Camping and Climbing
Clockwork. This seems to be the best word to describe our weekend of camping and climbing in Bloomington, Illinois from November 11th to the 13th:
Fridays nights departure went off without a hitch, as we were loaded up and we hit the road by 6:00pm as planned. Once out of the Chicago area traffic, it was smooth sailing as we traveled the country roads to Clinton Lake State Park, about 25 miles south of Bloomington. We arrived by clear skies and bright moonlight at 8:30pm. The scouts unloaded, set up camp and had a fire going within the hour. We spent the remainder of the evening warming fingers and toes amid the oaks of our spacious campground. We had the place to ourselves. Lights were out by 11:00pm. A very chilly night ensued and several scouts certainly learned the meaning of being prepared.
The brisk morning chill snapped everyone awake as we emerged from tents at 7:00 am. This provided a great opportunity to see that our campground was high on a bluff overlooking Clinton Lake, with the sun just peeking through the trees. A breakfast of cereal, muffins, juice and milk filled stomachs as we aimed to meet our 8:30 departure for the climbing gym.
We arrived at Upper Limits in Bloomington right on time for our 9:15 check-in and waiver clearance. Rock Climbing 101 class for everyone (kind of a refresher for some, an introduction to others) then began at 10:00am. For 2 hours, scouts learned the skills and rules of climbing and belaying. By 12:00 noon, experienced climbers were free to roam the facility, while a group of 8 scouts continued on with the Climbing Merit Badge class. 6 of those scouts did earn the merit badge, and 2 earned partial completions. Congratulations!
Various forms of climbing followed throughout the afternoon. In between was a tasty lunch of sandwiches and fruit, which the scouts prepared at camp earlier in the day. By 4:00pm scouts had their fill of climbing the challenging courses within the 65-foot tall towers. Fingers, hands and forearms were tight from the hours of clinging to rock walls.
We arrived back at camp by 5:00pm and the Scouts immediately went into action and got a campfire going and dinner prepared. The grubmasters served up a delicious meal of pasta, meatballs, spaghettios, chili and corn. S’more’s and Oreos were then dined on by the fire. As scouts settled by the warmth of the campfire, stories were told, games were played and one by one they drifted off to tents for another chilly night, but fell fast asleep from the day’s adventures.
7:00am came quick, as the scouts arose to a slightly warmer morning. A hot breakfast of pancakes, sausage, juice and milk warmed scouts. Then the kitchen was packed, tents stowed and the trailer was full and ready for the drive home. A 10:00 am Sunday service closed the outing.
The scouts were a great bunch this weekend. They were helpful, friendly, kind and courteous. They played hard, did their assigned duties and had great attitudes throughout. They gave thanks for all that was provided. All hallmarks of the boy scout law. It was a great trip with these boy scouts and leaders. Thanks to Mr. Lorenz and Mr. Woodward for co-leading this trip.
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