Saturday, August 05, 2006

Camp Frontier - Part 1

This week our son Bryan has been at the annual week-long scout camp – Camp Frontier at the East Fork of the Bear River. This was Bryan’s second year at scout camp. Camp Frontier is located in the Uinta Mountains in Utah, but is also just a stone's throw away from Wyoming. The setting is in a forested area with aspens and pine trees, at about 9000 ft elevation (actually 8,909 ft according to my GPS Unit.) We were at 40.51.748 North Latitude, and 110.46.019 West Longitude -- there I'm getting some use of my GPS Unit already! Just down the hill from our campsite winds the East Fork of the Bear River. You could hear the river roar from our camp site. It was nice to listen to the river to help you drift off to sleep at night.

What a beautiful location this year, compared to last year at the Bear Lake Aquatics Base camp. I called it Bear Lake Snake Camp. The Bear Lake camp was on the East side of the lake. There was plenty of sage brush, but no trees. It was hot, with very little shade -- oh, and don't forget the rattlesnakes! Bryan described his encounter with rattlesnakes at the Bear Lake camp here. And here are some of the photos from Bear Lake as well.

I was at Camp Frontier for the first two days (Monday and Tuesday) -- same as last year. I like to be there with Bryan at the beginning of scout camp to help him get things organized for the week. I help him figure out what merit badge classes to take, help him plan out his schedule for the week, and make sure that he has all the supplies he needs. This year, if all goes well, Bryan will earn 5 merit badges. It's a good thing I came too -- There were originally three Young Men's leaders scheduled to accompany the scouts on Monday Morning. Two of them dropped out at the last minute. If I had not gone with them, scout camp would have been cancelled this year. (At least two leaders are required to be with the young men at all times).

After getting our camp set-up, we hiked up the hill to the camp office and got registered.

(That's our tent on the left.)

It was about 1:30 pm, and we hadn't had lunch yet. We learned that there is a caste system at scout camp -- scouts with food, and scouts without. Apparently, for an additional $15 a head, you can eat all your meals at the chow hall. If you were upper-caste, you got to wear a paper wrist-band decorated with American Flags. If you belonged to the lowly, hungry scout caste -- like us -- you only got to wear a neon green wrist band. We had to purchase, pack, haul, and prepare our own food -- which cost about $300. Lets see now -- 6 scouts, plus 2 leaders times $15 each. That comes to $120. Hmmmm. how about next year we become upper-caste scouts and eat at the chow hall!

We were getting really hungry, and it was getting late enough in the day that we really didn't have time to cook food before our activities were to begin. We asked the folks in the camp office if it was possible to buy lunch for this first day. In an act of mercy, the lady at the office looked upon us lowly creatures, and noticed that they had some food left over, and told us to just go get some food (free of charge!). Never did chili-dogs and potato chips taste so good! And the price was right too!

Bryan and several of the other scouts began their merit badge classes with a a couple of really fun ones -- archery, and rifle shooting. Bryan has a juvenile sized compound bow at home, and he loves to practice in the back yard. We also have a little .22 single-shot, bolt-action rifle (similar to the ones at camp) that we use for target practice.

After classes, we returned to our campsite for dinner. You guessed it -- hot dogs again! (Oh the joys of scout camp food!)

The weather wasn't too bad when we first arrived. We were able to get our tents set up and stow our gear. However when evening came, so did the rain. It rained and rained, with no let up. Then there was the occasional bolt of lightening, and rolling thunder. Normally on the first night of camp, there is a flag raising ceremony, and a program put on by the camp staff at the amphitheatre. However, this week, for the first time in 7 years at Camp Frontier, the opening ceremonies were cancelled due to the weather - and especially the danger of lightening. The camp director related the story that Last Summer, a scout was killed by lightening at a nearby scout camp, and they didn't want to have us all congregated into one place during an electrical storm. Hmmmm. . . After thinking about that for a few moments, I understood the logic -- "We don't want to be congregated together so that a single lightening strike would kill the whole bunch of us! So go back to your campsites. If lightening strikes, it will only kill a few of us!" I guess that makes sense. Better advice might have been to have us all go get into our vehicles during the electrical storm. We would be dry, and being in your car is just about the safest place you can be when lightening strikes.

Later that evening, after huddling together under a tarp for a couple of hours in the rain, dressed in our trusty rain ponchos, we decided to turn in for the night. Bryan and I retired to our tent. We put on a few layers of warm (and dry!) clothing (temperatures in the 30's) and climbed into our sleeping bags. We decided to read from the Book of Mormon. I read one chapter, and Bryan was nearly asleep. I got half-way through the next chapter, and Bryan was out. I decided to call it a night myself -- as sprinkles of raindrops continued to dance across our roof, and visions of warm tropical beaches danced in our heads.

-- Stay tuned for part 2.


Lisa M. said...

I have been to scout camp. I understand being part of the lowley group!

Oh fun, fun.


Can't wait for part 2

Stephen said...

Seems really neat.

BTW "We had to purchase, pack, haul, and prepare our own food -- which cost about $300. Lets see now -- 6 scouts, plus 2 leaders times $15 each. That comes to $120. Hmmmm. how about next year we become upper-caste scouts and eat at the chow hall!"

When I was at scout camp they didn't give us a choice.