Most people have heard about Eagle Scout, but there 7 Boy Scout ranks in total, starting at Scout. The ranks before Star Scout have a lot of requirements, in topics like cooking and nutrition, safely sharpening and using axes and knives, lashing things together with all sorts of knots, and learning about citizenship. Sam’s Boy Scout troop puts together a camp out every spring where the boys can focus on fulfilling requirements for different ranks. During Advancement Camp the newer scouts (anyone below 1st class) work on rank requirements, while the more experienced scouts teach them the skills.
Our troop had a great turn out for this year’s camp, it might have had something to do with it being held at the group campsites on beautiful Mt. Palomar! 51 people attended in total: 36 Scouts and 15 adults. The scouts were able to rotate through several stations set up to teach outdoor skills, as well as an ax yard complete with two man logging saws.
When we arrived at the campground, we unloaded our gear and set up our tents. The troop had all 3 group sites at Palomar, so the boys set up in the lower 2, and the adults in the upper site. Tony brought one of the loves of his life, his big green tent. Lori and I set up our little tents in its sublime shadow, so we could bask in its reflected glory.
Sam and J.D opted for something smaller, down in the scout area.
We raised the flag…
Then after lunch the troop started in on a super busy day. One group of boys went off on a nature hike, with the goal of identifying 10 plants and finding evidence of 10 animals. We hiked the beautiful Doane Creek nature trail.
We crossed the creek, and saw flowers, trees, and animal burrows, tracks, and trails.
This tree was like a woodpecker hotel, they kept flying on and off of the top.
I love bark. The bottom left is actually an incense cedar from camp. The woodpeckers peck holes looking for insects, and then the squirrels shove acorns and other nuts into the holes to store them. There were acorns up the entire length of 50 to 60 foot tall trees.
Meanwhile back at camp, the boys worked on outdoor skills…
While we were at camp, I made a sighting of a creature that is rarely seen at such high elevations, usually its range is confined to the suburbs of San Diego. But I managed to document it.
After a hard day’s work, it was time to cook some dinner. The scouts got a chance to work on patrol cooking requirements.
Lori and I were in charge of the adult food, planning 3 meals for 15. We had lots of help when it came to the cooking, which was much appreciated.
For the finale, Lori and I prepared a very special pineapple upside down cake cooked in a dutch oven. We had left over bacon from breakfast, so we cooked it up, diced the bacon, and then Lori made a caramel with the left over bacon grease, brown sugar, butter, and cream. We lined the bottom of the pan with the caramel and pineapple, putting extra bacon bits put into the pineapple rings instead of cherries. We called it…
In the figure above Lori is making the bacon caramel (A), Mr. W. is preparing the dutch ovens (B), the right side up cake baked to perfection (C), the inverted, slightly disheveled, but still delicious cake ready to be eaten (D). Which it was, down to the last bacon bit.
We made a dutch oven dessert because Dr. J. challenged the scout and parent patrols to a contest. There was a chocolate lava cake, another pineapple upside down cake, and our inventive confection vying to be the champion dutch oven dessert. Justin, who made his pineapple upside down cake with Sprite, “won” the contest, which was “judged” by Dr. J. And his cake deserved to win over ours. Totally. Here is a photo of the winner with his proud dad.
JK. Actually his cake was marvelous. He graciously gave me a piece, which I devoured. I am just trying to generate a little excitement and controversy for my blog, to get more people to follow it. Along the lines of “Housewives of Tierrasanta Boy Scout Troops – Camping Edition.” I’ve been doing my blog for almost two years, and I have 39 highly intelligent and discriminating followers, who became my followers by clicking the “Follow this Blog” button to the right up near the top of this post.
It looks like this.
Anyway, I thought if I spiced things up a bit by getting into a cat fight with Justin over whose pineapple upside down cake was better, I might boost my ratings. But I have seen the error of my ways. Also, his dad is a really big guy. So, IMHO, Justin, and his cake, and his little brother, and his whole family are all just peachy. Or pineappley.
After lots of good food we had a lovely campfire with skits, songs, and the retirement of two American flags (after they become worn they are burned).
Then we tromped out to the meadow to stargaze and look for satellites with Mr. H. When we returned the more energetic among us sat around the fire, I went straight to bed.
In the morning we broke camp and headed home. I sent Sam (see the grimy feet below) straight to the showers. He did a great job at camp, and is almost finished with his first class requirements. We had perfect weather and perfect company for a very successful advancement camp in Troop 985.