Water Sports

Water Sports at Camp Royce-Finel

We arrived at Cullaby Lake County Park just as the sun dropped below the trees, pulled our backpacks out of our cars, and started along the trail. After about a mile of bushwhacking our way around to the east side of Cullaby Lake, we arrived at Royce Finel, finding campsites for everyone before getting into our sleeping bags for the night.

Morning came quietly, with a scout or two waking up before everyone else to try to catch a fish from the surf at our camp. Once everyone else awoke, we cooked breakfast with our backpacking stoves, packed our lunch in our daypacks, and headed back across the trail to the county park on the west side of the lake, this time with some tools that we used to clear the path.

At the park, once we took our swim tests, all of the patrols participated in a canoe race across the lake and back. The race came down to the Pirates and the Raccoons, neck and neck, knocking and splashing at each other’s boats as they rowed to the surf. Just a few strokes from the finish line, the Raccoons pulled ahead, but capsized just before they made it. They tried to pull their opponent’s boat away, but the Pirates ultimately won.

After that, the rest of the afternoon was open. Scouts were free to fish in the lake, or go water skiing on the wake of the motor boat. Some of us took kayaks and canoes out onto the water, and some took solace from the sun in the shade of the park’s sign.

As the day grew late, we headed back to camp. Some of us bushwhacked our way back down the trail, while others canoed fresh-cut firewood to our campsite.

After a dinner of freeze-dried food or of the fresh fish that was caught, the troop gathered around the campfire for a flag-burning ceremony. The stripes and stars if the flag were separated with quiet reverence. The ragged banner burned bright in the fire as it was retired.

We tried to be silent, but the flock of quacking ducks sort of got in the way of that. But the next morning came all the same, and we took our tents down and packed up or bags, leaving the camp (hopefully) better than we found it.

Thorns (What we didn’t like): Hike/bushwack into camp, Sunburn, gear failed me,  didn’t sleep well / hot at night, Boat engine trouble.

Roses (What we liked): Tubing, Canoeing, Boating, Sunshine, fishing, canoe race with spectacular finish, leadership, seeing an eagle fly over lake, having visitors, flag retirement

Buds (hopes for the future): Bring bug spray, bring fish bait, use sunscreen, be more prepared, camp at Royce-Finel again, bring pants and shoes, add bugle to flag retirement ceremony, get great at backpackingIMG_0761 P1040621 Lake Cullaby IMG_1955 IMG_0747   IMG_0763 IMG_0791 P1040629