For the Christmas break Troop 492 canoed nearly 5 hours at Juniper Springs in the Ocala National Forest. We were having so much fun that I forgot to get many pictures. Here's the crew getting ready to eat. They are working on their cooking merit badge (including Dutch oven cooking) so the eats were great!!
Here we are getting ready to canoe our 7.5 miles and some pictures of the river. The river is one of the top canoe runs in the USA and has many sharp curves with the current pushing you into bushes and the side of the river and obstacles to steer around and limbs and fallen logs to test your limbo skills as you canoe so you can only safely take pictures in the calm spots. The boys learned that "reality" is much more invigorating than "virtual reality." I did my traditional Juniper River canoe flip trying to avoid an obstacle. The water was refreshing but I lost my glasses (as usual). Luckily the spill was a bit downstream from the large alligator we passed on the side bank. We also saw lots of turtles, possums, raccoons, fish, and turkey vultures.
These are the teacher's quorum patrol and the deacon's quorum patrol campsites. Notice the "bear box". We could keep no food in camp, day or night because there were bears active in the area. In fact, on our second night a bear came into our camp in the middle of the night and sniffed around our tents--a good lesson in obedience to the "no food in camp or tents" rule. We weren't even allowed to wash our dishes since the dish water would attract the bears. We used paper plates and aluminum foil to eliminate washing and simply wiped everything else and stored it in the cars with the food and trash.
We did lots of swimming in the spring, played soccer and other games in a nearby field, and since it gets dark at 5:30, we had lots of creative games we played in the dark for three hours to wear everyone out by the 10 p.m. lights out/quiet time. I didn't get any pictures of our day hike down the Florida Trail. The weather was perfect, 70s in the day,low 60s at night. (The night after we got home we had a cold front come through with a our first frost of the season.) Our three day stay was a great success.
Here are some things we've done with the house since the last post. The front porch is no longer a workshop, we now have satellite TV, the guest room is now sky blue, the tv in the loft is for bedtime Barbie movies and other selections from our DVD collection, the shelves have new edges, and there is a temporary round pen for riding horses and there are rabbits in the chicken coop.