As the outbreak of COVID-19 in Santa Clara County continues to accelerate, BSA Scout Troop 260 has established the following policy. It is effective immediately, as of March 14 2020. Troop 260 has put in place this policy and associated guidelines to keep scouts and adult volunteers safe during Troop 260 activities as well as be socially responsible in support of limiting the spread of the virus.
Troop leadership (uniformed adult leaders and committee members) is following guidance and recommendations set forth by local and national health authorities. Where ambiguity exists, we are erring on the side of caution.
COVID-19 brings unprecedented and challenging changes to our normal routine. However, there is a determination by troop leadership to keep our Scouts BSA program by using virtual means!
We encourage scouts and adults to read, understand and – where required, suggest improvements to – this policy and the virtual scouting guidelines. At the same time, we challenge scouts and adults to show their scout spirit in adapting to what we all hope will be a relatively short disruption.
Yes, the new shed is up and our gear was in. But it wasn’t in neatly! And a good Scout is organized and tidy, as we all know. So it was back in action for Yet Another Shed Day (YASD) this time getting shelving up.
A nimble cadre of adults and Scouts chopped, trimmed, screwed and hefted for 4 hours, after which we had all of one long side done, and the start of a short side. We were able to fill up the completed shelving and – wow – it is going to make a huge difference in accessing and using our Troop Gear.
Almost a year after our last visit, the Troop once again headed South to Pinnacles NP: only 1.5 hours from San Jose, but a world apart from the bustle and business we experience locally. A healthy sized group of 22 used all the daylight on Saturday to carry full packs almost 10 miles with nearly everyone doing an extra quick 2+ mile loop through some caves to the reservoir.
En route, we didn’t get to see the mythical Condor Whisperer didgeridoo player, but we did get some glorious weather as the clouds broke and enjoyed spectacular views over the rock formations, some hawks and possibly a condor or two. Scouts and Adults alike carried full backpacks, including our evening food. As we enter the new calendar year, it’s essential to get more practice in carrying loads of terrain for longer periods as we get towards 50-miler planning.
The Group campsite in the evening was excellent. A huge oak tree, tables, bear lockers and a bathroom block nearby — luxury not enjoyed on the open trail! The adults enjoyed Chicken Curry and cookies, whilst the scouts boiled tortellini and waved sausages (pre-cooked) at the fire. The night was calm, punctuated with some very vocal owls.
This trip was an important milestone for two of the party: Tristan and Weston. Both (almost) Eagle scouts turn 18 in a few days time and thus “age out” of the BSA program. We are sad that our future adventures will not have them along as Scouts, but they are always welcome as Adults (providing they do their YPT!). Thanks, and bon chance to both.
Another 260 Eagle Project has been completed. This time it was scout, and Troop Guide, Weston S making a new garden area for Olinder Elementary School, San Jose. The kids have two large, easy to reach planters (a Troop specialty!) and some large round half barrels that have transformed an otherwise underused and unattractive corner.
Weston is completing his final Eagle Rank stages this month in advance of ageing-out. Great job!
With temperature swings of more than 20 Celsius (30 F) in only a few hours, and close on 2,000 feet (600m) of climbing, Pine Valley can be a challenge. But the beauty more than makes up for it.
Around 3 hours South of San Jose, and inland from Carmel Valley, the Ventana Wilderness forms part of the Los Padres National Forest. For decades, Troop 260 has returned to one particular section on our ‘backpacking years’ – from China Camp into Pine Valley camp. This route offers a short way into the solitude of the wilderness, and a higher level of physical challenges that starts to prepare scouts (and adults!) for the 50-miler. There is reliable water in a small tributary of the Carmel River that runs past the camp, making for a cool refreshing draft at day’s end.
We were a group of 19 (including 11 scouts) of who for several this was their first (or second) backpacking trip with the Troop. Bravo in particular for their commitment and effort!
An extra ‘dimension’ on this trip was that a total fire ban precluded the use of even backpacking stoves. The hot-or-cold menu went reasonably well, but we aren’t sure that warming rice pouches under your arm pits is a top tip that will make the next Scouts BSA handbook 🙂
Most of us took the time to go and visit Jack English’s old cottage – it is still in good condition and appears to be maintained. Despite Jack no longer being there, Mark Cahn did share some stories with us of his conversations with Jack over the decades. Some with more info below the picture gallery link (thanks Kate).
We had over 30 adults and youth take part in our annual venture to Mt Umunhum for shooting sports and archery. Our own range-masters Ray and Nic ensured a safe and fun exposure to a range of gun types and bow types.
As is tradition, we did a service project clearing scrub for the property owner, and after our second night camping got up for a sunrise hike to the “Umunhum Box” – all very 2001: A Space Odyssey in the dawn!
Click the image below to open the full photo gallery
This past weekend, an 18 strong group (11 scouts and 7 adults) enjoyed the dappled shade and warm Bay scents of the Skyline to Sea Trail.
We arrived at the glorious new Castle Rock State Park entrance just before 0800. With 90 spaces, 6 bathrooms, a ranger station, electric car charging, WiFi and landscaped grounds with water and picnic tables, this upgrade is immense. It really opens up the Park compared to the old cramped area (which is now the overflow / secure overnight parking zone).
From the carpark we had a gentle down slope for about 5 miles until arriving at Camp Chesebrough for lunch shortly after noon. We had a number of scouts or adults that were new or returning to backpacking on the crew, or taking their first weekender with the Troop. All of them did well, settling in with their gear, adjusting straps, putting moleskin on blisters.
The campsite (Shingle Mill Point) was reasonably exposed, but there was enough shade in the trees and around the side to keep us comfortable. Scouts T and M did some orienteering / geo requirements and M also got a cracking campfire going early.
Dinner for the scouts was beans and sausages. The adults had rice and tuna/chicken. Both were enjoyed.
The return journey had a bit more uphill, but mostly just the first part from camp to the trail. We arrived back at the (fabulous) Castle Rock entrance around 11:30 for lunch.
After a successful 18-19 canoeing year, we kicked-off a new year of adventures with a backpacking weekend at Henry Coe State Park. We had some regulars, some returning old hands and some new participants (nice).
The weather was hot, but not insanely so, making our short 3-mile each way intro hike a great chance for us all to re-aquaint ourselves with our gear. Including our legs!
The scouts had time to focus on some skills and rank advancement activities in the afternoon: totin’ chip, compass reading and orienteering, bear hangs, lost-scout search and rescue, and camp cooking.
In an unplanned activity, several of our older scouts got the chance to pit their recent wilderness first aid training to use when one scout took a tumble and gashed their head. All seems well and we wish Scout B a smooth recovery.
Next month we hope to see even more if you for another intro event on the Skyline ridge walking into Camp Chesebrough.