On December 8-9, we went to Base Camp, which is located in St. Paul, MN. Base Camp has lots of fun activities, all of which were utilized. In the beginning, we did physical activities such as rock climbing, archery, and rope courses. A game of gaga ball was also played. At around 11, pizza and drinks were brought out, and then lights were dimmed and Star Wars: The Force Awakens was put on. Not everyone watched the movie, some people stayed up and had Nerf battles or played on PlayStations or Xboxes or Wii’s. After the movie was done, a few people went straight to bed (very few), and everyone else continued whatever they were doing. Everyone crashed at around 3, although a few kids were running around well into the morning. Overall Base Camp was a fun and exciting trip.
On October 6-7, we went to the Iron Chef/Fall Court of Honor event. When we got to the lodge where we were staying, we carried everything in and put things like food away. People also laid out their own stuff, like sleeping bags and backpacks, in the area that they wanted. Some people had to move their things around a few times after because tables and chairs were brought in, pushing their stuff out of the way. That evening was pretty laid back, scouts played card games and board games and played on electronics. The next morning, however, was not laid back at all. Josh hustled everyone out of bed, which is usually what happens on campouts, and everyone started preparing for the Iron Chef. Every patrol had to make a main course, a side dish, and a dessert, and one of them had to be made in a Dutch oven. Because of the Dutch ovens, coals had to be laid out for the food to cook, but there was one teensy problem: it had rained, and everything was wet. We managed to string up a tarp over the fire pit to protect from any further drizzling, and we managed to get the coals going. Meanwhile inside, everyone else who got to stay dry was busy cooking everything else, from beef and broccoli to tacos to fried rice. We were all in a hurry, because everything had to be ready by 11:30, when the families showed up for the feast. The room quickly filled up with parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, and grandparents, who enjoyed the good variety of food we had cooked up. After everyone filled themselves up, it was time for the Court of Honor. Various awards were given, such as rank advancements, merit badges, and Tomahawk segments. After the awards, all of the tired scouts picked up their gear and headed home. Overall I think that this was a very fun and delicious trip that will be looked forward to for next year.
During August 5-12, we went to Tomahawk Scout Reservation in Wisconsin. We were there for 7 days total, Saturday to Saturday. There were many activities there, such as daily merit badge courses. Each person would do 2-4 merit badges. There were also fun events such as 24 Hour Tower, where the ecology tower would be open literally 24 hours straight. That was super fun! Marcus, Matthew, Rudy and I scored the roads, looking for frogs and toads. This was for the Eco Bash, a competition that, if won, would add points toward an even bigger competition, the Chup (Cherokee Cup) between all of the troops. The troop that ended up winning was a troop that had about 5 people; they racked up a lot of points by getting full troop participation at a bunch of events. Other fun activities were the Fruit Shoot at the archery range (where I actually hit something), the Poker Shoot at all the ranges, the Star Gazing (where Eli fell asleep), the Polar Plunge (where the air was colder than the water was), and other activities. There were also a lot of things you could do in your free time, such as sailing, canoeing, kayaking, various shooting sports, Gaga Ball, basketball, Eco Tower, running around, etc. Another big hit was the trading post. This is a place where you can buy cool (and durable) things, such as knives, water bottles, emergency blankets, and so on. But the biggest hit by far was… Slush Puppies. They are these slushie drinks that people would buy by the dozens. I’m sure the Tomahawk staff made a fortune off of all the scouts who bought those. I didn’t buy any, but I still killed 28 bucks there. They had some really cool stuff. The most annoying item was the Vou-vou-swelia (I don’t think I’m spelling that right). They are these horns that if you blow into them like a brass instrument, they make a REALLY loud sound. Everybody in my troop got annoyed at me when I bought one, but as soon as Benned figured out how to play songs on them, everybody had to get one. I can play a pretty good Beethoven’s 9th on mine. The staff were great, and also VERY rowdy. At every meal, we would “good morning” or “good afternoon” that basically was a screaming match. I miss that to this day. It was a very good way to let out any tension you were holding in. The staff also did these hysterical skits during the meals that cracked everyone up (but hopefully not the eggs). Overall Tomahawk was a very good trip that I cannot wait to go back to next year.
On June 9-11 we went to St. Croix State Park. It was really fun, and one of my personal favorites. When we got there we set up camp. Rudy and I had a really hard time doing that because our tent poles were kind of scattered and it took us a while to find them. We didn’t really do much that first day, but we played some card games and stuff. The second day was much busier though. After waking up and having breakfast we got into the cars and went to a few scenic places by the river, then went to the fire tower. It was really tall and super windy at the top. I had to hold on to my hat and camera at the same time so they wouldn’t blow away. Then when we got back to the campsite we had lunch and played some more card games (card games are really popular with my troop). At about one o’clock we set out for the beach, but we were walking. We found some cool stuff like a hummingbird nest, but left it there (leave no trace). Now, this was 4.5 miles long, which didn’t seem like very much considering we had done a 20 mile hike, but it was very hot and we were in the blazing sun for most of the time, and we were very grateful when we finally got to the beach. Everyone jumped right in to the water, only to be surprised by the muddy bottom. In some places we were sinking up to our knees! Most people got out in a relatively short time, but me, Rudy, Aiden, James, and Oliver stayed in and wrestled. We would basically just be trying to knock each other down. Oliver and Aiden stayed in the water for a while, but then got out, and then the rest of us had this epic mud fight. It was super fun and we were all really dirty after, especially me, because I was putting “war paint” all over myself. Thankfully, we were driven back to the campsite after drying off instead of walking, and then played more card games until dinner. For dinner my patrol (me, Aiden, Oliver, and Thomas) went simple and had hot dogs but the other patrol (Rudy, Sam Abbott, James, and Reagan) went really fancy with a dessert and all. My patrol was sitting in a tent playing card games when the other patrol came and teased us a bit. When they finished eating they joined us and the rest of the evening was card games and rock fights (two rocks on a table where you take turns nudging your rock, trying to knock the other rock off the table). After that we went to sleep and the next day we packed up and came home. This was a really fun trip that I will remember for a long time.
On May 5 we went to Jay Cooke state park. It was a long drive up from Eagan. Once we got there, we had to stop for a little because the adults had to get their vehicle permits. Oliver and I had an epic pinecone battle, and it continued for pretty much the rest of the day. We set up camp at multiple sites (that’s how many of us there were) and had cracker barrel for dinner. The most wanted item was my group’s salami (thank you Josh for slicing it). I got lots of chips from Rudy in trades! The next day we went on a 15-mile hike after breakfast and after Rudy, Marcus, and I moved our tent (apparently it was on someone else’s campsite). The hike was (in my opinion) the highlight of the campout. We started out on a paved bike trail, but eventually went up to a bridge that led to a dirt path. This entire trail was an old railway track where they had taken out the rails! We passed over this very creepy bridge, and everyone (at least Marcus, Rudy, and me) thought that it was going to fall out from under our feet any second ( it was old, seemingly rotten, had no sides, and there was a 50 foot drop underneath)! And then, a little later, we went through this dark, wet tunnel that had rubble and other junk lying around. It had been blasted through by the railway company, and was also really creepy. Some may argue that the tunnel was creepier, but I think that the bridge took the cake. We kept marching. A little bit further down the path we hit the site of a landslide. It was really cool, and the group was debating on how recent it was and if someone could get down there. But then, as we were about to get going, we were called back. Apparently, we had missed a turn. Luckily, the turn was just back down by the tunnel, but it was very well hidden. It took us a bit to find it. As we started on that part of the trail, we crossed the line between “hiking” and “climbing”. It was quite steep and we had to go single file up. The view was spectacular, and guess when was the moment that my camera started malfunctioning (I fixed it a bit later, so it still worked and I got photos of the view). At the top, we continued to walk, but this time much higher up. We gradually went lower, and we found this old base for a house or a basement or something, and, as usual, we were all trying to guess what it was. We eventually came to a ski hill, which was very good news because that meant the parking lot was close, and that meant food. We were all completely famished. When we got to the parking lot, Aiden’s dad drove in, and he had the food. We chased the car like hounds. Every last crumb of food was eaten, and that includes some of the leftovers that the adults gave us. After eating and resting for a while, we continued to walk, but this time we were back on the paved bike trail. A group of kids (Michael, Sam, Michael and Sam’s sister, Connor, and Lucas) were making stories where you would take turns saying a word or two, and the stories were really funny. They eventually let me join, and we made weird stories, such as Jack and Jill went to get water, but found none, and then Jill was a vampire, and was eaten by a rhinoceros, and then ate the rhino from the inside, and then… you get the point. It was very fun, and once the group kind of fell apart, Marcus and I did the same thing for a while. We got back to the starting point, but apparently hadn’t gone a full 15 miles, so we had to go to a different point and come back. When we got back to the campsite we rested and started cooking dinner. Josh brought some great dessert, and the main meal was wild rice soup. It was great. Michael ate 5 bowls and then finished the pot, he liked it that much, and Mitchell provided us with trivia. We packed up our stuff before we went to bed. The next day it was time to leave, so not much happened except packing up tents and sleeping bags and stuff. Overall this trip was very fun and memorable, and I think that everyone else thinks so, too.
On April 22, 2017, we went to Lebanon Hills for a 10 mile hike for our hiking merit badge. The trip was very fun. We first hiked for about 6-7 miles, in which we went down to the southeast corner of the park and then went west to Jensen Lake. Ethan was our leader. It was cool, and we saw some interesting wildlife, such as The Invisible Cardinal (a cardinal that flew away as my camera snapped, resulting in a picture of a twig). I also spotted a small, lonely-looking red lily pad, and Oliver found a tiny turtle shell. We ended up going to a farther off section of the park where the handy trail maps weren’t everywhere, but we made it! Rudy was so eager that for a while we couldn’t see him, but he returned (he didn’t say he was very hungry, so his reasoning remains in the fog for me). Lunch consisted of two groups who had someone bring food along. After we ate, we went back to the trail for the last section of the hike. On this stretch, we saw a large turtle (with some nice duckweed on its back, I might add) sitting right smack dab in the middle of the trail, quite a ways from the lake! Too bad Marcus wasn’t there. We made it back to the parking lot at 2:00, with 10.2 miles instead of just 10. Overall this hike was very fun and will be remembered for a long time.