Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Fairview Snowcave Campout 2016

It has been a few years since we've been able to do a snowcave campout because of lack of snow, and lack of a good location to go. We used to go up Farmington Canyon, but now they have a gate at the base that only allows snowmobiles through all winter.  So we had to search and find a new location this year.  Everywhere we checked out we were told we couldn't camp there, or there wasn't enough snow.  Finally we decided to drive 2 hours south to the location my dad's scout troop had just gone the weekend before for their camporee.

Unfortunately when we got there, the parking area was very muddy, and there wasn't much room left to dig caves.  We walked around and checked it out anyway, and were told by a guy there that they were going to have a vintage snowmobile race (with 90 vintage snowmobiles) there the next day, starting at 6 AM.  We decided that wasn't where we wanted to be, so asked if he had any other ideas.  He pointed us to a parking area down the road a bit and suggested we try there.  We checked it out and decided to go for it.

We ended up digging 7 caves right into the snow pile along the edge of the pavement parking lot.  (we had 8 boys and 8 adults)  The digging actually went really well, there was a small section of ice, but other than that, the snow was perfect for digging.

Some things we found useful were:

  • to slide a sled into the cave and have the person digging fill up the sled with snow then push it back out when done.  The person on the outside dumps the sled over and slides it back in.  Then he shovels the snow that came out up on top of the cave.
  • To use hand saws to cut out blocks of snow that were easy to throw out the cave opening.
  • Inflatable, solar powered LED lanterns work great to lighten up the entire cave.
We did stew for dinner, and then ziplock omelets for breakfast.  You make an omelet in a ziplock baggie and then drop that into boiling water to cook.  Then you eat it out of the bag.  I tried a different recipe this time, and used my dad's Apple Omelet recipe.  It was really good!  Here's the recipe:

Apple Omelet:
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 apple diced
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • Salt
  • Sprinkle some Cinnamon & Sugar in there too
It was a great location for the 8 young boys who were all on their first snow cave campout because they could get off the snow, and the cars were right there (though we never needed to allow anyone inside the vehicles to warm up, they did great!).  Maybe next time we'll find a place to go where we can hike in a bit and really survive.  I enjoy doing that and the boys feel quite the accomplishment from it.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Crystal Hot Springs Campout

Every November our troop does a hot springs campout. Yeah, kind of crazy to go swimming in the winter when it's cold and dark (we either soak in the evening or first thing in the morning), but that's what makes it fun, right?

We've gone to Diamond Fork Hot Springs a few times, where you hike 2 miles to the springs to soak, then have to hike the 2 miles back. (we've done Diamond Fork a few other times, see Here, and Here)

Other years we've done Meadow Hot Springs, where it's more like a 1/4 mile hike to the springs from the parking lot.  It is also a natural hot springs - non-commercial.

This time we decided to go to a commercial hot springs where they have camping as well.  Crystal Hot Springs is great for scout troops, and they are full every November Friday Night (I guess other troops have the same November Hot Springs Campout tradition).

We set up camp and started a fire to get ready for tin foil dinners (yep, we changed the tradition we've had for ages of having beef stew and rolls for dinner).  Everyone liked it cause we had everyone make their own dinners - so they put in it what they would eat.

After dinner and setting up camp, we went to the springs and soaked & played for the next couple hours.  Crystal has two water slides that they run with warm-ish water.  The boys would rush up to do the slides a few times till they froze, then they'd get back in the hot tubs to soak and warm up.

Of course the scouts have to have competitions, right?  This time we challenged each other to who could hold their breath underwater the longest.  I thought I did pretty good with like a minute and 20 seconds, but one of the other leaders got over 2 minutes!  Luckily he wasn't a driver, so we didn't have to wonder if he fried too many brain cells to drive from starving them from oxygen.
Who's going to win?
Unfortunately photos don't turn out too well at the hot springs with all the steam - oh well.

We took a few younger scouts this time (just turned 12) and one of the issues we had was getting them to dress warmer around the camp!  I would think that logically you would put on clothes to keep warm, but some of them I guess didn't want to miss out on what was going around the campfire so they didn't change out of their wet swimming suit till everyone decided to go to bed!  They claimed they were warm, but they were sure huddling around the fire the whole time!  Oh well, they learn eventually, right?

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Moab High Adventure - Men Of Abiding Brotherhood

This year for High Adventure we went to Moab and did some hikes and attempted to raft the Colorado River!
Our theme for the trip used the word "Moab"


So we tried to do things that we could work together on, and that would strengthen our brotherhood.

We started out with the Fiery Furnace in Arches National Park.  You have to get a permit from the visitors center to go into fiery furnace, and watch a short video.  Fiery Furnace is basically a playground of canyons that converge together.  There isn't a trail down there, so they want you to walk in the washes and on the rocks so you don't disturb the organic crust.  Here's us hiking down to the area:
 We hiked through one of the canyons and up to the top.  Here's a view of the fiery furnace from above:
It was a lot of fun, and it forces the boys (and leaders) to work together to get over obstacles and stuff!  It was a great way to start our trip and get us all working together!
Here's a view of the surrounding area:

After we finished the Fiery Furnace, we hiked to Delicate Arch, then waited our turn with the dozens of other people that wanted their picture beneath the arch:
It is so much bigger than what I had assumed it would be!  It's huge!  It's amazing that it's standing!  Here's another shot of the arch from the side:

Our next adventure was rafting down the Colorado River!  The forecast didn't look too good, but it didn't the day before and turned out good, so we decided to give it a try.  Unfortunately the storms came in quickly as you can see below:

And we were forced to pull out on the side to wait out the storm.  But the storm didn't quit!  It was pouring on us for a long time, so we set up our rafts upside down on a log for some shelter:
Then one of the leaders challenged another leader to build a fire to warm us up.  Even offered $10 if he could do it (since it was pouring and everything was soaked)!  Well, we scout leaders are always up to a good challenge, so he proceeded to pull bark off of an old cottonwood tree, and started a fire, which we then huddled around to warm up to.  He had a lighter and hand sanitizer and was able to get it started with that!

Unfortunately the storm kept going, so we eventually sent a leader back to the cars to get the truck and we bailed on the river idea and took the rafts back to the rental place.

We did a few more hikes, then the last day we stopped off at a waterfall to wash off and cool off:
It felt so good to walk in to the water fall area and wash away all the sweat and freeze in the cold water!

Some stats:
5 boys, 6 leaders (yeah, we got our 2-deep leadership covered)
5 days, 4 nights
$400 for food
830 miles driven total
about 20 miles hiked total
Someone stole 2 of our kayaks, and a cooler full of milk, eggs, and butter!
We strengthened our brotherhood in our troop and had a fun time!