Last weekend the troop did its annual Trip to Beaver Bend State Park in Broken Bow, Oklahoma. We can say annual, because this was our 11th time. This year it had much trepidation for me. For those that recall, my last trip down the Lower Mountain Fork River resulted in a broken thumb. I can safely say as I type this on my blackberry, no broken bones this year.
I often call the August campout "The Campout of the year". My perception of this campout was verified when I ran into one of my 19 year old Eagle Scouts' father at the grocery store last night. He shared with me that his son had to much on his plate to go this year, but his son hated to miss "The Campout" (finger quotes included).
We took 30 on the trip. 18 boys and 12 adults. Of the adults, 4 were all under 25 eagle scouts. In fact including the boys, 20% of the trip were Eagle Scouts. My long term vision for this trip is that it be a Troop 5 reunion trip. It is slowly headed that way.
The trip was a week later this year so that we could use our favorite outfitter for the canoes. Without turning this blog post into an advertisement for W W Canoe outfitters, let me just say, it was worth the week delay. What a professional outfit compared to who we used last year. We will call them on March 1 to get our traditional week next year.
I spent the past week debating if I was even going to get on the river. Part was nervousness on the thought of going over Presbyterian falls again and part was we only had 12 canoes for 30 people. W W found two more canoes out of their inventory so the later became less of an excuse.
The trip to Broken Bow was quite uneventful. Phillip Pierce, I think for his own sanity, drove the bus for the Troop. This allowed for two things. One I got to play with my blackberry the whole way up and to allow the bus to get headed down the highway while Aric Justice and I waited for three boys who were not on time. With a 4 and a half hour drive, every second the bus gets down road is in the best interest of the troop. Aric and did catch the bus in about a 100 miles and the boys that were late got to shift to un-air-conditioned bus with the rest of the troop.
We got to the campsite at 11pm. Because Oklahoma Schools had already started, we had our campsite to ourselves. Which is quite handy when 30 people ascend on a campsite in a state park this late. Brett and Mr. F had come up early and secured the first come, first served campsite.
As one would expect, we did not move with much due diligence in the morning, our goal to be at the outfitter by 9am was missed by a good hour. However W W not fazed in the least. We got on the river close to eleven. I elected to have Jade as my canoe partner. Little did he know how nervous I was about hitting the rapids. In fact I am sure he was completely unaware of the events of last year.
The river trip was quite uneventful. The boys tipped over their canoes as usual, sometime because of the river, sometimes because they wanted to, and sometimes because someone else wanted them to flip. Fun was had by all. Every rock of Jade and mine canoe caused me much apprehension, but we successfully made it just above Presbyterian Falls with no major mishap. Brett astutely pointed out the rock I hit last year and informed me to say well to the right of it. I got the canoe strait on with the falls after watching a couple in front of us fail to make it and off we went.
I would like to say that I went over the falls with no fear, but that was not the case. Jade and I successfully made it over , without flipping and more importantly, with no broken bones. As the troop gathered back together for the last part of the trip, I proudly answered no to the 20 times I was asked, "Did you break anything?"
Now that I was done with my therapy, I was really able to enjoy the boys enjoying the trip. Nothing is better than splashing in a cold river on a hot day on Scout trip.
We made it back to camp to have a late lunch. The boys played in the river all afternoon and then cooked a hearty dinner. About 8 pm it became very clear we were about to get hammered with a thunderstorm. The boys packed the campsite and battened down the hatches with awesome efficiency. Everyone stayed dry.
I look forward to another adventure in Broken Bow next year.