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Girl Scouts

Girl Scout Campout

Sometime in early January, my co-leader B and I had a moment of weakness. We were chatting about how our schedules seemed to have gotten so busy with the new year and the spring events and extra work stuff.

In a moment of weakness, we both realized we had the same weekend “free” in May. So what did we do? We reserved some tent camping spots at a new local state park to take the Girl Scouts camping!

The couple weekends before the campout the weather was cold and SNOWY! We were a bit worried . . . and admittedly maybe a little hoping it would be too cold to go camping. We didn’t want the girls’ first experience to be awful and uncomfortable. But, the weather turned around and we were off!

B and I both love camping and were ready to go.

B had to travel for work all week and got back to Denver around noon on Friday. Hubby was awesome and helped me take a bunch of the big stuff down to the camp sites and helped me set up 3 tents, the food tables, the canopy . . . carry the firewood. It took us a couple hours, so I’m glad we did it! We didn’t get down there with the girls until around 5:00 p.m. – it would not have been fun to have to try to get everything set up with the girls before making dinner.

After we got the girls stuff settled in the giant 10-man tent (thank you QT for letting us use it!) . . . we paused for a quick team photo:

 

Then we were off to our neighboring camp site to make dinner of spaghetti and bread on the gas stove. It turned out great and was yummola! After dinner, Ranger Mike and Ranger Jenny stopped by our site to chat with the girls and make sure we were all set before it was quiet time at the park:

 

Ranger Mike is a new Ranger . . . and also in charge of the resident 4-foot bull snake, Chance. He invited the girls down to the visitor enter to see the snake on Saturday! Ewwwwwwww!!!

After a campfire and some yummy s’mores, we heard the 10:00 taps over the loud speaker from Fort Carson, just a few miles away. It was pretty neat! The girls got cleaned up and headed to their tent. The first night was a bit of a challenge getting the girls quieted down – there were 8 of them in one large tent . . . which was FUN and all they wanted to do was talk and talk and giggle and giggle! We had to remind them more than once what Ranger Mike said about quiet time at 10:00 and how they’ve had to ask people to leave for being too loud. They finally quieted down and were ready to go Saturday morning.

Some of the girls really like to cook and were very helpful making the bacon, eggs, and sausage while the other girls set up the fruit and utensils and helped make hot chocolate for everyone. Here they are enjoying their yummy breakfast outside.

 

After cleaning up, doing dishes, and digging the sump, the girls headed out to explore while they worked on their Junior Ranger books. They had to find bugs, complete crossword puzzles, and investigate pine tree bark scents (vanilla? cinnamon?) among other things.

 

They had a lot of time to explore around the campsite area, play, do what they wanted, and entertain themselves while B and I sat and relaxed and chatted. It was REALLY nice!

After yummy lunch, we headed to the Camper Service building for the Birds and Binoculars ranger class. The girls had a great time learning about birds and bird watching and binoculars! They even got to go outside and use their binoculars to identify different birds from their books:

 

After getting their Junior Ranger books graded and being sworn in, we walked to the other area of the camper services building to get some freeze pops on a hot day. Lo and behold, we saw Ranger Mike! He invited the girls down to the Visitor Center to see Chance. B and I seized the opportunity to disguise our planned forced hike as a walk down a grassy trail to the Visitor Center to see Chance. It worked!

The girls had a great time on the hike down and saw TONS of wildlife.

 

After a nice 2 1/2 mile hike, we made it to the Visitor Center. Ranger Mike had beat us down there in his pickup and had Chance out and ready to go. Not all of the girls were thrilled with Chance, but every one of them touched him and hung around for quite a while to watch him wrap himself around Ranger Mike’s waist and try to stick his head out toward the girls.

 

While the girls were entertained by Chance and Ranger Mike, B and I wandered around the Visitor Center. I took notice of the dates and locations of the recent wildlife sitings that were noted on the whiteboard.

Note the last entry – 5/17 Bobcat / Campsite 23. May 17th is the day we arrived. The girls were out exploring the campsites and the nearby trails. Campsite 23 was just up the hill from us about 20 yards. We KNOW that cat was watching the girls. Thankfully, they were loud enough that the bobcat didn’t want to come near us :-) Safety in numbers!

We hiked back to our campsite up the entrance road . . . completing our 5 mile hike by walking through site 23 and showing the girls just how close the bobcat was to our site and why it really was so important for them to make sure all of their smellables were put in the bin for me to take to the car each night.

Easy dinner of hot dogs over the fire followed by banana boats finished off our 2nd night at the campground. The girls were TIRED! They were quiet and sleeping by 10:00 rather than loud and roudy at 12:30 a.m. 😉 B and I took the opportunity to catch up on a little rest ourselves.

Sunday morning was a yummy pancake and fruit breakfast before packing everything up and hauling it up the hill to the vehicles. The girls got to go play at the playground while B and I hauled a few last items up the hill and did one last trip through our three sites to make sure it was all cleaned up and empty.

We finished with our Scouts Own before heading back to school to meet the girls’ parents.

Over all, it was a great weekend! The girls did awesome with only a few issues. The weather was perfect (it wasn’t even cold t night!). Nobody got sad, scared, or homesick. And B and I got to spend a weekend doing what we love – camping.

To all of the scout parents who kept telling us how brave we were and how hard it must be to take the troop camping . . . I say thanks and giggle . . . because camping is like a vacation – even when it involves eight 10-year old Girl Scouts :-)

It was a great way to end our Scout year, and the school year. Looking forward to more camping with the scouts!