Sunday, June 14, 2009
Seven Bridges Campout
June 12 & 13, 2009
Seven Bridges Campout
Located roughly 20 miles southeast from Reedsport and deep within the Elliot State Forest, we made our camp along the tail end of the Seven Bridges Road. We don't often make it to such isolated locations. But with Chet Evans' as our guide we had no difficulties whatsoever. And, of course, it was well worth it. The beauty was serene and camp felt like home. Just down a small hill from our camp ran the West Fork Millicoma River. On the other side of the river jutted a 200+ foot moss covered cliff. After we arrived and pitched our tents the sun began to poke through the morning clouds. Swimming was on everyone's mind. But that would have to wait until after the five mile hike. On the hike we figured that our average step was about 2.5 feet and we were going about 100 steps every minute and ten seconds. In eleven minutes we were walking roughly 1000 steps or 2500 ft. That would make our mile time about 22-25 minutes. We started around 12:30 and arrived back to camp around 2:30 - 3:00 PM. Avery lead the troop to the midpoint of our journey. We couldn't get him to slow down. Derek Kennedy, Preston, and Clay wanted to run some of the way back to camp. How do these guys have so much energy? By the time the last of us finally made it back to camp everyone was already in the river. Derek had suffered the first and only creek-based injury (other than scrapes and bruises) with a small cut to the knee. OUCH!! But he toughed it out and didn't complain--what a stud!! After that he assumed the role of photographer and captured some of Troop 721's most priceless moments on the campout--slippin, slidin, snorklin, and skippin on the river. Dinner time rolled around and out popped the chili and tin foil dinners. Nothin tastes as good as a good ole tin foil dinner in the deep woods. Dessert topped off the evening with dutchoven apple cobbler and smores. Perhaps the highlight of the campout was the flag retirement ceremony led by Ken Lamph. A full size United States flag, which had proudly served its time for over a year at the coast guard station, was presented to the scouts. As Ken and Chet made each of the 13 folds each scout read aloud the meaning of each fold: life, eternal life, veterans, trust in God, tribute to our country, our heart, armed forces, Jesus, womanhood, fatherhood, glory to God, and the last fold reveals the stars representing our nations motto--"In God We Trust". Finally, as the flag is completely folded and tucked in it takes the appearance of a cocked hat--forever reminding us of the soldiers who served under General George Washington and Captain John Paul Jones, and all of those who followed serving in the United States armed forces who help preserve our rights, privileges and freedoms that we enjoy today. Once folded for the last time Ken and Chet honorably unfolded the flag and presented it for the last time and led us in the pledge of allegiance. For me, the tears swelled from within. At last, Ken and Chet folded the flag in half and placed it on the fire. I hope the boys felt the same way I did as the fire blazed. There seemed to be an entire story being told of all the sacrifices made and honor displayed beneath the colors of our red, white, and blue--all while the flag was majestically burned beneath the starry sky. And with that we retired to our tents with few words being spoken. I hope that this night will also have burned within each one of the scout's heart a love and respect for the country in which we live.
We awoke the following morning with a gentle rainfall allowing everyone to sleep in as long as we preferred. Derek Kennedy spearheaded a morning run which I hope becomes a tradition at each campout hereafter. The route he chose to take was straight up hill. It had all of us (Derek, Preston, Brian Lacouture, and myself) gasping for air. We braved at least five miles (okay, maybe it was only a mile and half--but it seemed like five miles) before turning back and 'rolling' back down the hill. Upon arriving back to camp we had a late breakfast and Chet helped lead some of the boys through a small orienteering course that Zack and Braden had set up the day before. Then we broke down camp, after which the boys were able to try their marksmanship with the single action 22 caliber rifle.
A big thanks to Chet Evans and Ken Lamph for providing their time and support. Without them the campout couldn't have happened as most of the other leaders had to work. Also a big thanks for each one of the well behaved scouts who make me proud to be their scoutmaster. Thanks to Brian and Mark who made a late appearance and to all of the parents for trusting us with their young sons. I hope that the experience was as a pleasure to all as it was to me.