All I can say is I loved this campout. What a great bit of weather we had. Overnight temps were in the 50s which makes for some great sleeping weather. Daytime high was around 80 so it had warmed up nicely.
Fri night was status quo. We got to camp before dark and got things set up nicely. The boys are starting to “get” the idea of a model campsite. Instead of puking tents all over the interior of the campsite, they are setting them up on the perimeter. They hunkered down fairly early (11PMish) and I didn’t have to quiet them down. At all. That was a first.
We chatted as a group for a bit before hitting the hay. There were two basic activities for this campout- mountain biking and canoeing. I was planning to head out with the canoeing group as there was a good number of boys that wanted to go fishing. Scoutmaster loves fishing. I planned on hitting the lake at first light and got the rest of the boating/fishing group to agree that this was a good idea. I had visions of dragging boys out of tents and the misery that that brings. Oh well, they wanted to do it, right?
Well, I set an alarm for 5:30AM. I woke up before the alarm went off to the sounds of my boys out of their tents and gathering up their fishing gear. Wow, that was a shock! So, I rolled out of bed and we prepared to hit the water. After the quick safety chat, it didn’t take us too long and we had 4 boats in the water with 13 people ready to head out.
It was a little bit on the breezy side, so we opted to stick to the marina and a couple coves not far from shore. The boys were primarily using a worm and bobber. I was using artificial bait and not picking anything up.
After a while, I switched over to worms, too and went on the hunt for a couple blue gill. As I was getting ready to cast out, Chance (sitting right in front of me in my boat) hooked something pretty decently sized. It ended up taking him into the rocks and cut his line. Bummer. I cast my gear out and within a couple minutes my bobber disappeared. I took up the slack and set the hook expecting a blue gill to put up a dismal fight. Once the hook was set, all I heard was my drag singing and the line heading to deeper water. This was no blue gill!! After a modest fight, I was able to land the fish in my tiny little trout net. It was a 5lb channel cat. Arguably, one of the biggest freshwater fish I’d ever caught (don’t judge!). I knew the boys wanted to eat some fish so I decided to keep it. All this time, we were surrounded by the other boats with boys that had their bait in the water. I reset my gear, freshened up the worm a bit and dropped it right back in the same spot. Within 30 seconds, bobber disappears again and I set the hook. Same story, only this time it was a 9lb channel cat! Got that on the stringer, regeared again, cast to the same spot and WHAMMO! Another one was on. I passed my rod up to David (who was not have such a good time that morning) and I let him fight the fish in. Chance helped him out with the net and we ended up landing that 7lb channel cat, too. Yay for a good morning of accidental cat fishing! We headed back to camp for some breakfast around 9AM.
The rest of the boys were up wrapping up breakfast and getting ready to go biking on the trails. After we finished breakfast, the biking boys hit the trails and did some exploring. There were a few spills and minor injuries, but all in all, it was a good place for some trail riding. Unfortunately the trail to get to the beach was closed so they couldn’t do the longer trip, just got about half way over. While they were biking, the wind had picked up so we decided to fish from shore. Many of the boys picked up bull heads (which is all we used to catch on this lake when I was a scout!) but no more keepers.
We called it quits after a couple hours and went back to camp. The boys collectively decided to go hit the beach for some swimming and washing off the stink of the day. The water was a bit chilly, but the boys toughed it out and most went for a dip. SPL Gaumer volunteered to let the boys bury him in the sand. He didn’t realize he was going to have to “eat” some of the sand.
They kept getting the sand airborne and with the wind, it kept blowing into his mouth. He was a trooper and we got a nice troop picture out of the ordeal.
That evening, we hung out around camp and cooked dinner. Afterwards, we had a nice campfire with program. Scoutmaster Gaumer, in typical fashion, supplied the Smaco goodies for the adults and negotiated sharing them with the boys if they cleaned up the Smaco mess from all the tables before going to bed. Oh, and for the record. I have a new Smaco favorite- Ande’s mint chips and walnuts. Mmmmmm. It didn’t take much to get the tired boys to hit the hay that night. It was about then that I started watching the radar. There was a storm system developing over Nebraska and it looked like it COULD head our way. Time will tell.
I woke up at 4 something to a blood curdling shreak of a scream coming from within camp. I shot straight up and immediately following the scream, I heard giggling coming from Mrs. Campbell and Mrs. Breese’s tent. Evidently, Mrs. Breese was having a bad dream and decided to scare the bajeebers out of all at camp. Well, I was awake now and decided to check the radar. Wowsa. We had a heckuva storm bearing down on us. I estimated it to be about an hour away and it included pretty good winds and some pretty purple patches on the radar. So, I started rattling tents and getting boys up. I was BLOWN AWAY by what came next. Every single person was ready to hit the road by 6AM. The only thing that delayed us from departure is Scoutmaster Vlahakis taking 25min to make INSTANT COFFEE. Well, we got lucky and the storm started to dissipate as it came north and ultimately barely sprinkled on us.
We took off around 6:45AM heading for home. After a slight accident with a canoe rack that decided to break. It caused some damage to two canoes, Mr. Sheppard’s pickup truck, and the front of the troop trailer, but nobody was injured.
Quite a few of us recorded some video and that in combination with some of the stills we shot, I threw together this video of the trip:
All in all, this campout was a blast for all that attended. This destination has so much to offer. I can’t wait to go back in the future!
Scoutmaster Ryan Weaverling