Monday, August 8, 2016

Turn Off That Flashlight

Recently our Boy Scout troop went camping at Pine Ridge Scout Camp in southern Illinois.  I had been there before for Order of the Arrow or WoodBadge events, but never had the opportunity to wander around like on this trip.

On the day of arrival it was storming pretty hard just south of the camp.  The temperature wasn't too bad, but the humidity as about 4,000%.  Most of the group was staying in the Musgraves Lodge, but a few us stayed outside in tents.

I was in my little two person backpacking tent with a full rain fly.  I debated whether to put the fly on, but ended up doing so because there was a decent chance of rain overnight.  I've had the experience of getting rain without having the fly on and really didn't want that again.

Typically I'm a pretty cold sleeper, but on this night I never took my lightweight summer bag out of the bag.  I didn't sweat, but I was warm throughout the night, which is odd for me.

The next morning I went off wandering early in the morning.  The ranger brought us some chanterelle mushrooms the night before that were mighty tasty.  I found a nice patch and picked a few for back at camp.

Pine Ridge is probably named for all the pine trees and it is a beautiful camp.  With substantial undergrowth in some areas it felt like a mini rain forest with the high humidity.  The canopy is thick and doesn't seem to allow for the humidity to escape or a breeze to come through.  Or light I later learned.

Down on the waterfront at the swimming area we found a nice breeze.  It would have been a great place to set a tent, but oh well.

After dark I wandered down to the waterfront again.  I had a light with me, but it was my intention to not use it.  The trek was about a quarter of a mile down a nice gravel road.  It was so dark I could hardly see the light gravel.  If not for the sound of the gravel road on my feet and somewhat being able to see the gap in the trees it would have been extremely hard to make it.

It was worse on the way back because the light from Musgraves Lodge destroyed my night vision.  Another dad made the trek back without a light and made similar comments about the sound of gravel being the only thing that kept him on track.

I'm always amazed at times like this the number of people who solely rely on their flashlights to get around.  Perhaps they're afraid of the dark, perhaps they are just used to lots of ambient light, or maybe they've never let their eyes adjust to the dark and learn just how much they can see.

It's more than they think.

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