If there is one thing I love to do, its backpack, or more simply, camping. Whether its car/tent camping, RV camping (yes, if that’s the one thing that gets me outta town I’ll do it), or backpacking. When I was around 11 I joined a cub scout pack. Pack 122. I started as a webelos. I’m not sure why I originally joined scouts. I played baseball for a few years before, while I was in elementary school. It could have been all the old books and patches I would look through that were in a box at the top of my closet. They were my dads. He did the boyscout thing as well and is an Eagle Scout. It could have been the other kiddos that were in my class in 4th. They would wear their uniform to school sometimes. So at some point before I went to middle school I joined the cubscouts.
The very first time I went camping was out at Worth Ranch. Its out past Mineral Wells, on the Brazos river. I remember dad finding this old canvas wall tent that Granddad had. We packed up for the weekend. We left Saturday morning for what was called Webelos Woods. It was great. They are few things that are I still remember about that trip. I remember going up to Hugo’s Crack, learning different types of knots, and there was even a fire building contest. I learned about the infamous ‘hernia hill’. I do remember eating some ranch style beans and chicken. Dad whittled out an acorn and made me a cool neckerchief slide. We came home the following day, and I remember crying in the kitchen. Mom and dad asked why I was crying. I told them I didn’t want to come home. I still don’t. I’m not sure what happened out there that weekend, but it changed me in a sense.
The following year we went again. This time we went to Sid Richardson Scout Ranch located on Lake Bridgeport. The only thing I really remember about that campout is that on that Saturday night it was chilly and I had dad hold me. Such a baby!
I remember only camping those two times during cubscouts. I pretty sure those were the only two times. I soon got my Arrow of Light and crossed over into Boyscouts.
The troop I joined was Troop 144. At this point in time the troop was very outdoor oriented and went camping every month. Sweet! By this time Dad had invested in a more up to date tent. I don’t think I had a pack yet or if I did it was borrowed. The first trip we took with the troop was in December, probably less than a month after a joined. We went out to Murrell Park on Lake Grapevine. It was COLD. I think I got my first Polar Bear patch that trip. There was a 10 mile warmup hike happening in Haltom City and we drove over and did that. Brr..did I say it was cold?
A few months later I remember going out to Worth Ranch. I couldn’t believe it. I was back at the place where it all started a few years back. We did the hike up Hugo’s Butt Crack but this time, though I wasn’t around, dad wasn’t doing so well. I’m not sure if it was weeks or days, but shortly after that Dad had his quad bypass surgery. Oh no, I couldn’t lose my best camping buddy and ride to the woods. Luckily, everything turned out okay.
Over those next few years, me and dad would go camping just about every month with the troop. I went to a few summer camps and went on my first backpacking trip out at SR2. Then came 1997. Someone was giving a speech about the best 10 day backpacking trip they had done and that the troop would get the opportunity to get to go back there the following year. You had to be 13 years of age at the start of the trip and be able to pass a physical exam. Check and check. They said it was one of the BSA’s high adventure camps. We would be hiking 50+ miles with only what we carried and with just 12 people. Dad went here as a kid so I was excited that I would get to experience it too.
This place was Philmont Scout Ranch.
From here my aspect on camping changed forever.
Over the next few weeks I’m going to write about my 10 trek, the two Autumn Adventures, and lastly, the 3 greatest summers of my life.