Oregon Trail Life Campout – 2017

From 23 to 25 June, 2017, St. Joseph Trail Life Troop OR-1531 held its first campout near Champoeg State Park.  They were joined by St. Edward Trail Life Troop OR-0315, and together prayed, played, worked, and feasted.

Friday afternoon, an advanced party of dads and boys picked out a sublime piece of ground near a grove of oak trees and a large pond.  Once the flag was firmly planted and tents set up, the boys began to explore the forest, water, and nearby vineyards.  Soon the entire troop was present, and OR-0315 from North Plains, OR had arrived.  Dirt being a natural medium between all boys, friendships were soon formed.  That evening everyone cooked their own meal over the fire (started by the senior trailman), and began to settle down for the long day ahead.  Both troops ended the evening with Compline and the strains of Salve Regina.

Salve, Regina, mater misericordiae;
vita, dulcedo et spes nostra, salve.
Ad te clamamus exsules filii Hevae.
Ad te suspiramus gementes et flentes
in hac lacrimarum valle.
Eia ergo, advocata nostra,
illos tuos misericordes oculos ad nos converte.
Et Iesum, benedictum fructum ventris tui,
nobis post hoc exsilium ostende.
O clemens, o pia, o dulcis Virgo Maria.

Both troops rose with the sun, ate a hearty breakfast, and set off to complete their six-mile hike along the Champoeg Trail before the heat became overwhelming (the day reach 101 degrees).  Along the trail they visited the historical site where, in 1843, a provisional government was formed and the territory tooks its first steps to become a part of the United States. Along the way, the boys observed various flora and fauna, enjoyed one another’s company, and took every opportunity to drink water!

After lunch the troops prayed a rosary and then jumped right into a variety of events ran by the dads; the tomahawk toss, archery, canoeing, and fishing.  It was amazing how quickly the boys learned and improved upon the skills at each station.  Trailmen who had never held a bow at the beginning of the day were consistently hitting first a paper plate and then a stick from 30 feet away.  They went from paddling a canoe in circles to navigating (with a dad always present) each and every inlet.  Towards the evening, a tomahawk toss competition was held and everyone was competitive.  There were many special moments throughout the day, one of my favorite being a boy’s first sighting of fish in the wild. Despite the long day, the boys spent a fair amount of time laughing in their tents, but eventually they drifted off to sleep.

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Trailmen of all ages agreed that this first of many camping trips was a success.  OR-1531 is grateful for the experience and assistance, alongside friendship, provided by the leadership and older boys of OR-0315.

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