Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Lake Powell High Adventure - Canoeing/Kayaking

This year for High Adventure, we rented some Kayak's and Canoes and went down to Lake Powell to explore the canyons there.  We spent 3 days on the lake, moving our camp each day so we could explore more space.  We rented the following boats from the local university outdoor rentals:
  • 2-single kayaks
  • 4-tandem kayaks
  • 3 canoes
We drove down on a Tuesday afternoon, and spent the night on the lake at the vehicles.  This is the view from the vehicles on Wednesday morning:

 Wednesday morning we brought all the boats down to the lake and loaded all the gear inside.  We also had an inflatable raft with a motor on it that we used to haul a lot of the gear.  Below is a view of us loading the boats.  I took this photo because the lake is rising 12" per day right now, so I knew the little "peninsula" out there would be covered up when we got back.  I forgot to take a picture when we got back, but it was gone!
 The first day I and another leader took the single kayak's so we could bounce around from boat to boat to give pointers and encouragement.  We also had to switch people around some to get them in groups that worked well together.  We had them switch boats with eachother out in the lake, cause they need to be able to do that for the canoeing and kayaking merit badge.
 Here's our camp on the first night.  We chose a small inlet that was too small for motor boats to come into so that we could have the place to ourselves.  It was beautiful!
We explored one canyon that had "Moqui Steps" carved into the canyon wall.  (I'm standing above them here, so you can't see them).  This is the view from the top!
Our biggest challenge was boys getting tired of paddling.  We went approximately 10 miles on the first day (except for me and another leader who volunteered to go back to the vehicles to get something that was left there that was essential to the trip, we got to go approximately 19 miles on the first day).  Some of the boys did fine with paddling all day, but most of them got tired quickly and didn't want to do it anymore.  One thing against us was whenever there was wind, it was always against us.  So if we stopped paddling our progress would stop quickly and then we'd go backwards!  The second day we went 7 miles and then 7 miles the third day.

The next biggest challenge was filtering water all the time!  It was upper 90's for the temperature, and we needed to constantly be drinking to stay hydrated!  We clogged 3 water filters filtering the dirty lake water!  Luckily we had another 2 to use as backup so we made it ok, but we spent a lot of time filtering!

One of the afternoons we spent working on skills for the canoeing and kayaking merit badges out in a small inlet where we were camped.  We swamped canoes and kayaks and un-swamped them using other boats, and on the shore.  We did the different strokes and things they needed to do.  Now we just need to meet afterwards and work on the paperwork part to get the badges done!  It was nice swamping the canoes in warm water instead of the cold mountain lakes I remember doing it in when I was a scout!

We had planned on exploring Friday and then coming home Saturday, but we got a weather report (from a portable emergency weather radio) that there was a wind advisory for Friday afternoon on the lake, with 30-40 mph winds!  We decided it was best to boat back to the vehicles Friday morning to beat the wind and be off the lake before it got bad.  It was a good thing we did cause even the wind in the morning was a challenge to maneuver the boats through without swamping, keeping moving in the right direction!

At the beginning of the week most everyone was zig-zagging along, trying to go straight, but not really making it.  By the end of the week we were all going pretty straight!

We ate raisin bran for breakfast every morning with powdered milk.  We prepared ziplock baggies with single servings of raisin bran and powdered milk.  Then all we had to do was pour in a cup of water, shake it up a bit and eat!  It was actually pretty good!  For dinner we had Mountain House freeze dried dinners, and they were great!  Very lightweight, but great flavor!

What would I do differently next time?  I'd have to try to lighten the load of the gear.  We had way more gear than we needed!  We were worried about swamping the canoes so we stowed the majority of the gear on the inflatable raft, but we only accidentally swamped a canoe once, and though a sleeping bag went swimming, we were able to dry it out on the hot rocks before bed time, so all was well.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Fathers and Sons in the Desert

This year for Fathers and Sons with the 11-12 year old scouts, we went out to the west desert to camp.  We had a great time spending time together and enjoying the great weather!  Here's our camp:
 Of course when we saw this "peak" we had to climb it!  Luckily there's a trail (bottom left) that leads all the way to the top!
I loved spending time with my own son!  YES!  My oldest son is now 11 and can go on campouts with the scouts!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Rockport Reservoir Yurt Campout

Ok, so I can hardly call it a "campout" if we slept in Yurts, but there wasn't hardly any snow so we couldn't do our regular Snow Cave Campout this year.  I don't count the night as a camping night either if they're sleeping in a Yurt.  But it was a fun outing!
We played football out on the ice (frozen over reservoir).  We found out the ice was 2 feet thick!

We tried a new treat around the campfire this time.  It's called Woofum's.  (we called them "doughboys" when I was growing up).  You take refrigerator biscuits and wrap them around a 1" diameter wooden dowel, and cook it over the fire.  When it's done you pull it off and have a nice cup made out of roll, that you fill with honey, or cherry pie filling, whipped cream, pudding, etc.  It was a hit!  We went through 6 packs of refrigerator biscuits!