Archive for the ‘Geocaching’ Category

Fun At The Campfire - Click pic for more pics

It was very cold on February, 27, 2010. So cold that we earned our Polar Bear Badge. (18 degrees).

We all had a good time with the activities.

Geocaching was really cool.  Since we were the first group we were able to “hide” the Geocaches.

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Directing Trailer Packing

Directing Trailer Packing - Click pic for more pics

Cold December nights like this make me really scared
Scoutmaster’s not really there
And my plate is really bare
Another lonely night
My bag, my tent underneath a tree
Can this really be
I’m singing Boy Scout songs
And there’s no marshmallows for me

As you can see from the picture above the adults had more fun at this camp out than the Scouts did.  Of course we staged this to have a little fun.  It was a cold and rainy weekend.  I discovered that the boys can handle a lot of adversity but the cold really puts the pressure on them.

We had a good setup Friday night and the boys got in bed early because they were cold and it was raining and what else was there to do.  They had the tents covered with tarps and all the food and cooking stuff under cover.  They were prepared.

The next morning it wasn’t raining and they were able to uncover everything and knock out some breakfast.  That provided an opportunity for learning once they had dirtied up all their dishes just for one meal.  Once they got that cleaned up though it was time for a nice little Geocaching hike up through Camp Tranquility and back down around by the BMX track.  I had to cut and run for a couple of hours but I heard that the boys had a good time on the hike.  The problem was that when they got back the wind had blown the tarp off one patrol’s tents and it had rained.  Now some of their stuff was wet and it was cloudy and about to rain again.  However they were able to adapt and overcome and found a dry spot to sleep with what dry equipment they had.

The adults whipped up some really awesome deer stew in a Dutch oven and feasted that night.  The boys did alright with a meal plan that they had.  It was a warm meal on a cold night and I think they all enjoyed it.  It was time for a nice fire and some skits at that point.  Of course we had the fire going since coming back from the hike so when it started sprinkling that night we just kept heaping the wood on and it kept burning.  We had two pop-up canopies pulled together so everyone was able to get under there and put on their skits.  After that it was getting late and only colder so all the boys headed off to bed.  A couple of the adults stayed up to clean up the Dutch oven and enjoy the fire for a little longer.  With the rain it was rather easy to put out the fire.

The sleeping was good with the rain beating on the tent during the night.  Well, at least it was for me and the other adults.  This time the second patrol had their tarp over their tents fly off during the night and they got wet.  I think both patrols learned to check their stakes and make sure they are solid before leaving or going to bed.  Also before skit time a couple of boys had decided that momma was close enough to come get them.  So they took their stuff out of their tent and left.  This left an empty tent that they had neglected to stake down.  During the night, once the tarp over it was gone, it went blowing through the trees.  Fortunately it didn’t make it very far before hanging up.  Another lesson learned the hard way.

In the morning the sun was out and it was warming up.  Always the case with camping out.  It seems the day you leave is the best day for camping while the others were horrible.  But it made it nice for having breakfast and packing up the trailer – twice.  Once to see that everything doesn’t fit when you just throw it in.  The second time to see that everything will fit when there is order to the chaos.  Another lesson learned the hard way.  Have I mentioned this was a very educational trip?  🙂

There were some fun times to be remembered, Scouts completed advancements without knowing it, the trip home was nice and the Scouts learned a lot about camping in cold, wet weather.  All in all I would have to say it was a successful campout.

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Scouts and Scoutmaster doing inventory.

Scouts and Scoutmaster doing inventory - Click picture for more pics.

This was my first time to camp at Camp Jack Wright.  I had a really good time.  I don’t know that the Boy Scouts did.  I think the pavilion was a little far for their liking.  Also they had decided to take inventory on this trip so they brought everything.  I think they brought too much stuff to the pavilion instead of leaving it at the trailer and identifying it there.

We arrived at dark but because we knew we were staying in pavilions three and four we just needed to find them.  It was easy enough to find them but then the boys wanted to take the first pavilion and leave the adults with the second one that was further away.  Since the Scoutmaster had a brace on  his right ankle so he could walk that decision was quickly overruled.  You never heard so much whining and fussing in all your born days.

Now for the funny thing (at least to the leaders) that happened on this campout.  The leaders brought there stuff to the first pavilion and put it on the picnic table.  The boys brought all their stuff to the first pavilion and then carried it to the second pavilion.  It was a two stage process.  Well a little later some of the adults began looking for there stuff.  The boys had taken almost everything from the first pavilion to the second pavilion.  In the end they had taken enough adult stuff to amount to at least two trips between the pavilions.  Now that was funny.

I got to try out my new sleeping bag.  I had frozen at the Camporee so I had upgraded my bag.  I was looking forward to trying it out.  WOW!  The temperature that night was about the same as it was at the Camporee.  I actually got hot in my new bag.  It is going to be nice this winter.

The next morning the boys had a big breakfast planned with sausage and eggs and biscuits in a Dutch Oven.  By the time they got through cooking, eating and cleaning, it was lunch time.  Seriously.  I know there were several boys that learned a very valuable lesson from that experience.  Which, by the way, is what Scouting is all about.

Typically lunch is cold sandwiches but they had a big thinker in the planning process apparently as they had another hot meal planned.  I made the mistake of trying some of it when they offered it to me.  That won’t happen again.  YUCK!  So then they had to clean up all of that.  WOW!

Sometime later that evening they got started on the inventory.  It was listed on the camp plan to start after breakfast around 8:00 am.  Well they quickly went through it once.  Then I showed them how it should have been done.  Look out, here came the whiners again.  So taking what they had done they began to add to it and do it better.

They did get some free time though and came up with this crazy game that had them running all over the rock ridge along the backside of the camp.  Fortunately they only needed the first aid kit to stop the bleeding once.  Not sure what this says about the rest of the boys but we have a couple of boys that are real good at first aid.  🙂

Later on that evening they completed the game and finished knocking out the inventory.  It was time to cook something in the fire then.  Of course building a fire is always the highlight of a campout.  As they were preparing for that I slipped off and left the boys with the other two leaders.  I went and rehydrated some home made chilli for my dinner.  No way was I going to try what they were cooking.  Later on I found out it was hamburgers and hotdogs that they had cooked on a grill over the fire.  I think the hamburgers were burned on the outside and nearly raw on the inside according to the leader that tried one.  He hadn’t been there for lunch and so wasn’t as experienced in the cooking abilities of that group of Scouts as I was.  Poor guy.

I had mentioned that I was up for a night time Geocaching run if anyone wanted to so after they completed dinner a few of them and a leader came down to where I was all ready to go get a smiley face.  Boy did we have a hike.  We hiked nearly 3 and a half miles in a little over 2 and a half hours.  That doesn’t take into affect all the scrub bushes we tore through and hills we climbed and streams we jumped and rocks we climbed.  WOW! What a night hike.  We were all wore out by the time we got back.  However we all got a couple of smiley faces and that was good.

The next morning I got one of the Scout leaders to go with me and we hiked over the Camp Jack Wright side property line down into Tannehill State Park.  It wasn’t nearly as far as I had thought.  I needed to replace one of my Geocaches that had gotten stolen the weekend before during the Pack campout.  We quickly arrived at the scene and was able to replace the cache.  It was a nice walk back in the morning sun as it warmed up the forest around us.

Of course all this time the boys were hauling and loading gear.  I took the time to use my GPS to map all of the camp sites at Camp Jack Wright and take pictures of all of the interesting stuff there.  I still had to wait around for the boys to finish up.  Another lesson learned.  We got the trailer loaded and headed back to the Scout shack.

However once there the Quartermaster showed up and said all of the equipment needed to be divided among the patrols.  So out comes all of the equipment and starts going into little piles.  With more adults there this happened a lot quicker.  It was soon assigned, noted and placed in the Scout shack and everyone was on their way home.  Another successful Scouting campout.

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Scouts Filtering Water From a Stream

Scouts Filtering Water From a Stream - Click picture for more pics

Troop 220 had a lot of fun on this campout.  We were getting prepped for a backpacking trip so everyone packed up their backpacks for this car camping trip.  To simulate a backpacking trip and to let some of the first timers feel a backpack on a hike, Friday evening we parked at the North Trailhead in Oak Mountain State Park and hiked over the hill into the campground.  Even with such a short hike we were able to tweak some backpacks to get them to ride more comfortably.  We signed in, got a camp site and pitched our tents.  We also only brought food that could be packed in a backpack.  I had my backpacking tent so some of us had a hot, rehydrated meal while others chose to eat a cold meal.  We knew tomorrow was going to be a long day so we all hit the sack early.

The next morning breakfast went rather quickly as we didn’t drag out the frying pans and Coleman stoves and such.  For one thing we didn’t have those and for another there isn’t much work involved with opening a wrapper on  a breakfast bar.  Now I of course had to have a bowl of hot oatmeal to keep me going for the day.  We were up and hiking by the time we are just starting to eat on a regular campout.

We grabbed our daypacks, instead of our backpacks, and headed back over the hill to the North Trailhead to start up the big hills of the Blue Trail.  It didn’t take long to find out who was outta shape and who wasn’t.  It also didn’t take long to be thankful we had left the backpacks behind.  Our route was varied somewhat as we took the occasional detour to find a Geocache.  There were some new ones that I hadn’t found and most of the boys had not found the old ones.  They got to see some parts of the park they wouldn’t normally see on a regular hike.

We got to the top and headed out to King’s Chair for our lunch.  The Scouts really enjoyed it there.  The view was awesome and some wanted to try to climb down the cliff.  We promised them that would come later as we got more people trained on rappelling and acquired some rappelling gear.  We already have one experienced BSA trained rappelling leader in the Troop so we don’t have far to go.

After lunch we headed on down the Blue Trail to get some more caches and see more of the park.  Well about there we found out that some Scouts had chosen to listen to their parents instead of their Scout leaders.  Instead of bringing their hydration bladder with lots of water they had chosen to just bring their Nalgene bottle.  Well they were out of water and now borrowing from the other Scouts who had brought plenty of water.  That is until someone else started drinking it.  It was a good lesson for those who didn’t bring enough water.

So we took the next cut through trail down to the CCC road and a water supply.  Well if you call a stream a water supply.  We did because one of the Scouts had a new super duper Katadyn water filter.  They had a blast filtering the cool stream water and sucking it down as soon as their water bottles were full.  The rest of us topped off our water supplies also since we all wanted to taste the cool, clean water.  It was good.  Then another Scout troop came along and their leader mentioned something about the dead deer he had seen above us in the stream.  He had the boys worried for a little while until they realized he was just pulling their legs.

So since the Scouts were all getting wore out we headed on back to the camp for an evening of swimming down at the camp ground beach area.  They had a blast swimming.  I wondered where all that energy came from since they had been so tired on the trail.  🙂   We then hiked back to camp and drip dried in the process.  It was time for dinner and some more rehydrated food or unwrapping of the bars.  To meet some Backpacking Merit Badge requirements a lot of the Scouts got to light my stove and boil some water on it.  Most of their boiled water went to making hot chocolate though instead of food.  🙂

After dinner we worked on advancements for the Tenderfoot Scouts so they can make it on to Second Class.  They really enjoyed that as it required building a fire.  Who doesn’t like that?  Soon it was time to hit the sacks again.  Tonight there wasn’t any problem getting the Scouts in their tents.  They were all tired from a long, fun day.

The next morning we were once again up and quickly done with breakfast and packing up.  We had them backpack one more time back over the hill to the North Trailhead to get that final feeling of hiking out that last morning with a backpack that wasn’t quite as full as when they came in.   They all had a great time and are looking forward to the next full blown backpacking trip.

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Patrol Leader Finding A Geocache

Patrol Leader Finding A Geocache

The Troop decided to get some hiking in for a little exercise and just to get outside.  They thought why not go ahead and knock out some Geocaches while they were at it.  So Oak Mountain State Park seemed the proper place to go.  To get the heart going they started out by going up the yellow-white connector.  I personally believe that is the hardest, steepest hill in the park.  Once they survived that they swept on over to the Blue Trail and started knocking out Geocaches.  The Scouts found several Geocaches during the hike and covered just a smidgen over 5 miles while they were at it. They all seemed to enjoy the accomplishment of finding the caches and covering 5 miles.

We only had one exciting tumble that I got to see the end of.  I heard a crack and a yell behind me and whirled around in time to see a Scout going feet over head.  As his shoulders hit the ground and his feet came over his shoulders, one of his shoes came off and went flying through the air.  He rolled a couple of more times, as we were on an incline, before he came to a stop.  Once he proclaimed that he was okay I couldn’t help but laugh at the image of that shoe flying through the air.  After I told him what I saw he was kinda proud of the fact that his tumble was hard enough to send his shoes flying.  He had tangled with a dead tree and the tree won.

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