April brought one of the most high adventure monthly campouts in recent Troop 221 history – rock climbing at the Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge in Southeast Oklahoma!
The troop left Plano around 7pm on Friday night and arrived at the Doris Campground near Quanah Parker Lake. As usual, we setup our tents and chuck boxes then had Cracker Barrel (crackers, cheese and summer sausage – not the restaurant). However, this time we encountered some local wildlife – scorpions and tarantulas! Scoutmaster Day said he even woke up, looked out his tent, and saw a longhorn in the campground!
Saturday morning we woke up and ate breakfast. On the drive out to the Mount Scott Picnic Area, where we parked and met our rock climbing guide, we saw more longhorn cattle and buffalo! The scouts got their gear – helmets, harnesses, and shoes – and hike up about 1 mile and 1000′ in elevation to Lower Mount Scout.
After a safety briefing and some lessons, the scouts took turns rappelling down a 100′ granite rock face. The view from the top were spectacular. Afterwards the boys went down to the bottom of the rock face and took turns climbing and belaying up. After several hours, we were exhausted, but we still had to make the hike back down the mountain.
On the drive back we stopped by the welcome center and learned a little history about the area. We made it back to camp and ate dinner just in time before a torrential downpour! Luckily, it cleared up just enough for us to clean up and pack up before going to bed. However, throughout the night several more thunderstorms blew threw the campground, blowing down our pop up canopies. A couple of the parents had to bail out of their tents and sleep in their cars. But the new tents we just purchased for the scouts held up great!
On Sunday morning, we dried out, had a “no-cook” breakfast (i.e. donuts, pastries, etc.) and heading back to Plano. The April Rock Climbing campout was definitely one we will never forget!