Every few years the troop works together to earn the Cycling Merit Badge. This is an Eagle badge and one of the most difficult to achieve. And being in SoCal, what better time to take long bike rides than in the dead of winter? The scouts learned and practiced bike maintenance and traffic safety. After tuning up their bikes, boys completed 6 rides of increasing length over a few months, ending with a tough 50 mile ride from the San Gabriel Mountains to Seal Beach. Various fun rides included visits to Caltech, Santa Anita Racetrack, the American Military Museum, Whittier Narrows, East LA (for CicLAVia), and an overnight bike backpacking trip in the wilderness. Thanks especially to all the parents who rode with the boys and provided moral support. See the photos!
The troop paid another visit to one of our favorite desert camps – Red Rock Canyon State Park. We arrived after dark on Friday night and scouts set up their camp in a bit of desert wind. The next day, scouts had a great time exploring the cliffs. Boys had a full Saturday complete with skills training and a 4×4 adventure to Burro Schmidt Tunnel and Bickel Camp (cool old mining sites). We ended Saturday with a relaxing campfire of toasted marshmallows, dumb jokes and stories, with the Milky Way overhead and the occasional shooting star. Scouts prepared for another windy night by being extra careful in battening down their tents. We awoke to a beautiful cold but sunny dawn to break camp before the long drive home.
The troop decided to try something different and camped at Calico Ghost Town. It was typical Mojave Desert camping with the added bonus of a real ghost town to explore. Boys had a great time including a fun train ride, touring an old silver mine, panning for gold, and exploring a “mystery shack” where the laws of physics seemed to be broken. Boys had plenty of time for some skills training, lighting a great campfire, cooking up good grub, and even playing a few games in the desert.
This bikepacking trip is a regular event for Troop 147. Boys did a great job riding 7 miles up to Glenn Camp, carrying heavy packs. This is probably the most scenic bike path around, and the recent heavy rains guaranteed some great waterfalls and fording of streams to get to camp. Glenn Canyon Falls, usually dry, were spectacular. A tough ride (or walk!) up the hill to Cogswell Reservoir showed that it was still very low, but improving. That night, the boys did a great job lighting a campfire under difficult conditions, resulting in some excellent s’mores. The trip downriver is always a breeze and the best part was, no flats and no accidents.
Another great outing to Indian Cove in Joshua Tree National Park. Thanks to our excellent guides from BSA Onbelay (www.bsaonbelay.org), the boys had an outstanding day of climbing on some pretty technical routes. And of course scrambling around on the boulders, the desert campfire, and seeing the Milky Way in the dark night sky are always highlights for the scouts and adults too.
The scouts really enjoyed backpacking up the Mt. Wilson Toll Road to camp at Henninger Flats. Thanks to Ranger Johan Lockhart, the boys earned their Plant Science and Forestry merit badges with an intensive day of field and classroom learning. Scouts even helped plant and water trees to be established in burned areas of the forest. And, the campsite had outstanding views of the Los Angeles city lights.
Beach camping! The scouts love it! It’s not exactly in the Scout Handbook, but SoCal scouts also need to learn surfing and boogie boarding. Boys made some great meals in their new patrol kitchens, and enjoyed a beach campfire on both Friday and Saturday nights. We’ll be back!
Wow, the Troop went to the best summer camp in the USA! Swimming and snorkeling in crystal clear water, through kelp forests. The sea life was amazing! Boys went sailing and canoeing and kayaking and paddleboarding. There was even a great touch-tank of marine life to learn about. And of course all the usual summer camp activities like shooting rifles and learning first aid, coupled with the usual fun & games. We’ll be back!
The troop headed way up into the Sierras for an amazing backpacking adventure on the Bishop Pass Trail in the John Muir Wilderness. Several “crews” of scouts and leaders spent from 2 to 5 days in the backcountry, hiking on and off trail. We explored many lakes including Long Lake, Bishop Lake, Saddlerock Lake, Ruwau Lake, Chocolate Lakes, and Bull Lake. There was great fishing in most of these lakes, and many boys caught (and cleaned, cooked and ate) delicious brook trout. At the high altitude (well over 11,000 feet), there was also plenty of snow remaining for snowball fights and sledding. The mosquitoes were annoying at times, but the scenery made up for it. Some of the older boys trekked over Bishop’s Pass (elevation 12,000 feet) to see the spectacular scenery of Dusy Basin. Take a look at some photos:
The annual Diversity Hike of BSA’s San Gabriel Valley Council was conveniently held in Monrovia this year. Troop 147, ably led by its SPL, volunteered to be the color guard for the opening flag ceremony, and represented themselves well. After opening speeches by local dignitaries (including Monrovia’s mayor), our scouts and leaders started hiking a 5 mile loop through Monrovia. Hikers stopped at ten houses of worship along the way, and learned about others’ faiths. It was very interesting to hear from Christian, Islamic, Jewish, Buddhist, and other faiths all in one day.