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.

Staying dry, whatever the weather

As a California Troop we are generally fortunate to not encounter the rain and snow on a regular basis. However, there are clearly times in the year when we do and anyone in the Troop (including participating family members) needs to Be Prepared for wet weather.

This short brochure from outdoor clothing company Marmot has some good insights into gear and sound advice on wet weather clothing and how to use it to best effect (the only advertising is background).

via Assistant Committee Chair, Mark Cahn

Troop 260 custom knives for First Class+ ranks

Here at the troop we are very fortunate to have the support of a master farrier and blacksmith – Ken Brundage.

Ken has coupled his skills and Troop 260 Scouts’ attachment to quality knives to form a new reward program. Now every scout obtaining the rank of First Class (or higher) will get to make their own sheath knife on the forge up at Camp Chesebrough!

8 Essential knots for hikers

We’ve  all been in the position of needing to secure, hold-up, join something using some rope or a line. How often do we fallback to one of our basic stalwarts (what problem can’t be solved with a combination of a square knot and a half-hitch, right!)?

Here’s a great article from with easy to follow videos covering 8 essential knots for backpacking:

  1. Backpacker hitch (secure things to posts/trees using friction)
  2. Square knot (bind to lines of ~equal diameters)
  3. Girth hitch (attaches a sling or a webbing strap loop to your harness or to another sling, strap, or rope)
  4. Overhand knot (a simple stopper knot)
  5. Taut line hitch (adjustable loop knot for use on lines under tension, eg guy ropes)
  6. Clove hitch (holds a line to a post)
  7. Bowline (create a loop that won’t adjust in size, great for rescues)
  8. Sheet bend (join lines of different diameters)

Thanks to deputy Committee Chair, Mark Cahn, for the link.

Inspiration – Scout Outdoor Code

Given so much of Troop 260’s time is spent in the outdoors, we take the Scouting Outdoor Code seriously. Our State and the wider places we visit offer huge natural riches and we want to ensure that while we enjoy them, we do so responsibly and with future visitors in mind.

The Code asks us to be, amongst other things, conservation minded.

Those of us looking for inspiration of what being conservation minded can achieve, may enjoy this short film about this Texas Fried Chicken mogul turned landscape restoration pioneer.