As we count down the last days of 2010, and since we are all bored by this stage of our long Christmas vacation, I decided to go back over the many high adventure outings we completed and select my favorite moments. Some are funny, a few are odd, and one is just sad.
Here are my selections for most memorable moments on High Adventure Outings. They aren’t in any order.
1. In June a Scout failed to finish the 50 mile bike ride. It was the first time in the many years we have been doing the Cycling merit badge that all our Scouts didn’t cross the finish line and earn the Cycling Merit Badge. (Lots of adults have given up on this ride before, but never a Scout.) Sad that we couldn’t make him successful.
2. Early on the second morning of the 50 miler, in a high mountain meadow near the Donahue Pass, with an outside temperature about 35 degrees, Balogna stripped down to his shorts and jumped into a small lake ringed by ice and snow. Then he stayed completely submerged under the icy water for almost 20 seconds. It may have been the manliest Wooly Wash ever!
3. When we woke up at Big Basin Park, the Boy Named Su couldn’t find his backpack. We searched around and found it hidden amongst some poison oak bushes a hundred yards away. Raccoons had come into his open tent during the night, grabbed the pack (probably because it smelled like the pot stickers he packed for lunch), and carried the whole thing off to look for more food. Raccoons also went through several other packs and made off with a number of granola bars and other tidbits. Not a single Scout woke up during the commotion!
4. After crawling out of my snow cave one bright morning in March, I found a very forlorn adult in the kitchen area, hopping from one to foot to another, blowing on his hands, and complaining how cold he had been all night. Supposedly he almost died from misery because the end of his sleeping bag got wet. I showed him how to light a stove so he could heat water for coffee.
5. Following a hard day of backpacking into 1,000 Island Lake, two Scouts disappeared during camp set-up (hanging bear bags, pumping water, and cooking dinner). We searched for 15 minutes before finding them asleep in their tent. It took a tremendous amount of yelling and shaking to wake the boys and get them down to the campfire for dinner.
6. After a long day hiking around Mt. Tamalpais the Venture Crew got back to the trailhead late and decided to eat dinner in Napa before driving home. Several adults used their smart phones to check Yelp and decided on a local diner with good reviews. Eventually we got everyone into the cars and found the place – which was closed. So everyone ended up at Jack in the Box. While we were eating, six parents and one wife called to find out why we were late.
7. On some hikes, we play a unique form of “baseball” that is relatively offensive to spectators. During a rest day at Tuolumne Meadows, we were passing a public picnic area and a Scout hit a “home run” in front of an unsuspecting family who, unfortunately for them, happened to be just a few feet downwind of the player. They all held their noses, waved their hands around, and started complaining in French – which gave us the chance to make a get-away.
8. At Camp Emerald Bay, sailors who show some skill are allowed to sail a boat out of the harbor. One Scout, when given this opportunity, sailed his boat right into a million dollar yacht anchored near the camp and almost sank both vessels. The same Scout had bruises on his face, cuts on his head, and bandages on his arms at the end of the week from getting hit repeatedly by the boom during sailing class. At least twice the boom knocked him overboard. (Miraculously, he still earned the Sailing Merit Badge.)
9. At lunchtime on the Marin Headlands hike, we got the chance to investigate some of the abandoned Missile Batteries that overlook the Pacific Ocean. On the wall in one of the silos, someone had scribbled a limerick about his ex-girlfriend that was as funny as it was obscene. The boys were energized and repeated it incessantly for the rest of the day. One later posted it word-for-word on Facebook.
10. On the Troop Backpacking trip to Five Lakes, a stupid adult leader (me) walked off to look for a shortcut to the campsite and was lost for several hours. In the meantime, everyone got organized into groups for an impromptu search and rescue mission that was frustrating and unsuccessful. We didn’t get the entire group back together until the next morning.
There some other moments that almost made the list, like sitting on the bridge at the end of the Fages 20 mile hike, sleeping on the beach in Catalina, climbing Half Dome and Cloud’s Rest, and Sunshine always moving along the trail like the energizer bunny with weak batteries. All in all, it was an excellent year for Scouting. Great guys! Great memories!
Please comment about your special memories.