Troop 868 in Action
LAND BETWEEN THE LAKES
(
Spring BreakTrip, April 2006)

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Troop 868 traditionally takes some kind of extended trip during spring break week.  This year's destination was a national recreation area known as the Land Between the Lakes.  The long, narrow strip of land "between the rivers" was bordered to the west by the Tennessee River and to the east by the Cumberland River, both which flowed north to empty into the Mississippi River.  When the Tennessee Valley Authority dammed both rivers for flood control and hydroelectric power generation, Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley were formed.  Private property "between the rivers" was acquired by the federal government and the Land Between the Lakes (LBL) was created as a wildlife preserve and recreation area.

Special prairie areas have been created and bison (buffalo) that once inhabited the area have been re-introduced along with American Bald Eagles and other endangered and/or threatened species.  Now managed by the U.S. Forest Service, LBL features numerous camping areas, a Nature Center, a planetarium, an 1850's theme living museum, and an extensive system of hiking trails.

Allowing time for scouts to attend Sunday morning worship with their families, the troop departed early Sunday afternoon for the 4 hour drive from Shepherdsville to the Energy Lake campground at LBL.  Thanks to daylight savings time which took effect at 2 AM that morning, we were able to make camp and even finish dinner before the sun set.  Not too long after getting our dishes washed and everything stowed away, a band of heavy thunderstorms moved into the area with strong wind and intense lightning.  Figuring that in the event of a lightning strike the safest place to be would be in a vehicle, the scoutmasters moved everyone onto the troop bus and fired up the VCR and TVs to watch a movie.  By the time it ended, the worst of the storm had passed and everyone turned in for the night.

Monday morning dawned dry but much cooler.  Figuring this would be a good day to go hiking, we prepared sack lunches in camp and headed out after breakfast to hike the 14.2 mile Canal Loop Trail at the northern end of the LBL.  We didn't actually get started hiking until nearly 10 AM and were a bit concerned about finishing at a reasonable hour, but the trail turned out to be very easy walking and we averaged just over 3 mph.  We completed the trail just before 3 PM and no one was exhausted.  On the drive back to our campsite, we stopped to see the remains of an old iron furnace.  In the mid-1800's, the area "between the rivers" had been famous for iron production and several furnaces had existed.  The foundations and partial remains of several of them still exist.

Tuesday morning the group lounged around the campsite.  Some guys took the opportunity to go fishing in either Energy Lake or Lake Barkley which was separated from Energy Lake by a small dam near the campground.  Others hung around camp and played board games.

On Tuesday afternoon we boarded the bus and drove to the 1850's living museum, a working farm where everything was done 1850's style.  Scouts learned about split rail fences and even got some "hands on" practice splitting rails.

Wednesday morning we headed over to the Planetarium where the host gave us a private show rather than make us wait 2 hours for the next scheduled public show.  We didn't ask him to do this ... he volunteered.  Such hospitality was typical throughout our visit.  After the planetarium show, we visited the Nature Center where scouts were invited to hold one of the snakes and got to see a variety of recovering wildlife that was either being rehabilitated for eventual release or had been injured too severely to ever return to the wild.  Among the latter was an American Bald Eagle.  We spent several hours at the Nature Center before heading back to camp.

Hikers Vincent, Stephen, Mr. Davis, Chris, Dylan (middle), Tim, Trey, Philip, Clinton, and John (front). Dylan, John, and Stephen pause for a photo while crossing a footbridge on the Canal Loop Trail.
Sharing a seat during the lunch break are Stephen, Tim, Philip, and Trey. On the steps leading to the remains of an old iron furnace where scouts learned a lesson about reading the informational signage.
It was cool on Monday and scouts huddled together while John got a fire started to cook the evening meal. While the assigned team did the breakfast dishes Tuesday morning, Philip and Stephen found time for a game of chess.
Trey and Chris performed color guard duty before the troop departed camp on Tuesday morning. The 1850's Homestead is a "living museum" where scouts had an opportunity to split logs the old fashioned way.
Troop 868 always eats well.  Asst Scoutmaster Davis is shown here preparing to fly some apples for the adult patrol. Meanwhile, Stephen demonstrates the use of a box oven to bake french fries "just like mom makes at home."
At the Nature Center, Vincent tests his leaping ability versus some animal while Dylan measures Clinton in the background. Scoutmaster Meek may not have the wingspan of an American Bald Eagle, but he's certainly got the bird beat in the belly.

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