Trip report: Skyline to Chesebrough

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.

Mountain Safety Council 2 minute skill videos

So, another shameless plug for the New Zealand Mountain Safety Council (MSC). However, I hope you’ll forgive me as they offer a fabulous library of short (~ 2 minute) videos covering over 30 aspects of getting outdoors across planning; expedition; and campcraft.

Whilst some bits of the advice is country-specific, the vast majority is applicable here. There are a great way for scouts and adults alike to check / update their knowledge.

While YouTube list here

You will find your own favorites. Some of mine are about sleeping well

and travelling as a group

Explosive growth for spring 2019!

Maybe it’s been the wet and warm winter and spring that we’ve had around San Jose, but it isn’t just the flowers that are blooming: Troop 260 has welcomed 15 new scouts (boys and girls) to its roster in the past few months!

Many have come directly from cub packs, bridging over in key transition ceremonies. [see some pictures of these events below]. Others have joined directly. We welcome them all and look forward to the adventures they will have, and the leadership opportunity they open to our older scouts.

A huge welcome also to the families and guardians of these new Scouts. There are many adventures for you also ahead! Scouting is a family enterprise and we need and expect active family engagement to continue the vitality of our program.

Ten essentials

Not all of us have caught Mr Nic’s 10 Essentials briefing (with associated stories!) But the scouts did cover 10 essentials a few months ago on a Troop night.

Generally, in Troop 260, your “10 essentials” means a compact kit focused on personal well being and survival that you can keep in a big pocket or stick in a day pack without it taking up too much room.

Of course, the most important thing about your ten essentials is… having it with you! (cough cough senior scouts on the Pinnacles NP 10-miler)

There are lots of resources out there, here are a couple:

A 10 essentials kit is a great thing to start small and cheap, and then gradually build up over time. If you buy one, make sure you know exactly what is in it – and add to it as needed.

Next time we are out somewhere, ask a Scout to show you their 10-essentials kit to get some ideas.

Trip Report: Elkhorn Slough / Sunset Beach

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.

click below for the picture gallery

Knots, games & girls

The scouts had an excellent evening last week practicing some of the basic knots needed for Trail to First Class (and that are generally useful to know). After some patrol time, they finished with a “pet rescue” game, simulating the need to throw a rope and then tie a bowline. Much hilarity – and a little bit or rule stretching – ensued!

Re-introducing formal meeting plans is having a really positive impact.

This was also the first evening when our new female youth patrol joined. With the formal expansion of the scouting program to all youth from February next year,  Troop 260 is making an early start – capturing interest and developing skills.

click picture below for photo gallery

First aid fun!

First Aid is one of the classic scouting core skills. The Troop planned a couple of activities this week: first some skills practice on splints and bandaging, followed by a hand-carry race.

Fortunately none of the skills practiced were needed and much fun was had. Doing the race brought home the impact of having to deal with an injured person on an expedition – it’s not easy.

click below for gallery

Scout-o-Rama Pizzadilla Fest

Troop 260 attended in force w/ both adults & scouts at the 2018 Scout-o-Rama fair. We even had our newest scout – Aidan taking charge of some of the cooking. Jimmy, John, Andrew, Tristan, and Jake demonstrated great leadership at this event.

As with previous years, Troop 260’s booth was unique to the event with the scouts demonstrating a favorite trail staple — Pizzadillas. With over 100 made during our demonstrations, this was a very popular booth with both cub’s & scouts alike.

As a Scout led troop, the scouts planned, shopped, and executed the booth on their own. The adults (as always) did their part – relaxing & enjoying how well the scouts ran the activity. The fact that the organizers put the fire department in the next booth, added an additional layer of safety.

We are starting to already plan our participation for 2019!

Click below for the photo gallery

Trip report: Henry Coe 2-nighter

Our April 2018 weekend event was a 2-night, 14-mile hike in Henry Coe State Park.

It’s been a while since the Troop did a Friday through Sunday trip; fortunately we were rewarded with beautiful still, clear weather for the night walk from the Park HQ to the Manzanita Point campgrounds.

On the way, we did some star-gazing, found a toad, and almost missed the site (thanks Mateo!). Everyone managed to setup their tents in the dark without issue.

On Saturday we awoke to the sounds of birds (and wild turkeys). The weather was cool but bright for the entire day – perfect for hiking. The route was tough – c 8 miles, with a 1600-foot continuous climb up from Poverty Flats to the top of Middle Ridge. We had a new scout, and some less-seasoned family members on the trip and they all came through with flying colors!

Sunday was a short, but tough, walk out – tough from the 25% slopes more than the light rain. A great mini-adventure.

T260: Henry Coe 1804

Retiring the flag

After having fun practicing fire building recently, the Troop put those skills to an important use last week: the retirement of several flags that had been entrusted to us after the end of their useful life.
The U.S. Flag code states that, “the flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning

The Scouts led four separate ceremonies, taking turns to play different roles and try different content. Always treating the flag and the proceedings with dignity.