We're back from our Memorial Day Weekend Bug Out Campout. I'm still trying to decide if I will go ahead and make an "official entry" from this weekend , but I thought I'd post a little "teaser".
This campout was my family of 5 and The Machinist was also there with his Daughter camping. It was his Daughter's first real campout and he wanted to make sure she had a great time so she'll want to do more of this.
We chose a cool location on Greenleaf Creek in Cherokee County in Northeastern Oklahoma. This location is deep in a Public Hunting Area. It is over 8 miles of rough unpaved roads with a few creek crossings to get here once you leave the last of the paved roads. The creek here is over 50 feet wide with a very deep hole that we think is over 25 feet deep, 25 feet wide and over 100 feet long running right down the middle of the creek. The far bank is Limestone Bluffs over 70 feet tall that have had huge chunks weighing several tons each break off, falling into the creek.
We fished and caught several perch and some catfish. We used both rods and reels and I sat up a Fishing Yoyo and caught fish on that too. We saw some bass, but didn't catch any of those. We also saw some big alligator gar that would break the surface going after smaller fish. Some of these gars were well over 3 or 4 feet long and made a big, loud splash sending large rings spreading out across the water.
I had made a really nice crawfish trap to bring, but stupid me, left it sitting in the driveway when we left. I will have to go out again with it and try catching some to boil up for dinner. The kids did catch a few small crawfish by hand and put them in a bucket.
It was very hot and humid with temperatures in the low to mid 90s. The kids swam for several hours each day in the creek.
My Son swam over to the big rocks across the creek. Here he is to give you a sense of the size of the rocks.
I worked on using a primative fire bow drill made from materials gathered there during the campout to get a fire started . I had never tried this before and really wanted to give it a go. I was only somewhat successful in that I was able to get a good burning ember going (twice) and place it in my tinder bundle, but as I was blowing it to flame, some hot sparks blew against my hand, burning me and I dropped the bundle and lost it. This was during a "practice session" before I started to video the event, so I don't have it on video or any photos taken during it. Here is the fire bow drill that I made.
The fireboard and bearing block are made from a piece of sycamore branch. The spindle was fom a piece of straight root I found and the bow was a curved branch I cut with some cheap imatation paracord from Walmart. The cheap paracord wore out fairly quick and was replaced 3 different times during my attempts. Next time, I will break out the real paracord and this will make my life easier. Even though I was not able to get the fire going with this fire bow drill, I still learned quite a bit from trying. I am confident that I could have done it with just a few more tries (and real paracord on the drill), so even failures are learning experiences. I won't give up!
We found a neat little folding camp grill at Walmart that was around $15.00, so we thought we would give it a test. It sets up easily and worked well. I wish it had been a little larger, but it worked well. We cooked Fajitas and Flour Tortillas on the grill for one dinner during the campout. Here is the grill in action with the Fajitas in the foil pouches.
While we were there, I was scoping out wild edibles. I found May Flowerplants, but they did not have the fruit on them, but also found several nice Sassafrass Trees growing in our campsite. Here is a photo on one showing all three leaf types, single, double and triple lobed leaves.
The roots of the Sassafrass Tree can be dug up year round, washed, de-barked and the inner root sliced into strips and boiled until the water turns dark red to make Sassafrass Tea that when sweetened, tastes a little like Root Beer.
The Machinist and his Daughter slept in nice Hennessey Hammocks. I slept in a camping hammock and my family set up 3 back packing tents that they slept in. I'm sorry I don't have any photos of the actual camp area with these all set up, but I now know that I will be investing in some better equipment. I really liked their Hennessey Hammocks and because my kids are getting older, I am going to try and get one for each of us.
The kids have almost outgrown their back packing tents, so I need to invest in some better ones for everyone. I still like the Eureka Timberline Series with the gear Vestibules. I might get a Timberline 4 for my wife and me and a Timberline 2 for each of the kids. That will give everyone plenty of room.
We ended up having to cut the Memorial Day Campout shorter than we wanted it to be. My Wife, Son and Oldest Daughter left Saturday evening to get back home so they could go to Church Sunday Morning, (my Wife teaches Sunday School and was not able to get a replacement teacher for that day) and the kids were really sun burned from swimming on Friday afternoon and all day on Saturday and decided that they wanted to go home with her early. My youngest Daughter wanted to stay and camp with me, but later Saurday Night, she realy started getting home sick and missed her Sister. She got pretty upset, so the decision was made that it would be easier to pack up camp and leave that night than have her upset and crying all night. We ended up pulling up camp and driving out and it was close to Midnight when we left.
Even though I didn't get nearly everything done that I had planned (like forgetting the crawfish trap, shooting more photos of the hike and our camp and our other activities, trying the fire bow drill again until successful and video taping it, collecting wild edibles, cooking up crawfish and having a fish fry, squirrel hunting, etc...) we still had a great campout. The kids had fun and even found out that they liked the MREs that were packed in their Bug Out Bags. (Now I need to stock up on a few more cases!) They had a lot of fun swimmng and even learned about leaches when my Son ended up wth 3 on him while swimming. We all ended up with lots of chiggar bites and a few ticks, but that's camping in Oklahoma this time of year. No one got hurt and they all say they are ready for more when we can do this agin. The Machinist's Daughter had a great time to on her first real campout, so overall, our campout was successful.
I guess I'll go ahead and work on a "story" to add to these photos and submit it as an entry.
I hope you enjoyed this post.