Camp Read, Day 5

Post date: Aug 07, 2015 11:24:40 PM

Hooray! We made it! Friday at last!

Well, the weather has been great all week; the coldest night was last night. Ben's Wilderness Survival outing (none from Troop 154 this year) was actually allowed to bring sleeping bags on their overnight. I'm told that it even snows here during the summer in the wee hours of the night...

It's been cool and dry, dare I even say that we could use a little rain? Ssshhh!...

Speaking of cold, we took another early morning dunk today (well, three of us did-- Jonny, Tristan, and myself). Why, you wonder, when you only need two dunks for the Polar Bear patch? Well, two reasons. One, we love the early morning invigorating cool water of the Adirondacks and would never miss an opportunity to take a plunge in arctic pond water. And Two, Tristan actually only had one plunge so far because he had a hard time getting up on Monday. So who actually wins the Polar Bear award? I'd have to give it to Jonny for his extra effort...well, in truth, we're all winners, except those of us who took no plunges at all (name withheld.)

Speaking of having fun in the water, yesterday a group of boys took a break from their busy schedules to participate in the Zip Line. This is a hanging trapeze that slides across the water and jerks to a stop, where you are forced to hang there indefinitely or, drop to the cool water below and swim half the length of the pond back to safety. The Zip Line is not for the faint of heart. Those who have done it before know the ropes (well, the wires), but for the first timers like Zach and me, it took a little more courage. But, I'm happy to say we all took the plunge (see pics), and are the better for it.

What else? Oh yes, last night was our traditional Un-birthday, in honor of Ben W, who couldn't attend this year. I introduced Gemma to the Dutch Oven culinary arts by helping her prepare a wonderful yellow cake with chocolate frosting. After last year's fiasco, I decided to enlist the help of one Betty Crocker, and for once, this was a can't miss. A little burnt on the bottom, but overall, a huge success. I don't think any of the boys refused a second helping.

You may be wondering, boy, it sounds like a lot of work. Keeping the boys on task, maintaining the site (we are in the running for the White Glove Award), and resolving disputes, prompting, (and more prompting). Don't you have any fun? Believe me, this has been fun for me as well. Over the course of the week, I've done a handful of things which I've either never done or haven't done in years, and I've had fun doing so:

Horseback Ride - only did once before

Archery (open shoot) - haven't done in years

Zip Line - never did before (over water, that is)

Rifle Shoot (open shoot) - never did before

Hiked up Mt. Stevens - never did before

How was I able to do all these things? Two reasons. One, the group of boys is, for the most part, self sufficient and well-behaved. Two, Gemma has taken it upon herself to hold down the fort at the site while I go off with the boys or by myself to take advantage of what Camp Read has to offer. In particular, the hike up Mt Stevens is a relentless 1000 foot climb which I did this morning; I would have taken some boys but again, they were focused on other things. So I would like to publicly thank Gemma for all she's done this week to make it fun for the boys. She is quickly becoming one with nature. Once they install flush toilets here, she can outlast anyone. Outwardly she may complain, but inwardly she knows she can compete with Bear Grylls.

Well tonight we are expecting a visitor from civilization and I know one scout in particular who is eagerly anticipating his arrival. Tonight we celebrate the end of the week with the closing campfire (with more skits, songs, and good cheer), and hopefully a small campfire back at the site before Taps at 10. BTW, many of the boys have been joining Ashton to look at the stars (Ashton is taking the Astronomy merit badge class) around 10 each evening, and they are a sight to behold up here when the air is clear (always) and the light from the "grid" is minimal.

Gemma and I have enjoyed our week, and I hope your boys did, as well. Signing off,