I am not a camper. There, I said it. Before becoming a Den Leader, the last time I went camping, Reagan was president. When my son signed up for Cub Scouts, the one thing I wasn’t sure about was the overnight camping trips. Well, it turned out that all those fears were totally unfounded. We went on our first campout and had an incredible time.
Not really knowing what to expect, I totally overpacked, bringing multiple changes of clothes, blankets, food, the kitchen sink… you get the idea. What I didn’t realize was that these campouts are typically “car camping,” which means, you park your car and walk a dozen or so feet to your tent site. You can literally load your car to the gills and not have to worry about lugging everything to your tent a mile or two down a trail—just leave it in the car and retrieve the items as you need them.
I brought a large cooler full of water bottles, snacks, sandwiches, thinking we would be fending for ourselves. Boy, was I wrong—I don’t think I even opened the cooler once! The pack’s Grub Master put out a spread that would put the most seasoned tailgaters to shame. Under a large canopy, we had fresh vegetables, fruit, chips and drinks—and that was just the afternoon snack! For dinner, there were hot dogs, hamburgers, salads, chips… there was certainly plenty of food to go around. Breakfast was no different, with oversized muffins, oatmeal, hot coffee (and hot chocolate) and more—it was a veritable feast!
Our Camp Master managed to corral the boys when they needed to be rounded up, but for the most part, the boys did their own thing, going off to play their own made up games, traipsing through the woods, and having their own adventures.
After filling our bellies with s’mores, everyone retreated to their tents a little before 10:00pm. The camp site was amazingly quiet, and we all slept hard after a full day in the great outdoors.
A tufted titmouse’s cries of “Peter! Peter! Peter!” woke us around 6:00am, while a woodpecker banged heavily on a tree in the distance. Packing up the sleeping bags and tent was fast and easy, and our fellow campers were quick to offer assistance if needed. The car was loaded up and we were headed home by 10:00am, leaving plenty of time for a nap on Sunday afternoon!
This was an experience that my sons and I would fondly recall for many years, and I can’t thank the leaders of our pack enough for making this an easy-going, enjoyable outing.
—Reluctant no more
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