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One of our favorite places to go on a campout was to Fort Belknap. It is located about 50 miles south of Wichita Falls and three miles south of the town of Newcastle in Young County.

The fort was founded on June 24, 1851 and was the northern anchor of a chain of forts built along the frontier to protect settlers from Indian attacks. The only remains now are a perimeter wall, the old water Fort Belknap entrance-500well, and several buildings. The wall is about waist high and about two or three feet thick, built of stone, and provides a great place to walk or run around the fort. One of the buildings is a rebuilt barracks that houses a museum and some historical archives. Another building is rebuilt for groups to spend the night. Another part of the fort is the cemetery that is located about a quarter mile away because that parcel of land was donated.

We always scheduled this campout in February so we could camp in the barrack out of the cold weather. This was our only inside campout during the year. We set up our kitchen in one end and sleeping area in the other end. We set up four Coleman cook stoves, using two to cook on and the other two for dishwater and rinse. This campout was popular with the dads because they got to do all the cooking and cleanup. Most of the scheduled time was spent on advancement such as Second Class and First Class requirements.

It was fun to walk down to the cemetery and read the tombstones to see the dates and causes for death. Later that night the dads would sneak down there and hide. When we brought the entire troop to the cemetery, we would tell ghost stories, and the dads would scare all the scouts, after which we would come back to the barrack for dessert before turning in.

On Sunday morning we had breakfast, cleanup, and pack, then we hiked to the west about a mile to the Brazos River to have events in the river bed. We found many animal tracks there and could identify most of them. Also, we played games to see who could get muddy first. After lunch we headed home.

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© 2020 Troop 1, Est: 1916 - Boy Scouts of America
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