A year later and at a different SES Unit I once again had an opportunity to participate in what’s called Navshield and this time I jumped at the chance. The year was 1996 and I recall went to the Blue Mountains, to area called the Blue Labyrinth where over 2 days we hiked to various checkpoints in the bush (mostly off-track) in attempt to gain the highest points score. By the end of the weekend I was sore and scratched but I was hooked.
Now it’s 2016 and I’ve just competed in my 20th Navshield event. It’s something I’m very proud to achieve and something that I look forward to each year. I’ve only missed one year since I started and I think that was due to the birth of our son.
Those 20 appearances have been filled with so many highs and a few lows as I reflect. Considering we would average 25-30km walking in a 1-day event or 40-50km in a 2-day event I’ve covered a lot of bushland and seen some amazing country. On 5 consecutive occasions we won the SES category, I’ve placed 5th outright in the leading class of the 2-day event, I’ve placed 3rd outright in the leading class of the 1-day event and then in my 20th year when some would say “I should be slowing down” we won the class 2 category. Couple those achievements with the countless team members I have hopefully shared my skills and knowledge upon.
Each year the stories of past events are told over and over again to unsuspecting newbies, like the time we walked in the snow or walked in the torrential rain for 8 hrs straight or stealthily hid in the bushes to avoid other teams or did the event without sleeping or camped under the tension power lines only to joke in the morning that glowed from the radiation given off by the lines and so the tales get bigger and bigger, but one thing is for certain – I’ve loved my 20 years of participation at Navshield.