it’s a great question.
“how far can one go?”
found the answer this weekend and i have to say
i’m a little proud of myself.
this month’s boy scout adventure was
to camp at a swamp in louisiana.
yes a swamp. a REAL swamp.
with alligators, snakes, weird sound making critters…in dark. at night. that’s no lights.
originally hubby was scheduled to go.
my right hand. my hero.
the one that would haul everything for me,
put up my tent,
put down a nice inflatable comfy bed…etc…
but due to the unscheduled tsunami that hit our area in houston
plans were changed.
turns out a leak in the roof can put a damper on your plans.
as luck would have it, me and the bff
were all in the same boat (get it boat?! :P)…
Husbands couldn’t go.
Sons wanted to go.
we decided to ride it out together.
power in numbers.
to Lafayette we go.
first a PIT STOP AT BUCEES for
some necessary hip hop nonsense.
5 hours later after a couple of detours, turn arounds, and potty breaks we arrived in lafayatte at roughly midnight.
ever arrive at a swamp at midnight?
thankfully the men folk volunteers took good care us.
on a side note– i’d like to make a PSA to unwed women of the world:
when you are interviewing for husbands, let me encourage you to give extra points to
any man who was a boy scout or is a scout leader.
they are made of a special kind of fiber.
these in particular just took our ginormous cabana tent out of our little lady
hands and pitched it in minutes.
did i mention we were on a bank of a very small peninsula on a swamp
with absolutely NO barrier to the water 2-3 feet from our tent IN THE DARK?!
it was highly possible we could’ve went for a swim had they not stepped up or sept on waterlogged grass.
my hubby was so thrilled they took such great care of us.
and our boys did a fine job of setting up their tents in the dark as well.
this was the view we had once day light broke.
cute little reptiles everywhere.
took this shot from a boat later on…our glamping cabana is the one on the right.
first thing in the morning was flag ceremony.
i brought my own little setup b/c i like my coffee a certain way.
yes I’m impossible in Louisiana too.
it just starts my day off right.
i pre-ground the beans at home to make things easier.
after that it’s just a matter of boiling water.
i was considering buying a really expensive water boiling thug-a-ma-jig
on amazon but i ended up waiting too long and had to get something quick.
so i got this little pop up stove at academy for like $6-7? it comes
with some kind of pellets that you light and let me tell you – they FIRE up!
they boil water and milk fast. it’s smaller than a sandwich too so that’s nice.
and then there was this.
men who cook.
Make that — men who cook REALLY REALLY well.
fabulous pancakes and bacon anyone?
someone said “camp food just tastes better” and i guess that’s what it was.
That and I want the one cooking.
talk about feeling spoiled!
seriously amazing guys.
meanwhile the kiddos made their own food.
they had scrambled egg tacos.
maceo had hot sauce on his which was pretty funny considering he’s never done that at home.
gotta love how scouts makes a boy feel manlyyyyyy!
made my mama heart proud to see him take the initiative to do his
part and wash pots and pans after his own dishes.
all without being asked.
see what i mean about how scouts makes good men?!
next up was the swamp tour!
riding in a boat with a very little sides in a real swamp. yep.
it was breathtaking.
mother nature in full effect.
you don’t typically associate the word “swamp” with beauty but that is exactly what it was.
Pure, raw, unfiltered, ecosystem.
a photographer’s dream.
a carpet of lush green leaves and lilies floating over water, sprawling mystical trees, and cascading moss everywhere you look….
sure there was God knows what under it but
what i found is that if you just put it out of mind – your heart will pump
at a less erratic pace.
i mean…how could there be gators under something so dreamy?
and these trees. these magical cypress trees.
i expected a gnome or a fairy to float on out.
200 year old cypress
we went for miles and miles and ended up in the open
waters of Lake Martin.
very serene with fisherman here and there.
the weather was ideal. high 60s-low 70s and the ever so perfect light breeze to keep us cool.
we passed some of the troop.
Lake Martin is known for the variety of wild shore birds including
the blue heron, egrets, osprey, spoonbills, eagles, and many more.
It is protected by the Nature Conservancy and there are rules and regulations.
what stood out to me the most is how completely spotless it was.
i kid you not when i say i did not see 1 single water bottle or piece of trash over the 2 hour tour we took.
i didn’t have a higher power lens on me to zoom in to get up close details.
But i can see why wildlife photographers would
be mesmerized at Lake Martin.
This bird – the anhinga – spreads its wings to dry in order to fly.
it stays perched like this for quite some time
making for spectacular photos.
see this girl on the right?
she’s in stealth mode.
don’t blink for a second.
look the the left and you’ll see 8-9 baby gators sitting on the log.
it’s gator nursery.
she obviously needed a little space but don’t you think for a
minute she’s going to let you get up close to those babies.
she came up To say hi when we just looked over their way.
we turned around to this scene.
dude in a kayak and another tour up close and personal with a gator at least 5-6 feet.
our tour guide told us that gators can jump the equivalent of their length which means
this gator was being pretty nice considering what he was capable of.
guess kayak dude didn’t hear that part if
we were impressed.
the next gator we saw was perched upright on the tree above.
i didn’t get a good photo of it at first b/c we all decided it had to be fake.
it was so still and perfect and practically standing up on the tree.
no way it’s real we said.
and then we got closer and this happened.
towards the end of our tour and it did not seem like 2 hours had passed but it had.
next the boys went on a hike. a really long hike.
i decided i would give mine some distance to explore and a refreshing mini nap didn’t hurt none. that didn’t keep me from peeking in on his tent.
SEVEN miles later he returned tired & hot.
soon began the dinner preparations…
another crazy good meal provided by our fantastic cook/host.
crawfish, crab, shrimp, potatoes, corn….yep!
the men were pretty much in a daze just thinking about it.
kids got to touch and hold crawfish.
grown ups got to eat the crawfish
Scouts are responsible for cooking their own food in each group/patrol.
some of which were very creative!
this patrol had “cajun pizza”.
maceos’ group had spaghetti and meatballs.
they seemed pretty content.
and there that boy is again…washing dishes.
you’d think he did it at home!
he does have chores but dishes aren’t one of them…may need to rethink that one.
after dinner, kids had free time.
some sat and reflected on life.
some played music.
some grabbed fishing poles
some stood around looking at snakes crawl up the bank.
like literally crawl up the bank.
nothing to see here….
some did people watching
some launched (with air) things like crawfish into the swamp.
this is our leader Louis.
Louis is an incredible person.
Not only because he devotes so many hours to the scout cause but be/c you
can see how he truly takes joy and pride in it.
and the kids see it too.
it’s not an easy feat – he somehow maintains a respect from the kids all while having fun with them.
that is IMPOSSIBLE usually.
i saw him re-direct bad behaviors but never with causing shame.
i saw him constantly praise kids doing good things.
i saw him let insignificant things slide.
i saw him allow the kids to lead themselves but still offering advice when absolutely necessary.
truly, what a blessing he is to the troop.
ALL of the volunteers were exactly the same (i’m sorry i don’t know more names).
all so welcoming and helpful to the kids.
a perfect balance.
talk about making boys happy
maybe too happy?
you know it’s a kick butt camping trip when the police show up!
J/k….it wasn’t a big deal.
someone thought they were shooting ammo in the lake at the gators
but no. just compressed air.
my favorite memory of the whole time we were there….
maceo said to me, “mom! we are in lousiana! we camping at a swamp in Louisiana!”
love making memories with this boy and i love that he gets it.
what a sunset. the stuff of travel guides.
next was campfire and the iprov of telling jokes & scary stories, doing skits, and whatever comes to mind.
always the brave one.
he did a sing along he made up.
and it ended with a mexican hat dance.
yes it did.
then it was time for bed.
the air was chilly – not freezing – but 60 degrees.
i went to bed thinking how blessed we are to have this fantastic experience…
sleeping under the stars at a swamp in louisiana as maceo had said.
i should’ve recorded the sounds– it was a symphony of night creatures…
some sounding human at times. made me understand the whole
bud-wei-ser frogs of the Super Bowl years ago.
i forgot to mention there was also a herd of cows right next to us.
yep. cows, frogs, COYOTES howling, things hissing and buzzing.
things plopping in and out of the water right next to our tent.
but i really wasn’t scared.
my tent was zipped up.
nobody was yelling that they were being eaten alive….
and you won’t believe this but we didn’t get ONE single
mosquito bite the whole 3 days!!!
apparently the mosquitos don’t like a substance in the trees?
when you put it all together– it made for a great story and trip.
THANK YOU JESUS!
speaking of jesus…
i love that we ended with a church service the next morning.
this was a remarkable group of people.
the boys were very sweet, helpful, independent, respectful, clean, funny, and had just GREAT attitudes about being there.
the adult leaders were the same and much more.
we’re still kinda new to Troop 533 but i can honestly say
i am so happy we are here and i’m so glad we didn’t let the flood situation keep
us from coming.
we risked much but the wonderful adventure we had made it worth it.