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Posts Tagged ‘William B. Bankhead National Forest’

Flag Ceremony - Click pic for more pics

This was a fun but exhausting camp out.  I think it took its toll on everyone.  Last year we had arrived at the Brushy Lake campground after dark.  It was completely full and there was another Troop looking for camp sites also.  Fortunately we were able to camp nearby in a hunter’s camp but we had to transport canoes back to Brushy Lake.  So this year I left work at lunch, grabbed some Scouts and headed to Brushy Lake with the Troop trailer.  We arrived at 4 in the evening and only 1 of the 13 camp sites had been taken.  We quickly grabbed three camp sites for the two patrols and the adult leaders that were coming.  We thought we were early.  The next morning after only two other camp sites had been taken we realized it was the 105 heat index that was the reason for the empty campground at 4 pm.

That evening, though, the Scouts unloaded the Troop trailer and quickly got their gear on the two camp sites for the patrols.  I lugged my gear over to the third camp site to get squatter’s rights on it.  I was then able to work with the Scouts on some of their advancements.  We were able to get a good many knocked out before the rest of the Troop arrived.  We also got some fishing in before the rest of the Troop arrived.  However it was only fishing.  There wasn’t any catching involved.  They are still working on mastering that Merit Badge.

Once the rest of the Troop and adult leaders showed up there was a lot more gear moving and camp setup.  We got all the lights lit and just sat around enjoying being out in the woods even though it was still pretty hot.  One of the adult leaders had brought some snacks for a cracker barrel so we began to partake of that while the Scouts began crawling in their tents for preparation to talk all night long.  It wasn’t long before the whining about the heat started coming from the tents.  It was at this point that we taught the Scouts that just because your tent has a fly it doesn’t mean that it needs to be put on when there is no chance of rain.  They thought it was the coolest thing once they removed the flies.  They were now actually sleeping under the stars. Actually the moon was so full and bright that you couldn’t see the stars.  Of course it was after 1 am before they finally got quiet and went to sleep.

I figured they would have a hard time getting up in the morning.  I was wrong.  As soon as the sun came over the horizon and shone down in those tents without rain flies, those Scouts were straight up and busy about waking up everyone else in the campground.  Sticking true to the Scoutmaster reputation, I was the last one up.  The Scouts did a good job of knocking out some breakfast.  I was able to scarf down a few leftovers even. Of course I then went back to my adult patrol site and chowed down on some bacon, sausage and pancakes.  It was some good stuff.

While some of the Scouts were cleaning up, the SPL got the rest of them busy lashing the flag poles together and setting up the flag pole.  He then pulled them all together and held a nice flag raising ceremony.  It was then time to walk over to the day use area where Mr. Greg was headed with the canoes on the canoe trailer.  We unloaded the canoes and showed them how to roll them up over their heads for a portage.  The Scouts had to carry the canoes about 50 yards from the parking area to the edge of the lake.  The smaller Scouts had to get about four to carry the canoes.  A couple of the older Scouts were able to do it with just two.  It was interesting to see them working together trying to get help from each other to get the canoes to the water’s edge.

Once they had them at the water’s edge we made sure everyone was slathered down with sunscreen and had a water bottle full of water with them.  I then went over the basics of entering a canoe, putting a canoe in the water, paddling a canoe and some things not to do in a canoe.  About the time I lost their attention I told them to get in the water with the canoes.  The fun was about to begin.  Mostly they followed the rules and everyone was able to get in a canoe and into the lake.

Doing the requirements for the canoe merit badge was a lot of fun.  The Scouts had to purposely jump out of the canoe and get back in without tipping it.  Then they had to take turns purposely tipping the canoe and getting another canoe to help them empty the water, right it back up and get back in it.  That was a lot of fun.  Then they had to purposely tip the canoe and swim it to shore, empty the water, right it back up and get back in it.  Then I taught them the different strokes with the paddle that are necessary to get a canoe to go where you want it to go.  The Scouts were loving all of the jumping and tipping.  In the process they learned how to help one another and themselves should a canoe tip.

We took a break for lunch and scarfed down some really good sandwiches.  It is interesting how everything tastes so much better when you are camping.  After lunch and 30 minutes of letting our food settle, we were back to the canoes and the lake.  This time they were to practice the paddle strokes and show me that they knew them.  They were all in the water paddling around and then they had to paddle a simple obstacle course.  Some had more fun than others with that one.  The better paddlers had the most fun.  And of course they had to jump out and get back in the canoe about half way through the obstacle course.  What more could you ask for?

After that we made a bee-line for the dam at the end of the lake.  The stream out the end of it was way too low for canoeing but the pool of water at the edge of the dam was perfect for swimming.  The water in the lake was warm.  However in the pool there was water coming from the very bottom of the lake through a runoff pipe in the dam.  It made the water in the pool perfect for swimming.  Once the Scouts stirred up the water and the three big alligator gar began feeding around them it was a whole different story.  The swimming ended soon after that but thoughts of fishing were being entertained.

We headed back up the lake to try and find the feeder stream that we had found last year.  The canoes got all separated and only a couple of us found the feeder stream.  It was getting late and everyone was tired of paddling so we headed back to take a break and work on dinner.  Some of the Scouts grabbed fishing poles and walked around the lake to the dam to fish for the gar.  I realized about that time that I had nearly overheated so I spent the next hour just relaxing in the adult patrol site drinking lots of water and Gatorade.

Ryan and Rodney pulled out the fish cooker and the fish and began deep frying several different kinds of fish that they had brought with them.  They also threw in onion rings and french fries.  Greg had brought some corn on the cob so they threw that in as well.  Great day in the morning, that corn on the cob was really good.  Of course everything else was just as good as well.  We were just chowing down on it as it came out of the fryer.  Unfortunately eating that way you don’t realize how much you have eaten until it is way too late.  There were several of us that wound up that way.

Some of the Scouts wandered by and saw what we were cooking.  Since we had some extra we invited them to participate in the fish fry feast after they had partaken of their dinner fixings and were still hungry.  Greg had some brownie cooking in a Dutch oven while the fish eating was going on.  Unfortunately I never even got around to trying a piece of that.  I really don’t know how that happened.

It was about 7 pm by now and the adults were all sitting around with full bellies thinking about having to sleep another night in a sweltering tent.  We also heard one thunder clap way in the distance.  I pulled out the weather radio and all we heard were heat warnings for that night and the next day.  Someone made the suggestion that we pack up everything that we could that night so we could pull out early in the morning.  They were all shocked when I made the suggestion that we just pack up and head out that night.  I think the near heat exhaustion was still working on me.  Of course they all quickly voted in favor and even a few of the Scouts shouted with joy when they were informed of the new plans.

Two hours later we were driving out of the campground.  One Scout commented that was the fastest he had ever seen everything taken down and loaded up.  I told him that was because the adults had taken over and ran the show.  I told him that they could do it that fast also if they just all worked together and each Scout did his job.  So maybe on the next camp out I can challenge them when they are running the show to pack as fast as they did when we were running the show.

We all got home late but it sure was nice to be able to take a cool shower, crawl into a clean bed and sleep under the air conditioner for the night.  We all had a great time though and got most of the canoeing Merit Badge knocked out for the Scouts.  I think next time we camp in the heat we need to come up with a mister and some way to hook it to the campground water.  Something to be thinking about as we plan for the next exciting camp out.

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Boy Scouts Cooking Their First Breakfast

Boy Scouts Cooking Their First Breakfast

After having to cancel two campouts because of weather we finally got the new Scouts out on a campout.  Of course the first thing they had to do was cook breakfast.  I am just glad that I had brought some oatmeal along to eat.  🙂  Actually they did a good job with the pancakes and no one went hungry.  Afterwards we headed over to Brushy Lake and spent the rest of the day canoeing on Brushy Lake and up the two creeks that feed it.  The boys had a great time in the canoes once they finally figured out how to steer them.  That night after a dinner prepared by the Scouts they were all ready to hit the sack.  The next morning we had a Scout prepared Sunday service.  It was very nice.  For their first campout I thought they did a good job and I was very proud of them.

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