There is something about a campfire, generic National Park Service edition

May 3, 2019

There is just something about a campfire that soothes human souls, brings joy to and instills awe in people who gather around one.

Campfire in a National Park unnamed; photo from the Golden Gate National Park.

Thanks and a shake of the old scrub brush to the Golden Gate National Park, on Twitter.


Something about a campfire: Boy Scouts, Order of the Arrow 2018

October 21, 2018

It’s a great photo, chiefly.

Another in our series of campfires.

From the Twitter feed of the Order of the Arrow, the Boy Scouts' honor camper organization; the tweet honored the 103rd anniversary of the service group, in July of 2018. Photographer, location and date not revealed.

From the Twitter feed of the Order of the Arrow, the Boy Scouts’ honor camper organization; the tweet honored the 103rd anniversary of the service group, in July of 2018. Photographer, location and date not revealed.

No, it didn’t escape me that the campfire itself appears not to be lit. One of the mysteries of the photo.

As might be expected in an organization dedicated much to camping with a good group of boys and men, several organizations sprang up not long after Scouting got a start in the U.S. Carroll A. Edson and E. Urner Goodman initiated the Order of the Arrow (OA) at a summer camp near Philadelphia. The honoring of good campers and good citizenship, and the dedication to service to Scouting had wide appeal, and other councils outside of Philadelphia adopted the practices and program.

In Circle 10 Council BSA, the organization in Dallas, Texas, and surrounding counties, another service group started about the same time, the White Sharks of Takodah. Over time, Texas Scouts and Scouters moved into the national movement of the OA, though the White Sharks traditions continue with a day of work dedicated to improving the council camps annually.

OA members have three levels of membership, Ordeal, Brotherhood and Vigil Honor. Ordeal includes Scouts and Scouters nominated by their Troops, Crews, Ships or other units, who have endured an ordeal that includes a day of service to BSA camps. Brotherhood membership can be obtained with additional service and time. Vigil Honor requires that an Arrowman keep vigil over a campfire for an entire night, a sometimes daunting task in wood-scarce locations, and a trial always just at staying awake.

After two years of exceptional service as a Brotherhood member, and with the approval of the national Order of the Arrow committee, a Scout or Scouter may be recognized with the Vigil Honor for their distinguished contributions to their lodge, the Order of the Arrow, Scouting, or their Scout camp. This honor is bestowed by special selection and is limited to one person for every 50 members registered with the lodge each year.

I learned and practiced building great program campfires as a young Arrowman. My mind goes back to a hundred such great opportunities for camaraderie in and outside the OA, and in and out of Scouting.

There is something about a campfire that puts the soul at ease, and opens it to the glorious brotherhood of fellowship with other people, under a great sky, in the dark.

Tell us about your campfire experiences and memories in comments, please.

Tip of the old scrub brush to the Order of the Arrow Twitter account.

 


Abiquiu stars

August 11, 2014

Making those nice photographs of the Milky Way and stars isn’t so easy as it looks.

I made my most successful efforts on our recent swing through Colorado, New Mexico and West Texas.  Here’s a shot I got that almost shows the Milky Way, probably has Polaris in it, and because it was a timed exposure, also captured star movement and an airplane flying overhead.  Photo was taken from the Army Corps of Engineers campground at Abiquiu Reservoir, a few miles from Georgia O’Keefe’s home.

Abiquiu Stars - Time photograph of stars against a pinon pine, pointing north; Milky Way almost visible in the East.

Abiquiu Stars – Time photograph of stars against a pinon pine, pointing north; Milky Way almost visible in the East.


Something about a campfire, in Arches National Park

November 8, 2013

Campfire in Arches National Park, by John Dale

Photographer John Dale wrote: “We rolled in to Arches National Park to a beautiful sunset and got to our campsite just as it got dark, but that left us with a clear sky, plenty of stars, and a fire to warm up next to. Here’s a photo from the timelapse I took that night.”

From a photographer named John Dale, via Arches National Park’s Facebook page.

More:

Map of Arches National Park, Utah, United Stat...

Map of Arches National Park, Utah, United States showing predominant features such as arches, peaks, rivers and streams, mines, and roads. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Campout Bingo cards, from the National Wildlife Federation

August 16, 2013

Found this via a stream of Pinterest and other blog posts:  National Wildlife Federation (NWF) put together four great camping bingo cards to use with your kids — depending on how wild your backyard is, you may not even need to go far to play.

Here in South Dallas County, you can see much of this stuff with a stroll through a local nature preserve.

Teachers, you can use this idea, with pictures and words, yes?

Camping Bingo card from the National Wildlife Federation (NWF)

Camping Bingo card from the National Wildlife Federation (NWF); it comes in a set of four, in .pdf format

Here’s the link to get the four cards NWF created in .pdf. If you want to create your own (history, geography, mathematics, language arts) teachers, here’s a blank form in .pdf.

Tip of the old scrub brush to Duncanville ISD’s Judy Henry.

More:


Texas, “Go fish!”

May 28, 2013

No, this isn’t a comment about the Texas Lege.  That I have to tell you that is comment enough.

Texas Parks and Wildlife notes:

Catching a fish is fun for kids, but many families have questions about how to get started. That’s why some state parks are offering free fishing classes. They’ll teach you the basics through fun, hands-on activities. Texas Parks and Wildlife has this report on a program called “Go Fish” as the June Outdoor Activity of the Month.

To find places to fish and events near you, visit texasstateparks.org/fishing

Doesn’t seem that long ago, but he’s grown, graduated from college and moved 2,000 miles away; heck, both of the boys graduated and moved away.  We started our romancing of Texas State Parks at Ink’s Lake State Park, in one of the hottest Augusts I ever would wish to see.  We got a new tent, big enough for a family and bigger than the pup tent Kathryn and I used on the Atlantic Beaches (never did get that hurricane smell out of it . . .).  I worried about older son Kenny.  Little patience for anything not electronic.

The rules were they could play handheld games until we got there, in the car, but not once we got down to camping.  When we got to Ink’s Lake it was 105º F.  Kenny decided he’d rather stay in the car with his games.  Eventually the batteries died.

It was a fun, but not necessarily easy first day.  We had Disney TrueLife Adventure watching a wasp and spider fighting.  We had deer wandering through the site, including one with a deformed mouth (we named her Celeste, but don’t ask me why).  Deer would do almost anything for a bite of cantaloupe.  Swimming, rocks to jump off of . . . Kenny was bordering on crabby.

I never took to fishing.  That’s Kathryn’s bailiwick.  She got poles for the kids.  The whole point of the trip was to get back to fishing for Kathryn.  Kenny complained about the hot son on the end of the pier, about the worms, about the lack of video games.  He complained about everything until he got that pole in his hand and dropped the hook in the water.  I wish we had it on video.  Instantly, he became a man of patience.

Caught his first little fish that day, too.   Bluegill, or crappie — I don’t remember.  The next few days brought quite a bit of adventure — small boat tour of Ink’s Lake, big tourist boat trip on nearby Lake Buchanan (” . . . this is Texas, Honey. It’s pronounced buck-CANnon. Don’t forget.”).  We froze in Longhorn Cavern.  We found magic, and five-foot catfish, at Hamilton Pool.  The catfish were larger than James, but he took great delight in watching them in the bottom of the supernaturally-clear pool.

English: Photo taken by Reid Sullivan during d...

Hamilton Pool, near the Pedernales River – photo by Reid Sullivan during drought conditions 1/2/2006, via Wikipedia

Both boys got great at camping, both had long periods with Boy Scouts after YMCA Guides (Kenny got Life; James got Eagle).  I think both of them got the fishing merit badge with help from the Mighty Fisher, Eddie Cline.  We have thousands of photos, lots of great memories, and for our family, it started with that trip to Ink’s Lake.

The good stuff all started with fishing.

More:


Camping with the guys

May 22, 2013

No campfire necessary?  Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, President Warren Harding, and Harvey Firestone

No campfire necessary? Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, President Warren Harding, and Harvey Firestone. Harding was probably the closest to poverty in this group. Photo may be from a camping trip in Maryland, circa 1921.  AkronHistory.org

Every Boy Scout knows, there’s something magical in a campfire.  Sometimes, you don’t even need the campfire.

More details of their camping exploits here, at Frederick County Forestry Board. See also this history site from the Maryland Forest Service, Department of Natural Resources.


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