We arrived at Assateague State Park on Friday night. On Saturday morning, after breakfast, we went down to the beach. The water was cold! Still, it wasn't so cold that it could lead to any actual health problems, since the water was around 70 degrees, so we went swimming and played in the sand. That occupied the morning. After lunch, it was a short drive over to Ayers Creek, which feeds into Chincoteague Bay, in order to go kayaking. Despite the water having an odd color and smell, it was a nice, easy trip up the creek. Getting back to camp, we saw several of the famous wild horses in someone else's campsite. It happened to be one of the Scouts' birthday, so the adults made a nice dessert for us in order to celebrate.
Originally, we had planned to go to West Virginia for our April campout. However, we had some issues come up, preventing us from going there, so some friends of the troop allowed us to camp on their property in Dorchester County, MD. We arrived to good weather, if a bit windy, on Saturday morning, and after setting up camp, we went kayaking and biking. Dinner was delicious. We had a Dutch oven dish called Pioneer Pie, which is basically chili with cornbread baked over it. On Sunday, we ate breakfast and went home after packing up and cleaning up the campsite.
By Sam E.
We arrived at Little Bennett Regional Park, where the Derby is held every MLK weekend for the Potomac District, on Friday evening. We set up camp, got our sled and equipment inspected, and went to sleep. We woke up on Saturday to find almost an inch of snow on the ground, which had not been forecasted. It was really cold! Luckily, we had made sure to discuss proper packing for winter camping at a recent troop meeting, so everyone was able to stay warm. All of the patrols at the event (about 80 of them, from thirty or so different troops) spent the morning and afternoon going around to different stations, where we were scored out of fifteen points for completing certain tasks using Scout skills, like building a shelter, using a compass, and tying knots. Whoever got the most cumulative points would win the patrol competition. Our troop didn't have enough people attending for multiple patrols, so we went as a single patrol. We got good scores at all the stations we went to. The problem was that in the afternoon, the front wheels fell off our sled, so we had to go back to our campsite, about half an hour away, and repair our sled. Because of that, we didn't get in very many stations. In the evening, everyone attended the campfire, where the winners of the patrol and dessert competitions were announced. Some people also did skits, which were pretty funny, if not all that politically correct. Sunday morning was the sled race. We tripped over each other while pushing the sled, and came in last in our heat. After the race, we packed up camp and went home.
On the night of Friday, Dec. 6, we drove up to our campsite at Antietam National Battlefield, in Sharpsburg, Maryland, in the middle of pouring rain. After setting up camp, we went to bed. We woke up early Saturday morning, ate a quick breakfast, and drove over to the main part of Antietam, which is where the battle happened, to begin working on the illumination.
A bit of background: In September 1862, during the Civil War, Robert E. Lee launched an invasion of the Union. His army met Union troops at Antietam Creek, outside Sharpsburg. What followed was the bloodiest single-day battle in US history, claiming the lives of 23,210 men. To remember the battle, every year the National Park Service holds the Antietam Illumination, which involves filling many of the fields there with luminaries, which are paper bags containing sand and a candle. There is supposed to be one luminary for everyone who died in the battle. To honor them, the bags are supposed to be in neat rows. To set up and light all the luminaries, the NPS gets Scout troops to volunteer to help.
Our troop was assigned a field, which we filled with about 500 luminaries. It took about five hours to set up all the luminaries. We started lighting them around 2:45, but since it was windy, the bags kept catching fire. Luckily, we had enough extras. After about an hour and a half of trying to make lighters work in the cold and replacing burned luminaries, we went to the cars to wait for it to be dark, so we could drive around and see the luminaries. The park people started letting us go drive around at about 5:00. It was very pretty, but sobering to visualize all the luminaries and think of all the men who died there.
Because there was supposed to be a snowstorm the next morning, we made the decision to go home Saturday night. After a nice dinner, we packed up camp and went home.
By Sam E.
SInce Montgomery County Public Schools did on have school on Friday, Novemer, 1st, we drove up to New York in the morning. We got to the Statue of Liberty ferry terminal at Liberty State Park around lunchtime, ate, and got on the ferry. At the statue, we got to go into the pedestal and see the cool museum they had about the architecture, structural design, and significance of the statue. We also climbed to the top of the pedestal, which has a narrow walkway on the outside, and is about 150 feet up. After a couple hours at the statue, we went back to Liberty State Park and drove over to BSA Camp Pouch on Staten Island, which is where we stayed on both nights. After dropping our stuff off, we went to a pizza place that was supposed to be the best on Staten Island.
In the morning, we took the Staten Island Ferry over to Manhattan, took the subway to 72nd Street, and walked to the American Museum of Natural History. We had tickets for the "Dark Universe" show at the planetarium, which was about dark matter and dark energy, and was very good. We then split up and explored the museum for an hour or so, and saw some cool exhibits. For lunch, we got food at a deli on 72nd, and then walked over to Strawberry Fields in Central Park in order to eat lunch. Then we walked around in Central Park for a bit, and went up some rock scrambles. Eventually, we made our way to Rockefeller Center and explored the Lego and Nintendo stores, before eating at the Junior's in Grand Central. Afterwards, we spent an hour or so in Times Square, and then went back to Staten Island.
On Sunday, the day of the NYC Marathon, we thought the ferries would be packed, so we drove over to Jersey City and took the PATH train over to the World Trade Center to go to the 9/11 memorial. It has these two large pools, one the site of each of the Twin Towers. Around them were the names of everyone killed on 9/11, as well as those who died in the 1993 WTC bombing. It was very moving. Afterwards, we took the PATH back to Jersey City and went home.
On Friday, June 14, 2013, Troop 209 drove to Raystown Lake. We arrived at around 11:00 pm. The next day we rented 4 kayaks and 2 mountain bikes from the Marina. Our Scout Master drove the mountain bikes back to the campsite while we kayaked back to the campsite. We then proceeded to mountain bike from the head of the mountain bike trail to the campsite. Later that day we ate marshmallows and had a campfire agenda. The next day we returned the kayaks and mountain bikes. Then most people left but two scouts stayed and went to Gettysburg on the following day.
By Sam E.
On May 17, we drove up to Cape Henlopen State Park in Delaware. It was night, so we set up our tents and went to bed. In the morning, we cooked breakfast, one patrol using a Dutch oven, and went to the stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) location, on the Assawoman Canal. It is easier than it looks, although some of us fell into the mud when we got stuck in a shallow area. Afterwards, we went back to the campsite to relax, and later start making our Dutch oven dinners, as Dutch oven cooking was a theme of the campout. One patrol made Frito pie, a beef stew with Fritos, and the other patrol made jambalaya. In the morning, we packed up and went home.
On Friday we got to the Mountain Institute at 11pm after 4 hours in the car. We got to sleep in an amazing yurt that had three floors and had a glass ceiling. The next morning we ate breakfast, got a quick lesson on orienteering and then left for Spruce Knob, the highest mountain in West Virginia. We went bouldering on Spruce Knob and ate lunch. After that we drove to the Sinks of Gandy, a limestone cave. We had to walk through a farm filled with cow poop and weirdly shaped rock. Then we went into the cave where we explored and did something called a milkshake where you had to get out of a small hole in the cave. Then we went through the wet part. We walked through ½ a mile of cold water until we finally got out. We then changed into warm clothing and went back to the yurt. At the yurt we prepared and ate dinner. When it was late we went to the big telescope that did not work. After an hour of trying to get it to work we went back to the yurt and slept. The next morning we ate breakfast, packed up, and left.