This weekend was the annual Cub Scout Pack 701 campout. This year we returned to the Wildlodge just outside of Khao Yai National Park. While the destination was the same as last year, this year our entire family went instead of just Jacob and I.
Tim and I didn't get home until almost 2:30 a.m. Friday morning after I picked her up from her return flight from the U.S. Less than twelve hours later, we were driving to Khao Yai. Fortunately, she wasn't in the U.S. long enough to completely adjust to the time change, so she was in pretty good shape for the camping trip.
Friday evening was pretty low key; dinner and a campfire. The plan was for Jacob and I to sleep in a tent, while Tim and the girls would sleep in one of the lodge's rooms. The lodge room was very large and had three beds and four cots. While it had fans, it did not have air conditioning. The Wildlodge bills itself and an "eco lodge" so its pretty no frills.
It was pretty hot in the tent, and right before we left we discovered that Jacob's battery operated fan didn't work. We had not removed the batteries, and the moisture and acid from the batteries had corroded the contact springs. About half way through the night, Jacob proclaimed that he just couldn't sleep because of the sounds of the crickets, and went to the room. I stuck it out, but managed only a few hours of restless sleep.
After breakfast on Saturday morning, things picked up a bit. We took a hike along a dried creek bed. It wasn't a particularly arduous hike, but you did have to be careful of loose rocks and dry leaves which made things more slippery.
After lunch, the counselors divided the kids into groups and took them through four stations. They had archery, rock wall climbing, high wire walks and orienteering (using a compass to find clues). I spent most of the time with Jacob and his Webelos II den. All seven of the Webelos II scouts who are earning their Arrow of Light aware (highest Cub Scout award) made it to the campout.
The kids really had a great time. I was not sure how Aleena would fare with the high wire activity. There were two stations that involved climbing a ladder to a platform about ten or fifteen meters off the ground. One then required you to walk on a wooden beam, while the other on a wire. Of course the kids were harnessed and the chance of falling was negligible.
All three of the kids really did a great job. Jacob and Nalin did both stations without any problem. Aleena did the beam station to completion. She had some difficulty with the wire walk because of her height. There were two wires, one that you walked on, and one that you held with your hands for balance. The problem was that she could barely reach the upper wire, which meant that she had her arms stretched above her head. She made it halfway across the wire and then got upset and asked to be brought down.
Another first grader had the same trouble as Aleena. He made it a little farther on the wire walk, but just couldn't finish because his arms were too tired. I was really proud of Aleena. Not all the kids would even try. At least three or four boys climbed the ladder, but once they made it to the top, they became very afraid and started crying. Sometimes it took the councilors ten or more minutes to talk the kids down. Its tough because when confronted with a fear like that, its hard to keep your composure. One really nice moment was that a scout who had trouble last year did it this year without any issue.
At the evening campfire, the Webelos II had their chance to shine. They each told a story or jokes around the fire, and they they dressed up as native Americans and danced around the fire. Then they shot flaming arrows (sparklers on the end) to signify the Arrow of Light that they would be receiving. Whether shooting or watching, the scouts and siblings all really enjoyed seeing the "flaming" arrows. A feast of S'mores was the conclusion to the night's festivities.
Jacob slept in the room Saturday night. I went back to the tent for about thirty minutes and decided that if he didn't need to sleep in the tent, then neither did I. While the room was certainly not cool, the occasional breeze from the oscillating fan did make it a bit easier to sleep.
Sunday's activities included rafting, canoeing and hiking. By 2:00 p.m., we were headed back home to Bangkok.
The entire family had a really good time. In addition to the planned activities, they had plenty of friends to play with.