Three nights in the woods

 We went camping most summers when I was growing up. I loved being out in the woods, or near a lake – unless there were too many other campers nearby. I’ve always liked quiet and solitude, and I was happy just walking through the woods or sitting by the lake.

Going to Girl Scout camp was another matter. I had to share a cabin with girls I’d never met before, and a counselor who made us to do stupid things like try to find snipe at night. There were activities we had to do, and no chances to go alone anywhere. 

I was glad my younger son wanted to go to Cub Scout camp, since camping is such a big part of Boy Scouts. But I had little idea what Webelos resident camp would be like. I chose to be one of the pack parents accompanying the boys, since it would be my son’s first time at resident camp, and as best as I can remember, the last time he spent several days away from me was when he was still a toddler. (That’s one of the drawbacks of not having relatives nearby that he can spend the night with, to get used to sleeping away from home.)

As it turned out, we were the only ones from our pack who hadn’t brought our own tent, so we shared one of the camp’s tents. On the positive side, it was tall enough to walk in (at least down the middle), and we slept on cots which were quite comfortable (although rather narrow, which made it difficult to turn over without waking up). They did have a few drawbacks, however – no zipper to keep out insect (though, strictly speaking, the millipedes and daddy-long-legs that kept joining us aren’t actually insects), no mesh windows to let in light or breeze, and a few tiny holes whose presence became obvious when it rained.

A hundred and sixty boys, even spread over a fairly large area, can make it hard to find much quiet and solitude. But sometimes we got away by ourselves, especially when we took the nature trail (which unfortunately was very muddy from the recent rain).

Surprisingly, the best look we got at a special bit of nature was right in our campsite, about a foot from one of the tents. I hurried to take a picture of this luna moth, afraid it would fly off, but it surprised us by staying on the tree for well over an hour, holding onto the bark even when the breeze was blowing it sideways.

The boys’ favorite activity was swimming – even in the rain. (The parents sitting on the benches just outside the pool enclosure, huddled under umbrellas or in their rain ponchos, did not enjoy it so much.) Archery and BBs were also extremely popular, but Al chose to skip those in favor of handcrafts.

One highlight of camp was a visit from a zookeeper from Niabi Zoo (which we’ll visit a week from Saturday with our Cub Scout pack). She brought a variety of interesting animals, from an unusual species of parrot in which the male is bright green and the female is bright red and blue, to an animal I had never heard of before called the binturong. She also showed us one of the zoo’s penguins, and told us the surprising (to me) fact that most species of penguins live in climates similar to ours, rather than in the snow and ice of Antarctica.

I’m sure no penguin would have liked the hot muggy weather we’ve been having lately, though. I don’t know any humans who like it either. I was very glad today not to be at camp anymore, with the heat index well over 100. I don’t know what it was Tuesday, as I had no internet access, but it sure was hot and humid. Not as humid as it had been Monday, though – it rained on and off from midmorning Monday to midmorning Tuesday.

The rest of the boys in our pack, quite undeterred by rain and mud, had a great time playing human foosball. The walled-in field has bars across it as a foosball table does, made of rope threaded through PVC pipes. The players have to hold onto the ropes while playing. As in foosball, they can move to the left and right, but they can’t let go of the rope. I didn’t get a picture of them when they finished the game, some of their clothes so soaked with mud I wondered if it would ever wash out. But I did take one rainy day picture, during a brief respite when I could take out my camera without getting it wet.

One Response to Three nights in the woods

  1. Margaret says:

    Sounds like Al had a good time (I would have chosen handcrafts too) and Pauline survived. Happy Birthday, Al. (I watched a program about penguins years ago. I believe most of them live off the west coast of South America, where the climate is like ours, but the ocean is nice and chilly due to the current there, so they can keep cool.)

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