868 in Action
WINTER CAMPING @ TUNNEL MILL
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As a winter camping destination, Troop 868 chose Tunnel Mill Scout Reservation near Charlestown, Indiana. It had been several years since the troop had visited TMR, so this was a new destination for many of our younger scouts. Though our intent was to do winter tent camping, we had reserved the Scoutmaster Lodge cabin in case of extreme weather. This was a good move, because it turned out to be one of the coldest weekends of the winter with overnight temperatures in the low teens and daytime highs below freezing. All but two of our scouts still opted for the challenge of sleeping outdoors in tents. Cooking was also done outdoors, but menus were kept simple in anticipation of the cold.
The wood stove in the cabin provided enough heat to break the chill, but not much more. To call the cabin warm or even "comfortable" would be an exaggeration. Still, it provided relief from the wind and chill factor of being outdoors and was a nice place to eat meals and fellowship.
The camp had received a light dusting of snow earlier in the week and the ground was covered with frozen animal tracks. Scouts were able to identify raccoon, deer, wild turkey, mice, rabbit, and dog tracks. The creek that runs through the camp was frozen over and scouts enjoyed "walking on the water" to cross between main camp and old camp versus having to use the bridge. Several scouts worked together, using their feet, to stencil our troop number in the snow in the middle of the frozen creek --- which was really pretty neat!
The boys also discovered a waterfall that was frozen all around but still liquid and flowing in the center. This can only be described as one of the coolest things any of us has ever seen ... it was truly awesome. Kentuckiana doesn't often get sustained cold temperatures low enough for creeks and lakes to freeze over, so this outing offered a winter wonderland opportunity that many of the scouts had never experienced.
On Saturday night, despite temperatures in the upper teens, we had a campfire complete with patrol skits in the camp's amphitheatre then roasted marshmallows and made smores. On Sunday morning we conducted an in-camp worship service before breaking camp and heading home. It really turned out to be a great outing.
|Scouts camped on the parade field near the cabin. An elevated stove was used to protect the grass.||Patrick added some wood to the fire as Gabe sat and pondered how cold he was.|
|Trey, Tim, Nick, and Matt set off on a hike to the creek as Connor races to catch up.||Finding the creek solidly frozen over, the boys proceeded to scape "BSA T-868" in the snow layer on top of the ice.|
John and Tim.
Front row: Connor and Trey.
|Almost the whole gang heads up the path back to the cabin for lunch.|
|Troop Committee member Mike DiEnno surveyed the frozen woods from one of the towers of the Cub World western fort.||The clarity of the animal tracks was amazing, as this photo clearly shows.|
|Chili dogs proved to be a big hit for Saturday lunch ... quick to prepare, warm, and only a couple of pots to wash afterwards.||This would be the infamous frozen waterfall. Scouts are standing on the ice that covers the collection pool.|