So, once again, my dad and I set off in the later wee hours of the morning after the uniform dysfunction (which didn't even matter because nobody could see it under the coat anyways), and a couple hours later we finally arrived at the destination way, way, waaay the hell out in the sticks. Even just the bungly road out to the camp was designed to really give off that whole "rustic" experience, being about three miles of twisty, turny, bouncy dirt, rocks, and general woodsy "initiation turbulence" through the middle of the forest. At a speed limit of 2 miles per hour, no drink in any cup-holder was safe, and we both emerged in a state of involuntary spasm. Welcome to "Camp Norse"... a camp hardcore enough for the Norsemen, as I understood it. It's not anywhere near where I live (or anyone else for that matter) so don't even try to track me down.
|The actual cabin.|
From there on the trip quickly went downhill. First of all, of all the scouts in the entire council only like four or five of us showed up to "represent," which means we were severely, severely outmatched by the other councils who had upwards of tens and twenties of scouts. Secondly, we learned that we were going to be lugging around a giant sled like a pack of Iditarod dog teams, in what was supposed to have been the fluffy snow which turned out to be mush and pine needles. Thirdly, it was damp, muddy, and damn cold.
So here we were, all four of us sturdy-bodied nine-year-olds, dragging this giant heavy-ass snow sled with all our equipment on it from activity station to activity station, across wet pine needles, rocks, and downed tree branches which had to be frequently moved, falling down on our faces in the cold hard mud, as the other councils zipped around with twenty or so older and stronger guys in tow. We quickly became known by all the other competing councils as "the losers." One team even had wheels on their sled! All the while our drill sergeant pack leader would crack his metaphorical whip, shouting at us to "pick up the pace" and to "put our [you-know-whats] into it" (whatever that meant), but taking time to assure us that if there had been snow, that team with the wheels would've been screwed. I suppose that made me stop and ignore the pain in my shoulders, the humiliation of being in last place, and the cold mud on my drenched pants for a half-second. It was still fun in a "we're all in this together" kind of way.
The activities included things like climbing trees, building a fire, walking a tight-rope, archery, javelin throw, and our personal worst, tying knots. By the time we made it to any of the activity areas though, we were so grateful just to have made it that we didn't really care about doing what was set out at these stops, so we basically failed at everything. That's not even some cynical joke either, we really did fail at everything. And you'd be surprised how many bathroom stops boys need in a ten hour period of strenuous labor, for which we literally had the trees. "No pain, no gain," he said.
|Picture Credit: Scouting Magazine|
But through it all, at least we got outside, got to stretch our legs (and then some!), and got enough combined "pull my finger" and "number one, number two? Go find a tree!" jokes out of our systems to satiate our humor palettes for at least a couple days. And we got serious, serious props at the next council meeting for at least showing up and braving the wilds, the battles, and each other's bodily functions, to represent the council. And each of us came home with a sweet, well-deserved badge commemorating the valiant "effort," which we could lord over all the "no-show wusses."
Still a proud Webelo...at heart! (Not in reality, because that would be weird).