Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Getting Lost at a Scout Camp

On a wonderful recent fall Saturday I was invited to observe model rocket launching and pumpkin chunkin. The scouts had two different types of rockets, very tiny ones with tumble recovery and a slightly bigger rocket with a streamer that slowed it down, making it a little easier to see also. They were also setting up for a “pumpkin chunkin” competition in the afternoon.  I did get to see a couple of pumpkins get launched and it was amazing the distance the pumpkin was hurled through the air.

While at the camp I decided to take a hike on a trail that went into a wooded area, I had heard there was a reservoir lake somewhere in the area that radio control gliders had been flown from. I walked the winding trail that had been cleared noticing the orange plastic ribbons that were found along the path. Any moment I expected to come to the end of the trail but at some point it appeared to follow a half circle and I thought sure I was headed back to where I had started. When I thought I was getting closer I moved off the trail so people riding mountain bikes could get through. At this point it appeared like there was an opening in the woods ahead.

As I left the wooded area there was a big valley with an earth dam at the other side. I crossed a small stream on wood planks spanning the water. Someone else was walking a road up to the top of the dam; I followed them and looked out over the beautiful small lake.  Next I headed down the path I came up and followed a dirt road that two guys were coming my way on with fishing poles. They asked me how fishing was but I said I had no idea and this was the first time I had been here. As the trail went around some trees there was the parking lot for the reservoir with plenty of signs but no trail maps.

Leaving the parking lot was a crushed rock road, but which way to go, right or left? If I would have been a good scout I probably would have used an old fashion compass but I had Google on my smartphone. Turns out it wasn’t so smart but it gave me a warning it was a beta version. It had me going up the hill to the left but was showing the address I was looking for several miles away. On top of the hill I didn’t spot the camp headquarters so I went down the hill. Looked at Google again and it had me going the other direction up another hill. Spotted an exit off the road to what looked like many vehicles, I thought that must be where I came from. When I got to the driveway I could see that it was a farm place not the scout camp. So I went down the hill again and up again. Finally I got up nerve to flag someone down and asked which way to the scout camp, they pointed the other direction and quickly took off.

It was a wonderful day for a walk but this was getting to be a bit much. At the bottom of the hill in the parking lot I spotted a guy getting a bike ready to ride. I asked him if there was a shortcut to the boy scout camp, he didn’t know and his smartphone wasn’t coming up with anything useful either. I continued up the hill past the farm place and spotted the road on top of the hill that goes by the boy scout camp. I certainly didn’t want to walk that far but then I spotted the camp across a field, so walked across tall grass but it was shorter than following the road.

View Across the Field

Almost Back

Pumpkin Chunkin Testing When I Got Back

According to my pedometer I had put on 6 ½ miles that day so I would guess 6 of the miles were my trail adventure. It was now lunch time; I stayed to see a couple of pumpkins flung from a giant wooden contraption and then headed back to the city.

Happy Trails

Bill Kuhl

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