Incline Railroad

Ruby Falls was a pretty awesome visit. The next stop was the Incline Railway. We went from being 1100 feet under the mountain to being on top of the mountain. The ride is a mile, most of which is at a very steep incline. The view was great and the ride was relaxing.

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The picture below shows the train path up the mountainside.

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Fletcher and Caleb use the view as an opportunity to make a video. Wonder what they are up to?

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Ruby Falls

The next stop for the day was Ruby Falls at Lookout Mountain. This was a cave tour that culminated in an amazing waterfall at the end if the tour (really the half way point). The water fall is 145 ft water fall located over 1100 feet below the surface of the mountain. You can learn more about it by visiting rubyfalls.com.

It is difficult to get good pictures in the dark caverns, but a couple of decent pics are available.

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Rock City

After visiting the RR museum, we headed over to Rock City where we started our visit with lunch at the pavilion. After lunch, Rock City was open for exploration.

I apparently have been living in a cave because I’ve never heard of Rock City, but I must say it is quite a gem! There’s a great 7 state horizon view, a magnificent waterfall, suspension bridges, caves (including the fat man’s squeeze), wildlife, artwork and more. I captured a few photos but unfortunately the pictures don’t capture the experience well at all.

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Tennessee Valley RR Museum

After traveling all night and sleeping on the bus, the crew arrived at the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum around 8:30am eastern time. We set up shop and ate breakfast in the parking lot.

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After breakfast, the boys were able to hang around the living museum and hop on some of the cars. Below are some pics of the boys milling about the RR cars.

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Jamboree Departure

We had an awesome turnout of friends and family to see our Jamboree contingent off on our adventure. As is customary, we took the time to take group pictures before disembarking. Check this awesome group out!

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I don’t believe it’s a tradition to get pics of the “photographers”, but it really should be. These friends and family members have been behind the scenes encouraging and helping these boys prepare for this adventure.

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This jamboree will be different than the last seven or eight because it’s the first one that will be without Bill. We will be traveling with his wisdom and leadership as our badge. Bill sent us off with three rules. Check the video below.

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Troop 26 Jamboree Shakedown

Troop 26 gathered on Sunday, June 30th for the Jamboree Shakedown. This was our opportunity to divide into our troops (A229 and C117) under the direction of out SPLs. Each of the patrols came up with their patrol names and got an opportunity to work together for a while in preparation for the big adventure.

No Troop 26 trip would be complete without the wisdom and leadership of our formidable scoutmaster. Bill is seen in the picture speaking to the participants about making the most out of this huge opportunity in front of them.

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Jamboree Preparation Notes

The following notes were sent by John W. Manz, Area Commissioner, Area 5 Western Region BSA regarding expected conditions at The Summit during Jamboree.

Fellow Jamboree Scouters:

Some heads up items:

  1. It is projected to rain on 8 of the 10 Jamboree days (most may have thunderstorms as well as showers), including arrival and departure days.
  2. The duffel bags are not waterproof:
    • I have double coated mine with the heavy-duty CampDrY from Kiwi – the 3rd coat goes on tomorrow.  This will help but not solve the problem completely or reliably due to seams and zippers.
    • I suggest each Scout have 3 of the 55 gallon heavy duty (3 mil thickness) extra large (3′ wide x 4’8″ high) contractor size plastic bags in their gear – can buy at any good hardware store, Home Depot, or Lowes.  Iron Hold is one of the brands
    • Use one (1) of the bags as an inner liner for the duffel bag, the same way we use a plastic bag in a pack basket, before departing the final tour stop enroute to the Jamboree.   The other 2 bags are to put bedding, etc. in before leaving camp in the morning or to keep the gear dry as an inner liner when departing the Jamboree.
    • You might want to pick up a couple of cheap plastic drop cloths or the equivalent to cover your gear with while setting up camp and tearing down camp.
    • If it is raining on arrival at the Subcamp, I suggest you get out of uniforms and into swim suits or shorts,T-shirts or the equivalent, and shoes and socks as soon as you arrive at the campsite as it will be wet and soft.
    • Drying will be far more difficult at the Summit than at Ft. Hill due to paucity of dryers in town and any reasonable way to get to them – bring a couple of lines to string for drying when the sun comes out.
    • Solar chargers may be of limited use if the sky is totally overcast much of the time.
    • This could be another wet one – ala the 1973 Jamboree at Moraine State Park, PA just 270 miles almost due north of the Summit.  The Scouts have always called it “Mo’ Rain State Park” as it was a cold rain for ten (10) straight days..
    • Be alert for hypothermia especially if we get a sudden temperature drop after a rain or thunderstorm.  Most hypothermia occurs when wet between 30o F and 50o F.
    • Trenchfoot and other foot ailments could become an issue, especially for those wearing Gore=Tex lined boots.  10 days in a “sauna” is a breeding ground.  Foot checks for this and other ailments like blisters are a best practice.  I am now going to bring an extra pair of moccasins that are the L.L.Bean rubber bottoms – they do stay dry but are not great for walking cross-country.

In answer to several questions:

  1. I do not have a phone number yet for the Subcamp HQ.  Subcamp Director Mike Hale is working on that.
  2. I do not know the size of the American flag in the Troop kit at this time, still looking for an answer.

Looking forward to the adventure.

My best,
John
John W. Manz
Area Commissioner, Area 5 Western Region BSA
Commissioner, Subcamp Blue Jay, 2013 National Scout Jamboree