Ben Delatour

July 5, 2010

I am back from my camping trip, and it was Independence Day yesterday. Happy Independence Day. Well, I suppose you are just craving to hear about my trip, or at least want a small recap.

My Boy Scout troop (including my two brothers and my dad) went to Colorado for our trip. I packed everything I own (“be prepared”, right?), plus a few things I don’t. A handful of volunteer adults took most of the guys in their cars, but since my dad was coming with us to get away from ‘it all’, my two brothers and I got to ride separate, in his car. We still followed the same routs as the others, though. We also made the same stops as them, and it seemed like some kid had to use the toilet every hour.

To kill time, my brothers and I played two games over and over and over again: The Alphabet Game (“X for Xylophonist Shoppe! Take that, loser!”), and Cow. ‘Cow’ is a game you may or may not know of, so I will explain it to you:

As the car rolls along on the never ending journey to who-knows-where across bleak, flat landscapes, one must find as many cows as possible. If someone finds a cow, he then declares “COW!”. This means that he now owns the cow and that cow cannot be taken by anyone else. All cows in a place counts as one “COW!”, meaning you cannot say “COW COW COW COW COW” to get all the cows in the area. You may only count multiple cows if they are separated by a fence, or some other defining line, like the Great Wall of China. If two players say “COW!” at the same time, the cow is dead, caught between the crossfire of the two people fighting over the unfortunate cow. If somebody sees a graveyard, he may declare “I kill all of your cows!”. This kills all player’s cows but the one who says it. That is the sophisticated game of “COW!”. NOTE: If you live in a city, and there are no cows in sight, they may be substituted with other things, like vastly obese people.

The trip to the camp alone took two days, partly because some people in charge thought it a wonderful idea to spend 1 or 5 hours at the headquarters of Cabela’s. If you have never heard of Cabela’s, it’s only one of the biggest places to buy outdoor gear in America, much like Outdoor World. Everything is expensive there. For instance, they have knives for $400. …Seriously? No matter how sharp it is, I don’t think I want to buy a knife for that much unless it would grant me a crazy power of some sort. Almost nobody bought anything of value. It was almost a complete waste of time. I say ‘almost’, because my dad managed to find a cheap sleeping bag there for only…sixty dollars! What a bargain. He did need one, though; before that, he had to use a purple sleeping bag that was half his height (some kid from the family had placed it inside the case of his zero degrees mummy sleeping bag).

The camp that we eventually came to is called Ben Delatour. For the convenience of your imagination, I will paint a picture of Ben Delatour for you with words: The lake is at one side, and the camp is about 3 miles from it, going uphill. All the other things sit between them.

My troop, of course, was placed on the highest point in the camp, which is the farthest site from anywhere (dining hall, merit badge classes, trading post, etc.). “Whatever,” I thought. “…at least we don’t have to haul all of our gear to the top. Haha, that would be torture. Thank God for cars! Haha…”

What was the next thing I heard?

“Alright boys, each of you take one heavy object to the campsite and we get the badge!”

I went over to a pile of backpacks and picked up a green one. That was my mistake, for it was my scoutmaster’s backpack. I actually believe that he packed everything he owned, just like me. …Only I don’t own a house.

The nights at Ben Delatour were very cold, but I compensated for that by wearing five shirts, a scarf, two hoodies, two pairs of pajama pants, and 4 pairs of socks. No, I’m not a wimp; it really was that cold, and my sleeping bag basically failed (I got it at Wal-Mart). In Wal-Mart’s defense though, I did have a very comfortable cot that was purchased there. It was a great alternative to sleeping on the wooden platform that the tents are on.

The days at Ben Delatour were exceedingly hot. Never humid, though. The mornings started out cold, but by the time everyone gathered for breakfast (7:00) the temperature would escalate to around 70 degrees (and it got much worse as the day dragged on).

I had three merit badges that I wanted to gain while in Ben Delatour: Camping, Environmental Science, and Emergency Preparedness (all required for the rank of Eagle Scout). I got only two of them, though; my dad, two brothers and I had to leave early to be with family. This made it impossible to complete the camping merit badge, which required an over-nighter out of tents (which was on the last day). The instructor told me that I could finish it by simply camping in my backyard though, so (as lame as camping in the yard sounds) it’s all good.There are some other things that I could ramble about, like the yellow water they had there, but I will refrain. I will include my time with relatives (sounds exciting, right?) in my next post.

Sporadic tip: Don’t be sarcastic with a waitress (or hair stylist for that matter); they are prone to ‘accidents’ when you do this.

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