Troop 868 in Action

Summer Camp @ Resica Falls (July, 2006)

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After spending all afternoon on the water, the whole gang was ready for a good dinner and a Chinese buffet was selected.  After stuffing ourselves with fried rice and egg rolls, we headed back to spend a second night at First Baptist Church.  

We arose early Monday morning, had a quick breakfast at the church, packed up our stuff, said farewell to the caretaker, and headed down the road to the Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine.  Coal mining is an important industry in West Virginia and the BECM is an actual mine whose coal seam grew too narrow to be economically mined any further ... so it was abandoned then later re-opened as a tourist attraction.  Visitors ride through the mine in vintage train cars pulled by an electric mule in the same manner that miners travel deep into mines.  Other than adding electric lighting (that wouldn't exist in a real mine due to the danger of accidental bulb breakage igniting a pocket of methane gas) the mine was very realistic.  Our tour guide was a retired coal miner who spoke with a depth of knowledge that only comes from personal experience.  At various points during the 45-minute tour, he stopped the mule and described tools and techniques used in mining coal ... both in days past and how it's currently done.

Once back outside the mine we toured a reconstructed coal mining camp.  Some the buildings had actually been used at real mining camps ... they had been disassembled, moved here, then reassembled.  Other buildings were authentic reproductions ... from the furnishings inside to the outhouses!  It was pretty interesting to learn about life in a "company town."  The exhibit included a church, miners' cabins, a mine supervisor's house, and two single-room schoolhouses ... one dating back to the 1800's and another more "modern" one from the mid-1900's.

Vincent has reached his limit but Tim, Nick, Adam, and Stephen are ready for seconds .. or thirds? Philip, Trey, Patrick, and David are all experts at putting a dent in a good buffet.
The troop looks ready to go underground. (L to R facing the camera): Dylan, Nick, Trey, Stephen, Tim, Mr. Meek, and Vincent.
The entrance to the mine. The few lights outline the path but don't provide much illumination.
The view ahead looking over the electric mule (engine) that pulls the train. At the first stop, our guide described communication to the surface and showed a vintage mine phone.
At another stop he described how holes were drilled, charges set, and explosives used to loosen the coal. The most interesting thing Stephen found in the replica company town was the convenient outdoor plumbing.
Trey and Philip engaged each other in a game of checkers on the porch of the supervisor's house. The group paused for a photo on the steps of the miner's chapel.
Mr. Meek held history class in the 1900's school house; note Adam in the corner wearing the dunce cap. All was going well until the REAL principal showed up and put the scoutmaster in his rightful place.

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