Shaggy Bob was a camp nature guide. He could name every tree, flower, bird, and bug. What he liked best was leading night hikes. He would lead a hike tonight, once it got dark.
Paul and Andy came for the hike.
"Let's feed the frogs," said Shaggy Bob. He turned on a light over the frog garden. Bugs flew at the light. Frogs jumped to eat the bugs.
"It's easier than digging up worms," said Shaggy Bob.
It was time to start the hike.
Samai and Johnson came too.
Shaggy Bob led the night hike down a dark road.
Everyone turned on their flashlights.
"Turn off your flashlights!" said Shaggy Bob. "Your eyes need to get used to the dark. Then you'll have night vision."
"I can't see!" said Johnson. "Where is the road?"
"Look up," said Shaggy Bob. "See the sky between the trees? That is where the road is."
"Lift your feet high when you step," said Shaggy Bob. "Then you won't trip. The moon won't rise until 3 AM. That's why it's so dark. The moon rises an hour later every day."
"Somebody tell a ghost story!" said Johnson.
"I don't know any," said Shaggy Bob.
"Ghosts come at night," said Samai. "You can tell because they leave footprints. They only have three toes."
"I've never heard of three-toed ghosts!"
"Ghosts don't have feet!"
"I've seen the footprints," said Samai.
They heard something moving in forest.
"AAAAA!" yelled the hikers.
Everyone turned on their flashlights. It was a raccoon.
"Turn off your flashlights!" said Shaggy Bob. "You'll ruin your night vision."
They hiked out of the trees into a field. The sky was filled with stars. Shaggy Bob turned on a flashlight and pointed it up. "You can see the flashlight beam in the air. I'll use it to point at stars." Shaggy Bob pointed at a bright star. "See this red star? It isn't a star. It's the planet Mars. It moves, but too slowly to see."
"There's the Big Dipper!" said Johnson. He pointed at the stars.
"Where is the North Star?" asked Shaggy Bob.
"Follow the cup of the Big Dipper," said Paul.
Shaggy Bob followed it to the North Star.
"The North Star is always in the north. All the other stars spin around it. So do the sun and moon."
"Why do they spin around the North Star?" asked Johnson.
"Well, they don't really," said Shaggy Bob. "Really it's the earth that's spinning."
Shaggy Bob pointed out groups of stars. Orion, the Hunter. The Pleiades, which is a little cluster of stars. The Milky Way, a dim white band stretching across the sky.
"Lie down in a circle," said Shaggy Bob.
Their heads were pointed in. Their feet were pointed out.
"Look up at the whole sky," said Shaggy Bob. "Look for something moving."
"I see a plane," said Johnson. "It has red and green blinking lights."
Paul pointed his flashlight overhead. "What's that?"
"Good eyes!" said Shaggy Bob. "That's a man-made satellite, up in space. Satellites look like dim white stars. They move slowly in a straight line."
"How can we see them?" asked Samai. "Do they have lights?"
"No," said Shaggy Bob. "The sun is shining on them. There's sunlight up there."
They watched the sky for a long time.
"Woah!" said Andy and Samai.
"That was a shooting star," said Shaggy Bob.
"I didn't see anything!" said Johnson.
"Shooting stars can be bright or dim," said Shaggy Bob. "They look like a white streak. They move fast. Sometimes they leave a trail of smoke. Once I even heard one."
"They aren't really stars," said Paul. "They're rocks falling from space."
"That's right," said Shaggy Bob. "Meteors."
"You mean we might get hit?" asked Johnson.
"It happens," said Paul. "One woman had a meteor fall through her roof. It hit her in bed. I read it somewhere."
"I saw another shooting star," said Samai.
"I saw it too, I think," said Johnson.
Peter came shining a flashlight.
"Why are you guys lying in the field?" yelled Peter.
He pointed his flashlight in their eyes.
"Turn off your flashlight! We can't see!" everyone yelled.
"We're looking for shooting stars," said Shaggy Bob.
"Oh," said Peter. He went away again.
Once the flashlight was gone, everyone could see. They watched the sky.
"I never saw the Milky Way before," said Andy.
It was nearly midnight. Everyone headed back to their camps. They used their flashlights to find their ways.
Everyone went back except for Shaggy Bob. He stayed in the field and watched the stars.
ye olde catalogue of boy scout skits
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