Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Camp Frontier - Part 2

I awoke at 6:00 am on day two at Camp Frontier. In a heroic effort, the sun was actually trying to come out. I got up and walked around camp for a few minutes, in the quiet dawn, before anyone else got up. Everything was still soaking wet damp from the previous day/night rains.

At 6:30 I woke up Bryan, and the other adult leader, Jay. Some of the other boys were beginning to arise as well. We were fortunate that no water got into our tent. Jay's tent was dry too. However most of the other boys' tents had taken on some water from the
(Bryan In his "Uniform")

rains. Everything was so soaked and waterlogged, that there was no dry firewood for to even have a morning campfire.

We had a breakfast of cold cereal and granola bars (lower-caste scout food, you-know). At least we had hot chocolate to warm ourselves in the 38 degree temperatures that morning in the High Uintas. Fortunately, I had brought some of our own food for Bryan and I, so we supplemented our Corn Pops with yogurt, and some fresh cantaloupe that I had prepared and kept in our ice chest.

We figured out the rest of Bryan's schedule. Mornings he would take Wilderness Survival, Orienteering, and Emergency Preparedness classes. In the afternoon he would have classes in Archery and Rifle Shooting. A possiblity of 5 merit badges to be earned at camp this year. Last year Bryan was able to get 6 merit badges at the Bear Lake scout camp.

(Ominously, the rain clouds started moving in)

The early part of the morning remained partly cloudy. I accompanied Bryan to his first two classes of the day, and then the storm clouds rolled in. It began raining, and the temperature dropped from the 50's to the lower 40's. Soon the rain turned to hail. We huddled together under a tarp during Bryan's Emergency Preparedness class. We stayed dry, but were shivering due to the cold. The hail let up by the time the class was over, but the rain did not. In fact it continued raining all day, until about 4:00 in the afternoon.

We were fortunate though, at the same time we were getting the hail storm, Salt Lake and Provo were being hit by virulent "Super Cells" – very powerful thunderstorms. There was a great deal rain, flooding, and property damage from high winds. Thousands of people lost electrical service because of trees that had blown over and knocked out power lines. Fortunately for us up in the mountains, these super cells traveled to the South of us, and missed us entirely. It could have been really nasty if one of those Super Cells would have hit us, when our only shelter was our rain ponchos and a tarp over our heads.

"Cold Cuts" was the planed lunch for the day. However we were already "cold" from the storm, and needed something to help warm us up. So Jay decided to change the menu to hot beef stew. Ordinarily I am not a big beef stew fan – however on this occasion, it tasted pretty darned good. That hot stew really hit the spot, and helped to warm us up.

After lunch we hiked back up the hill to the trading post. I wanted to make sure Bryan had all the supplies he needed to complete his merit badges. He needed a few things to take with him for his Wilderness Survival camp – a space blanket, a whistle, and a first aid kit. Bryan also wanted to work on a couple of beadwork projects, so we bought a couple of beadwork kits for him to work on. He loves to keep his hands busy (and it helps to keep him occupied, and out of mischief too!) A good investment, I thought.

After our visit to the trading post we went to the archery and rifle shooting classes. At the end of the rifle shooting class (about 4:00 pm) the rain finally stopped. Bryan stayed after for a little while at the rifle range to get in some extra shooting to help qualify for the merit badge.

We made our way back to camp, and just as Bryan was about to sit down and rest for a little while, he was assigned to cooking duty. He and another boy were responsible for making our spaghetti dinner. They cooked the pasta, browned some hamburger, and poured in some Ragu sauce. It actually turned out pretty well.

In the photo, the boys are trying to light the camp stove. At this age (12-13 years old) nearly all of the boys are pyromaniacs. In fact, Jay nicknamed Bryan "Pyro" at the camp. Matches, of course were the most popular item. After being at camp for less than 30 hours, the scouts had already gone through two boxes of matches! (Of course, trying to start a campfire with waterlogged firewood didn't help matters any.)

One of the boys was intent on starting the camp fire according to the directions found in the scout handbook. After the young man used up about a half a box of matches trying to get the fire started, Jay got out the secret weapon known to scout leaders the world over -- charcoal lighter fluid -- and demonstrated the "official method" to start campfire -- with only one match! The young scout was horrified to learn that the leader would actually cheat by using lighter fluid.

It was getting time for me to pack up my gear and return home. I took a few moments to spend some private time with Bryan. I gave him a last-minute pep talk. Then we had prayer together. I could tell that Bryan was kind of sad to see me go (And I was kind of sad to leave.) He gave me a big hug and a kiss goodbye. Then he was off with the scouts for their evening activities. I packed up my things, and got everything loaded into the truck.

(The lake at Camp Frontier)

On my way out, I stopped along the way and took some photos. The skies were finally clear, and evening light was just beautiful. The scent of the pine trees around the camp site was finally able to come through, now that the rain had stopped. It was hard to leave. It really was a beautiful place. And I will miss my son. I hoped and prayed that he would be safe, and have an enjoyable time there. Now he would have to take more responsibility for himself, without me being there to direct his every move. Camp also provides a chance for Bryan to do a little growing up too. Be careful, son. Have fun, but come home safe, too. OK?

You can see more photos of Camp Frontier here.

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