Our troop celebrated its second overnight camping trip by participating in an orienteering workshop hosted by the cadets of the US Military Academy at West Point, NY. Our “sister troop”, Troop 2678 of Lafayette, NJ also attended and we shared a campsite on helicopter Landing Zone “Owl” in Camp Buckner.
Fortunately, we had much better weather than originally forecast for the weekend. It didn’t rain at all, but on Friday evening it was very chilly. Most of us attended the “basic” workshop lectures on first aid and orienteering principles. Some scouts who had been to the workshop previously got to participate in an “advanced” program where they would run individually except on the night course where they’d have a buddy to form a two-man team.
After the last of the safety and leader’s briefings we turned in to get some sleep. We’d need it since we’d be running three courses on Saturday. The first course was a walk-thru to practice land navigation, reading contours, setting a route through the woods and using trails and paths to our advantage. We got experience finding and using “handrails” such as rock walls, streams and ridgelines. We covered a couple kilometers through varied terrain and then went back to camp for lunch. David T. was our grubmaster and he did a great job with well-rounded meals.
After lunch there were two competitively timed courses — white and yellow (each a beginner’s level course, but yellow is slightly more challenging.) Along the way we got to see a large section of Camp Buckner and Lake Popolopen. Except for one detour, our team did very well.
Dinner was a joint effort between Troops 113 and 2678 and it featured homemade chili (Scoutmaster Farrell) and freshly grilled cornbread and fixin’s (Scoutmaster Maynard). 44 cups of chili were devoured in record time and we had just enough to feed the cadet judges (there was a chili cook-off, but we didn’t win).
A campfire with singing capped off our evening as we prepared for Sunday’s final event — the Orange Course.
On Sunday morning, our troops conducted a “Christian Worship Service” at the “hand to hand combat arena” located near our campsite. Several other troops joined us for a time of reverent worship. We sang two songs (accompanied by trumpet), and had scripture readings by SM Maynard along with a brief devotional.
The orange course presented much more of a challenge to our team, but we handled it in stride. There was a lot of cross-country running, climbing and control marker hunting to keep it exciting. When we finally returned to camp we started our clean up and had lunch. Following the final results announcements we finished packing up and headed home — exhausted but pleased with the weekend’s activity.
Photos have already been posted to our troop’s share site (password required).