Sometimes things don’t go as planned.
Nothing earth-shattering with that statement, right Dr. Nic?
Well, in this case I’m referring to the Cub Scout campout I helped to organize on the weekend of Oct. 26 and 27. In all reality, it actually was a good weekend, a fun weekend, and considering the weather we’ve had on the weekends since then, I guess we ended up pretty lucky! I even say that despite the fact that Edwin described the weekend as “miserable” when his mother asked him about it.
Six boys and five dads hiked in to the Zillmer Backpack Shelter near Dundee. The mile-long hike in and out went well with only minimal complaining about “how much farther.” After setting up camp, which the boys were really excited about, we did a nature hike and learned about different plants (deciduous versus “carniverous”), different root systems, cedars versus pines, oaks and maples, and even caught a salamander. OK, maybe “caught” is an over statement—those things are quite odd and don’t exactly move very quickly.
All along we knew that weather was going to be a problem. We packed accordingly, with a lot of dry firewood and a couple changes of clothing, and even some games to entertain the boys with once the rain started. And did the rain ever “start.”
The boys had set up in the backpack shelter—a three-sided “Adirondack” shelter with a stone foundation, wood log walls, and a dirt floor but benches for their sleeping pads and sleeping bags. The dads were outside in tents, and I was in my hammock with rain tarp. All was good—until the mice started falling from the ceiling of the shelter. Literally. A frantic call from one of the boys had me out of my hammock and running to the shelter, where one of the boys informed me that “a mouse just fell on me.” Sure enough, there it was, sitting on his sleeping back.
I’m pretty sure that’s the first time in my life I’ve held a field mouse in my bare hand, as I ran in to the shelter and threw two mice off the sleeping bags of the boys. I hope to never do that again.
And once all six of the boys started looking for mice along the walls and on the floor, and in the rafters above, they couldn’t help but notice all of them mice. The walls and ceiling were literally crawling. Gross. It must have been the combination of colder temperatures, downpouring rain, and six boys in the shelter that had the mice scurrying around nonstop. It was, as one dad put it, the stuff that nightmares are made of! I guess I’d personally prefer mice to spiders or snakes—but it’s still not fun.
It didn’t take long and the boys were out of the shelter and piled in to their parents’ respective tents, and Eddy was in the hammock with me! The hammock was plenty big for the both of us, but sharing a sleeping bag and trying not to move too much so that we could sleep was a bit of a problem.
Nonetheless, we made it through a cold, wet, long, rodent-infested night. And we are better for it! I rewarded him with hot cocoa and chocolate chip pancakes the next morning and my camping gear took about five days to dry out, but we made it!

Mother Nature is impervious to criticism, so complaining about the rain wouldn’t do much good. What we can do is be thankful that we missed the snow by two days! And we can make the best of it. In fact, with all this snow coming down, my mind has moved to perhaps a winter camping outing sometime soon. Anyone care to join?

Subscribe to the E-Edition of the Tri-County News

Or, just give us a call at 920-894-2828