CacheCrazy.Com: A Rookie Mistake

Friday, July 5, 2013

A Rookie Mistake

Back in the fall of 1988 I experienced my first overnight camping trip.  Sure, I've been on father-son camping trips back in Cub Scouts, but I was a Boy Scout now.  This was the big time!  As with others my age, this was our first Jamboree.  We were full of excitement, as we heard how awesome these trips were.  Little did we know, we'd get crash course in how NOT to camp.

The scene of the crime was the Goose Pond Scout Reservation.  As an 11 year old boy, this was the Camelot of campgrounds.  My cousin spent his summers as a camp counselor here, and I spent countless nights listening to his adventures.  My dad dropped me off at the church, where we held our troop meetings, as I met up with my Scout mates.  We loaded up our gear into the trucks and vans of our Scoutmasters, and headed to Goose Pond.

The weather that Friday night was miserable.  In true Northeast PA November fashion, the weather was cold and windy, with the precipitation alternating between rain, snow and every combination thereof.  The excitement of potentially waking up to snow was quickly doused when we arrived to the campsite.  It became apparent we were going to set up camp in the pouring rain.  Reluctantly, we unloaded the gear from the vehicles and scouted out locations to pitch our tents.  Our dads weren't here to bail us out and set them up for us.  This was probably one of the first moments of my young life where I need to make such a realization.  Keep in mind, these tents were not of the pop-up variety which are widespread today.  No, these tents were 6 to 8 man canvas tents with thick metal poles.  The good news for us was the poles were color coded for easy setup.  The bad news?  It was pitch dark, pouring rain, and colors play tricks on the eyes in the dark when it's raining sideways.

Summer Camp 1993

It took a good hour or two to set up the four or five tents we had with us.  Our next priority was to get a fire going.  Did I mention it was raining?  Finding dry kindling to get a fire going was a chore.  The veteran scouts showed us some tricks to uncover dry firewood, even in the wettest of weather.  For that, we were extremely grateful.  In a short time, we had a decent fire going, and were able to dry off and warm up.

That dry and warm feeling didn't last too long.

Yep.  Right through our tent.

We woke up at first daylight, and immediately realized our rookie mistake.  We had positioned our tents with the door facing UPHILL!  Needless to say, the runoff from uphill flowed into our tents, flooded us out, and made for some ice cold Tenderfoot scouts.  We suffered through that weekend, cold, damp and hanging our heads in shame over our boo-boo.  I've set up many a tent since that weekend, and believe me, I'll always make note of where the door is!


Kim@Snug Harbor said...

Great story - and look what a nice memory it created!

Erika Jean said...

Sounds wet and miserable!! Good thing you learned from it though.

BigAl said...

Boy do I have memories of stuff like that. Maybe I'll share some of mine sometime too. Love it though. I love it when we do things like this and yet we learn from them too.


Awe, it could have been worse. I remember Parent and Pal weekend, I was a Wolf in cub scouts. First day on our hike we were attacked and stung by ground bees, chased by a domestic goose(that was freaking scary)and while we were at the mess hall for dinner, a black bear ransacked our camp. Needless to say I didn't sleep a wink that whole weekend as every noise was that bear and it made for a miserable time. Oh well, not all outdoor adventures awesome. I feel your pain. I always talk about making memories. Sometimes it's just as well to forget about it.

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