Last weekend my boys and I went on a Winter Klondike Boy Scout camp. I grew up in Hawaii, but I’ve lived in Colorado for the last four years and more, so I thought I had things handled. Well, I was clearly wrong. But hey, we survived.
The camp was at Chimney Rock Wyoming. Perhaps I would have thought more seriously about the camp if they had told me that it was on top of the mountain. It wasn’t a great height as such things go (8,000 feet), but it was enough to dump a bunch of snow all over the campground. We arrived at nine pm at night in near zero degree weather. We pulled out all of our gear out of the trailer and with flashlights in hand, we went to find a spot to pitch our tents. We found it alright – under two feet of snow. (Note to self: next time bring a snow shovel).
By 11:30pm, we finished digging out our spot in the snow, getting close to ground level, enough to put the tent down. That’s when I noticed the second problem – I forgot the poles at home, or rather, I decided not to inspect the tent for the poles in the first place. I decided we’d lay the tent on the snow, put blankets on top of that, camper pad on top of the blankets, then our sleeping bags and finally another blanket on top of our bags. Other scouts were doing the same thing, only they were adding a layer – a large tarp – to the top of the heap. However, luck was with us and someone brought an extra tent and my boys and I slept in that.
The next morning, the standard Boy Scout activities filled the day: a breakfast of a “stew” of eggs, hash browns, and cheese. After that, we visited a number of stations where the scouts engaged in various activities. Case in point: leaders told the scouts to build a snow fort and take on another troop in a snow ball fight. (Evidently this was key component to earning the Snowballery merit badge…). Other events included fire-building and sled-racing.
All in all, it was a good trip, even if we weren’t nearly as prepared as we should have been. My sons had fun and we made memories. And I think that is the most important thing.