Tag Archives: Southern California backpacking

A Palindrome of Scouts

Palidrome header

A few weeks ago a small group of scouts (only 5!) from our troop, along with 4 adults, headed out for an overnight backpacking trip to Agua Caliente Creek.   We noticed that we could make a palindrome of the boys’ names, with Evan in the middle (a word palindrome for the grammarians out there, I realize Evan would have to be Eve for it to be a true palindrome).  So that meant we had a palindrome of scouts.  I know that scouts usually come in troops, along with apes, baboons, buffalo, gorillas, kangaroos, and monkeys, but for this post a palindrome of scouts they shall be.  I’m not sure the official namers of groups of things, the same squad that came up with a murder of crows, a flamboyance of flamingos, a congregation of alligators, a flutter of butterflies, a wake of buzzards, a pounce of cats, a romp of otters, a zeal of zebras, a wisdom of wombats, a hover of trout, a scurry of squirrels, a parliament of rooks, a prickle of porcupines, a pandemonium of parrots, an implausibility of gnus, and a bellowing of bullfinches would agree with my categorizing them as such, but it’s my blog, so it’s my rules.  (For a more complete listing of animal group names (yes, there are more!), ask The Almighty Guru.)

So off we set.  Mo, Rob, Zek, Michelle, and our palindrome of scouts shouldered our packs and hit the Pacific Crest Trail, just past the small town of Warner Springs, California.  We hiked north 3.6 miles to a charming little grove of trees nestled alongside a creek.  We had great weather for our hike (overcast and cool).  There isn’t much shade along the trail until you hit the creek, so this was perfect weather as far as we were concerned.

We arrived mid-morning, and didn’t have much of an agenda for the rest of the day.  The boys climbed, prowled, dug, played, splashed, caught, released, and sang the afternoon away.  The adults waved to hikers heading to Canada on the PCT, read our books, chatted, and every now and then did a head count.  Usually we knew where everyone was.  It was a great trip.  Check out my photos (double click on them to get a close up view), and videos.  Here are a few final thoughts to send you on your way…

Now ere we nine were held idle here, we nine were won.

A man, a plan, a canal — Panama

 May a moody baby doom a yam?

Caption

Hiking in on a cool Saturday morning.  The first mile or so runs through golden meadows dotted by oak trees.  The boys are pointing out the Pacific Crest Trail marker.

Hiking in.2

Zek and  Michelle, the happy backpacking couple.  Sam and Matthew, the dramatic backpacking pair.  As the trail climbed, we moved into bushy, rocky terrain.  I love manzanita trees with their rich, red bark.  We also saw lots of moss and lichen, and came up with a mnemonic device to remember what a lichen is made up of.  “Hi, I’m algae, and I lichen fungi”, since a lichen is a composite organism made up of symbiotic algae and fungi.  In case you were wondering.

Aqua Caliente Creek

Two views of the tranquil Agua Caliente creek.  It burbled and babbled, just like a good creek should.  It was full of frogs and bugs and plants, and eventually Boy Scouts.

Caption

The view we saw on our way out.  Lovely flowers by the creek.  A gurgling mini waterfall.  Boys in a tree.

Caption

What do free range boys do when they are released into the wild?  Play cards and slam pixie sticks.  Create a city in the sand.  Catch frogs.  Release frogs.  Finally, make a super delicious dinner with Jet Boils and Mountain House.

Caption

Remember earlier how I said the creek was eventually full of Boy Scouts?  First they fell in and got their feet wet.  Then Evan fell all the way in.  We built a small fire and dried pants, boots, and socks on a rotisserie made from Rob’s hiking poles and a stick.  The fire was nice to hang out by after dark.

Caption

We were up in the morning and on the trail early, heading back to San Diego.  Overall I think the trip was – wait for it – FUN E NUF!  Oh yeah, got in one last palindrome!

Check out these videos below from our trip.

The Great Frog Release

Agua Caliente Creek

3 Comments

Filed under Boy Scout Troop 985 Adventures

Making Like Tortoises, With Our Houses On Our Backs

Blog header.PCT

This past spring Sam’s Boy Scout troop went on a few backpacking trips.  This post chronicles our May trip to Caliente Creek, along part of the southern leg of the Pacific Crest Trail.  Fifteen scouts and 9 adults backpacked a total of 7.2 miles on our 2 day, 1 night trip.  This was a backpacking training event for the troop, and for 5 of the scouts it was their first backpacking trip, and for several others it was their second trip.  We were all treated to a lovely hike through the back country, to our campsite near the burbling Caliente Creek.  The oaks were big and green, the creek was full of frogs, and most important of all, the Starbuck’s Via coffee was flowing on Sunday morning.  Pictures of our excellent hike are below.  There is also short video of the creek, complete with water striders and a little waterfall.

Caliente Springs map

Our Scouts

Now that we see where we are going, and who is going, let’s head off…

(click on the photos for a closer view)

We assembled on Saturday morning at the Von's parking lot, and the younger scouts have their packs checked to be sure they have all they need, and to be sure they haven't packed half the house!

We assembled on Saturday morning at the Von’s parking lot, and the younger scouts have their packs checked to be sure they have all they need, and to be sure they haven’t packed half the house!

More pics from the hike in.  As we went further in, the meadows disappeared and were replaced by scrubby hills.

We pulled off on Route 79, shouldered our packs, crossed the highway (step lively!), and entered the back country. Some views of the hike in.

More pics from the hike in. As we went further in, the meadows disappeared and were replaced by scrubby hills.country.  Some views of the hike in.

More pics from the hike in. As we went further in, the meadows disappeared and were replaced by scrubby hills.

After hiking a little more than 3 miles, we camped at a little clearing by Caliente Creek.

After hiking 3.6 miles, we camped at a little clearing by Caliente Creek.  Here are 3 views at different parts of the creek.

Speaking of the creek, here is the troop filtering water.  It is really nice to have water at your destination, so you don't have to pack as much in with you.

Speaking of the creek, here is the troop filtering water. It is really nice to have water at your destination, so you don’t have to pack as much in with you.

Camp cooking.  We all made excellent use of our Jetboils and other lightweight stoves.

Camp cooking. We all made excellent use of our Jetboils and other lightweight stoves.

Me and my guy.

Me and my guy.

Camp life.  Adults hanging out, boys playing cards, surrounded by big oaks.  This is the life!

Camp life. Adults hanging out, boys playing cards, surrounded by big oaks. This is the life!

I love to check out the plants, so here is a nice selection.  From the top left: sycamore, oak down the middle, sage flower, thistle flower, a yucca I think, and California fucshia.

I love to check out the plants, so here is a nice selection. From the top left: Sycamore, Oak down the middle, Sage flower, Thistle flower, a Yucca I think, and Indian Paintbrush.

More cool things I took pictures of.  A boulder encased by a branch, and a manzanita tree up on a cliff.

More cool things I took pictures of.  A boulder encased by a branch, and a Manzanita tree up on a cliff.

I mostly made up this panel so I could throw in some gratuitous photos of my Sam!  He's awesome.

I mostly made up this panel so I could throw in some gratuitous photos of Sam. He’s awesome.

The scouts and the adults, just before we set out for home.

The scouts and the adults, just before we set out for home.

Heading back to civilization.  Another great adventure with Troop 985.

Heading back to civilization. Another great adventure with Troop 985.

As promised, here is a link to a short video I took of Caliente Creek.

As you can see from the screen shot below, it only has 13 views.  Sigh.  Not exactly Nyan Cat. If you go to our YouTube channel (click on my name to get there when you are in YouTube) you can also check out the Lego Land Shark video Sam made for his Cinematography merit badge.  That one has 1,822 views.  Now that’s more like it!

Caliente video

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Boy Scout Troop 985 Adventures, Family