Tag Archives: boy scouts

Campout at Burro Cove at the end of Butcher Jones Trail, Arizona

Scottsdale’s Boy Scout Troop 131 completed an overnight backpacking campout last weekend.  Six scouts and four adults participated.  Our original destination was Aravaipa Wilderness Area, but we cancelled due to the threat of rain and life-threatening flash floods in that canyon.

Burro Cove campsite is small.  Everybody had one-man tents.  You could probably squeeze another 4-5 onto the site.  About half way to Burro Cove, we easily spotted another potential campsite on a small peninsula.  We’re not sure, but we think a trail lead to the area.  I bet some campsites here are accessible only by boat.  You need back-up plans in case your spot is taken by others.  Butcher Jones Trail has few flat spots where you could set up 10 tents.

The scouts did a super job hiking with their packs.  I heard no complaints.  One scout carried a 56-pound pack!  Mine was 37 lb; my son’s was 20 lb.  Most packs were probably in the 20-40 lb range.  The Scout Handbook says to limit pack weight to 25% of body weight, in general.  I’m impressed with modern backpack design that distributes pack weight to your pelvis, not your shoulders.

Backpacking teaches you how to survive, even thrive, with minimal modern conveniences.  You have to carefully consider every ounce you carry.  You just need shelter, food, water, clothing, and a degree of physical fitness.  When you return to civilization, you appreciate it even more.

—Steve

Algae-covered rocks in Saguaro Lake

 

We had a great view of Four Peaks, which had a light dusting of fresh snow

 

Burro Cove campsite on Saguaro Lake, Arizona

One happy camper

Eureka Solitaire 1-man tent I rented from Arizona Hiking Shack

Boy Scout Campout at Cave Creek Regional Park

Scottsdale’s Troop 131 had our annual overnight “family campout” at this large park immediately west of Cave Creek, Arizona.  All scout siblings and parents are invited.  Twenty or thirty were in attendance, a good turnout.  A few headed back to town late in the evening rather than stay the night.

We stayed in the group camping area, which had restrooms, hot and cold running water, and showers.  The park is clean, well-run, and safe.

Trailhead at Cave Creek Regional Park

A tradition with this campout is that the boys cook dinner and breakfast for the adults.  Usually the boys cook for themselves, as do the adults.  Thank you, scouts!

We arrived on Saturday AM, Oct. 20, and set out on four-mile hike, a loop involving Go John and Overton trails.  Nice scenery and a little altitude gain.  I’d call it an easy hike; you could do it in sneakers but I was glad I had hiking boots because of the rocks underfoot.  We shared the trail with runners, a few of whom were doing a 50-km (31-mile) endurance run!  In 90° F weather (32.2° C).

U.S. Flag

After skits around the campfire, the scouts did a U.S. flag retirement ceremony.  Most Americans these days don’t know that you aren’t supposed to simply throw a tattered, faded flag into the trash.  It’s disrespectful to the soldiers and patriots who have sacrificed their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor in the name of American ideals.  The Boy Scouts of America and a few other organizations do a solemn ceremony during which we review the symbolism and history of the flag, then it’s incinerated in a small fire.  The boys retired 21 flags, most of which had been collected by Congressman Dan Quayle.  If you have a worn-out flag, your local Boy Scout troop should be willing and able to retire it for you.  Thanks to Chris Raines for helping the boys with the ceremony.

As usual, the Arizona weather was great.

The Orionid meteor shower was a bonus for this trip, although most folks slept through it since it peaked between midnight and 5 AM.  I got up around 2 AM and watched the sky for four minutes.  Saw one meteor emanating from Orion and another unrelated straggler.

Everybody survived the campout, and no one got hurt.  Thank you, God!

Steve Parker, M.D.

View to the north from Go John trail

Overton trail

Go John trail overlooking Cave Creek or Scottsdale

Arizona Lava Tubes Camp-Out

My son’s boy scout troop and I camped out near Lava River Cave last weekend.  We were about 15 miles northwest of Flagstaff, Arizona, in the Coconino National Forest.  Most of the locals refer to the cave simply as “the lava tubes.”

“Any tender young scouts in there?”

Our campsite was on the south side of FR 812, a quarter mile east of FR 171, at the base of Antelope Hill.  The Forest Service allows dispersed, primitive camping just off the dirt roads in the area.  The roads could be a problem for passenger cars if it rains much.  We were fortunate to have perfect weather: clear skies, high of about 80°F and low of 32°.  I think the wide gap between high and low reflects the altitude of 8,000 ft above sea level.

After setting up camp, we hiked to the top of Antelope Hill, about 1.5 miles round trip.  It’s a moderately strenuous walk since we went straight up rather than doing switchbacks.  You blaze your own trail.  The scouts caught and released a 3.5-inch long horned lizard at the top.  I hear they’re fairly common up here.

Mount Humphries as seen from Antelope Hill

After some campfire skits by the scouts we hit the hay, listening to bugling elk and howling coyotes during the night.  The cattle were even louder, but the noises didn’t interfere with sleep.  Some of us were caught off guard by the low temp during the night.

After breaking camp the next morning, we drove the 1.5 miles to Lava River Cave and dove right in, so to speak.  Round-trip mileage for the cave is 1.5-2 miles.  I and many of the others in our group had never seen anything like it.

It was an enjoyable trip and I can see why troop 131 makes it every two or three years.

Steve Parker, M.D.

Notes

Other adults in attendance were Scott H, Ryan W, Mark Z, Kathy S, Paul G, and Jeff L.  The scouts were Paul P, Matthew Z, JD H, Nathan H, Cole W, Christian R, Trevor L, Jacob F, and Riley G.  Let me know if I left anyone out.