Camping and Events

It was the WORST of times …… was the BEST of times….

It was the worst of times …… was the best of times….

It was absolutely the worst send off we have ever had. I can’t remember kicking off one of our campouts with the Emergency Weather Siren going off for 10 minutes. In the annals of Troop 175 history – which technically includes troop 275 when I was a scout – the worst I can remember was 10 straight days of monsoon like rain on my trip to Philmont. Or there was the famous hail incident of 2008 at good old Camp Napowan; swirling clouds, a noticeable temperature drop and hail, all pointing to a “not so good” afternoon one day as the boy’s worked on a service project. As I recall, we high tailed it into our cars and made a mad dash for the camp. In retrospect I’m not so sure where we thought we were going. Most likely, just hanging out in a dry, air conditioned car was good enough for us. But I digress. (If anyone knows of similar Troop 175 brushes with severe weather, please do share with us in the comments.}.

As we approached the scout trailer, which we had planned on towing on the White Pines camping trip, an eerie dark cloud overwhelmed us. The temperature drop, heavy rain drops and strong winds reminded of a similar incident. Thus the thought of getting all our gear into the trailer diminished very quickly as each boy arrived. Knowing how wet they would be, how scared they might be and the frightened they all were since the alarm was now blaring the announcement of this impending storm, we dropped everything and evacuated to the safety of the PMC. The fear and panic seemed to diminish when they all could hang out and laugh with each other. Of course the storm did indeed pass; however, that was the easy part.

After waiting about an hour and a half, we finally got to load everything into the trailer and hit the road. Just as quickly we saw there were problems with the trailer lights. Then the car’s electrical harness, then another boy arrived ….the list just kept going. All the while, we know that there is ANOTHER huge storm on its way and this is quickly turning into one of the biggest omens for not leaving that anyone could imagine.

Well, lo and behold, we re-jigger some luggage, get an extra driver and we’re on our way. The sun even came out. And since we left so late, the traffic was even light! Hallelujah!!….

BUT…this day just would not end. At the Oasis we just made it inside before the second deluge of the day arrived.

After ANOTHER 30 minute delay – we were entertained by Harry J’s “rain dancing” – we tried one last time to make it to White Pines State Park. Upon arrival, another snafu confronted us…no ranger available! It’s ten pm, we’ve been on this trip since 4 pm and now with 3 carloads of boys, we don’t even know where we’re supposed to camp. Can it get any gloomier than this? No it cannot.

Even though we have just gone through Murphy’s Law incarnate disguised as an afternoon/evening, good fortune was right around the corner. A State Conservation officer arrived along with news that he can’t really help us, but he might be able to show us where we can camp. Thank GOD! And almost as if on cue, the Ranger arrives to help us salvage what’s left of this day. It’s almost 10 pm and this mess is just about over. But, the rain still hasn’t stopped and we still have to set up. Oh Joy………..

And just as we finish setting up, the rain stops! Go figure.

And yet, the world didn’t end and everyone got some semblance of a good nights sleep to awaken to this:

Danny C

Proof of all the rain we encountered.

Of course we only mustered on all along because we knew that it was going to be a gorgeous day on Saturday, and we were not let down.

Breakfast was pancakes and bacon which the boys always love making

– “I’m making a MONSTER, etc”….Funny how they always forget they have to clean up!!

After the usual hike to the White Pines’ Inn gift shop, and….

Playing on the slide

 we came back to camp with the strong suggestion that the boys play in the creek all afternoon.. Well, I did try to give them the whole – you have to wait an hour after you eat before swimming. But that didn’t really stop them.

We did however, manage to keep several of the boys back at camp where some taught and other learned the Totin Chit and Fire’mn Chip cards. This instructs them on use of an axe, saw and other sharp instruments, and how to start and maintain a fire using fire safety skills. Great job boys.

Warm fun in the sun.

Jim C

Adam C.

Justin V

Danny C

This year I thought I might bring along my minnow seine net. I bought this many years ago to seine for minnows. Knowing boys and fish, I was pretty sure they would enjoy it. Just like clockwork, on the first or second cast Matt Z, with huge enthusiasm says “Hey you got something”.

I couldn’t feel anything, but sure enough, there was a little crayfish. Then another and another. After the first few, I told them they might make a good meal. After about 10 of them, everyone wanted to catch one. This was now the spectacle of the weekend.


If they weren’t catching these little guys, they were playing with them, trying to keep them from running away, and thinking of how they could get them home to be kept as pets.

This did indeed occupy them for the next 2 hours or so and will likely be talked about for many years to come.

Oh, and don’t worry, there are none in their backpacks or sleeping bags – or their stomachs. Turns out that these are mud bottom eaters and not very tasty, so we weren’t going to eat them. Keeping them as pets though….that was another thing. Cooler heads eventually prevailed and our clawed little friends were let go on the QT. Au revoir ………..Maybe next year.

Into the night, we had our new scouts try their new found fire’mn chit skills in starting the campfire and after a little work and help they achieved success. (ok it actually started and was quite good a bit later than this).

After a few ghost stories we called it a night – if you want to scare em a little bit, tell them you heard this noise outside….”STEP DRAG…STEP DRAG….STEP DRAG…and then say “MEAT” really loud, you might get them to jump a bit.

I hope it was a great weekend for them. And we look forward to Napowan and a few more outings in August, September and October.


If you think your boy enjoys scouting as much as I do, why not tell five or ten of your friends about it? Friends whose boys are the same age but aren’t in the program? Typically for every 10 -15 people you talk to, with boys your sons age, we end up with 1 extra Scout. If we all did this we could easily double the troop size by next year. Whadda ya think?

Happy Scouting


2 comments on “It was the WORST of times …… was the BEST of times….

  1. Mr. A. B.
    June 22, 2010

    One story to share.

    In 1982, I set out with my Dad, brother and several other scouts for Philmont. After driving for nearly 10 hours, we pitched a Large Umbrella Tent in Salina, Kansas. And then it happened–A major storm with torrential rain and strong winds. We heard what we thought sounded like a train and then our tent (with 9 of us inside) was picked off the ground and began sliding in the mud. The storm passed. We were soaked, but all of us were O.K. The tent was kind of destroyed, but we were able to use it for one night on the way back to Chicago. Yes, it was a tornado that went through Salina that July evening! I still love storms–they bring the best out of scouts! Being Brave and Prepared! Good Camping to all!!

  2. troop175sjb
    June 22, 2010

    Great story Andy. And thanks again for driving on short notice.

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This entry was posted on June 21, 2010 by in Scout Camping and tagged , , , , .
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Bryan on Scouting

The official blog of Scouting magazine, a publication of the Boy Scouts of America.


All The Wrong News That's Unfit to Print is the best place for your personal blog or business site.

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