We went up to Pinecrest Lake for our May canoe trip, as a visit to the area before Camp Hi Sierra in June! The paddle was fantastic, and the views of the surrounding forest were pristine.
On the drive up, we stopped by two gas stations because the food mart wasn’t open at the first one, and arrived at Pinecrest Lake by 10:30am. We unloaded the canoes by 11am, and paddled on the circumference of the lake, which is just under 4mi. We then stopped for lunch at a picnic spot- some scouts waded to a nearby island to enjoy their lunch, while others stayed by the lakeshore picnic tables. After lunch, we paddled back to the dock, and spent some time practicing steering strokes (C, D, & J strokes + ruddering), in preparation for the upcoming 50miler. Then, we loaded up the canoes, paddles and pfds, and headed to our campsite.
Our campsite was none other than an area near aquatics, in Camp Hi Sierra! Scouts and adults got to experience the camp in a different way, as we were the only ones there. Everyone set up camp and cooked their food (we drew clean water from the bathroom sinks), and scouts enjoyed playing several rounds of the card game “go fish!” before sunset.
We drove back in the morning, and finished unloading and washing the canoes by lunchtime.
This year’s yard sale was a major success! We enjoyed a great turn out from both scouts and families, and fundraised approximately $1500!
On the previous night, we brought in items to sell, and the next morning, we set up and organized everything. Some scouts also made signs and dressed up in bright costumes, so that people who passed by could see us. 🙂
The money we fundraise during our annual yard sales helps directly fund and support our high-adventure activities. Along with winter wreath sales, the spring yard sale is one of our main fundraisers.
Thanks to everyone who showed up and made it happen!
Our March canoe trip was at Lake Sonoma. Because of the short canoeing distance, scouts and adults got to leisurely practice their strokes and skills!
After unloading canoes from the trailers and cars, we canoed for about 3mi (with a lunch break in between). We unloaded pretty early (around 2pm) at a lush and treed spot, and scouts and adults had plenty of time to set up camp, play games, and cook- One scout had even brought along flame colorant (thanks Isabella!), for a multi-colored campfire.
Mr. Calzia has been an amazing scoutmaster for several years. He will be stepping down this May, and this was his last trip as scoutmaster. On our paddle back, we all rafted up and held out paddles to the sky, as a sign of gratitude for his leadership and service.
We arrived back at the dock at about 10:30 and loaded up the canoes, paddles and pfds. After stopping at a nice shaded area at Olompali State Park for lunch, we got back to SJC and finished unloading by the late afternoon.
During our last few meetings, some scouts have being working on building a knot machine for the troop. After weeks of working to build it, they finally finished the knot machine on February 14th, and the rest of the troop got to try it out!
Modeled after Camp Hi Sierra’s knot machine, our knot machine now serves as a great tool to help scouts learn different types of knots like bends, hitches, and loop knots. It’s a more interactive and engaging way for everyone to master knots, and a bonus is that we can now have knot tying competitions 🙂
Big kudos to scouts Aidan, Matthew, and Harris, and ASM Mr. Clark for putting the knot machine together!
In what was a Troop first (and in no way a catering cost saving measure) brother and sister Harris and Emily C. celebrated a double Eagle Court of Honor on 8 Jan 2022.
Harris, #106 + 5 Palms, had his original CoH date cancelled due to Covid and by the time things relaxed, Emily was close enough to gaining her Eagle, #112, that they decided to hold it together. A fitting capstone on what has been a joint adventure through scouting, starting in Wellington, New Zealand and culminating with Troop 260 in San Jose.
We were all set to blast up to Lake Sonoma, but a rate wet + cold weather front moved down from the North. Either one of these would be fine, but together and with a range of experiences committed to go, we made the call to divert instead to the local Calero Reservoir for a day of skills.
The weather held for almost the hold day as we were further South, and the location proved really pleasant: reeds, wildlife, islands to explore and coupled with some skills and races for practice.
New Canoe Trailer Master for this trip (thanks Bob); we learned about invasive species from the rangers. And noone fell in. Awesome.
A troop canoeing classic destination: Millerton Lake with an overnight at Boston Bar campsite. After some recent rain, the hills were green and the small streams into the lake were running – not a common event these years in California. Compared to our Millerton Trip (marred by brown hills and smokey skies) we all felt buoyed by the lush feel.
The scouts were certainly upping their canoe skills and experience: we got to Boston Bar comfortably before dusk despite a later than usual start. Card games and meal plans unfolded for the scouts, as the adults kept themselves at a healthy distance (and with more healthy food!)
The paddle back was faster (as per usual) with a gorgeous, still water all to ourselves for most of the way back. After loading and an early lunch at the top carpark we were back in SJC and unloaded before dinner time.
The Troop has an annual tradition of doing a weekend of shooting and archery sports at a private range on Mt Umunhum. After a covid break on 2020, the Troop was back on for 2021 (big thanks as ever to Nic and Ray, Troop 260 emeritus).
The day went ahead, despite some bad overnight weather forecast, and it was a cracker. Huge turnout, and a great chance for the Scouts to experience a range of weapons under strict supervision.
The night was… exciting. A rain front came in, and the wind was high up on the mountain. A number of scouts gained some valuable experience:
it’s a good idea to fully close your door after heading out for a pee when it’s raining hard
guy ropes and stakes are useful for keeping your tent in the same place in the wind
layers, rain gear, and hats are a good to have at any time of year!
Given the weather, the Troop packed up early and bailed out back to San Jose. A good experience was had (at least on reflection) and some great stories were made.
Fresh from Canoe Skills training, a maximal group departed WG in one of our largest ever convoys to head for Millerton Lake. Despite very depleted water levels and smokey air from nearby fires, it was great to “on the water” and for new and old paddlers alike.
As our first trip of the new season we didn’t go far and we also not canoe-camping. This allowed us to focus more on paddling skills than loading. After unloading and buddy assignments we headed around the headland for a about a mile where we pulled in for lunch.
Marion and Simi having trouble steering on the leg out, until finally realising just before lunch that they had been paddling their canoe backwards the whole way 😀
Maintenance of our record of at least 1 capsize on an early trip, a triple-loaded canoe of scouts (Nate, Jaden +1) took a dip. (good planning, we were close to shore and got to practice an onshore recovery)
The wind was getting up and so we headed back and used the extra time to give all the scouts a taste of a capsize!
Camping was overnight at the group site on the north of the lake. The ground was rock-hard but the food was plentiful (especially for the Old Goats!) and we had the rare opportunity of a real campfire, with skits and yells and singing.
Thanks for all the great photo contributions to the gallery below.