Saturday, October 24, 2009

Dane's First Cub Scout Campout

On Friday, October 9, 2009, Dane, Mason, and I went camping with the Cub Scouts (Pack 711, chartered with St. Elizabeth's Catholic Church in Pflugerville). We spent the weekend at the Canyon Of The Eagles park, on the shores of Lake Buchanon about 15 miles north of Burnet, Texas. We had a fantastic time doing all sorts of Scout things. Here's a few shots from our trip.

The camping boys in front of their tent. We arrived Friday night, set up the tent, and then went to bed. The park has an acclaimed outdoor astronomy observatory, but we didn't have a chance to watch the stars that night because the sky was completely overcast.

The Tiger Cubs played some fun team games on Saturday morning after breakfast. In this game, Dane and Mark were teamed together and challenged to carry a tennis ball across a goal line by holding it pressed between their foreheads.

After several fun games, we paused for a quick lunch of sandwiches, chips, and apples. Eating outdoors for 2 days was definitely a new experience for Dane. He saw new and interesting ways to make food when you don't have a kitchen. Here, Mason "The Mouth" Limbaugh was hovering in the back (orange shirt) waiting for food to be set out so he could swoop in for some grub.

As lunch finished, The Tiger Cubs washed the few dirty dishes from that meal. Surprisingly, Dane eagerly plunged his hands in and helped clean. Mason stood off to the side "supervising."

After lunch, we headed out for a hike. We had about half of our Tiger Cub den camping with us, so before we set out, we paused for a group photo.

Dane and Aiden lead the Den on our nature hike. Cubmaster Jeff (Strivers) follows close behind.

The boys paused regularly to examine interesting objects. Here they try to decide if this rock feature was created by a volcano. ("It could happen!")

Here's a shot that illustrates how low Lake Buchanon has fallen. We took this picture while standing along the lake's normal shoreline. Because of the drought this year, the lake has fallen by about 40 feet, we're told. All of the area out in front of us in this shot is normally covered by water. The little bit of water that's visible is only about 2 feet deep, the Ranger said.

Back at camp after our hike, it was time for a few more games before supper. The younger Scouts challenged the older Webelos Scouts (4th & 5th graders) to a tug-of-war. The younger guys won (with a little help from a Dad or two).

The tug-of-war got the boys' appetites revved up. We soon ate a Royal Italian Feast for supper (spaghetti with meat sauce, which Mason declared to be delicious -- but then everything tastes great on a campout!) Then it was time for the best camping tradition of all:

The Campfire

Dane was more than happy to collect wood for the fire because a fire means roasted marshmellows!

Darkness came, and the fire was lit! Dane set across from me with his new Cub Scout buds. (Dad wasn't cool enough to join them. "Go sit over there, Dad.")

Then, the best part of the whole campout: roasting marshmellows, which was really just a good excuse to consume sugar and play in the fire!

On Sunday morning, we packed it all in and headed home for a much-needed shower. Camper Dane posed for a manly shot before we climbed in the truck to drive away.

Rain fell all morning Friday morning but stopped in time for us to enjoy our camping trip that afternoon. It was a soggy trip, but we didn't have a drop of rain until we were driving down the dirt road leaving the park on Sunday morning (Oct. 11th). What terrific timing!

As we were driving back home, I asked Dane how he'd rate his first campout. He declared it to be a 6 out of 10. I figured that meant he enjoyed it but wouldn't do it again. I knew I was wrong, though, when he raced in the door and started telling Lisa all the campfire skits, the games he'd played, the hikes he'd taken, and all about cooking outdoors.

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