packbat: Wearing a open-frame backpack, a pair of sunglasses, and a wide, triangular grin. (hiking)
So I realized that I never actually said what I did this weekend. I should do that.

Anyway, Friday I went down to my friend K's house to hang out before going on his Eagle project on Sat/Sun. He'd called me Thursday to ask if I wanted to visit.

Then he called me again to tell me that he'd forgotten about the contra dancing trip his youth group was taking, that he had set up, and he had to go, and would I mind, it costs nine bucks?

Thus it was at 7:40 I stepped onto the dance floor of the ballroom at Glen Echo for my first contra dancing experience.

Contra dancing is a French term borrowed from the English term "country dancing". We did both line dancing and square dancing. Or, to be glib, confusing dancing and really confusing dancing.

To be honest, though, the dances (except for the one attempted square dance) began to make sense once we were partway through the night. The moves - allemandes, do-si-do's, swings, stars, heys, circles - were arranged so that the dancers generally moved in smooth arcs to meet their partners or neighbors, with pauses between turning around and the like. And the feeling of moving in chorus with dozens of strangers, stepping in sync, was wonderful. (The feeling of foreign sweat on your hand during the allemande was not, but it's not like we all weren't dripping by the end of the night.) At ten o'clock, K, K's family and I slipped out of the circle, changed into less-sweaty shirts, and assembled to leave. We were all out of the showers and into bed about half past eleven.

And then up at six-thirty sharp to get ready to leave for West Virginia at eight-thirty.

K's Eagle Project, as you may have supposed from the subject, was to bridge a small creek. It took place at a to-be campsite owned by a local school and set about halfway between Winchester and Romney, not far from Hanging Rock. Incidentally, this also meant not far from the Hanging Rock Cafe, which (fortunately) proved to be one of the finest country-style dining establishments I have ever had the pleasure to eat food at. (You could tell them that the friend of the kid who returned the spoon that the bald French guy accidentally pocketed after buying coffee sent you, but I doubt they remember us.) The bridge itself was halfway done when we arrived - the platform was laid down across three tree trunks, and two of the end posts were set in the ground. So when we arrived - about 11:20 a.m. - we set to putting in the two posts at the other end and the posts along the sides so as to make the handrails.

Around 7 o'clock, most of the volunteers left, leaving K, K's dad, M, and Mr. S to continue trying to get the two new end posts to set solidly in the ground. An hour later, after pounding about fifty pounds of rock practically into gravel at the base of each hole, we called it a day and left to eat at the cafe before bed. At night it poured.

We rose about seven, eight o'clock the next morning, to get working at finishing the handrails and adding additional posts to secure them in place. Around twelve, we declared the bridge finished for the nonce and began to pack up. Two o'clock we were heading home. About six o'clock K's mom dropped me off at my house again.

Yeah, that was a tiring weekend.

My B-Day!

Jul. 1st, 2006 04:06 pm
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (butterfly)
Back from Scout Camp, and it's my birthday today! [ profile] nanakikun bought me a year of Paid Account status, my sister got me DVDs of Lake Placid (Quote: "They hide information like that in books.") and Surviving Christmas!

Also, I kept a journal at Goshen this year. I'm thinking of typing it all in and putting it online over the next few [days/weeks/months]; here's an atypical sample:

8:22 am, Day 5 (Wednesday June 28) [from the middle] )

I haven't done much yet – I'm about to check my friends page, then perhaps take up my parents on that free dinner.

Packbat ... out!


Jun. 24th, 2006 08:14 am
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Silhouette)
In half an hour, some friends from the troop will pick me up to go to the bus station from whence I will venture to Goshen.

One week from now*, I'll be riding the same bus back.

Later, folks! Farewell and adeiu, to ye fair Spanish ladies; farewell and adieu to ye ladies of Spain....

* Coincidentally, on my birthday.

Goshen '06

Jun. 23rd, 2006 06:50 pm
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Half-Face)
Leaving for Goshen Scout camp tomorrow!

What I've got packed so far )

Stuff I need to add tonight )

Edit: Stuff I added that I didn't think of above. )

And, of course, I have to make a bag lunch and stick it in the fridge (edit: check – needs a frozen juice pouch when I take it out) (edit: taken out.) for the bus.

Packbat ... away! (For a week!)
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)
Latest: My old troop had the spring Court of Honor tonight. Things are going well – the troop is expanding, people are making rank advancements, and I got to serve as an example of How Not To Get Eagle Scout. (For reference: I was a Tenderfoot at 16. Had about 6 weeks slack time beyond the minimum time requirements.)

Sorry for the brevity, but I've got a 7th level Monk in FFXI to enjoy. Ta!
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)
Those of you who were (or are!) fellow members of Boy Scout Troop 439, Kensington, MD, U.S.A., will well remember this device. Some others may remember it as well – as far as our troop is concerned, it is a wooden hammer, made from a section of log. One end of the log is left intact (sometimes the bark is removed) to serve as the head, and the other end is narrowed with saw, axe, and knife to serve as a handle. Making a ... err, one of these is a requirement for Totin' Chip in Troop 439, since it requires all three of Totin' Chip tools to make. Additionally, it is perhaps the best tool available to Scouts for driving their tent stakes. Unfortunately, no-one knows how to spell it.

Fortunately, this situation can finally be repaired, at least for the next ten minutes. Examination of my dictionary shows that shillelagh is the proper spelling, named for an Irish village. (Internet research further shows that many places have a different definition of shillelagh, but we don't care about that.) Thus, shillelagh.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Half-Face)
I'm going over to one of my Scouts friend's houses tomorrow night for movies, and he asked me to bring a couple in case we wanted to see them. So I went through my collection to look for ones that wouldn't be offensive to anyone or their parents.

I found two. Eight Legged Freaks and The 39 Steps. Now I'm going to watch them to check and make sure that they don't include anything I forgot that might offend, and surely not because they are really good movies.

Yeah, right.

packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Silhouette)
My bag is packed. I probably want to double-check it tonight.

The dishes aren't washed. I probably want to wash them tonight.

My parents and sister are supposed to return tonight. They haven't arrived yet. I hope they're alright.

I read another chapter of Hyperion. It's excellent. I'll have to finish it after the hike, though.

...and now I'm just wasting time.

Goodbye. See you Sunday.


Aug. 9th, 2005 01:39 pm
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Half-Face)
Of course, I will check my loadout again tomorrow morning, but at the moment, everything looks good!

Things I didn't mention yesterday (because I did them today):

  • Since I am tenting with A., I have split the components of my tent into two halves of approximately equal weight. When we are doing the final loadout, I'll let A. choose a half, and take the other half for myself.
  • I forgot the suggestion (made yesterday) that we bring sandals for camp wear. Therefore, I've dumped a pair of flip-flops in.
  • I bought mixed nuts instead of peanuts.
  • I put all the clothing in plastic, and packed extra plastic.
  • I bought a really cheap flashlight because it came with a lot of (cheap) AA batteries. I'm bringing a spare pair of (non-cheap) AAs from a different container, just in case.

Now, I'm going to check the answering machine, and go play DDR downtown. See you around!
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Silhouette)

  • Switch D-cell flashlight for AA-cell flashlight.
  • Ditch the deck of cards.
  • Pack the tent. But split it in two, so A. can take the other half.
  • Put clothes in Ziplock or reasonable facsimile.
  • Ditch extra D-cells for D-cell flashlight.
  • Ditch most of first aid kit: just a couple band aids, some moleskin.

From this, we end up with the following 'grocery list' for tomorrow:

  • Peanuts for granola-driedfruit-etc. trail mix.
  • AA batteries for camera and flashlight.
  • Memory chip for camera.
  • Flashlight.
  • 'Gallon' Ziplock bags or reasonable facsimile.
  • Loaf of bread.

...and I can get all of these down the street. As long as it isn't raining, I should be quite well off.

Now, to act upon these changes!

Edit: Mom called, suggested I add a gallon of milk to the grocery list. Probably a good idea.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Half-Face)
Alright, now I need to get ready for the 50-miler backpacker. In the interests of making this post less pointless organizing my thoughts before the packout tonight, I shall make a...

Preliminary Packing List


  • 2 pairs sports shorts, with internal netting. One of these is to be worn on departure.
  • 2 pairs wicking shirts. One of these is to be worn on departure.
  • 2 pairs synthetic-fiber socks. One of these is to be worn on departure.
  • 2 1 (I don't have 2 yet) pair liner socks. To be worn on departure.
  • 1 poncho. Hopefully not to be worn on departure, but one can never know these things.
  • 1 pair boots (obviously to be worn on departure).
  • 1 pair mittens (found on living room floor).
  • Sleeping bag & mattress pad.
  • Tent. To be skipped if possible.


  • 1 lg. Ziplock bag 'trail mix'. (Current ingredients: I have no idea – weird stuff. To be added: peanuts.Gr)
  • 4 Clif bars. Number to be reduced if desired.
  • 1 lg. bottle water, est. size 2-3 liters.
  • 1 sm. bottle water, est. size 1 pint.


  • Partial mess kit: 1 plate, 1 cup (plastic), 1 spoon, 1 fork, 1 knife.
  • Flashlight, D-cell.
  • Spare pair D-cells.
  • Sm. first aid kit.
  • Kodak EasyShare CX6200 digital camera.
  • (hopefully) 1 memory chip for camera.St
  • 2 spare pairs AA-cells.St
  • 1 bridge-set Made-in-Israel playing cards. Can be replaced with any other playing cards or dropped, as need be.
  • 1 glowstick. May be dropped if need be.

I intend to edit this post up until I depart to the packout. Then I will make a new, revised list based on that information.

Note also that no glasses appear on this list. My vision isn't poor enough to justify the extra ounces, or risk of loss or breakage.

St: To be bought at Staples.
Gr: To be bought at any grocery store.
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Silhouette)
Note: Even when it feels like everything is going wrong, a little Suzanne Vega on an iPod can still make me cheerful. This is worth remembering for future reference. Of course, any of several artists (e.g. Joni Mitchell, Shawn Colvin, Tracy Chapman) can often replace Suzanne Vega in that.

Note 2: In the event when Suzanne Vega + iPod is unavailable, poetry can sometimes be substituted. In Flanders Fields is a good choice. Or perhaps The Lady of Shalott, although it is much longer. The Red Wheelbarrow, however, is not appropriate.

Note 3: I will be out of town for a week, starting tomorrow. I am attending Scout camp with my old troop, and will be disconnected from (nearly) all electronics until my return. See you on the 10th!

Note 4: Thanks again, [ profile] nanakikun!


packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)

October 2011

30 31     


RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags