Troop 868 in Action

McKee Scout Reservation (October 2004)

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Troop 868 last visited Camp McKee in April 2002.  This time around we saw a very impressive new dining hall (that was under construction during our previous visit) and a new shower house (that we put to use).  One other Boy Scout troop from Hazard, KY and an adult WoodBadge troop were also in camp, but we saw very little of either group.

We arrived after dark on Friday night and set up tents by lantern and flashlight.  Our scouts practiced teamwork and camp was established in record time.  Following a late dinner, we hit the sack around midnight.  Because of the late bedtime, we slept in a bit later than normal on Saturday morning.  By mid-morning we had gotten started on the Pioneer Mountain Trail, a roughly 7 mile trail that follows the perimeter of the reservation.  When we hiked this trail 18 months ago we found it well-blazed and exceptionally well-maintained.  Unfortunately, we didn't find it in the same condition this time around.  Blazes (circles painted on trees)  were severely faded and often difficult to find.  Many parts of the trail were severely overgrown; some to the point that the trail was no longer visible and we had to stop and send out "scouting parties" in search of the next blaze.  Trees, obviously downed during storms, completely blocked the trail in several places.  What we had expected to be an easy-walking 4 hour hike turned out to be a challenging 6 hour search for blazes complete with several backtracks and one particularly confusing section that caused us to circle one part of the trail 3 times!  The good news is that we managed to turn the trail into a 10-mile hike for Hiking MB!

Sunday was a relaxing day complete with good breakfasts in each patrol, an in-camp  worship service, and time for scouts to work on advancement requirements before it was time to pack up and head for home.  God blessed us with great weather throughout the weekend and everyone had a great time.

On the bus, ready to hit the road are Aaron, Alex, Philip, John, Stephen, Andrew, Tyler, Patrick, Tim, Mr. Meek, Joe, Trey, Vincent, Matt, Clinton, and Chris (falling out of seat). Saturday morning breakfast in the Falcon Patrol consisted of bacon, eggs, and sausage. Seated around the table are Alex, Patrick, Philip, Tyler, and Joe.
Cooks are numerous in the Cobra Patrol.  (L to R) Chris, Trey, Matt, Aaron, Andrew (seated), Vincent, John, Stephen (with spatula), and Tim. The flag is raised in our campsite on Saturday morning before we departed to hike the Pioneer Mountain Trail.  SPL Tyler directs the ceremony.
Scoutmaster Meek gives some instruction about trail blazes,
the buddy system, and other precautions for a safe hike.
Things look serious when SPL Tyler, Scoutmaster Meek, and Falcon Patrol Leader Joe stop to consult a trail map!
Sitting on a rock ledge at the highest point on the trail are ASM Davis, Stephen, Matt, Trey, SM Meek, and Chris.  John leans against a tree; Alex is standing. A Kodak moment!  Aaron, Tyler, Joe, Philip, Stephen, Vincent, Patrick, Mr. Davis, Mr. Borquez (standing); Tim, John, Alex, Trey, Matt, and Chris (sitting); Clinton (kneeling).
Back in camp after the hike, Cobra Patrol Leader Tim shows new scouts Andrew and Vincent how to fold an American flag. Experienced scouts in the Cobra Patrol help the newer guys  with knots and other Tenderfoot requirements.
Assistant Scoutmaster Davis visits the Falcon Patrol site and chats with Patrick. The troop gathers for an in-camp worship service on Sunday morning; Scoutmaster Meek brings a biblical lesson.