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Best Memory Of Camping From Your Youth

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Back when camporees were a big thing, our troop practiced every Saturday for two months. During that time, it was learned that the new guy (me) was a natural at tying knots, so I was given the task of inspecting every knot and lashing at every event that used ropes. I never had to tie a knot and the PL couldn't say done until I said all was good. That was a pretty big deal considering that over half our patrol of 12 was 14 and older. Our patrol took blue ribbons in knots and the chariot race.

 

Barry

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My most vivid memory was at a Summer Camp BSA swim test.  The water was so cold, it completely took my breath away when I "jumped feet first into water over my head."  I think I may have completed two or three strokes before I had to get out.

 

My Boy Scout experience is so long ago, we used to go on Patrol campouts with no adults.  My Patrol Leader's house backed up on an undeveloped area (what we used to call a "forest") and we'd hike back in there and camp for the weekend.  I remember struggling to learn Morse Code.

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Somewhere around 1963 or 64. We were on our annual weeklong troop campout at the Chimneys campground in the GSMNP (it is only a picnic area now). It was notorious for bears to raid campsites and we must have been very attractive to them. The ranger, when asked, said that if we saw one headed our way we had the greatest deterrent possible, a couple of dozen boys pelting the bear with pebbles. And we tried it out too and it worked great. But one evening we didn't notice when a bear slipped right into the mess tent. The SM in a single motion swung around snagging a shovel on the way and completed the turn by whacking that bear right on the head. The bear just shook its head and turned around and left. We ate well that night.

I'm trying to sort which memories were the best: the night that we watched as the baby bears tore down my tent, playing with the ropes while mom watched...or swimming in what felt like an ice cold river rushing alongside the campsites...or climbing the chimneys...or riding the the back of the pickup truck through the tunnels on the Blue Ridge Parkway, screaming to hear the echos as we went through. It was all good...a long, long time ago.

Edited by packsaddle
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The troop in which I was a Scout did its own summer camp every other year.

 

In 1958, we backpacked into a lake on the east side of the Sierra Nevada Mountains roughly opposite Yosemite National park on the west side.  Dusty trail in and heavy packs for a week's stay. We got to our campsite for a late lunch on Day 2 and left for home after lunch on Day 8.  No "facilities" beyond the trail.  There was a lake with a cliff background around 2/3 of its circumference. On the open side of the lake we set up patrol sites plus one for the three adults who backpacked in and stayed .  What a view!   Birds and ground squirrels were so tame that they would hop on your plate to share meals (not the two pairs of Golden Eagles).  The skunks were tame too.  We just needed to stay calm.  There was a shallow part of the lake that was just (barely) warm enough for swimming. Two fishermen showed up on Day 6 and told us "no one comes up here." (Pre-frame packs, much less waist-belts).  Fishing.  Day hikes.  Nature.  Great campfires every night.  Spades tournaments. Super echoes off the cliffs.  The air smelled magical.  Wind in the Jeffery Pines.  Scouting paradise.  

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Camporee, 1975, southern Arizona...we are encamped in a fairly open area, mesquite trees here and there.   Friday night:  pouring rain.   For a good long while.

 

Our floorless, canvas tents were a little damp but alright.   I remember sitting by the fire with a couple of the scouts and one of the dads...despite the damp, we had a nice fire going, a deep bed of coals, putting out good warmth.   Good camaraderie.

 

The next day, we went through the normal competitive stuff in the morning.   But the afternoon event?   Secret.   Every scout had to be present, and the SPLs too.

 

A bobtail truck pulls up in the middle of a big field.   The SPLs form a horseshoe around the end of the truck.   All of the scouts form a bigger horseshoe behind them.

 

The big announcement:   there was a live chicken for each troop.  They would be released from the truck all at once.  Each SPL had to catch a chicken, and with his troop, run back to camp.   Then:

- Kill the chicken

- Clean it

- Cook it

- Run a sample piece to the judging booth, about a mile down the road.   Once they tasted it, the clock stopped.

 

Well, as you can imagine, the whole chicken catching phase was chaos.   Probably about 30 troops of varying strength present.   But our SPL caught a chicken quick, and we raced back (over railroad tracks and a barbed wire fence) to camp.

 

Our SM was rather surprised to see us.   Growing up as a farm boy, he knew what to do.   Get a shovel, dig a hole, get the hatchet.   Chop the head off.   Instead of plucking, skin the chicken (quicker, less mess).   Disembowel.  Cut it up.  Get the dutch oven going with some oil.   Dredge chicken in flour/salt/pepper.  

 

I don't remember how we placed, if at all, but that was the best tasting chicken I ever ate.   Quite a memory, because it probably hasn't been repeated too often since.

 

PS   For you '77 jambo vets--I was on a trek at Philmont that same timeframe.   On our last day, about a mile out of base camp, we met a day hiker (headed for the Tooth of Time) who had just come back from the '77 jamboree.   We chatted a bit.   I still recall his description of the rain and mud!   Must have been something else!

Edited by desertrat77

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PS   For you '77 jambo vets--I was on a trek at Philmont that same timeframe.   On our last day, about a mile out of base camp, we met a day hiker (headed for the Tooth of Time) who had just come back from the '77 jamboree.   We chatted a bit.   I still recall his description of the rain and mud!   Must have been something else!

Picture Seabase with mud and trees and you have he picture.

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How to pick just one?

 

I'll start with the 1972 (73?) Highline District, Chief Seattle Council camporee at the Yakima Firing Range. We were all loaded into military troop transport vehicles. Somewhere near Snoqualmie pass, the caravan pulled over so we could all get off the hard benches and stretch our legs. Some soldier yelled, "Hit the bushes." Imagine hundreds of scouts lining I-90 peeing all at the same time. That wasn't the best part though. All the scouts were sitting on the side of a hill when the military gave a live demonstration of its might. Big guns fired over our heads from 20 miles a way and blasted the crap out of some old cars in front of us. Then the helicopters came in and did more damage, followed by tanks and mortars and so on. It was a boy's dream watching stuff get blown to smithereens.

 

There are so many other wonderful memories backpacking in the North Cascades and the Olympics too.

 

Then there was the short backpacking trip near Alpental ski area where it rained the whole time. We pretty much just squatted down in our ponchos the whole time while one scout, Bobby, whined, "Leave me here to die." We finally got him to pack up and he led the charge back to vehicles. What a great turn around that was.

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Then there was the short backpacking trip near Alpental ski area where it rained the whole time. We pretty much just squatted down in our ponchos the whole time while one scout, Bobby, whined, "Leave me here to die." We finally got him to pack up and he led the charge back to vehicles. What a great turn around that was.

 

Awesome.  :D

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What  a flood of memories that question brings!  Sunrise on the Tooth,  ordeal night,  the blacksnake in my sleeping bag, 2001 Jambo, my first meeting as the SPL, on and on.

 

I guess the one that  really sticks out ( not counting the Campfire Girl camp where I met my wife to be ) was the first 50 miler. 

In our troop this event was held every spring, and was be invitation only.  I the guys who made it last year asked you,  you could go if you wanted, and were first class or higher.

This year there were only three scouts from last years hike who were going. two were PLs and the the other was our SPL. I was both honored and amazed that they asked me if I wanted to tag along. no adults were crazy enough to hike with us, so we just went by ourselves. In that day and age it was rather common for patrols to hike and camp alone.

 We started off headed south on the A trail just west of Gettysburg Pa.  on a warm sunny day with heavy canvas packs, and light hearts. 

 Woke up next morning to sore feet and threatening clouds, it started to rain lightly about 10:00 or so by lunchtime it was comming down hard.

 It rained all the rest of the day... and all night....and the next day... and night...and the next ...and the next....

The small creeks turned into roaring, foaming, torrents that had us searching up and down stream for a fallen tree that we could use as a bridge. 

Lighting fires got hard, then harder, then impossible (at least for us) so cold food was all we had,

the trail was muddy,when it was not actually under water, we slipped and slid and fell repeatedly.

The turning point came when I had fallen for what seemed like the hundredth time and just lay there, John the SPL turned and came back asking if I was OK?

I told him " I just can't do this."  He said "  O yes, you can! because you have to! "

So I did. 

We all did.

there was a bond between the four of us after that, being teenaged boys, we never tried to put it into words, but it was there, and whenever some Scouter warned us that something would be hard, we just looked at each other and smiled a small secret smile

Oldscout

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Not from you youth from just a few month ago my Daughter and I decided to hike a section of the At for spring break we spent the first night at a shelter.  We were sitting there just enjoying the early evening.  Then this group of High school Students show up they were also on spring break and my first thought was here comes the booze and drugs.  Boy was I surprised those kids were extremely nice  great bunch of kids I could tell one of them was a scout.  My daughter had a great time talking with the kids and they had fun talking with her.

The next day we hiked 6 miles and my daughter as done she had a meltdown we hiked to the road and called a cab and stayed in a cheap motel took the cab back to the trail the next day and hiked to the state park and wait for pick up.  It was a wonderful three days.  We really had a good time I wish I got the scouts troupe number so I could have concatenated this scout master and said the did a good job but something tells me he knows that already. 

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Gee mattman, that story would have gone from good to great, if you would had said "that scout in now my son-in-law!

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Not from you youth from just a few month ago my Daughter and I decided to hike a section of the At for spring break we spent the first night at a shelter.  We were sitting there just enjoying the early evening.  Then this group of High school Students show up they were also on spring break and my first thought was here comes the booze and drugs.  Boy was I surprised those kids were extremely nice  great bunch of kids I could tell one of them was a scout.  My daughter had a great time talking with the kids and they had fun talking with her.

The next day we hiked 6 miles and my daughter as done she had a meltdown we hiked to the road and called a cab and stayed in a cheap motel took the cab back to the trail the next day and hiked to the state park and wait for pick up.  It was a wonderful three days.  We really had a good time I wish I got the scouts troupe number so I could have concatenated this scout master and said the did a good job but something tells me he knows that already.

 

What section of the AT did you do?

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