2013 Intro To BackpackingReport

November 23/24, 2013

Here's the scout report written by Andy L.:

Last weekend 15 scouts and 8 adults embarked on an “intro to backpacking” trip to Hoegee’s Campground (Located near Mt. Wilson). It was a one night trip and wasn't particularly challenging. The hike in started with a long steep paved road that took us to the quarter way point (½ mile). After that, we voyaged on a dirt trail that would take us the rest of the way. This part would include water crossings, switchbacks, and lots of hills. Upon arrival at the camp, we set up all of our tents in two locations or camp spots. Later, we played Frisbee or in other words, we threw a disk across a stream to other scouts. We also set up a bear bag and showed scouts how to start a fire. Instead of using matches, we used bundles of lint/cotton and used flint and steel. By doing this, we showed how to use alternative methods to fire starting and how flammable lint was. When it started getting dark, which was rather early around 4:30, we decided to make our freeze-dried dinners. The next day, we got up around 6:30-7:00 and took down the bear bag. When everyone got up, there was no rush to get back home, but we still wanted to get out fast and enjoy the rest of the day. We ate our breakfast and soon started back the way we came and before we knew it, we were already done. This trip was fun and easy and the scouts had a blast!

Here's the scouter report:

We all met at Carls, weighed backpacks, collected forms and loaded up five vans to transport our group of 23. Got to Chantrey Flat in about an hour but it took us almost that long to find parking for all and get ready to go. The hike to Hoegee's was wonderful. The temperature was around 55 degrees -- perfect for hiking. We hiked along the Lower Winter Creek Trail under the shade of huge trees with lush vegetation, like ivy (not poison ivy) beside us. We passed by many spillways that were built in the 1930's for flood control. The hike to Hoegee's Trail Camp is only 2.1 miles but is perfect for an Intro trip and for all the scouts and scouters that backpacked for the first time. We got into Hoegee's and secured two of the 14 campsites and were camped beside Troop 339 from Costa Mesa. The scouts practiced starting fires in various ways and made a nice roaring fire for all to enjoy. Some of the scouts went down to the creek and learned how to purify water by pumping it through a filter and then by using UV light from a SteriPen. It's always good to have several ways to purify water and start fires. After dinner, the scouts cooked marsh mellows over their roaring fire and then put all the extra food into a 30 gallon bag which was hoisted 20 feet into the air so the critters couldn't get it. Most scouts started going into their tents around 6:00 and winding down for the night. At Hoegee's, because of the huge shady trees and being kind of in a valley, it seems about 3 hours later than it really is. Then something unusual started happening about 6:30 PM. People from a church ministry group started pouring into the campground in the dark and didn't stop until after 9:30 PM. They must have had near 200 folks in their group. I've never seen such a thing and the ranger the next day was rather surprised too. That's really not proper procedure. At 9:40 PM the whole group began singing songs and they sung me to sleep. I asked several of the boys about it the next day but it didn't seem to bother them -- they just took it in stride. The next morning after breakfast, pumping some more water, breaking down the tents and doing a camp sweep, we started our hike back. It went really fast until we hit the last half mile where we had to go up a hill that was 500 feet up. The scouts zoomed up while the scouters had to slow down a bit. A really good experience aside from the large group next door.

Byron L.