Great North Mountain, WV
Apr 21-22, 2018
Spring means its time for the Introduction to Backpacking Trip. The PLC picked the perfect weekend to have this trip. The weather, the sights, the sounds, and smells all told us that Spring is in the air.
Weather and sights.
Clear skies and 60F. Doesn’t get much better than the backpacking weather we had. Overnight it got as low as 38F, but it felt even colder due to the persistent wind.
The view of Wardensville at lunchtime was nothing short of amazing. From above, we saw birds of prey at work and could make out hilltops more than ten miles away. On the ground, we heard and saw an oriole in the brush and met a couple horses on the trail.
We also saw older scouts time and again coaching, coaxing, and mentoring younger scouts to push themselves a little bit farther (especially up that hill pre-lunch on Saturday). They shared the load when the load seemed too heavy for a younger scout, and pushed and pulled to make sure that everybody got to our destination together. Scouters are proud and scouts should be proud of these efforts. Whether you are learning to navigate a trail (or put up bear bags) for the first time, or hike up an impossible hill, it’s good to have accomplished scouts and scouters encouraging you.
Sounds and smells.
The wind was memorable at night. The underground creek we hiked over made us all pause for a moment and appreciate the great outdoors. The slamming down of a jack instead of a queen during cards—and the joyful clamor that ensued—was memorable for many.
What does teen spirit smell like? I don’t know for sure, but there was certainly a great vibe among the groups. The crisp spring air did not have very much pollen – it’s too early in the season for that, thankfully – so all of us allergy sufferers could breathe deep comfortably. There was the occasional horse manure on the horseshoe-trodden trail that kept us on our toes and occasionally brought our finger and thumb to our nose.
After a mostly direct hike back to the parking lot, there was no better feeling than seeing lunch and the trip home ahead. It’s nice to go, and nice to return.
Most memorable from this trip were the teaching of young scouts, collaboration among older scouts to spread the load when necessary, everyone’s high spirits, and the comradery and fellowship that were built during this trip.
Special thank you to ASM Hindley for planning this trip and to all Scouters who joined in to help make this trip a tremendous success.
C&O Canal Towpath, MD – DC
Mar 10-11, 2018
1128’s March trip was chosen by the PCL to be a bicycling trip. Now we all love bicycling but early March was asking the Scouting gods for a bit much as temps and weather could be very nice or down right nasty. As luck would have it the day time temps were perfect for a ride along the C&O canal whilst the over nite temps treated all the scouts with temps of 25F thereby earning many the Polar Bear badge or another snowflake.
The trip was a hybrid car camping trip as logistically we had to move 40 bikes, gear, patrol kits, scouts and scouters to the start from Andrew Chapel and from the finish to Andrew Chapel as well as to the camping location. In addition, in order to ensure a pleasant experience for all, mandatory bike safety checks were held with help from The Bike Lane service van and bikes@vienna. A good number of scouts bought new bikes as their current bike was simply too small. The rental truck was loaded Friday nite with gear and bikes allowing a quick departure Saturday morning.
Saturday morning we took head count and headed north to White’s Ferry – a short boat ride across the Potomac to the ride start at Mile 35 on the historic C&O canal. The patrols were staged and sent out every 5-10 minutes. The first day’s mileage was to be 24 miles ending at Marsden Camp ground just down river of Great Falls. All the patrols arrived around the same time, 2pm, meaning they spent about 4-5 hours in the saddle. The truck arrived and just like the landing of D-Day, gear and food were delivered to the campsite. Water however was an issue as NPS hadn’t turned on the faucets yet so an ASM and some Scouts went in search of water, finally finding some at a local fire station. Fortunately and unfortunately, embers were still hot from the previous site occupants. It made for a quick start to our fire but was certainly a dangerous thing to do on the part of someone. Dinner was made and the rest of the evening was spent around the fire to keep warm as it was going to be a cold nite.
Sunday morning came around with frost on tents and backpacks. A quick hot meal was had, camp was broken down, gear delivered to the truck and patrols set out on the final 11 miles to Georgetown. Patrols all arrived within 20 minutes of each other and began the trek across the Key bridge and the awaiting truck. Bikes were loaded up and everyone headed back to Andrew Chapel.
A successful trip was had with a flat tire being the only mechanical. A few adjustments were made on the trail but nothing major. The weather was perfect for riding and we avoided bad weather on the previous and following weekends, but May is still a better time to hold a bike trip.
Thanks to Mr Wolfe for all the logistics with the van and all the ASMs and parents who joined in on a great bike ride.
February 24-25, 2018
Troop 1128 toured the United States Naval Academy on Saturday, February 24th. Thirty-nine Scouts and ten adult Scouters spent the day at the Academy learning about its history, traditions, and importance to our country. The Troop was fortunate to have Major Mitchell Rubinstein, Midshipman Samuel Winegar, and Midshipman Thomas Dias serve as guides during the trip. All three did a fantastic job in describing various aspects of the Academy’s mission, history, building architecture and the “life of a Midshipman,” as a member of the Brigade, which was informative and very entertaining. The Troop was also fortunate to have its Scoutmaster Mr. Robert Leggett with them on the trip. Scoutmaster Leggett had been an instructor at the Academy for six years. The Scouts and Scouters were very impressed by the institution and grateful for the time and attention granted to them.
The Troop enjoyed lunch in a reserved section of Dahlgren Hall. Afterwards the troop attended the Navy vs. Loyola basketball game. A couple of the Scouts participated in the timeout contests on the court and almost all the Scouts were thrown miniature Navy promotional basketballs. The Scouts had a great time interacting with the Navy Goat mascot “Bill” when he visited the section. On top of that, Navy had a great come-from-behind victory!
In addition to learning about the daily workings of the Academy from the perspective of a Midshipman, the Scouts also saw the Chapel crypt where the body of John Paul Jones is laid to rest. The visit to Memorial Hall with its plaques displaying the names of Academy graduates who have given their lives in service to their country served as a reminder that freedom is not free. The trip was a memorable and meaningful experience for all, and the Troop greatly appreciated the special attention.
Skiing, Snowboarding, and Snowtubing at the Seven Springs Resort
January 26-28, 2018
Troop 1128 spent a weekend at Seven Springs Resort — skiing and snow tubing. Some learned to ski for the first time while others polished their skiing and snow boarding technique. Several scouts earned the ski merit badge, learning not only the different ways to maneuver on skis, but also safety and responsibility. Later that evening, the scouts played volleyball in the gym only to wake up early the next morning to go snow tubing before heading back home.