On the weekend of August 21st, 2015, the Troop went on a weekend summer canoe trip again with 9 Scouts and 5 adults. This year we went to Lake Drummond through the Great Dismal Swamp Canal. Last year, we did a bike trip on the path right next to the canal. We put our boats in on Friday night at the canal and canoed only with our headlamps and glow sticks. After about two hours, we made it to the campsite which marked the access point into Lake Drummond. We were amazed at how nice the campsite was, as there was a nice dock, recently cut grass, overhead lights, running (not potable) water, electrical outlets, working bathrooms, and a few shelters. Saturday morning, we moved our canoes and kayaks over the small little peninsula we were on to get to the other side. There was a little tram on a track meant to move boats, but it didn't work anymore. We then headed towards the lake from there and fulfilled all the requirements for the Canoeing Merit Badge, including swamping a canoe and flipping it back over. After finishing the Merit Badge, we headed back to the camp to eat dinner and build a fire. Despite being tired, most of the group went back out on the lake again to watch the sun set which was an incredible sight along the water. The next morning, everyone packed up and canoed back along the canal to the boat landing and headed home. Overall, it was a great trip and everyone had a great time.
Troop 799 visited Pamplin Historical Park, Sutherland Tavern, and Petersburg National Battlefield on the week of sesquicentennial celebrations of the battles there in and around Petersburg, VA. All three places offered different perspectives and acknowledged different aspects of the Civil War itself. We camped out at Albright Scout Reservation due to its close proximity to Petersburg, great campsites, and lack of a camping fee.
Pamplin Historical Park is a rather nice museum/ park in Dinwiddie County. At the park, there were fortifications remade to look like the Confederate line looked back in 1865. They used massive earthworks lined with spiked sticks to defend them. These mounds were weaved back and forth and made a rather interesting site. At the park there will still some of the original earthworks from the war about a 100 yards from where we were able to see the real life model of them. Then, a reenactor there gave us a demonstration on how the new rifle of the Civil War, made in the United Kingdom, offered greater accuracy and a new style of warfare. After that, we walked through the Life of the Soldier Exhibit. In this exhibit called “Duty Called Me Here”, we were each given the opportunity to follow the life of the soldier during the war. There was an audio track assigned for each level that you walked through in the museum. In there, a narration would play and then you would hear an update on your solider on a little iPod-like device. In this exhibit were wax figures and props all around the walking pathway that allowed you to feel as if you were there in the war itself. Some of the most interesting parts of the exhibit talked about snowball fights, baseball, and religion during the war. We finished our trip to Pamplin around lunch and then headed to another site.
The next stop that we made was drastically different than the marvelous technology and planning put into Pamplin. We drove up to the 19th Annual Southside Virginia Day at the Sutherland Tavern after lunch. When we came up on the site, all we saw were Confederate flags and an old beaten up house. We walked up to find a lot more. There, we met a blacksmith making knives in the front yard, a Civil War Era gun salesmen on the side, and an excavation crew in the backyard. We went around to each station until the next tour of the Tavern started. We received a tour of this old house from a woman named Mrs. Olger and her husband, who currently own the house. The tavern was built by a wealthy Scottish man, Mr. Sutherland in 1803 at the fork of two major roads in Petersburg. The house was most famous for its involvement in the Civil War where it was the site of the Battle of Sutherland Station. This battle was fought in the front yard of the tavern and was actually used as a hospital after the battle. The owner continued to tell us about the blood stains on the wood floor that we were standing on from the battle. The house was filled with old clocks from the time and pieces of artwork that the owners collected and offered a very interesting and personal tour of a historic landmark. Though the owners still live there, the house was kept to look fascinatingly similar to Civil War times. When we realized that we still had daylight, we set out to Petersburg National Battlefield before it closed.
We were able to get in the gates just before the Park Rangers closed the park and drive through to the Crater itself. We walked down to the tunnel of the crater and then walked up along the path of it to the actual crater. The tunnel had closed off, so there was only just a peak of what it would have looked like. However the massive amount of land was still there from the Crater explosion. There were small stations that gave the positioning of the troops during this battle and described the magnitude of the event. The battlefield was maintained quite well and though it was quite cold when we visited, the sky and the endless fields of green grass with the Crater in the center of the field with trees surrounding made a stunning spectacle.
Each one of these sites that we visited gave a different experience in telling the story of the Civil War which made it a very unique. Overall it was a very successful campout.
On the last day of January, a small group of Scouts (and leaders) went skiing. The Troop went to Wintergreen Ski Resort, close to Charlottesville, VA. We went night skiing from 6 to 10 pm and everyone had a great time. There were no injuries, and at least three first time skiing experiences.
Troop 799 went on the Cardinal District Lumberjack Timboree at Albright Scout Reservation. We had Scouts lead in the flag ceremony and run the candle-making station. It was a great campout with lots of fun experiences and skills learned. Thank you to Mr. Jones for the pictures.
We had fun on the Dismal Swamp Bike Trip. 10 scouts and 4 adults went on this trip. On Saturday morning, September 20, 2014 we left for Chesapeake, VA. Once we arrived, we unloaded the bikes at the front of the trail and started on the 7.5 mile trail/road. Mr. Heider provided great help for any issues there were before we started. The trail used to be used as a highway, but now serves as a bike path. Once we reached the end of the trail, we stopped to eat bagged lunches and then turned around to go back. On the way back, we stopped a couple times at some fishing docks in the canal. We then packed the bikes and drove 5 miles to Camp Moonyah. It is a Tidewater Council Camp right past a suburban neighborhood on a peninsula. The facilities were very basic, but overall the camp was nice. We were also accompanied by another Troop and a Cub Scout Pack in the campground. Early Sunday morning, we left the campground and headed home. Overall, we biked 17 miles, and had a lot of fun on a relatively easy, and interesting bike trip.
Six scouts and four adults went on a weekend canoe trip in Kerr Lake along the Virginia - North Carolina border. The Troop started at Eagle Point Scout Reservation where we camped Friday night. Saturday morning, Mr. Prideaux went over canoe basics for the beginners and we then left for Hemric Island. We arrived at Hemric Scout Reservation with some helpful towing for the last mile or so from Mr. Heider's jet-ski to make sure we had time to get setup before dark. Hemric is owned by the Old North State Council in North Carolina, but had not been used much lately due to the limited access. The island had a small dining hall, cabin, and water tower built when there used to be road access to the camp. The lake rose over that road, so now the only way to access the island is by boat. Due to the condition of the cabin and dining hall, we decided to tent and eat outside. We had some freeze dried meals for dinner with some camping stoves such has Lasagna, Beef Stew, or Sweet and Sour Pork. After dinner, everyone enjoyed the big campfire. The next morning, we woke up early and ate oatmeal and freeze dried meals and then left by 8:30. Everyone made it back to Eagle Point, all 8.5 miles, by 11:30 (and without jet-ski towing). We then departed for Richmond very satisfied and tired after a fun and successful canoe trip.
We traveled 9.2 miles on the longer trip to Hemric. We traveled 7.8 miles on the more efficient trip back to Eagle Point. We had a slight headwind on the way to Hemric and a slight tail-wind on the way back to Eagle Point.
On June 13, 2014, the Troop 799 PLC departed for Albright Scout Reservation in Chesterfield, Virginia. This year, the PLC went to Albright for the first time. The 2014-2015 year was planned and everybody enjoyed going to Lake Chesdin after finishing. After that, the PLC visited Brock's Barbecue and enjoyed a good meal. The day was completed with the movie, Spaceballs. Thanks to Mrs. Myers for the pictures from the weekend.