scouts-l Mail Archive for August of 2000: Gettysburg Report
Roman J. Smith (Roman.J.Smith.13@ND.EDU
Tue Aug 08 2000 - 07:27:43 CDT
Here is my report on Troop 505 Gettysburg trip.
We stayed the first night at Laurel Hill State Park (PA). It had rained
heavily before we got there. The youth campground was very wet, especially
the rotting picnic tables. The ranger that checked us in was surprised we
choose this park instead of Kooser State Park. (I choose Laurel Hill in
April and can not now remember why we choose it over Kooser.) The beach
pavilion was not being used so we cooked dinner and breakfast there on dry
tables. The restrooms at the beach are flush toilets with sinks. This was
a plus for driving the 4 minutes to eat there each meal.
We arrived at Gettysburg via Rt. 30. In hind sight, we returned by way of
Harrisburg to avoid the hilly road that strained my 4 cylinder van with our
crew and gear.
We got into the visitor's center on Tuesday just before noon and took in
the eclectic map and picked up our trail guides, then headed to the youth
campground. The daily camp site assignments had been posted for that day.
A call to the ranger station was needed to get our site assignments. We
did the Confederate trail that afternoon, the Union trail the next morning.
There is no better way to see the battlefield than using the trail books.
Take note people. Take plenty of water with you. The water fountain at
Devil's den does not work. The restrooms are closed for repair. It was
only due a generous ranger that we were able to get access to a water hose
in the restroom building to refill our depleted water bottles.
We did have a hard time following the trail guide from Devil's Den. We
retraced our path 3 times before we realized where we made our mistake. By
that time we decided to swing around a few sites to save time distance.
The only major thing we missed was walking the entire Pickett's charge. A
few of our scouts were grateful for the deletion by that time.
We did not go to the Eisenhower farm on Thursday morning. The scouts
choose to spend the few hours we had left browsing through the shops around
the area. I went back to the battlefield to finish my roll of film, using
the few shots I had saved for the farm.
With the lack of space in our van, we had to buy food at every stop. We
had allowed $3.50 per meal per person. Lunch was at fast food outlets with
each scout getting an envelope every day with $3.50. We saved enough on
meals we cooked to stop on Wednesday at Pizza Hut and Denny's on Friday
morning. We came in under our food budget by 28 cents. We did not skimp
on cooked meals either.
I did find out why some troop limit these trips to older scouts. The
younger scouts got bored on the nine mile Union trail and just did not care
about the history after the first 4 miles. However, I do not regret my
decision to include them. This may be the only time some of them get to go
in their life.
Many are now asking to go to Washington D.C. next year. As much as I think
that would be a great idea, the way this trip's logistics fell apart the
last minute, I just am not ready for a cross country trip every year. I am
looking to put together a more local trip focused on scouting skills. We
will be talking about next summer starting in October.
I am glad to report that every scout who wanted to go, got to go. With
loosing 2 drivers the last month, and having to do some scrabbling to get
everyone in one small vehicle, we were still able to pull it off. I want
to thank everyone who gave me ideas to use on this trip. Your resources
were used though out the trip. Thanks.
Roman J. Smith, SM Troop 505 / CM, Ship 505
-I used to be an Owl