Date: March 14-16, 2014
Trip Report from a Base Camp Perspective
Friday afternoon, March 14th, started with great anticipation and a little bit of apprehension as a group of 25 adventurous Boy Scouts and their leaders headed out for a weekend camping trip. Some Scouts for their first time with the Boy Scouts, others hoping to just “survive” the weekend. Oddly enough, the supplies for a simple 2 night trip included 2 large trailers, a 4 wheeler and a “water buffalo”.
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We left on time and arrived at the 100 acre woods (property of the Wells in Jackson County). The supplies were transported to base camp where the new scouts would be for the weekend. The surviving scouts were sent packing into the woods.
Camp was set-up and a great fire was started for the night. I call it a great fire, because the first few flames were 6 feet high with several boys noticing the fire was taller than them. A large tarp was hung between the trees to use as our pavilion, tents were set-up, and a few jokes and “really?”’s were made when discussing bathroom accommodations. Friendships were started around the campfire as the boys began identifying similar interests. Lights out at 9:30 was met with the usual long and sometimes loud conversations by those Scouts not quite ready to go to sleep. We were also serenaded by a myriad of sounds from a nearby dairy and some possible coyotes. I am quite sure I heard an owl as well.
Saturday morning came early, 7am, with calls for fire and cooking crews. The boys got their first experience of being dependent upon each other and doing the work while the Adults play, or at least just sit around the campfire. A wonderful breakfast of sausage and eggs was enough to fill everyone’s stomachs and ready the group for working on tenderfoot requirements.
Speaking of tender feet, this is where the adventure really began. About mid-morning our first, and only, injury occurred. However, it wasn’t a boy, but the Scout Master himself. A misplaced step in the woods into a hole resulted in a broken foot, a rescue operation by the Scouts, a 4 wheeler ride to the road and eventually X-rays. X-rays confirmed that the snapping sound reported by another Adult was in fact bone, not a stick. Tom reports that he expects a full recovery, though he may be a little slower for the next few weeks.
Getting back to camp, the scouts continued working on advancement requirements until time for lunch. Sloppy Joe’s were lunch fare and received rave reviews from the group. I myself wonder if the spaghetti seasoning wasn’t used instead of the sloppy joe seasoning but either way, the sandwiches hit the spot.
The afternoon was filled with more advancement work, a Scoutmaster’s conference, and free time. The boys also got to visit around to the survival camps and check out the shelters, the really dirty scouts, and some rabbits in various stages of cooking. Once back at camp, it was time for dinner: spaghetti, apples, salad and rolls. The boys again made some wonderful food that was enjoyed by all. Even those who were rapidly finding that hunger increases the number of things that you want to eat.
Saturday nights campfire program was great with story tellers, bad jokes, one story that was a bad joke, and a group story that everyone contributed too. Campfire also gave each Scout a chance to express his opinion about the weekend through our “thorns, roses, and buds” tradition. I even heard “best camping trip ever” from one of the Scouts.
The adventure continued overnight as the rain, rain, rain came down, down, down. 6:45 came a little early to some of the scouts who definitely did not want to adventure out into the dark and rain to fix breakfast. But a little encouragement and the thought of bacon and chocolate chip pancakes did the expected motivation to the young men. They worked diligently to provide breakfast for themselves and the survivors with 5 packages of bacon, 2 whole boxes of pancake mix, a bag of chocolate chips and bananas. With breakfast and packing finished, Wesley W lead us in a chapel service on the timely and observable need for cleanliness (Mark 7:15). For sure, the rain provided both stress and opportunity. Stress from having to pack and move some very wet and heavy camping gear and the opportunity to watch Mr. Phillips get the trailer stuck in the mud and then stuck again, and then stuck for good.
With a little help from Scout Troop 537 who was also involved in survival camping and some more work in the rain, we finally loaded the trailer to return home. While a little later than planned, all made it back safe and sound looking forward to next month’s trip.
Wesley W (Patrol Leader)
Atticus L (Patrol Leader)
Base Camp Adults
(Charlie B, unplanned but much appreciated)