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First Cub Scout Campout

This was the first campout for the boys as Cub Scouts, a “District Camporee”. Cub Scouts, from what I understand, do not camp as often as Boy Scouts, and have age-appropriate restrictions on the types of activities they can participate in and the weather conditions they can camp in. This was also my first BSA campout since leaving Central Florida. Troop 508 hosted us, providing cooked meals and resources we needed as a Pack.

Camp Pellissippi is one of two camps operated by the Great Smoky Mountain Council, BSA. It was established in the 1930s as the main camp for the council, and in 1970 a fire destroyed their dining hall and a portion of the camp. Volunteers have since rebuilt much of the camp using donated supplies and equipment. While the camp is rustic, it has some nice facilities with electricity, bath houses, and showers.

Our Pack was assigned to the “Carter Cabin” which has a loft and a wood stove. Because of the number of people camping with us and the mix of men and women in the group, I opted to set up my own tent and canopy, for privacy and organization.

The first night, the camporee host-Troop sponsored a “Cracker Barrel” of hot dogs, chilli, nachos, cookies, candy, popcorn, and beverage. I think it was one of the best cracker barrels I had ever attended. With the heavy rain outside, this opening event was a warm welcome – I only wish we could have hung out longer.

It rained all night, but we stayed dry in our tent thanks to the Kelty Noah tarp shelter I erected over our tent – one of the best investments I’ve made in camping gear. In addition our tent features a tub style floor, which also helped to keep things dry. Other families in our Pack were not so fortunate in the their tent experience. I slept high and dry on a cot while my two boys slept on a foam mattress pad.

Breakfast by Troop 508 was excellent. Their boys cooked up some nice options for breakfast burritos. It was interesting listening to their boys discuss seasoning options for the food. They took it very seriously.

As mother nature would have it, the rain would not let up – and up to four inches more rain was expected through the next two days. Floor watches and warning started coming out, and our camporee activities were cancelled – so, the Pack decided we needed to break camp and head home. I had the option to stay, as the Troop offered up on of their campsite’s adirondack shelters to us, and we could have used the Carter Cabin and had it all to ourself, but the realization that I was in the front wheel drive family van on some fairly rough roads soon swayed me to get out of dodge before the roads became impassible.

We headed home with wet gear and I turned around the boys’ disappointment by having them set up their tents on our porch at home for another night of “camping”.

Camp Pellissippi
262 Boy Scout Camp Rd
Andersonville, TN 37705

Miles travelled: 113.1 miles
Nights camping: 1


Hiking Challenge

Great Smoky Mountains National Park joins parks, programs and partners across the country to encourage everyone to find their park and share their stories online at

Great Smoky Mountains National Park joins parks, programs and partners across the country to encourage everyone to find their park and share their stories online at

I grew up going camping in the Smoky Mountain National Park every fall. Some years we would camp in Elkmont, some years at Smokemont, and a couple of times we actually got to camp at Cades Cove. You see, Cades Coves seemed like the holy grail of camp sites – we loved their scenic loop and the chance to see wild animals, but the campground was always full in the fall. These annual visits to the park ingrained the Smoky Mountains in me.

In late 2015 I moved to Speedwell, TN. I wanted so badly, when we did finally relocate, to be close to the Smoky Mountains. We’re now approximately 2 hours away. With the National Park Service celebrating it’s 100th anniversary in 2016, and with their Find Your Park campaign, I knew that I would find myself visiting the park on a regular basis.

Hike100 PinIn early 2016, the Smoky Mountain National Park announced the Smokies Centennial Challenge – Hike 100, a challenge to hike 100 miles on any trail in the park – and if successful, I could earn a unique pin commemorating the achievement. Just what I needed, an excuse to get motivated.

I announced my goal to my friends on Facebook and got the family’s commitment to allow me a once-per-month visit to the park to put in some miles.

Stay tuned for updates on this exciting journey.