We were ready and set for snow camping: extra snow shovels and tire chains had been purchased, triple bed rolls and blankets packed. Alas, a severe winter weather warning for the northern Sierras pulled the rug out from under us (it’s our safety and risk management policy to not travel into weather warnings). As s a result, we missed out of 5+ feet of snow and -11F temperatures (our intrepid advance guard, Mr & Mrs Matulich did make it up!).
However, we are scouts – and so ‘prepared’. Plan B was put into action – a 10-mile day hike and overnight camp at Pinnacles National Park.
We caught a luck break in the weather, with a cool but largely sunny day (even if it rained heavily overnight). A group of 11 arrived just after 09:00 and before 10:00 were on the trail. Our route took us from the campgrounds towards High Peaks trail, and then back by Bear Gulch trail. [map]. Including the walk to and from the camp-site comfortably over 10miles (handy for both a rank advancement and a hiking badge requirement!)
To our surprise – it wasn’t the amazing rock formations or great views that made the weekend memorable: it was the “Condor Whisperer”. A man, stripped bare to his waist, standing atop the pinnacles playing a didgeridoo as the condors swooped in and around. And a rainbow appears. Words failed us.
We decided to repeat our enjoyable December trip and headed back to Elkhorn Slough and Sunset Beach this weekend. The short drive in the winter is appreciated, as is the chance to have an actual fire at the State park campground.
The weather was magnificent again, with partially cloudy skies, a warm-ish day, not too much wind and a cool but not cold overnight.
The tide range and timing meant that this time we did canoe skills first after putting in at Moss Landing. Then after an hour of so of increasingly successful straight line paddles (putting aside the SPL / ASPL combo beaching themselves!) we headed up the Slough about 4 miles.
We couldn’t find a decent place to land for lunch. So much of the waterfront is protected or private land, so we headed back to almost the entrance and stopped at a lovely sandy beach for lunch before heading back to the marina and packing up and heading Sunset Beach. (Note for the future: turns out there are no sanctioned landing/beaching spots *at all* in the Slough apart from Kirby Park – see map )
At the Beach, we did a Scoutmaster Challenge in two parts: use compass bearings to draw a shape in the sand, and then use pioneering skills to build a bridge across the gap. The scouts did a great job with an ingenious design – and one that was strong enough for the Scoutmaster to travel across safely!
Campfire and birthday cake were on the list for the evening – both much appreciated. And several Scouts got multiple requirements ticked off for their ranks.
Troop 260 is ready to welcome female youth looking to join us having fun and adventure outdoors.
Female youth will join our established Serpent’s Patrol (5 girls and counting), and be administratively a member of Troop 2260. We will operationally be acting as a single unit – Troop 260 – sharing the same program, committee and charter organisation. We have a long history with female leaders, adult volunteers and family members as an integral part of our adventures, and are excited that there is now a chance for female youth to formally participate and be recognized for the experience and skills they gain.
Our Troop has long believed that scouting should be open to all. We have a proud history of including families for decades in our activities. We took a stand in 1992 about supporting gay scouts, and are happy to echo that drive for equality and inclusivity again. We are convinced that the fully gender-integrated approach of programs like Venturing, Sea Scouts, and STEM Scouts will eventually come to Scouts BSA.
At the same time, we do not wish to jeopardize the ability of our female (and female identifying) youth to advance in ranks and earn merit badges. Forming Troop 2260 allows them to have a compliant achievement record in Scouts BSA that will take them through to Eagle Scout.
The policy position that we adopted early in 2018 has guided us well, and we will continue to ensure it is aligned with National policy, especially Youth Protection best practices, the values and goals of our Troop, and common sense.
It is a landmark moment to say that our door is officially open to all youth! We look forward to supporting all our scouts on their own journey of adventure, discovery and leadership.
It may be the last day of the year, but that doesn’t stop the Troop from holding it’s PLC to plan January events.
SPL Tristan had the great idea to do it using Discord – the scouts have settled on Discord as their default messaging tool. Live planning without the burden of leaving your house on a chilly New Year’s Eve 👍
Ever watched this daring do programmes where Bear drinks water from camel dung, or fashions a jacket from the skin of a dead seal? Did you catch the purple Scouting emblem on his jacket?
Currently UK Chief Scout, Bear is taking on a new role as Chief Ambassador for World Scouting.
One of my first tasks as Chief Ambassador, will be to represent us at an event at the United Nations headquarters to launch Scouts for SDGs – a mobilisation of 50 million Scouts, with the goal of making the world’s largest coordinated youth contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs
The Troop visited a new, reasonably local, canoeing spot last weekend – Lake Sonoma (Hat tip to John L for finding this new spot and booking it).
We fielded a modest sized crew of 13 – thankfully Scout Aiden as acting SPL had his navigation skills in play and was able to guide the (often mis-guided) adults and the rest of his scouts to the overnight camp. The paddle was a bit longer than normal – about 7 to 8 miles, but we were helped by a slight wind at our backs.
There were a good number of power boats out, but the no-tow zone was quickly reached and the crenelated shoreline made for an interesting paddle.
Pros: Relatively easy to get to, relatively easy put in, minimal inspection hassle, lots of boat camping sites, average number of power boats and picnic tables, chemical toilets and fire pits per site.
Cons: It is a long paddle with potential for strong headwinds, the Sunday drive home has several heavy traffic choke points. (North of SF Bay has potential for heavy rain in winter months.)
Also… there is a camp on an Island only a couple of miles from the put-in… next time!
In the words of our Scoutmaster: The pros outweigh the cons – we will be back
Today, we had the chance to support our Charter Org (Christ the Good Shepherd Church) in a great service project: packaging 10,000 meals for the charity Rise Against Hunger
The Troop had a great showing – 10 Scouts and 4 Adults – and we helped from setup at 10:00 all through to the final sweep at 2pm. Our support was welcomed multiple times by the Church and the Rise representative.
It was a great chance to log some service hours for the Scouts whilst putting on a strong showing for our Charter org that continues to be very supportive on a number of fronts.