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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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