Monday, April 30, 2018

Spring 2018 Cub Scout Campout

My son's Cub Scout Pack had their Spring campout the weekend taxes were due, so I worked hard to clear the calendar. This time, we camped at the Washington Monument. No, not the one on the Mall in Washington, DC. This monument was built in 1827 and was the first monument dedicated to George Washington. Our visit to the monument will get its own post.

We arrived at the park Friday night and set up camp in the waning twilight hours. Fortunately, our tent is easy to put up and the kids (my daughter tagged along) worked on another project while I inflated our air mattresses.

Early camp setup

All they need is a tarp to make a tent

One of the excellent things about this campground is the nearby bathrooms. Just beyond the bathrooms we saw an old school bus that was redecorated in the sort of fun, sun-shiny way that made you think the occupants would be the serial killers if this was a low-budget horror movie. As it turned out, those guys were the park staff who made sure we had what we needed.

Bathrooms and bus

It was too windy that night for a campfire. To occupy the boys, we had a Snipe Hunt on a nearby field. The excitement was palpable as we tried to stay quiet and dark while clutching our plastic bags hoping to make a catch. The hunt was successful in that it used up a bunch of unscheduled time and wore out the kids. It was unsuccessful in that the kids were all hyped up and not ready to sleep.

We had good sleep that night (by "we" I mean "my children"--I had my usual first night of restlessness in the wilderness). My kids woke up early (6 a.m.). We walked up the hill to the playground to be noisy out of earshot of the other campers.

The way up

Field with playground in the distant left

The playground was popular all weekend but we had it to ourselves in the pre-breakfast hours.



More hanging

Sliding too fast for focus

More climbing

The sunrise

Breakfast was pancakes and sausages which we were happy to eat. The morning program was a hike up to the monument, which as I wrote earlier will have its own post. We came back for lunch (sandwiches and chips) and then rotated through stations in the afternoon.

Two candidates vied for the most popular station--knot tying and fire starting. Fire starting was the typical "light a fire without matches" routine that everyone loves. Knot tying started out typical. To spice things up, they made a practical demonstration of the knots by lifting willing participants into the air with a long rope. One scout would sit in the loop and the others (with some parents' help) pulled on the other end, hoisting the child into the air (the rope was thrown over a strong tree limb). Leaders were strategically positioned to avoid falls or too much pulling.

Getting ready to go up

In the air!

One of the leaders even took a turn.

How many scouts are needed to lift a den leader?

The cub master made a new sign for our camp site that our preschooler (who came with Mom for the day) was happy to pose by.

Our new camping sign

The favorite unscheduled activity was football. They played all sorts of variations on the game every time there was free time.


That night, my son's den had to cook something without using pots and pans. We'd planned ahead to make Silver Turtles (also known as foil dinners). We added some rice, veggies, and meat between two layers of aluminum foil. After wrapping those up, we made a mark on the top with mustard so we'd know who's foil pack belonged to whom. Then we put them in the fire for about twenty minutes (the meat and rice were precooked, so we were just warming them). They turned out very well.

Roasting foil packets

Obviously not a big broccoli fan

That night was the official campfire. The wind had died down. The only negative about the campground was the lack of a fire pit. We used one of the cooking pits for our campfire.

Start of campfire

We had the usual array of skits, jokes, and songs. Everyone had fun.

Webelos skit

My son's part of the skit

The evening ended with smores and dutch oven cobblers. Smores were a little tricky around the smaller campfire, requiring the scouts to go den by den to roast their marshmallows. We went to sleep around 10 and my kids actually slept till 7 a.m. (with one potty run at 5). I was amazed. We packed up the tent and had a quick breakfast before heading home.

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