Sunday, March 28, 2010


The boys and I camped overnight with Cub Pack 28 (about seven dads and eight sons) at Santee State Park, which is a wonderfully well-maintained and beautiful wilderness area alongside Lake Marion south of Columbia. We drove down through Elloree and stopped for lunch in Santee, and then motored into the camp area, which was on a bluff overlooking the water. Nearby a well-organized (and amazingly quiet) Boy Scout troop from Summerville operated an efficient camp. The only drawback for our sweet placement was suffering howling winds coming off the lake, which whipped through until around four o'clock in the morning. At times in the tent I thought we were on some mountainside; when we went to bed I feared the tent might not make it through the night upright. It helped lower the temperatures quite a bit, but overall the day was very nice. Luckily I decided to bring along a warmer outfit as well as a blanket. One nice side benefit was that it sounded as if we were next to an ocean, and that helped make sleep very comfortable; couldn't even hear nearby I-95.

The boys mostly played war-related activities all day: building a fort on the banks of the lake (I called it Firebase Santee), marching about, getting soaked in the surf, and going on patrols. They captured a huge dead catfish that floated ashore (and were banned from carrying it up to the campsite). We hiked on the Sinkhole path, spied on an alligator (we were surprised to see one out and about; it seemed to be protecting its nest, so we did not venture too close), and checked out the sinkholes. While hiking, I was bringing up the rear. Chimo said to me, "Dad, if there was a sniper in these woods, you would be the first to go, cause you're the biggest target, and the slowest." We had cheeseburgers for dinner, followed by smores. I even tried a little venison sausage, which wasn't too bad. Basically the boys cavorted, while the dads sat around talking about work, movies, a little politics, and other guy stuff. I got to see osprey. I think the boys and I had a really nice time.

Rain drifted in Sunday morning, but it was mostly light. The boys ate pancakes and bacon for breakfasat. Then they headed off for more maneuvers, while the dads broke camp. Overall, it was a pleasant, relaxing camping trip. I took the boys over to the pier afterwards and let them fish for a while. I don't know how this was possible, but Chimo caught a snail on his hook. On the way back, Joey mostly slept. We stopped for lunch at Ryans.

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