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Deer Camp - Death March SATURDAY
Second to last day at camp, and the adults are starting the tear-down of the adult site, repacking trailers and slogging through the mud so that we’ll be ready to go when the kids return. Scouter Brad comments that it feels like the end of a play, when after all the effort of planning and building a set and the grand performances, the time comes to strike the set, say what needs to be said, and head home.
In the mean time, the boys continue in the field along the Laurel Highland’s Trail. The group that we have come to call our “Northward” group that really had it together when they started in Ohiopyle yesterday took this morning to seize tardiness from the jaws of timeliness. While there were complaints about their watch alarms not waking them up, our spies reported that they arose at 7am, then spent THREE HOURS meandering about trying to get themselves on the trail. Apparently some of the delay was caused by considerable confusion over how to open cans of SPAM. What could be hard about opening a modern can of SPAM with a pull-top, one wonders? Well, apparently Scouter Fretz, in introducing them to the infamous canned mystery meat, had let them in on a secret technique of poking holes in the bottom to relieve the vacuum and allow the meat to slide out easily, and somehow that got translated into “ignore the pop top, poke holes in it until it opens.” Or something like that.
After solving the SPAM puzzle and working through breakfast and a few first aid tribulations (like Shane doing the hot-spot patch on Zak, complete with detailed discussion on the merits of mole foam vs. mole skin), the group got on the trail. Going was slow on the uphill, with the group making only a 1 mph pace. Leader Nima called for air support mid-afternoon, and the adult team vehicle-lifted Zak and Patrick to the destination to start camp setup while the others continued on. After a bit more dismay in an afternoon cloudburst, the remainder of the group arrived at camp at 7:30, greeted by their colleagues as well as the brownies that Evan Kanji’s dad had dropped off. Home safe for the night! When last seen, the group was debriefing the day and making plans to do a better job getting things together tomorrow.
Our second group, after their somewhat rocky start planning two days ago got it together and was firing on all cylinders. They got out of camp a bit ahead of schedule and kept to a blistering pace on the trail, running ahead of their TCP all day. When mid-afternoon rolled around, leaders Jason and Dawa polled the group of Noah, Kyle, Drew, and Indiana and they all decided that after hiking 13 miles they still had legs, so they messaged in that they were skipping their evening camping stop and hiking all 20 miles direct into Ohiopyle! Must be some of that Patrol D is for Death March magic going on there. Scouters Eric and Brad met them down at the trailhead (which conveniently for everyone emerges directly in front of the local pub). The pub denizens gave a hearty round of congrats to the stalwart lads, then promptly retreated and pointed toward the showers. Armed with a timely supply of soap by Mr. Fretz the lads cleaned up pretty well, and they are still reveling in their victory down in the re-established youth site. All of them are well-bonded and joyous, and looking like a true patrol team.
Things have cooled off a bit, so it’s good sleeping weather this evening, as we settle in for the final night of camp 2012. We’ll try to drop one more update tomorrow on the way out of Dodge!