Troop 221 held one of our favorite campouts of the year – backpacking in the beautiful Ouachita Mountains in southeastern Oklahoma.
We started the trip at 6:30am on Saturday morning at the 17 acres parking lot, where we gathered our geared and headed out on the 4 hour drive. After a short pit stop in Atoka, we arrived in the Ouachita National Forest near the Winding Stair Campground. We divided up the crew gear and split into two groups: older, experienced backpackers and younger scouts without any backpacking experience.
The older boys took off, while the younger scouts learned some basic hiking and navigation skills. After a mile, we stopped at our normal lunch stop – a small pavilion at the top of the mountain – where we ate packed lunch and took a small break. We then headed off on the for the remaining 4-mile hike. The older boys arrived in camp around 4pm and the younger boys came in about 30 minutes later.
We made camp, setting up tents and hammocks, gathered firewood, and rested for a bit. Just before dusk we lit the campfire… a double campfire! There were 2 adjacent fire pits, so why have one one fire when you can have two! We “cooked” and dinner, i.e. freeze-dried pouch meals and Oreos. Then we all hit the sack early after a long day of hiking. Well, most of us. Some of the boys stayed up a little later to play a roll-playing game.
We woke up, packed up, and hiked another 2 miles to a creek crossing. This year the creek was low, so nobody got wet.. to the dismay of some of the scouts. On the way home we stopped for lunch at Sonic in Atoka, then headed back to Plano.
As always, the scouts had a blast and can’t wait to do it again next year!