Monday, September 1, 2014

Camping with the Scouts

Karisa wanted a quick summary of what I was up to with our scout troop during the last summer.  I've been scoutmaster for the last year and a half or so.  I put pictures from two of our more successful campouts from the summer.  This last camping season we did have some memorable failures (a late spring trip came to mind with rain, sleet, snow where the scoutmaster came down with the flu in the middle of the night and so spent most of that night out in the wet) but we want to focus on the successes.

The first is a week long trip at the local councils camp north of Santa Fe, we went over fourth of July week to save some money.  I love (love, love, love) when we go to established camps with programs and dining halls.  It ends up being the most relaxing week of the year for me.  The boys have fun, good food, learn lots and I get to shepherd them to classes, swim, play chess, read, and occasionally help solve the problems that come up. 

This year I had two boys take the climbing merit badge so on Friday I went along and got to rappel and climb with them, it was a ton of fun.  We had nine boys go this year and every one of them had fun.  This is a good group of boys that is really fun to work with.
One of the boys doing body builder poses in a competition with the other troops to see who gets the privilege of going in to get dinner first.  These contests were usually hilarious and judged by the camp staff.

Evening hike to the mica mine near the camp, not much of a mine now that it's been sealed but there is still lots of mica in the area.

On one hike I saw a weird green bird and was wondering what it was as I'd never seen anything like it in New Mexico and then it landed on my shoulder.  It had a band and was someone's escaped pet.

Our troop starting the morning flag ceremony.

Evening get away hike with one of the other leaders that came along, I dragged him over several ridges cross country to get to where I wanted to.

Watching our boys at the climbing tower before lightning shut down this evening program.

Gathered for the evening devotional
Shaun beat me last year 15 straight games or so.  I spent the last year studying up and improving.  Since he came up for only one night we got to play once and I was able to win, it was the highlight of my trip.  Of course he destroyed me in our next online game, but you can't win them all, right?

The following was our troops favorite camping trip of the year, we went to Capilla Peak in the Manzanos which was about an hour drive away from our church in late July.  It was a beautiful campground at the top of the mountains.  It did have a narrow one lane road up the side of the mountain and I was glad we didn't meet anyone on this road coming either way for this trip.

We spent one night and in the morning did a 7 mile hike with 1000 foot elevation change to meet one of the requirements for the camping merit badge.  Some of the younger scouts were exhausted by the end and had to almost be dragged up the last mile or so, but we all made it.  There was also a fire lookout tower that they got to tour, a few established shelters with picnic tables that some boys slept in, and of course peach cobbler and roasted marshmallows.

There was only a 20% chance or rain or so, which meant I didn't set up a tent and just slept in the open which in turn meant that it did rain in the night.  It wasn't very hard and I was able to just pull my sleeping bag over my head and not have to move to the car.  The sleeping bag was mostly dry by morning.
Dallas setting up his tent for the night.  You are looking out over the Estancia valley (on the east side of the mountains) and can see the fire from a few years ago that almost reached this campground.

Camps all set up so we hiked to the actual peak in the evening, this is near the lookout tower.

About a mile into our hike in the morning, everyone is still fresh, excited and happy.

Following the crest trail north, there were spectacular views at this point to both the east and west.

At the halfway point, all the scouts looked like this.  Sorry boys, we still have to go back and it's all uphill from this point.  That's what happens when your campground name has the word peak in it and you decide to hike.
This last Sunday I was release from the YM presidency since I was called into the high council.  This was very bittersweet for me as I really love these boys and that will take away from the time that I get to spend with them.  I am still scoutmaster for the moment and I told the bishop that I would stay there until he could find someone else to replace me and that at that point I'd sign up to be an assistant so I could attend activities as time permits.  Definitely my favorite calling so far.

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