Monday, January 23, 2006

Snow Caves

Once again I had to take the scouts on their annual winter camp out. Last year we joined the district for the "Klondike Derby" at Wood's Ranch and participated in the melee of scouts, leaders and pickup trucks. This year I talked the troop into doing our own trip. I rented snowshoes for them and took them up on Cedar Mountain near Navajo Lake. To my surprise, every scout came along and I even had some fathers. Therefore, I had 9 scouts, 3 Dads and my buddy Eric (age 8). I spent a lot of time trying to get them all prepared, going to their homes and inspecting their gear and packs. I sent some Mothers to the sporting good stores with lists of things to get. Marty and I even took our snowshoes and hiked into that area the previous Monday to "scout" things out. I had the parents get the kids out of school a couple of hours early so that we could get an earlier start (the boys were totally happy about that). The weather was good. We had fresh snow a few days earlier which put the snowpack up there at about 3 feet. Because of the clear skies though, the temperature plummeted during the night. We estimate that the temp was around 10 degrees below zero. We built snow caves to sleep in. Eric and I built our own little cave with a small entrance and a small vent hole in the roof. I couldn't quite sit up in the cave. We placed a candle on a snow shelf on the side and it burned almost all night adding a little warmth and light. Eric did great. He really enjoyed the whole experience and was a good mate for the snow cave. Somehow I got everyone through the night (after I re-bundled and tucked in several of the moma's boys). The next morning the sun finally came out and it helped warm us up. After breakfast I took the boys on a "walk about" and had them each take turns breaking trail through the powder. On one steep section through the trees I had them all race down. It was fun watching them tumble and roll through the snow. It was a lot of hard work for me to do this with the troop, but I think for the most part the boys all had fun, it not a growing experience. And everyone made it safely home without any frostbite. Can't say that I want to do it again any time soon though.