Scouts from Troop 514 left early Saturday for their annual rock climbing weekend at Hoffer Lake, above Anthony Lake. We knew we would encounter skiffs of snow, but little did we realize we would be breaking trail in close to twelve inches.
We enjoyed true winter camping. The boys adjusted for the conditions, working together to pitch their tents, cook their food, gather firewood and stay warm.
Hoffer Lake was lightly frozen. The late afternoon light created marvelous color tones on the lake. When I awoke Sunday morning after a chilly night, I was grateful to be there, amidst this snow cover beauty, rather than simply sitting in my easy chair at home drinking coffee. Coffee outdoors by the campfire was much better 🙂
Thirteen Scouts, four adults with four rafts enjoyed three days on the Grande Ronde river from June 16 to June 18.. Three of the boats were involved in rescuing a party of five whose boat had flipped . Morgan, Nate, Tim, Caleb, Garren righted the flipped raft and collected floating gear, and helped out a father and son who had landed on a rock near shore,. Nick skillfully maneuvered the second Scout raft while Lucy, Kadyn, Elias pulled a father and two young children out of the river, got them to shore and provided them dry clothes. Eric, James, Devin in the third boat heated up water with a jet boil stove, and furnished food and drink to the the children and father. It was a solid performance by the Scouts. Greg in the lead boat, was ahead of the accident. He had a campsite ready for us when we arrived. David, Alex, Kyler, and Eli had walked up stream and alerted us where to land, and helped pull us in.
This is the time of year Troop 514 heads up the alpine country above Anthony Lake. We go up on Saturday via a long hike, set up tents, cook, and then rock climb on Sunday. This year, the rain forced us to cancel the climbing, but the boys tested their skills and fortitude in the rain. They were not as well prepared as we had warned them to be, so it ws an excellent learning exprerience. Most importantly, they stayed “cheerful”, one of the requisites of the Scout Law.
Embraced by memories of mountain air, sounds of the river, and visions of green meadows filled with wildflowers beneath alpine peaks, I loaded La Grande Troop 514 Scouts into the car to travel to the trailhead that leads up the East Fork of the Lostine River into the Eagle Cap Wilderness. The trail requires more effort than earlier years, but the challenge makes the time and beauty all the more meaningful. I am blessed to live so close to such a special place and still have the legs to hike, albeit at a slower pace. And it was particularly fun to backpack with these older scouts who could carry more weight and prepare a gourmet dinner and breakfast—despite the mosquitoes!
The seasons of Scouting continue. Over Presedents’ Day weekend, Troop 514 from La Grande Oregon traveled up to our local ski area, Anthony Lakes, to build snow caves. This preparation is part of the annual Klondike Derby. Troop 514 will go up and sleep in these snow caves Friday night, and then compete in various winter skill events on Saturday morning.
We dug a long, deep trench on Saturday, and then dug out snow caves into the trench walls on Monday. I started an igloo, but did not have time to finish it this year.