Goodbye, Rainy Tuesday... (updated!)

By Bob Geier - Posted on 27 July 2017

Well we had hoped that Earl the Boy Scout god of weather would give us a break today, and we did get a brief reprieve before the weather came back in, but we have returned to soggy. Often several days of rain leads to a bit of homesickness, but all of our guys have been really doing well despite the drear. There is a bit of the summer camp sleep deprivation experiment going on, and Kantaro was seen to be dozing off during a car shuttle, but everyone remains in high spirits.

Patrol A opted for a small boat sailing adventure today, and had a great time of it. Ben “Flippy” Sherrick flipped the red boat more times than anyone could count, while getting a lot of sailing instruction from Scouter Joe. Assistant Patrol Leader Andrew Compton managed to find the grey clay on the bottom of the lake by running his boat aground. Heston worked on being helmsman for the larger boat, figuring out how to set and hold course at various points of sail and compass courses. Initially he was swinging way past his point on turns, then settled down as the concept of momentum took hold. After Heston, Wyatt took the helm of the trimaran and was doing a solid job as commander until the wind died. Then he and Kantaro took one of the Sunfish boats out by themselves and did super, cementing their reputation as the Dynamic Duo.

Patrol G today set out doing a Troop 8 summer camp effort we haven’t done in a number of years by learning the mystical art of outdoor photography. Scouter David brought an entire quiver of DSLR cameras and bravely issued them to patrol members, starting first with just taking basic shots and then working up to more specialty shots like “action” sports photography and longer-exposure landscapes. One of the favorite shots they were all trying was “ice-bucket challenge” of dumping water on Scouter Ray’s head, trying to catch the perfect shot. Jimmy Wallace was quite enthusiastic about both sousing Ray and getting the shot right (maybe because it allowed him to souse Ray repeatedly).

Patrol Leader Mark was suffering from bruised butt, or ego, and so was challenged to shoot shots while sitting in his chair. Parker got into the action photography, with lots of running and jumping shots. Gus after some time turned his attention to Garage Band and the music that was to accompany the slides and videos, so perhaps he has a future career in audio technology. Jonathan Wild meanwhile was the universal photo subject, with his very consistent expression of content amusement.

The infamous Troop 8 River Hike was Patrol D’s destination for the day. Despite having a patrol of mostly experienced scouts, they arrived at the trailhead and promptly launched down not only the wrong trail, but something that wasn’t a trail at all. This led to an hour or so of navigational confusion, including repeated trips back to the trailhead.

They eventually got that sorted out and made it to the waterfall put-in, where another one of the killer trees tried to get Dan McNeill by dropping large branches near him for no reason. I’m starting to think that the forest is full of angry ents. Only mildly shaken, the group spent some time at lunch at the waterfall, and a rock-skipping contest developed with Bean and Will the clear leaders. Along the way, someone put a bounty on Owen’s head, so he spent the river hike dodging nefarious patrol mates, but he successfully survived the hitmen on the day.

The experience of the group finally came through, and they had the easiest time splashing their way down river. They completed the trek hauling people up on the final wooden bridge, and headed wetter and happier back to camp.

Trail biking was Patrol E’s choice for today’s activity, the first biking group to head out. They were headed to a river-side trail and were being given a shuttle ride down, and then it was up to them to head back upstream to camp. The group got a bit of a late start as Liam tried to deal with some equipment issues, following a wheelie on his dad’s bike that broke it (his dad is crying in the adult campsite).

They eventually made it to the trail start, and were anticipating a sort of rail trail along the river similar to our other summer camp spot in Ohiopyle. That may have been what was anticipated, but just a mile or so after the start they encountered a series of steep 45 degree crazy hills, up and down, up and down. This pointed out some issues with technique. Bradley, on an unfamiliar bike, consistently stopped at the bottom of hills (“Yea! I made it!”) rather than carrying momentum into the uphill, and all the guys had trouble with shifting so that they ended up walking the uphills. Our adults and senior scouts then stopped to do the “this is what gears are used for” instructional session, and the boys went “OH!”.

After that, Emmett took over lead, supported by Sawyer, and set a solid pace on the hills. Emmett particularly enjoyed high-velocity downhill runs. Evan Rago demonstrated his knowledge of plant biology along the way by commenting on local crops in passing – “there goes some soybeans…”. Liam was in fine leadership form using all of his helpers to keep the group running well.

And then there was the Blowout, as Scouter Fretz’s tire went full-flat. You would think that there was a Scout Motto about “being Prepared”, but the proper repair gear for that particular bike was not at hand, so we got to use the emergency satellite phone to order a pickup for Scouter Fretz while the rest of the gang continued on. The boys, and eventually Eric, made it back just fine, and we’re pleased to report that Liam didn’t crash.

Tuesday night ended with some epic whole-camp Capture the Flag games, including the traditional pleas from the adults not to run through the adult camp, followed by Owen running through the adult camp and wiping out on the stealthily concealed bright white tent guy lines. Showers were also the order for the end of the day, since tomorrow is our "in town" day and we're always careful not to create the "smelly nylon hippie homeless" impression on the locals. Jim Wallace has joined the adult crew, filling out our ranks for the rest of the week.