Mike (Den Leader) asked me to lead the 3-mile hike requirement so I came prepared to walk the kids through that. More info below.
After setting up camp, we prepared for our hike by make sure we had our six hiking essentials (first aid kit, water bottle, sun protection (hats), whistle, trail food, flashlight). I printed a map of the park and had it on a clipboard. Each of our 5 scouts took a turn leading the hike and tracking our progress. They carried a compass and every so often we'd stop to check our progress in relation to the map. They'd mark off major landmarks such as passing the end of the lake, crossing a bridge, or crossing another path. This helped ensure we knew where we were on the map and what to expect as we moved forward.
We had a reference sheet that included pictures of poisonous plants, snakes and spiders. In the pic below, the two boys in front were looking at the bushes to the left and checking the reference sheet to see if they found poison sumac (they did not).
Cooper, Michael, Jonathan and Christian.
The boys spotted two small turtles during the hike, not much other wildlife to see besides a few squirrels.
They found bamboo near the campsite and they were carrying it around all day.
Below is the map we used with check marks at key locations to track our progress. The green marker was our proposed path.
The boys found a small creek behind our campsite and they spent some time exploring it. We were surprised to see small fish swimming around.
Scouts.....do your best and be prepared! Christian, Jonathan, Cooper, Matthew, and Michael.
Mike was the fire marshal so he and Chris made a good, big fire to ensure we had a hot pile of coals to cook our meal on.
We don't have a picture of us preparing the meals but the boys put their own food in their foil packet and placed them on the coals. Food included hamburger patties, onions, chopped peppers, carrots and green beans. Jonathan put a bit of everything in and ate the whole thing. This is very similar to the sheppards pie dad and I made during our camping trip when I was young.
After dinner, the boys met at the Pack campfire to perform skits, tell jokes and listen to a few spooky stories. I was a bit surprised one of the stories was about Bloody Mary considering we're dealing with 1st - 5th graders...in the woods...at night.
After the Pack campfire, they came back to our campsite and we spent more time around the fire. Seemed like a great time to let the kids start their own small fires using a magnesium rod and striker. We collected all required material and I stepped them through how to prepare it, start it, and feed it. Other than the cotton balls I brought to help catch the spark, everything else we used was from the ground around us.
Jonathan was very pleased with his fire, which he built up nicely. It ended up being bigger than our main fire, which we were letting die down for the evening.
I was very happy I borrowed my friend's large tarp to help keep us dry in the morning hours. I secured the rear part of the tarp with cord from the trees and moved the unused picnic table to tie off the front. It worked perfectly and did an excellent job of keeping us dry and making for a much easier clean up in the morning. Packing up a wet tent with wet gear inside is one of the worst things to have to do!
We had a "back porch" where there was plenty of room to sit around and hang out. This is where we spent most of our morning. It started raining around 4:45am and continued until we left around 10am.
Starting to prepare breakfast.
MREs for both families (it was just us and the Wells at this point, everyone was gone due to rain). We had the breakfast skillet, which includes scrambled eggs, hash browns, crumbled pork patty, peppers and onions. I used the propane stove to boil the water, which you pour into the foil bag and allow to cook for 8-9 minutes. It was tasty and warm.
We enjoyed a nice, warm cup of hot chocolate after breakfast. The perfect way to end an enjoyable camping trip!