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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Cub Scout Camp-out, Spring 2011

We four Limbaugh boys went with Cub Scout Pack 711 for the Spring family camp-out at Canyon of the Eagles park along Lake Buchanan, Texas, on the weekend of March 18, 2011.
We ventured out into the wilderness on Friday evening and engaged in a "pitched" battle (heh heh) to erect the tent before darkness arrived. After it was up, we headed over to the astronomical observatory in the park to have an amazing view of the moon and one of the nebulas through the observatory's 11-inch and 12-inch telescopes. (Unfortunately, I forgot my camera that night. What a bummer.)
The next morning we woke up bright and early, then sat around the tent wondering what to do next.

Oh yes, breakfast! How could we forget that. Fortunately, one of the other Cub Scout dens had done the work for us and cooked up some breakfast tacos.

Ahh, but there are no free lunches -- or free breakfasts. We had to work for our meal. Soon enough, Dane's den was put to work washing the dishes.
Ah-hah! Proof-positive that Dane can do chores! We'll put that knowledge to work at home soon.
As we washed, Den Leader "Mr. V" shared an impromptu lesson about communications across cultures by demonstrating the L.A. Cub Scout sign! "Just keepin' it real! Keepin' it real!"


















Once the dishes were washed, our 70 campers (Scouts and families) gathered for the posting of the flags and to prepare for the morning activities. The main objective for the day: complete a nature hike without killing any creatures (including the Scouts).

Here's our band of wayward hikers, left-to-right:
(Back) Joel Arndt, Joel Watson, Ben Rutherford, Marco Godoy, Aiden Villareal, and Mason Aaron.
(Front) Caleb White, Dane Limbaugh, William Stivers, and John Arndt.

And we were off ... some of us actually going in the right direction. "Turn around, Mr. Godoy! We're going the other way!"
From time to time we paused to observe nature. I think this scene was one of Mason observing the cute girls who'd just passed going in the other direction.

A crossroads. Which way now?

Ahh, back on track. ... Hey, boys, what's this? A dead squirrel! Everybody get a good look!

Then we found some honest-to-goodness animal tracks.
Whatever it was, it had some big claws! We decided it must have been an armadillo or an opossum.

Well, that was enough hiking for one day. We returned to camp, caught a quick sandwich, and then headed over for a camp-out favorite: the reptile show! Meet Solomon, a Louisiana Pine Snake. He was quite unique because (little did I know) he is one of the few types of snakes that can move backwards. Most snakes can only go forward, but slithery Solomon likes to crawl into burrows for his favorite foods (rats and gophers). Of course, that means he has to be able to get out again; hence, the "slithering backwards" feat.

We also learned that snakes do not have ears and cannot smell in the way that we do. Our demonstrator explained that they sense their surroundings with their tongue, which was a fact worth of testing. The audience considered for a moment what that might be like by putting their fingers in their ears and their noses and tasting the air with their tongues.\

Even Mr. Kinney tried it out.

We got to pet bearded lizards ...
And we got to hold the snakes. Dane was quite brave and let Solomon dangle off of him. What a great show.

Back in camp, we polished off a delicious chili supper (that Dane helped cook, no less!) and then began to gather around for the traditional campfire. Herman Godoy got the campfire started with no matches! He started it by sparking a flint. (It took him nearly 30 minutes, but he doggedly stuck to it. The Aggies in the crowd were impressed that a UT Longhorn could build a bonfire.)

The crowd grew as folks finished the dishes. Soon enough we had a quorum for the campfire.

Mr. Stivers conducted the evening's ceremonies, and we shared a lot of laughs from cute little skits. A crowd favorite presented by the Webelos included a sing-song verse about what they might be if they weren't campers.

"A bus driver I would be!
Swerve, skid!
I think I hit a kid!
Swerve, skid!
I think I hit a kid!"


As the night settled in, the marshmallows came out. What's a campfire without marshmallows!

Well, they're tastier if they're not burnt, Mason.
And the hit of the night, according to Dane, was the hot dogs over the fire. He'd never had one, and he absolutely flipped out about it. That little boy ate three entire hot dogs by himself, they were so good.
Shortly after, it was off to bed. When we awoke in the morning and began packing up, we found a very unwelcome visitor who'd decided to park himself just under the edge of our tent. Nasty!
All in all, it was a wonderful weekend. And I especially enjoyed just watching my boys. They are truly growing up too fast.

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