Winter Campout at Prince William Forest


Identifier: 20080215-Winter Campout
Purpose of outing: Leave No Trace primitive camping, cold weather camping
Advancements: Camping MB
Mode of travel: Car
Planning horizon: Months
Capacity: 3 Scouts / 2 Adult Leaders / 2 Vehicles
Fees: Campsite Fees: $40 – Group site
Distance: 27 mi, 40 min
Location: Prince William Forest, Turkey Run Campground, Chopawamsic Wilderness Area
Contact: Troop 1501
Dates: 2008-02-15 - 2008-02-16
Description: Friday Night Meal: Fast Food Stop (Taco Bells) Saturday Meals: Dehydrated food and High calorie protein snacks Sunday Meals: Pancake House on the way back Weather: Clear, no precipitation 30 degrees F upon arrival High of 35 degrees F. Night low in 20 degrees F. Sunday warmed to low 40’s. Friday Logistics: Rendezvous at MUMC. 6PM show, 6:30 departure. Less than an hour drive to the Prince William Forest. Camp Fees (Group Site B) had been previously paid over the web. Picnic tables and fire pits at each site. Water at common locations. Restrooms a short distance away. Upon arrival everyone selected their camp site and set up their tents while dark. Saturday Day Events: Prepared breakfast. Scouts worked at their own pace on skills and advancement activities with the Scoutmaster. One adult set up a geocache course in the local area for the scouts to conduct compass orientation. Later a demonstration on friction and solar fire making was conducted by a Scouter. Demonstrations consisted of Bow friction, Piston Friction and magnifying glass. Initial bow friction resulted in creating a sufficient coal for a fire, however unable to repeat even after a broken part had been repaired. Piston method eventually worked in lighting a coal sufficient to start a fire after several tries. The solar did not work. After lunch scouts broke down the camp site and headed out to Chopawamsic wilderness area. The wilderness area is a short drive (@20 minutes) from Turkey Run Camp ground. A key (acquired from the visitor center) is required to open a wire rope gate. At the Chopawamsic parking lot each scout packed up what they would need for an overnight hike into the wilderness area. All campers had to pack in and pack out their provisions and garbage. Each Scout loaded and adjusted his gear for the pack in. The hike was about 1-1.5 miles in to the camping area (#4). Scouts selected their camp site and set-up tents. This area did not allow open fires (pack stoves were used for cooking) or disruption of any of the designated camp areas (10 sites total). The remaining of the afternoon was set aside for scouts working on their advancements and exploring the local area. As part of the wilderness survival requirements, a senior Scout led two junior Scouts within a short distance of the camp area looking for a suitable area to build an overnight bivac. After surveying several areas and serious consideration by the two junior Scouts, the plan for an overnight open bivac was sorely dismissed for another time. Saturday Evening: Meal preparation consisted of individuals fixing dehydrated food. Since we could not have a fire at this site and the cold was setting in, we were all in our tents at 1930. Sunday: Awoke just prior to sunrise. Broke camp. Loaded packs and hiked out. Hike took less than an hour to the vehicle parking lot, where the scouts quickly donned their packs and we all headed out to a local pancake house for breakfast.
Assessment: - Maps. Lost Maps somewhere in the car on Saturday. An extra set would have helped. The Scoutmaster had spares to use for the hike into the wilderness area. - Tour Permit. Not too sure this was completed in time before departure. Did not have in hand during the event. - Meals. Dehydrated food was not all that tasty. Had a difficult time judging the amount of water to use. It would have helped in practicing a few meals at home before the campout. - Fire Making. Strongly believe the scouts would have gotten more out of this demonstration if they were all required to start a fire without the use of matches. Suggest for next time that each scout start his own using one of the demonstrated methods. - Need to locate a wilderness area where a fire can be built and the hike is about five miles to the camp site.