Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Camp For Tramps: Part One

It comes up from time to time that I was an Eagle Scout, and while the line of discussion usually ends on the significance of that achievement, it sometimes goes on to touch on the things I did to get it. Other Eagle Scouts usually want to know about the service project I carried out to cap off the whole thing. Others, often not Scouts themselves, joke about 'being prepared'. What seldom comes up is what I believe I spent the most time doing, which is hiking and camping. I tell plenty of stories about both on my own initiative, but have done little of either in the last six years. 2004 was the last summer I worked at a Boy Scout Camp. Several years before that, I had became basically inactive in my troop upon my eighteenth birthday. Lately I've been mostly confined to sleeping in my own bed and walking on city streets. That changed recently.

For the first time in a good long while, I went camping. The reason was that a good friend was getting married, and chose a chaste, sober camping trip for his bachelor party over the more traditional weekend of debauchery. That was just fine by me, although I would not have raised hell if a mere six pack had joined us on our trip to be shared by the group. As the weekend drew near, I gave some thought to the disruption to life that a weekend away from town would present. Of course, that was no obstacle, and points more to my difficulties in focusing on a single task than on being loathe to abandon the luxuries of home. I did regret having to make my fantasy football roster that much earlier, but that was a small matter. The whole thing looked to be really very good for me.

The night before we left, I made sure I knew where one or two things were. I resolved to get up extra early to assemble the rest and get some other things done besides. Of course I got up an hour after I had intended, thus scotching much of my plan. The ride which I and my roommate the groom were waiting for came a bit late, though, making it all something of a wash. We then loaded our things into his car, picking up a fourth person on our way to meet other friends for breakfast. The breakfast was fun, but more or less uneventful apart from the harrowing experience of having each person's job and general deal described to the group by the one who knew them best. That aged me. From there, one person said farewell, and the rest of us made for the camping trip.

It was necessary to go shopping for supplies. I tried my hardest to influence the group's decisions, with mixed results. We wound up with decent food, considering the manner in which our limited supply of cookware hampered us some. There were deli meats, cheeses, bread and mustard for sandwiches. That was lunch. Dinner was bratwurst and Polish sausages. Inexplicably, the store did not have the good stuff I'd usually go for, but there were no other complaints. For breakfast we had cereal bars, bananas and orange juice. The beverages for lunch and dinner were bottled water and generic soda. Perhaps the biggest grocery store battle was over whether we should just get one case of the soda, or take advantage of their 'Five cases for ten dollars' deal. I advocated for the latter, but was overruled. When we left, I was amused to see some Boy Scouts soliciting donations. It rankled to see one of them wearing the wrong pants. They were somewhat close in color, but were plainly non-uniform. I was upset, and vented to clearly uninterested and unsympathetic members of my group.

Tomorrow, I'll get into what happened during day one of the camping!

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