all over the park. He ran really fast and I called him Speedy. I was not sure what he wanted but he was there all day tagging along with me just watching with his cute little eyes. I caught one fish because I only wanted to take would I would eat. I found some flat rocks to put on my fire to use as a stove top to cook my fish on. To catch my fish I used a stick I had found and sharpened it at one end to spear the fish. All this Speedy was near and watching. Great dinner and now it was time for bed.
When I went to bed I put my stick across the opening of the doorway in case something were to come in. If the stick were to fall then I would hear it and wake up. I knew I had an extra matchstick in case my fire went out and also my egg if I got hungry and could not catch another fish for morning. I was so tired I slept really well. My little guy Speedy stayed in the cave with me. Oh if only he could tell me what he want?
Morning came and I decided I would like another fish. I went out and had great luck and caught my breakfast. I fixed it on my flat rocks and offered Speedy some but he didn’t seems to want any. Maybe he was not hungry at this time. Now it was time to put the cave back just as I found it. Never leave a footprint where one has camped. Speedy watched very carefully and I noticed that he seemed interested in my egg. Hummmm. I am wondering if he would want an egg for breakfast. I offered the egg to him and he seemed so happy. He stayed with me as I gathered all my stuff up.
We walked outside together and he started to go off in another direction than I was heading. I decided to follow Speedy and see what was up to. I thought it would be OK for me to follow him as he followed me yesterday. We went a short distance from the falls and there was a little nest under some rocks with three baby chipmunks resting. OMC! Speedy was a she. I watched as she carefully opened the egg and fed her little ones. My heart grew two times larger as I watched the love she had for her babies and so happy I had given her my egg. I made eye contact with her and gave her a smile. She ran over to me and ran up and down my leg. Now it was time for me to go.
Heading back to base camp using my compass I silently listened to the many birds and felt the wind and sun on my fur. This was such a great adventure I was wondering why I was even afraid. I used my compass to direct me back to camp but then realized that I could use another of my senses. I smelled Sammy’s wonderful bacon filling the air! I knew I was close to getting back to the others!!
Scout Andy’s story:
When I left the campsite, I walked away on the path and I did not even turn around and look back. My plan was to walk as much as possible while it was still light outside. I walked for quite awhile until I heard some twigs behind me snapping. All of a sudden I heard a loud ROOOOAAAARRRRRR. I turned around and looked and there was a huge bobcat up on the rocks. I answered him with a meow. He told me that his name is Bob and that he is my 100th cousin.His voice sounded like James Earl Jones. I told him that I was a Cat Scout and he said that he had heard of Cat Scouts. He said Skeezix is a legend in the cat world. I told him that I had to spend the night in the woods by myself and wished me luck. I kept going on my journey. I was starting to get hungry and I did not want to eat my egg too early. I knew if I ate too early I would get too hungry in the middle of the night. I started to look for some edible plants. I was really glad that we studied botany. I saw some lillies and gladiola’s and I remembered that they are toxic to cats. I could not find any edible plants so I continued on my way. Later I made a campfire and put my egg on the hot rocks to cook it. I turned around and saw two rattlesnakes. The little one ran away but the bigger one insisted on making a bed in my blanket. I told the rattlesnake that he was not going to take my blanket and that he needed to leave. We had a bit of a standoff but then he turned around and slithered away. I sat by the campfire and looked up at the bazillion stars. I wondered what Dezi was doing. I tried to name as many constellations as I could. The sky was so beautiful and clear that I could see all the way to heaven. I looked up and saw something move. I wiped my eyes, and sure enough way way off in the distance was the Rainbow Bridge. I could just barely see Cali waving at me. I decided to go to bed so I put my fire out and climbed up in a tree. I thought it might be safer to sleep up in a tree. I dreamed all night that I was sleeping in the bedroom window, so I felt safe. I was a little stiff when I woke up Sunday morning. I did my strectching exercises double checked to make sure my fire was out and went on my way. I climbed down the rocks again to the river bed. I was going to follow the river to get back to camp. I know you can use things like rivers and lakes to navigate. I followed the riverbed and went up and down the rocks. I ran at first but then I got too tired. I saw a nasty scorpion and I passed him quickly. All of a sudden I put my nose up in the air and I smelled bacon. I began to run as fast as I could towards the bacon smell. Then, I was back at camp.
Scout Mau’s story:
I left camp and immediately decided I didn’t want to go much past the one mile as I wanted to be able to see the fireworks from Camp. I found a great place to set up at a huge Juniper tree. As I’d seen a rattlesnake during my hike out I knew I would ant a high place to sleep. After I got my blanket in theater, I went scouting for food. I met this beautiful Lynx. He told me where I could spear a nice rainbow trout. I snarled with my teeth at the end of a stick to make a spear. I came back to camp to cook my fish on the small fire I built. After eating and buying all the remnants of the fish and putting my fire out with nearby dirt, I climbed my tree. From there I watched the sunset and the fireworks and then went to sleep. I woke up the minute the sun came up and got a nice photo of it, which I already posted when I got back to camp. After I got up, I used my second match to start another small fire, and I cooked my egg on a hot rock. After making sure my fire was out and cleaning up my area, I began my walk back to camp. Along the way I picked some Canyon Paint Brush flowers and brought them to camp just in case we had a memorial service; though I prayed all night that would not happen. I got back about an hour after sunrise, had a big breakfast and went straight to my tent for a nap. That’s it. Nothing scary but that rattlesnake.
Scout Charles’s story
The last thing I remember clearly was snoozing on the flight to the Grand Canyon. the next few things are a touch fuzzy. I smelled somthing sweet,alcohol like the darkness. When I woke I was tied to a huge tree in a very dark place with a bandana over my mouth. Good thing I remember my Knot Tying from Scouts. I was able to wiggle and loosen the ropes a little and with my teeth I could reverse those nasty knots. It took for ever becauseI was still a touch woozy. In untying myself I also ripped my new hiking uniform to little more than shreds. :-( Sorry Gracie. Once I was loose I tried to find a clearing to see if I could find the Scout Campsite. No Such luck. I looked to the skies and found the North Star and started to walk in that direction. I was hungy, cold and tired but I knew I had to find Camp. I walked what seemed forever and saw some really scary lizards who would of eaten me if they recognized me as a cat.If hadn’t been covered in tree brush and leaves I would have been a goner more than once. There were so many spooky sounds along the way and snakes too. Thank goodnes for Denmaster making us learn about plants toxic to cats.I found a thistle that was edible but really yucky. I taste was more than enough. As the sun rose dew forned on some of the vegetation and I licked some of the droplets off known safe plants. I walked and walked and walked and then heard a familiar sound…….a helicopter. And thenSammy Kimmels booming voice shouting “Charles…….Charles I’m here to rescue you. Thank goodness you are OK”. Sammy landed that huge thing and helped me inside. I’ve never been so happy to see a familiar face. It felt like the time when my mom rescued me. I’m so happy to beback among my furrends. Someone said there were people trying to get money for me? Why would they do such a thing. I’m not from a wealthy family. Was someone testing me? or playing joke? Those ropes were tied pretty tight.