Friday, May 8, 2009

Rough camping

Well, so what exactly happened last weekend to the older males of my household?

Barley and I picked up litter in the rain, and the day did not turn out so bad in the end. It was actually quite fun!

Where were Teddy and DH during this? Sleeping in? Enjoying a relaxing day at home in front of various electronic screens while Barley and I slogged miserably through the rain and muck to set up our tent in the pitch dark? Oh wait, no, that wasn't us--that was THEM.

So, this story starts several weeks back when we first heard mention of Camporee. Our family has gone camping in the past, and after our first disastrous trip, discovered we actually enjoy it. We have come a long way as a family to being able to commune with nature. Sure, it's wimpy car camping at a site that stocks ice and firewood for sale, but we enjoy it. We even woke up to what sure looked like rain last summer (Dang! we left the shoes out last night!). Turned out to be "forest condensation" and it ended by late afternoon, allowing the summer sun to dry us all out before it got dark.

But Camporee was not going to be car camping. This is the BOY Scouts, and the Troop associated with our CUB Scout pack had invited the oldest Cubs (Webelos) to go with them. They would need to carry their equipment, sleeping bag, pack with external frame WITH them by hiking from the parking lot. There would not be parking right at the campsite itself. DH was strongly "invited" to come along as an additional chaperone, since the Webelos Den Leader was also involved at the Pack level. DH agreed (being the great Dad that he is), and found himself concerned about how long this hike would actually be.

Rain was forecast for the weekend of the trip, but apparently this was to be a "rain or shine" event. Hey, they're Boy Scouts--they're tough, right? Well, let's just say there is a big difference between boys at age 13 and boys at age 10...

Departure from the carpool meeting place was later than expected, and it was an hour drive to get to the Camporee location. There was a long line to get parked, and everything had to be offloaded so the boys could hike to the site. Apparently there was also some confusion about which sites were assigned to which Troops. There were several hundred boys there, and a LOT of chaos. By the time they'd hiked their stuff in, and the one lone truck that was delivering the rest of the supplies arrived at their site, it was VERY dark, and VERY late. And it was pouring rain. And cold. And muddy. It was 11pm before the boys could crawl into their tents and START unpacking sleeping bags and getting changed into dry clothes.

Due to scouting regulations, DH could not share a tent with anyone other than his own child. The plan was for the boys to share tents, and DH had his own on the other side of the site. He relayed to me how Teddy came looking for him Friday night, drenched to the skin, one shoe missing, crying that he wanted to go home. This about broke my heart when I heard it, and that was 2 days later when everyone had survived.

Two BOY SCOUT Troops had actually pulled out of the event. Got all the way to the parking lot, saw the chaos and the pouring rain, and peeled out for home. One reportedly claimed they were a "city" troop and didn't do rain.

Unfortunately for Teddy, leaving was not an option. They had carpooled up with the other boys, and DH did not even have a car with him. He sat Teddy in his lap, comforted him as best he could, and promised Teddy that he would get through this, and be glad before the end of the weekend that they had stayed. DH was hoping like heck that the rain would let up in the morning and not make a liar of him. Teddy reported that his friend E was also crying in the tent, and all the 10-year old Webelos were having a hard time. (My heart broke a second time when I heard that. Teddy at least had his Dad along to turn to, but E and the others had come on their own, so there was no adult for them to seek comfort from. Not that DH wouldn't gladly have hugged all of them, but that's just not the kind of relationship they have.)

Anyway, they did stay the night. And the sun came out in the morning, and the day full of activities improved morale as expected. Teddy told DH by 1:00pm that he was already glad they had stayed. They did archery, axe-throwing (I don't think I knew about this before they went--probably just as well), string burning contest, knot-tying--wherein Teddy tied 3 perfect square knots!), campfire skits, etc., etc.

Unfortunately, the rain came back on Sunday morning, as they were packing up to go home. At least this time, they had daylight to work with. Once they arrived home, they both took HOT showers immediately, and showed no inclination to leave the house unless absolutely forced to.

Barley and I had missed them while they were gone. But not as much as they missed being home, I think.

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