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Where And When Is Your Unit Camping? Anything Unique There?

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So, it is the beginning of prime summer camp and high adventure season.  Where, when, what is unique or a major challenge, what might be new.  


My unit goes to a week at Camp 3-Falls in Lockwood Valley in mid July; http://campthreefalls.blogspot.com/.  About 20 miles off the 5 Freeway near Gorman, it is easily accessible from the L.A. area and Kern County.  It is the more remote of the two camps in Ventura County Council. This year is its 82nd year. Our troop goes back to its start and before, even having its own site for the first couple of decades or so. Capacity is about 150 to 175, and the facility has a dining hall, health lodge, trading post and office, staff cabins, a nature lodge, and a chapel overlooking the camp and valley.  It is at 5700 feet on the east side of the transverse ranges, and has easy access to Mount Pinos at close to 9000 feet, above Frazier Park, the nearest town.  


While it is one of the smaller camps in Southern California, it has a continuing strong program, even with the loss of our reservoir lake due to the drought.  It has a three sided climbing tower that includes a mid level and top rappelling face, with a height of 57 feet; it also has a low scramble wall.  Ranges include ten position rifle, archery, shotgun and black powder.  While boating is on hiatus until we get water again for the reservoir, the pool hosts all the water activities common to most camps, and also teaches special training to leaders.  It continues to develop STEM, currently having Space Exploration, Geocaching, Astronomy, and photography.  Pottery is the most recently added to the crafts area.  Welding is now in its third year, and we are privileged to have Jack Compton, one of the developers of the badge, as the counselor.  We also have fire safety, which includes the local fire department interaction, as well as the Forest Service.  Trail to First Class is one of the best such programs in any California camp; they DO NOT sign off scouts, but only keep track of areas covered, expecting the troop to review and finalize.  They do the second class cooking requirements one evening as part of the program, from planning to cooking, to cleanup.  Merit badges only have four sessions, allowing more time in the groups, as well as afternoon free time.  Formal flags occur in the morning before breakfast and evening before dinner, and include flagpoles for troop flags from each campsite.


The most unique part of the camp is the Fort, an authentic one quarter scale rendezvous fort circa 1850.  Three teepees are pitched outside the fort, which acts as the center of frontier activities that include tomahawks, branding, metal work and blacksmithing, Indian Lore, bull whip, and is the home for older boy programs and wilderness survival.  The senior scout challenge, which has no merit badges per se (though mountain biking is part of it, so can apply there) includes backpacking to the back side of Mt. Pinos, then seeing sunrise from the peak before biking back down to the camp.  On the last night of camp, a shredded beef barbecue is held, the beef buried in the morning for slow cooking outside the fort, and the special camp root beer is brewed.  Basic awards are handed out at the campfire bowl there, mostly after dinner, and it is closed with a patriotic retirement of flag(s), which includes recognition of veterans that may be in the audience or staff.  


They also have various hikes, mountain biking, and of course the normal nature and basic skills such as First Aid, Pioneering, and Orienteering.  Camp wide games, a scout leader splash contest, a couple of special challenge courses, and 3 campfires are part of the schedule.  They also have two nights of night climbing on the tower with floods and generational music, and a cantina night with board games and snacks. A number of leader training courses also are offered, including one week of the entire course, as the instructor brings his troop that week.


More or less standard platform tenting in sites with portable outhouses, water and washing center, tables, flagpole, and shade covers in camps with little natural shade.  Fires are not permitted other than in the two camp fire bowls, and cooking can be done in a central barbecue and dutch oven center next to the assembly area.   The camp is also open for off season activities from scouts and other groups; it also includes three winter camp sessions in mid winter.  This summer will see the opening of new showers to replace those build in the 70's, though likely will not be ready for actual camp.  Sea B's have set up temporary showers while the construction continues.  If anyone reading this is interested, you can see the plans here;



Look forward to reading about some others, as well as possible special trips and such.

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My son's troop is leaving this morning, headed to Camp Rainey Mountain, in northern Georgia.    It's his first year going, so we have no idea what he's in for.   The troop is going white water rafting (away from the camp) on their "day off".



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I wish I could say that my son's troop is doing something exciting this summer. They are going OOC for Summer Camp - Camp Yawgoog in RI. It's about a 6 hour bus ride. I tried to get a bike trip together for t this summer but can't get enough adults to commit to a weekend to do it.


I also have to say that for the first time since we joined there was an overnight activity in June.

The troop did a backpacking trip into the Adirondack mountains.

The only down side was only 5 boys signed up to go.

It turned into a quite an adventure. Because of poorly marked trails we couldn't find the lean-to we wanted to stay at.

We ended up back tracking to another doing about 11 miles on the way in. Only had to go 4 miles on the way out


For all but one Scout it was their first backpacking trip and they are looking forward to doing it again.

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My boys did not finish their week at summer camp this year and left early in protest to inappropriate closing flag ceremony.  We weren't the only troop doing so.  That was pretty exciting decision for first and second year scouts.

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@@Stosh - wow... what kind of "inappropriate" are we talking about?  Must have been something dreadful to cause multiple troops to walk-out!


Sunday night flag retirement ceremony had 2 state flags and the American Flag on flag poles and the American flag was lowered first, then the state flags.  The issue was discussed with the boys and it was pointed out after researching that this was incorrect.  The Camp Director informed all that this was the way some ROTC group had trained them at the beginning of the summer.  It was pointed out to the Camp Director that according to the US Flag Code AND the BOY SCOUT HANDBOOK, that this was incorrect,  On Wednesday's retirement, the process had not changed and it was done by staff in cowboy costumes rather than uniforms and this bothered the boys as well.  The boys were all in full-uniform   A complaint was issued once again to the Camp Director and the units were informed that "it was good that the boys are able to see alternative methods of flag ceremonies."  


When the flags on Friday were done incorrectly, my boys decided it was time to go home regardless of the big closing campfire program planned.  The other troop asked my troop if we would help them break camp in that they were leaving immediately as well.  


From earlier discussions, it is an easy conclusion to assume that neither of these two units will be attending camp at this location in the future. 

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The Scouts in my first troop in Santa Ana thought that "adventure" was doing our own summer camp every other year.  It took a lot of planning and human resources, but the troop was huge and had access to all the gear needed.  Twice we backpacked in to our summer camp site.  


Merit badges were earned, but not in the numbers expected today.


It was what the Scouts wanted to do.


Jump forward twenty-five years, and my old troop in Cleveland Heights decided on the same pattern.  (This was in addition to a high adventure trip for the older Scouts.)

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Back in the Easter holidays some of my scouts went on a mountaineering course at a place called Lochearnhead in the Scottish Highlands. It's a an old railway station on a disused railway line that was acquired by the scouts in the 1960s. The old station buildings have been converted to kitchens, dining room etc with chalets built as accomodation plus camping space on the old track bed.


It's mainly used as a base for mountaineering and sailing courses and is absolutely magical!

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Chattooga, Ocoee, Nantahala?

Rainey Mountain offers a day trip to the Nantahala.


We were there Monday and did the ropes course in the morning and the river after the air warmed a bit.


Our troop returned Friday from our 6 river trek across the Southeast.  Polled the boys to learn which rivers they liked the best.  Results:

1- Section IV Chattooga  (Only boys 13 and older.  Highest rated rapids of the trip.)

2- Section III Chattooga  (Low water, technical.  'Troll Bridge' game was a hit.)

3- Nolichucky  (Low water, very technical, small boats; but just damned beautiful!  Good guides from NOC)

4- Ocoee

5- Nantahala  (Cold, but self-guided; so they had lots of fun.)

6- Pigeon  (Continuous class 3 rapids.  8 in a boat.  But a real circus with 18 outfitters pouring clients into the river.)

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Next time let me know that you're going and I might join you. Your boys matched my personal order exactly.

Pigeon, 'circus' is a good description this time of year.

Nantahala, not very exciting and too crowded for me.

Ocoee, can also be really crowded depending on the day.

Chucky is, as you say, technical and it's going to get a lot lower. That one is much better in early May.

Section III, with the right water (not right now as you say) doing the entire section is just wonderful. Starting at Earl's Ford and doing the whole thing to 76. I'm guessing you guys put in at Sandy Ford? That was the second whitewater trip I ever made...The day after my first trip in my brand new Old Town canoe with no flotation and a wooden paddle back in 1972 on .....

Section IV. Back then, we were taking inner tubes through Woodall Shoals and no one raised any concerns. I still sometimes enjoy a swim through Bull Sluice at the end of section III...confirms my insanity for the students.

Things changed after the event that inspired the book, Saints by the River. That and a flood changed some of the rapids, maybe a lot of them. A friend of mine was nearly killed in a sieve on Crack-in-rock (I think that's the one) but he was small and it spit him out after a long minute or so. All that was back before it was a W&S river and the only outfitter at that time was Southeastern Expeditions so things were not crowded at all. After Deliverance and the outfitters jamming things, I gave up on the Chattooga on anything other than a weekday in May or maybe September if there's enough water. I used to join a bunch out of Ga Tech led by the Dean of Students, great guy, Miller Templeton. He would take his old Grumman down the river standing with a long paddle and wearing a pith helmet. THOSE were some of the best days ever. I'm just glad I still remember all those times. Section III in December is still just lovely. Cool but lovely.


But if you do it again, let me know. If I'm in the country I might join you for a weekday trip.

Wow, I'm in the mood now but the water is low. Maybe I'll hike it and go for an occasional swim.

Edited by packsaddle
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