Wow! We had a great turnout for a high-adventure weekend in the Channel Islands National Park. Scouts and several moms, dads, and siblings kayaked all day on Saturday through some amazing sea caves on Santa Cruz Island. We saw an amazing variety of marine life from coelenterates and echinoderms up to pinnipeds and cetaceans. We had plenty of time to snorkel and swim, too. And no scout outing would be complete without a hike – this time we hiked along the cliffs and had great views toward the mainland. The ferry trips over and back on a small ship were also a highlight – especially the rough swells coming home. Even the land creatures were fun to watch, such as the endangered Channel Islands fox, and the particularly ravenous ravens who attacked our watermelon when we turned our back on them. Combine the beautiful campsite with the great activities, and this is an adventure we’ll have to do again in the future.
In June, the troop did a scenic backpacking trip right in our own backyard. Boys hiked down from Chantry Flats to Sturtevant Falls, and then up to Spruce Grove trail camp through Santa Anita Canyon. Scouts set up camp by the creek, and had plenty of time for fun. A short side hike up the trail brought us to Sturtevant Camp, site of the largest swing we had ever seen and an endless source of amusement for the boys. We even had a Sunday morning visit from a scout and two ASMs training for Philmont, who hiked up on Sunday morning with gifts of orange juice and doughnuts!
This was a good introduction to backpacking for some of our newer scouts, and whet their appetite for bigger and better trips in the coming years.
The troop headed out to the Mojave desert for some scout training this weekend. Scouts earned their Firem’n Chit and Tot’n Chip cards, which grants them the privilege to light fires and carry a pocketknife (on scout events only, not at school!). The scenery was stunning, and the weather was perfect – not too hot. Owl Canyon was a nice campground and we had almost the entire place to ourselves. Rainbow Basin, designated as a National Natural Landmark, was amazing, with jumbled rock formations and lots of canyons and caves to explore.
Troop 147 competed once again in the Lucky Baldwin Camporee, held at Firestone Scout Reservation in Brea. Patrols trained for this annual skills event for several weeks at troop meetings and a skills practice day. Boys were tested on first aid, firebuilding, orienteering, knots & lashings, hiking, cooking, citizenship, camping, rifle-shooting, and other outdoor skills. Scouts competed by patrol against other troops from Monrovia and surrounding cities. This year, our adult leaders ran the firebuilding event. Special thanks to the six troop dads who worked so hard to make this a success for everyone. Because 47 patrols completed, this kept us all very busy on a hot and sunny day.
Both the Eagle and combined Mystery/Spicy Taco patrols of Troop 147 earned First Place honors this year (>800 of 1,000 points), only one level below the coveted “Presidential Award”. This was an impressive result for patrols consisting largely of our younger scouts. So, congratulations to all our scouts for a job well done, and to the two Patrol Leaders and their Senior Patrol Leader for his leadership of the troop.
The troop hiked up to Henninger Flats at sunset on a recent Friday, and set up their tents at a great campsite overlooking the city lights of the San Gabriel Valley. Saturday was devoted to earning the Forestry merit badge, thanks to Ranger Susanna of the Los Angeles County Fire Department. Everyone had a great time learning about our local environment, and discussing career opportunities in forestry. Saturday night featured a great campfire program thanks to a scout who organized it as part of his Communications merit badge. We even had another troop join us in the campfire fun! After the tough 2.5 mile climb up to the camp via the Mt. Wilson Toll Road, the hike down was easy.
Enjoy photos of the Court of Honor held on March 6, 2013, including our dinner, awards, and announcement of three new Eagle Scouts!
The troop headed up the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway to San Jacinto State Park to practice their snow survival skills. The ride up on the tram was a lot of fun. At the top the weather was perfect – cold with plenty of snow in the wilderness around Round Valley. As you can see from the photos, San Jacinto was a winter wonderland shared by only a few other scout troops (plus, reassuringly, a search & rescue team from San Diego that was training near our camp). The scouts had a great time trekking about 2.5 miles wearing snowshoes, setting up camp in deep snow, practicing self-arrests with an ice axe, and having snowball fights. We camped at over 9,100 feet elevation, which made some of the adults light-headed (but the scouts didn’t seem to mind). When the sun went down, the wind howled and it got very cold (into the teens). So after a hot dinner, hot chocolate, and a jiffypop snack huddled around the stoves, everyone hit their sleeping bags by 6:30pm! Even our youngest scouts came well-prepared, worked hard, and had a great time on this high-adventure outing.
The best laid plans of mice and scouts oft go awry. We were planning for an intensive hike to the Bridge to Nowhere, but heavy rains made this too risky. So then we tried a favorite long hike starting from Chantry Flats, but that was closed due to an escaped criminal forcing the police to blockade the road up. Some quick thinking sent us to Eaton Canyon for a nice easy hike and scramble to the falls. The falls were roaring after the rains. In fact, we got rained on (even poured on) off and on, which made it more fun since everyone had their rain gear. The dry river bed we walked across on the way to the falls was a raging stream on the way back. Scouts forded right through it (no more dry feet), and then we topped the adventure off with a visit to the great Eaton Canyon Nature Center. This was a good warmup hike for when we make it back to the Bridge to Nowhere on the San Gabriel River, hopefully soon.
What can we say, the Boy Scouts of Troop 147 and Webelos of Pack 136 always have a great time at the beach! San Elijo State Beach is a gem – lots of room to roam, a great little snack shop, and clifftop campsites with awesome views of the ocean. A little rain on Friday night didn’t stop the scouts, it just made it more fun! The water was cold but the scouts still went swimming, surfing and boogie boarding. A few dads even joined in the boogie boarding and surfing! Plus, we had an added bonus of a very low tide late on Saturday, which made for some outstanding tide pool observations. The boys found everything from sea anemones to starfish to crabs and an octopus. Somehow scouts made time for some skills training (knots, knives, and firestarting) and even for some games, including a great beach bocce competition. Top it off with a great sunset, camaraderie (bad jokes and skits) by the campfire, and then homemade doughnuts for breakfast – what more could a scout ask for in a campout? We look forward to these young Webelos joining the troop and having many more adventures with us!
When the summer heat is finally gone in late autumn, Troop 147 loves to camp out in the open desert. In November, the troop headed out to the Mojave Desert on old Route 66, past the ghost town of Chambless, California. The Troop camped on BLM land at the foot of the Marble Mountains. Scouts spent most of Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning hunting for trilobites from the Cambrian Period, in an exposed rock bed called the Latham Shale. These fossils are over 500 million years old, from creatures swimming around this area when it was under a shallow sea. Our budding geologists and paleontologists had a great time finding interesting minerals and fossils, including some trilobites.
Of course, we also had a great campfire under the desert sky, seeing the Milky Way and spotting a bright Venus, plus shooting stars and satellites. Though it was too windy to sit around long, scouts still managed to toast marshmallows and make some smores before heading to the tents. It was a long drive, but it was worth it.
Special thanks go to BLM Ranger Merl Shaver, who directed the troop to a good camping spot and pointed out how to find the fossil beds.