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Camping 2007-2008

Here's a list of where Troop 505 went camping in 2007-2008:

* Village Creek

* Camp Strake (Catholic Retreat)

* Dinosaur Valley State Park

* Texas Rock Gym

* Brazos Bend State Park

* USS Lexington

* Camporee 2008 - "A Century of Scouting"

* Inks Lake / Longhorn Caverns

* Weir, TX

* Philmont Scout Ranch, Cimarron, New Mexico

Click here to see the 2007-2008 calendar.

Last Updated on Sunday, 15 August 2010 04:19

Service Hours 2007-2008

Here's a partial list of how Troop 505 Scouts earned service hours in 2007-2008:

* CCSC Back To School (Aug '07)

* SVDP Fun Fest (Oct '07)

* SVDP Food Drive benefitting CCSC Emergency Services (Nov '07)

* CCSC Jingle Bell Express (Dec '07)

* Re-mulched playground at The Bridge Over Troubled Waters (Feb '08)

* Built 7 tables and 14 benches for Camp for All (Mar '08)

* Wait/Bus Tables for Knights of Columbus Fish Fry (Fridays during Lent, '08)

Last Updated on Sunday, 15 August 2010 04:16

Philmont Scout Ranch, Cimmaron, NM

Everything I ever heard from anyone who had gone to Philmont was what a great time they had and how much I would gain from the experience. How true they were! I will attempt to share my most memorable experiences with you in this report.

After numerous practice hikes, meetings, shakedowns, equipment purchases, itinerary choices, and transportation planning, I felt we could handle the Philmont excursion with ease. However, no matter how well you plan, things don't always go as scheduled. The custom, moisture wicking t-shirts we ordered came in three days before we were scheduled to leave. They were the right color, sizes, and had the right logo, but were printed with, "Lubbock, Texas, Troop 505, 'We know the way.'" The Tooth of Time Traders rep told us we would have to wear those shirts for our entire Philmont trek and they would print new shirts with the correct Houston, Texas Troop 505 on them free of charge and deliver them to base camp in time for our return trip. We decided to wear the misprinted shirts, and explain to all inquiring troops that we were indeed from Houston, only we were wearing Lubbock shirts due to a printing mishap. On the bright side, we got those Lubbock shirts really dirty and smelly and the new, correct, clean shirts did come in as promised for us to wear on the way back.

We all got to the Greyhound Bus terminal an hour before our 6:45 p.m. departure on Saturday, June 7, 2008. What was supposed to be an eighteen hour trip took twenty-two hours. We rode commercial, not charter Greyhound, which made the round-trip journey very colorful. We encountered all walks of people: from the lady with no teeth who kept sticking her tongue out, infants and toddlers crying constantly, passengers who told you their life stories, people begging for money for bus fare, the homeless wanting to take your bags, to people in desperate need of a shower and deodorant and a toothbrush. In our stop-over in Amarillo, it took 4 hours to find a driver to take us the rest of the way. We did not know what to think when the bus driver told us he had never driven that route before and asked us if anyone had a GPS device so he could find the way to Raton. We did make it to Raton that afternoon, where we walked across the street from the bus depot, (a portable shed in the McDonald's parking lot), to the Comfort Inn. Jared D., Audley H., Michael F., and Trevor L. stayed in one room, Michael P., Graham W., Taylor C., and Anand M. had a room and Mr. Lauten and Mr. Flatter stayed in a third room. They had the most comfortable beds and pillows I've ever slept on. The indoor pool was heated and felt great after being on a bus for so long. We all walked to K-Bob's steakhouse for dinner. Anand ordered surf and turf and said the shrimp tasted better than the steak. We came back to the hotel and watched "Ice Road Truckers" and saw Boston win game 2 versus L.A. of the NBA finals.

Day 1, June 9, 2008 After most of us ate the breakfast buffet and the self-made waffles at the hotel, (Michael P. 'had' to have a McGriddle at McDonald's instead), we boarded the on-time 8 A.M. shuttle bus that would take us to Philmont Scout Ranch. Michael P. remembered that he left his brother's package under the sink at the hotel room after we were half way there. Doug, our bus driver arranged to go back that evening during his regular run and pick up the package from the hotel. We found out later that he had indeed done that, delivered the package to Ponil and Michael's brother got the package as planned. Thank you, Doug! We stopped the bus to take pictures of tooth of time before we got dropped off at the Welcome Center. We met Logan Smithy, our ranger for the next three days, and Sam, our ranger-in-training. At base camp, we found our tents, with their cots and mattresses, we did our medical checks, took the group photo,said the Philmont grace before each meal, ate lunch and dinner at the dining hall, Mr. Lauten and Graham W. took care of the paperwork at Logistics and H.Q., got our meals and supplies at the commissary, and did our final shakedown and distributed the troop gear evenly. Mr. Lauten guessed right on hamburgers for lunch. We met John Merrill, a former SPL of Troop 505 in the dining hall where he was working for the summer. Turns out his Greyhound bus ride earlier in the week took even longer than ours. The opening campfire tracing the origins of Philmont put on by the staff needed some more rehearsals. Graham W. our crew leader and all the rest of the crew leaders were given flags to wear on their backpacks to signify their leadership responsibilities. Most of us made phone calls back home.

Day 2After the breakfast in the dining hall, we checked out of tent city, made last minute purchases at Tooth of Time Trading Post, and loaded our gear onto the shuttle bus. The bus dropped us off at Zastro Turnaround. Logan taught us the proper procedure for using the stick in the "Red Roof Inn" with the pilot to co-pilot setup. Graham W. navigated us the first day to Rimrock Park. Each day, a different person would navigate. Our backpacks felt very heavy and bulky for the three mile hike. We found our campsite, established the "Bearmuda" Triangle, hung the bear bags from the cable, set up our tents and dining fly, and put our dishes by the sump. After all that was done, Logan talked to us for about two hours about first aid and not to have fires, and other important stuff. While that happened, Graham W. and Michael P. started a fly swatting game to see who could swat the most flies while at Philmont. At about three in the afternoon, we all took a side hike to Abreau to play chess, eat chocolate, drink their homemade root beer, took a tour of the 1912 farm house that was built before New Mexico was annexed to the U.S, and most importantly fill up our Nalgenes. When we came back, we started cooking dinner. Our cooks for the day were Graham W. and Taylor C. We took turns cooking each day. When the food was cooking, Trevor L. did not feel well at all. He started to hurl squeeze cheese, root beer, and chocolate. When dinner was done we all "Human- sumped" our plates. " Man-up" was a term we used the entire trip. Trevor L. was taken to Abreau with the help of Mr. Lauten, Taylor C., and Michael P. where the staff took care of him and made sure he was well enough for hiking the next day. By ten o'clock, everyone was sound asleep before the next day's hike to Urraca.

Day 3We stopped at Abreau and milked the goats and got to see the baby goat that was born that night. On our 5 mile hike to Urraca, Graham did 25 push-ups with full backpack on the steepest trail, and Logan showed us how to fill our nalgenes from the Toothache Springs well and purify the water with micropur tablets. We frolicked in the meadow at Urraca camp after we set up camp. Our crew participated in the Highland games that evening while Mr. Lauten, Mr. Flatter, and newest adult leader Michael P. had scoutmasters' coffee and cookies on the cabin porch. Graham took first in the caber toss and second in the axe handle throw, sporting his "Johnny Bravo" hair-do. At the campfire that night, the staff sang songs, and told ghost stories: "The Imp", "Lost Scout", "Cannibal Cowhand", and "Bruises on the Scoutmaster's Chest". The last story about the staff member cutting himself with a razor and shooting himself with a shotgun before he said, "I am no coward, but it is so hard to die," was the scariest story. Logan served us a pound cake for dessert.

Day 4Logan took us to Inspiration Point where we watched the sunrise while he read the Giving Tree to us. We left at 9 a.m. for the first part of our planned, mostly uphill 15 mile hike to Shaefers Pass trail camp, Shaefers Peak and Tooth of Time. We participated in the environmental fun time program at Miners' Park while Mr. Lauten, nursing a bad cold and sore throat, slept for an hour on the porch. Graham did 38 pushups. We got water from the running stream at North Fork Urraca before the grueling, steep climb to Shaefers Pass. By the time we set up camp it was too late in the day to make the side hike to Shaefers Peak and Tooth of Time. The latrine was an open air "pilot-to-bombardier."

Day 5Graham W., Michael P., Michael F., and Mr. Flatter got up early to watch the sunrise at Shaefers Peak. The downhill five mile hike to Cimarroncito was easy. On the way, we got water at Clark's Fork, and got lost for half a mile from the hunting lodge using an old map. Trevor L., Jared D., Anand M., Audley H., and Mr. Lauten climbed to the top of the rock face for rock climbing and rappelling, while the rest of the crew hiked to Hidden Valley on a nature hike for the environmental program. The staff at Cimarroncito presented Mr. Lauten with his ditty bag with all of his contact lenses, glasses, alarm clock, medications, retainer and towels, that he had lost in base camp. Was he ever happy! Trevor broke Michael P.'s chair when he leaned too far back. After we all took our first shower (as it turned out, our only shower on the trail) and washed clothes on the washboards, we went to the staff area to climb the traverse wall, while the adults had coffee and dessert on the porch.

Day 6Michael P. Michael F., Mr. Flatter, and Taylor made the side hike to the Ute Gulch commissary to pick up four more days worth of food. We had lunch at the Cimarroncito Turnaround/Harlan crossing. Our campsite at Harlan was the best so far; very secluded close to the staff area and had cool rocks to climb. Our programs at Harlan were 12 gauge shotgun shooting & reloading and burrow racing. Jared D. and Mr. Lauten hit the most targets. Anand M. shot the most grass and dirt. We stayed to watch the sunset from the meadow and the adults had coffee again

Day 7This was our most scenic hike so far. Our eight mile hike to Cimarron River trail camp was very easy. Once again, we were the first group to arrive at camp, so we were able to get the campsite closest to the river. The one major road that runs through Philmont was within 200 hundred yards of our campsite but the traffic noise didn't prevent us from getting a good night's sleep. We filled our water bottles up the night before to save time in the morning for the ten mile hike to Baldy Skyline.

Day 8On the way to Baldy Skyline, we stopped at Head of Dean, and Trevor L., Michael F., Jared D., Anand M., Audley H., Mr. Lauten, and Mr. Flatter all did their challenge events. Some of the challenge events were the King's Finger where Trevor L. and Michael F. had to pull a tire off of a 10 foot tall log and the Lava Swing where you had to be like Tarzan, and swing on a rope to the other side. We also climbed a 15 foot wall and conquered the tire swings. Michael P. made friends with the staff's cat, Frankenstein. When we all got to our campsite, we did the usual and went to sleep around 10 p.m. waiting for the next day's hike to our layover day at Miranda.

Day 9This was the easiest day on the trail. We only had to hike three miles to Miranda. When we got there we participated in the Mountain Man Rendezvous, Tomahawk Toss and the Black Powder Rifle Shooting. Graham shot a musket ball through his cowboy hat. We were not allowed to pick up our food at Baldy Town a day early as we had hoped. Staffer Graham had a cool "Mad hatter" top hat. Later in the day, we played Mountain Ball against the Mountain Men. The game was simple. There were a few rules, but the most important rule was that Mountain Men always win. After it hailed for 20 minutes, we all went to sleep waiting to climb Baldy the next day.

Day 10Graham W., Michael P., Trevor L., Michael F., Mr. Lauten, and Mr. Flatter all got up at 4: 30 a.m. to see the sunrise from the Mountain Man cabin. We started up the mountain without our packs at 8:30 a.m., but encountered problems along the way. To make a long story short, only six of us made it to the top of Baldy Mt. Those that made it also did the mine tour at French Henry and picked up the food at Baldy Town. We had a good Mexican Dinner that night along with the oranges they gave us at the commissary. We had a late night meeting with the director of Miranda to discuss the day's events.

Day 11We hiked to the corral for instructions on loading the burro. We picked out the largest donkey for the last two days of the trek. His name was Goliath and he took an instant liking to Graham. We backed tracked through Baldy Skyline to Pueblano Staff camp and set up camp at Flume Canyon. It was the first time we had level ground to sleep on. The loggers' version of baseball was similar to that of the Mountain Men's; they never lost. The decision was made to wake up at 3:30 the next morning to allow plenty of time for getting Goliath from the corral and hiking the road to Ponil for our 8:30 conservation project.

Day 12The alarm did go off at 3:30 as planned and we were on our way in less than two hours. Instead of saddling the burro and packing the saddles, in order to save time, we all just carried the gear that would have gone on Goliath. We made it to Ponil an hour early. Our three hour conservation program was to build a rock wall along the trail that had been damaged by the horses. The conservation staffer gave each of the tools a power rating based on its man rating. We considered this dangerous work; having to watch out for rocks tumbling down the slope, keeping your balance, and making sure you didn't get your fingers stuck under a rock. Getting our boots branded with the Philmont brands was something we all thought was special. The cantina served root beer and this time Trevor did not get sick. Michael P. had a reunion with his brother, John, a staffer at Ponil. The last two mile hike to the turnaround was done in the rain. Most of us fell asleep on the bus ride back to base camp. We checked into tent city, took long hot showers, emptied our lockers, returned gear and visited the trading post. Instead of eating in the dining hall, we took the shuttle bus into Cimarron and ate the best pizza on the planet at Simple Simon's. After eating two weeks of high carbohydrate, bland, dehydrated food we savored every bite of pizza. Audley H. tried to play with the owner's yapping dogs but was warned off instead. The evening campfire's skits were funny and the old movies of Philmont were uplifting. All the crew leaders were recognized, including Graham W., for their crew's successful completion of their trek.

Day 13Breakfast at base camp, souvenir buying at Tooth of Time Traders, loading our gear, and doing final checkouts at the HQ were done prior to the 9:00 a.m. shuttle bus to Raton. We did look back at the Tooth of Time as the bus pulled away from the welcome center. We had plenty of time to relax, eat, play games and sleep before our 3:30 p.m. Greyhound bus departure. We weren't sure if the bus would make its scheduled stop and if it did, we weren't sure if there would be enough empty seats for all of us. However, the bus did show up on time, with seats to spare, and a driver who knew the way. We arrived back in Houston on time the next day at 1:30 p.m. and said goodbye to each other and wished everyone a good summer.

ThoughtsPhilmont is indeed the "Mecca" of boy scouting. All the months of preparation and planning really helped condition us for the strenuous trek we had chosen to undertake. We received the Arrowhead Award, the "We all Made It" award and will receive the 50-miler award from the council. Coming together as a crew, enjoying the beauty of Philmont Ranch, hiking at elevations between seven and twelve thousand feet, collecting "smell-ables" for the bear bags, cooking with turkey bags, duct-taping blisters, doing programs, meeting other scouts, staff and leaders, watching the parachuting squirrels at closing campfire, and getting into the routine of everyday life at Philmont are the things I will remember most about the two weeks we spent at Philmont Scout Ranch.

Last Updated on Sunday, 15 August 2010 04:15

Weir, TX

What should have taken less than three hours to get to Weir, Texas, ended up taking five and a half hours. The usually reliable troop trailer had not one, but two blowouts on Friday night. We all waited by the cars, safely away from traffic, while Mr. Merrill and Mr. Bailey went into Brenham's Super Wal-Mart to purchase two new tires. We arrived at the property owned by Mr. Merrill's uncle at 12:30 A.M. After breakfast and morning flag ceremony, we all headed to one of the three stocked ponds for a full day of fishing. Mr. Merrill and Gabe S. helped set up the hooks, bait, fishing line, and taught us how to cast, reel and recover the fish. Alec K. caught the first fish, Mr. Merrill caught the most (twelve), Gabe S. caught the biggest fish, and Trevor L. caught five fish with a broken reel using sausage for bait. We caught bass, catfish and sunfish. It wasn't as much fun cleaning the fish as it was catching them, but all the scouts and adults pitched in and helped clean them. Mr. Merrill had us save the fish heads to start the delicious gumbo he made for dinner. We iced down most of the fish to take home and cook later. The porta-can that was set up just for the weekend's campout worked out well, even though it was a quarter mile away from our camp site. The only negative for this outing was the poison ivy along the banks. It helped to wear long pants to avoid it. The trailer didn't have another blow out on the way back, so we made it safely back to the scout house on Sunday in less than three hours, tired from catching and cleaning fish and having all our clothes smelling like fish.
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Last Updated on Sunday, 15 August 2010 04:12

Camporee 2008 - "A Century of Scouting"

This year's camporee was at Jack Webb Ranch near Chapel Hill, about an hour's drive from Houston. After getting our assigned campsite, we unloaded the troop trailer, set up troop gear and pitched our tents. For cracker barrel we had hot chocolate and chocolate marshmallow pies. Everything was going well until we found out that someone from another troop who was not used to the port-o-can actually did number 2 in the urinal instead of the toilet. The culprit was never found. Taps was blown by an actual bugler from the district at 11 P.M. The temperature dropped below freezing on Friday night. The water that was left in a pan on the stove was frozen the next morning.

Reveille was blown at 6:30 A.M. The adult Dutch Oven patrol prepared the meals for the weekend so that the scouts could concentrate their efforts on the camporee events. Needless to say, we ate well all weekend. After the 9 o'clock flag ceremony, we finished our lashing project: a gateway for our troop banner. Acting SPL Trevor L. made a duty roster and the Spartans put yellow caution tape on all the guy lines. The Spartan patrol members Reed W., William M., Christopher S. and Eric B. competed in the beginner division. Juan and Gator A., Gabriel S., David R., Trevor L., and Andy H. formed the Phoenix patrol that competed in the intermediate division. There were ten events: Knot Tying, Orienteering, First Aid, Flag Etiquette, Leadership, Tent Pitching, Lashings, Fire Building, Height & Distance, and a nature scavenger hunt. After the long and tiring events were over, everyone had free time until the 5:30 P.M. Retirement of the Colors. During that time we made apple cobbler and chocolate cherry cobbler for the dessert contest, played football, got ready for campsite inspection, and played the card games B.S. and E.R.S.

The campfire had many funny skits. The "Is that you Hans?" skit was done well but the funniest was the "28 days" skit. The Folts brothers led the flag retirement ceremony. We retired the huge flag from atop the Arena Towers building in Sharpstown. We then walked in silence to the Order of the Arrow campfire for the tapping out ceremony and Brotherhood callout. Andy H. jumped about 3 feet in the air when the ceremony team picked him out and shouted, "Him!" David R., standing next to Andy, jumped even higher. It was hard to stand at attention at the call-out for so long because we had a lot of chili with beans for dinner earlier. Mr. Lauten, Trevor L. and Juan A. took part in the Brotherhood ceremony. Afterward we went back to camp and ate our cobblers around our own troop campfire. We used the big, heavy metal disk from the scout house for our fires.

The next morning we were all tired from losing an hour sleep because of the start of Daylight Saving Time but we were still able to have all our gear loaded and the campsite inspected for Leave No Trace before 10:30 A.M. At the awards presentation led by twins Andrew and Anthony M., Troop 505 Phoenix patrol earned a first or second place award in five events: Knot Tying, Leadership, Tent Pitching, Overall and dessert contest. The Spartans gained a lot of experience, had good team spirit and had a great time at the camporee. Mr. Bailey and Mr. Williford were a big help to new scouts. Mr. Holm and Mr. Simpson helped judge the tent pitching contest. This was a fun weekend and showed that our troop was one of the best in the district.

Last Updated on Sunday, 15 August 2010 04:11

USS Lexington

We drove to Lake Texana State Park on Friday after QM Andy H. and acting SPL Trevor L. supervised the loading of the trailer. Traffic on US 59 was light for 7 p.m and we reached camp before 8 o'clock. Mr. Jallans was already at the four reserved campsites with a campfire in progress. Phoenix patrol helped the "gnus" (pronounced "ga-news") newly crossed-over scouts, Alex K., William M., and Reed W., set up their tents. We liked the campsites that were right on the water next to the dock. Mr. Simpson provided the evening's cracker barrel.

After breakfast and cleanup at the campsite, we drove two hours to Corpus Christi and checked in at the Lexington dock. We were given three rules and their consequences: No running, no hands in pockets, and shirt tails always in. The punishments for breaking these rules were pushups or Sunday morning dance. We stowed our gear in the crew's quarters and had lunch aboard the carrier. We went a block away to the Texas Aquarium ($6 per scout), ate ice cream along the beach, and toured the carrier flight deck before meeting for general assembly. We saw the IMAX movie, Fighter Pilot: Operation Red Flag, which everyone liked. After dinner we were allowed to roam the entire ship. We used the buddy system to go on all of the self guided tours. The evening colors ceremony was by far the most patriotic, inspiring, and entertaining one I've ever experienced. We performed a small service project by helping set up the coffee service for the following morning. The 10 p.m. ghost stories that were told on tour 4 were about true ghosts that have actually been seen onboard. Taps was at 11 p.m. and reveille was at 6:45 a.m.

We had an excellent breakfast and some of us went on the flight simulator. At the final muster at 9:15 a.m. on Sunday all the rule breakers came up on stage and danced the "Chicken Dance." We drove back to Houston and wanted to have lunch at Wendy's, couldn't find one for the first 180 miles so we settled for Burger King. Of course, two miles further there were two of them a mile apart. We were back at the Scout house, and unpacked by 2 p.m.

Last Updated on Sunday, 15 August 2010 04:10

Dinosaur Valley State Park

This campout really seemed like an "old" one to the people who went: Mr. Lauten, Mr. Holm, Mr. Wolz, Trevor L., Andy H., Audley H., David R., and Gabriel S. The term old, in this case, means retro, which was the theme for our campout. Mr. Wolz and Mr. Lauten wore their Robert Baden-Powell campaign hats and Mr. Wolz had flat hats for Mr. Holm and Trevor L. Mr. Wolz wore his 1970's assistant scoutmaster uniform.

On Friday evening, the scouts loaded their personal gear and the troop gear into the bed of Mr. Lauten's truck. We left the scout house at 7:00 P.M. and made our way for the 5 hour trip to Glen Rose Texas' Dinosaur Valley State Park. Everyone made it safely to the park at midnight. After circling the available camping areas numerous times, we finally found two camp sites together and set up camp. Lights out for the troop was at 2:00 A.M.

Saturday morning's weather was cool and clear, much the same for the entire weekend. We had to move our camp sites because we were not aware that we had camped in the reserved Girl Scout campsites. We were able to use one campsite for the entire troop and share the one table rather than use two sites that were pretty far apart. The adults set up an older heavy canvas, floorless tent. The Phoenix patrol had pop tarts and the Dutch oven patrol cooked up some good pancakes and sausage and brewed coffee as always. After breakfast, we had a flag ceremony that led into one of the four "retro" parts of campout. First, Mr. Wolz passed out copies of requirements from a 1960's BSA Scout Handbook. We compared those requirements for tenderfoot, second class, and first class with the current requirements in David R.'s modern day handbook. Many requirements were different: you could not earn merit badges until Star rank, no tenderfoot or second class scoutmaster conference requirement, and stalking and tracking as well signaling were required for first class. The second event was splitting a match with an axe. Gabe S. actually did this, and he split most of the logs for the campfire. At about 11:00 A.M., the scouts and the adults packed up their lunches and headed out for the dinosaur hike. The hike was very enjoyable for everyone. We all saw dinosaur tracks along the river bed. We made our way to the gift shop and the two dinosaur models, which was the stopping point of the hiking trail.

After lunch, we did part three of the retro campout which was called stalking the prey. Gabriel was the prey the scouts had to find. We attached a bottle of baby powder to his pants leg and gave him a 15 minute head start into the woods, leaving a small trail of the powder when he stepped. We were able to follow his trail until the powder steps disappeared. At one point we tracked him to the road and thought he might have gotten a ride with someone! We picked up his trail and found him when Mr. Holm asked, "Why is there a footprint in this ant pile?" and followed the direction of his shoe print to his hiding place in the woods. The fourth retro activity was a patrol lashings competition. The scouts made a trebuchet and bombarded the adult tent with tennis balls. The adults lashed a table for the stove. The competition was a tie: the scouts' project was the most fun while the adults' table was the most useful. Mr. Wolz showed us how to backsplice the end of ropes to keep them from fraying. We camped next to a girl's volleyball team and their volleyball often found its way into our camp site during their practices. The Dutch oven patrol made enough OWL stew and apple cobbler to feed not only their own members, but the rest of the troop as well.

On Sunday, we all packed up and headed home at 8:00 A.M. Reveille was at 6 A.M.

Last Updated on Sunday, 15 August 2010 04:09

Camp Strake (Catholic Retreat)

The thirteen candidates for the Ad Altare Dei award and the seven candidates for the Pope Pius XII award attended the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston's annual retreat at Camp Strake in Conroe, Texas. We left at 6:30 p.m. on Friday from the scout house and checked in at 8 p.m. at Camp Strake. We had just enough time to set up our tents at campsite 4 before we hiked to the opening campfire at Eagle Summit. We heard brief talks from four of the seminarians (priests in training) from St. Mary's seminary. They related how they were inspired to become priests. One of the seminarians told how he used to say his own pretend Masses in the second grade, using his brother as an altar boy and his teddy bear as a deacon. The Cracker Barrel had only two bags of chips for fifty people, but there was plenty of ice cold water available to quench our thirsts on a hot and humid night.

The next morning we were up at 6 a.m., had a flag ceremony outside the dining hall, had an opening prayer, said Grace and ate a huge breakfast. The day's A.A.D. activities consisted of four class sessions led by the seminarians and four outdoor activities in which we played mushball, football, volleyball, and four square. We also had a general session and recited the rosary with Fr. Bill. The Pope Pius scouts had an all day discussion with Fr. Bill. The evening Mass was delayed by two hours because someone locked Fr. Bill's keys in his trunk with all his vestments.

We were thankful we packed raingear and secured our tents because it rained almost the entire weekend. As usual, the food at the Camp Strake dining hall was delicious and there was plenty of it. The retreat was well-organized and we learned a lot from the seminarians and the priests.

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Last Updated on Sunday, 15 August 2010 04:08

Village Creek

We left from the Scout House on Saturday at 7 a.m. for the trip to Silsbee and the Village Creek put in area. We loaded all our gear into the 8 canoes and 2 kayaks rented from Eastex Canoe Trails for the 12 scouts and 8 adults that made the trip. All of the scouts and adults passed the BSA swim test 2 weeks prior to the trip but we all still wore PFD's in accordance with the safety afloat guidelines. The hardest thing to do was to load was the collapsible 5 gallon water jugs and make it so the canoes wouldn't tip. Most of the gear had been waterproofed by covering it with garbage bags. We started paddling down the creek at 12:30 and stopped 2 hours later for lunch. Most of us switched canoe partners and we switched kayakers. The creek was not running very fast so we had to paddle a lot. Every quarter of a mile or so we had to get out of our canoes and drag them around fallen trees and other non passable blockages. We all helped each other when it came to portaging, and directing canoes around tight spots. Michael M. and Taylor C. were especially helpful in getting us untangled from fallen limbs. After stopping every 2 hours to rest, change canoes, drink water, and read the map, we finally it to the 10 mile sand bar camp at 6 o'clock. We unloaded the canoes, set up tents and made dinner. We brought our canoes ashore and turned them over to be used as tables... smart idea! After paddling all day, we were pretty "whipped" and we all went to bed early to rest our weary bones.

The next day we got up early, ate breakfast, broke camp, loaded the canoes and paddled 2 miles to the take out. Mr. Mayeaux, an experienced canoeist, didn't have any water in his canoe at the end of the trip. I think we should do this trip again so long as we start a little earlier and we continue to use teamwork to get down the river.

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Last Updated on Sunday, 15 August 2010 04:07

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