USS Nautilus SSN-571 Patch

Nautilus Campout

Saturday, December 4 -
Sunday, December 5, 2010
Groton, CT and Killingworth, CT

Event Info

On this trip, both the Submarine Force Museum and Deer Lake Scout Reservation (DLSR) were new to Troop 54. Our twelve youth (eleven Scouts) and four leaders got a chance to experience another friendly Scout camping option.

We first travelled to DLSR to set up camp. The campmaster suggested a nicer camping location than the one we had reserved, so we took the recommendation and camped in the Cedars area, using just part of it. Cedars is set up somewhat like a state park camp ground, with small camping areas that each had a fire ring and room for a few tents. Outhouses were right in Cedars. The nearest frost-free valve for water was at Leary Hall, just a short hike with one of the camp-provided carts.

We travelled by car to the Submarine Force Museum and found that about an hour and a half was plenty to see the public collection. The highlight, of course, was touring the USS Nautilus, the first nuclear submarine. The ship was preserved better than any we have seen (visually complete and protected from the visitors) and provided with an audio tour. We were disappointed, however, by the fact that half the vessel (including the reactor section) was off limits to civilians. Apparently, our government is still worried that our enemies might glean 50-year old secrets from this long dormant war machine.

The museum building had several fascinating exhibits. The most entertaining seemed to be a set of real periscopes mounted in the building, through which we could see around the outside of the building. Everyone ran to the dock when the museum announced the departure of an active submarine from the adjacent submarine base.

At Deer Lake, we cooked dinner by patrols and then joined Troop 45 for their camp fire. This was a great demonstration of a boy-led, fun and properly run camp fire. We really appreaciated their offer for us to visit.

In the morning, most of us took a hike around camp to see what they had to offer. A range of camping options (bunk houses, cabins and tent sites), as well as a COPE course are set in a great rock formation. The Scouts had fun climbing through Fat Man's Squeeze, literally a crack in a large rock.

Photos by: Joshua Froimson

Page updated 12/29/10.

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