I definitely did something right because heading innocently to an entrance to the Appalachian Trail ended up with discovering an abandoned Boy Scout Camp.
While I won’t share the address more publicly in hopes of not ruining this perfect, perfect thing, last weekend my sweetie and I were headed to the Delaware Water Gap, and internet searching “what is a water gap?” lead to the discovery of an abandoned Boy Scout Camp near our destination. Without hesitation we re-routed.
Taking winding back roads through State land wilderness, we arrived at the destination and were greeted by a sign that said Visitors Welcome Sunrise to Sunset. Confident we weren’t going to be trespassing, we ambled past the BSA gate and into the camp. In this photo above, you see the front building, a green cabin [locked] and the Health Lodge on the left, pictured below. Not pictured, to the right, is a field, an overgrown basketball court, and a large pond. Further along the path on the right are two buildings with storage closets and overhangs and another cabin, which we’ll get to in a sec.
We walked along the path, and after passing the health lodge, came upon the mess hall. It has a large room with tables and benches piled atop them, a “this side, that side” division, and the words to grace on a broken sign on the outside of the pond-facing porch.
The inside of the mess hall has a giant kitchen and storage room which was relatively messy but not disgusting. There was still coffee in plastic bags, and the occupancy tags on the kitchen indicated the last use was in 2011.
Past the kitchen, I spied cabins. Actual boy scout sleeping quarters. I had to investigate.
Each numbered cabin has an open front, 6 bunks with ladders, and were in sets of 5 sprinkled over the grounds; from the set of cabins we were at, two other sets could be seen. There were some very nicely-placed cracks or knotholes in the wood.
Facing out from the cabins was a central gathering area that probably housed the campfire. In the background of this photo, you can see another set of cabins in the near distance. To the left what you can’t see are the two flat hazing platforms. I mean tent platforms.
To the left was an outhouse. The water was not running but probably just has been turned off to winterize, boy scouts being so responsible and all.
Heading further back along the path, across from the cabins was a boathouse. I don’t know why I didn’t take photos of it or the docks but there you have it: regret.
While the path, more sets of cabins and other buildings went further back into the grounds we didn’t explore them and instead walked back towards the two overhang buildings. The first one kind of looked like a log cabin, the second more of a gym/activities area. Both were shaped like this, but we only explored one.
The one we explored had shelves and shelves and shelves of craft supplies, boondoggle string and books, a “swear jar” [again why no photo?] and several large wooden containers that upon opening revealed skeins of boat rope, wound up by actual boy scouts. Everything, recall, had an aura of healthy outdoorsy Americana living only created by actual Boy Scouts. Literally touching it was a thrill, as you can see.
While we felt an overall “leave it as your found it” urge in this place, I did take one small skein of boy scout boat rope. I’m sure that somehow, somewhere, I might find some random use for it. Ahem.
We proceeded back along the path towards the parking lot, and behind the overhang buildings, quite close to the pond, found the open door to a cabin. Entering through a small kitchen, the surprise at the immaculate keeping of this room is evident.
Heading out the sleeping quarters there was a porch, enclosed by mesh. Oh look! Here’s that rope I had no idea where I’d use it in the sunlight on the edge of a cot, overlooking the pond on the porch of the pond cabin. Funny.
I hope to return to the Boy Scout camp with some friends, sometime soon. The urge to have a talent show and hand out some badges is great. I only hope that anyone who visits this space is respectful and keeps it cute for future visitors. A pristine, abandoned boy scout camp is a fucking national treasure.