Monday, November 24, 2014

Robot Weekend

  • Bengt went to FFL scrimmage at Rock Academy to meet up with his team to start on their robot prototype.  We walked around Liberty Station while the kids did their work and visited the NTC Commander's museum.
  • Family hike at Pipe (haven't been there in a long time)
  • Checked out the Swami's tidepools (haven't been there in a long time as well)

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

T774 Colorado River Trek - Hoover Dam to Willow Beach

Two years after our last river trip, the troop headed out to the desert for another trip down the Colorado.  This time, the plan was to put in at Hoover Dam and float to Willow Beach camping at Arizona Hot Springs.  The total float miles was only 12 so a bit shorter than last time.  However, there is lots more to do along the river this time.
We drove up Saturday to Willow Springs to rendezvous and camp for the night.  The campground was very nice with good sites, showers and all the amenities.  The scouts immediately headed to the hills to run around after the long 6 hour drive.
We woke up at 5a in order to meet Jerkwater near the dam at 7a.  Everyone ate quickly, packed up and we all drove to the parking lot at the Hacienda hotel along the 93.  We needed to be there on time since the dam launches are very restricted for security reasons.  The launch site was right below the dam, just down river from some of the output tunnels.  Due to the low water of the river, the launch was very rocky and it was hard to get the canoes and gear all positioned.  But we all got on the water without any issues!  We started paddling and quickly came to the first stop, Sauna Cave.  The "cave" was a small grotto that had some heated spring water coming out of it and it made some steam to look like a sauna.  I wasn't aware of the geothermal activity in the area but we would see more of it as we traveled.  The next big stop was Boy Scout Canyon.  It had a nice sandbar to land at and we explored the heated stream that formed the canyon.  Someone had placed sandbags to form pools that were pretty neat.  We also saw the first of the amoeba warning signs!  We got to our campsite at Arizona Hot Springs pretty easily since it was only 4 miles from the dam.  We pulled up our canoes onto the beach and setup camp.  There was another troop already there but we found plenty of space.  Later in the day, an outdoor group from UCSB came upstream and setup camp as well.  We did some more exploring up the canyon and found a ladder to help us up to one set of pools.  The water got hotter the higher up the canyon you went.  The last pool was so hot I had to run through it!  Everyone ate dinner and hit the sack.
I woke up at dawn after one of my best nights sleeping ever!  I think it was the sandy ground.  As we packed our tents, one of the adults found a scorpion underneath theirs!  We got on the water around 9:30a and started for our 8 mile day.  Paddling started out fine but the wind picked up pretty quick and we made slow time for a few miles.  We stopped for lunch at a big sandbar and wondered if we would make it to the takeout point in time for our 2p deadline.  Bengt switched with another younger scout you was having some difficulty.  Thankfully, the wind died down and we made good time past the gauging station, Emerald cave and the old fish hatchery.  We got to Willow Beach right at two to clean and load the canoes on the trailers.  It was a pretty quick ride back to the hotel parking lot.  From there, we quickly gathering our gear and everyone scattered for the long drive home.

Friday, November 07, 2014

Monday, November 03, 2014

Sierra Club ABDSP Backpack

After trying to get a PCT hike together, I ended up on a Sierra Club overnight to Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.  This event was in the far eastern part of the park that I have been to, Fish Creek.
I woke up early on Saturday and headed out to Ramona for the first checkpoint.  We then headed along 78 past Julian, down the Banner Grade, past Scissors Crossing to Ocotillo Wells where we gathered again.  We then head down Split Mt. Road to the Fish Creek wash turnoff.  After a very short drive into the wash, we parked off the road.  There was a quick briefing while we got our stuff together.  The camp was only about a mile from the cars.  We got to camp and setup.  We then headed on a dayhike around the ridge that we were camped up against.
We headed around the hill and at the north end, we headed up to the peak.  There was a benchmark named "Cerro" at the top.  We then headed along the ridge to the old strontium mine at the southern end.  On the way back to camp, we stopped by the cars to pick up some cleaning supplies.  We then proceeded to dismantle and clean up several fire rings.  We packed out a lot of cans, bottles, charcoal and other trash.  We later found out that particular piece of land isn't owned by the park yet!  Hopefully they will obtain it soon. After the hike, there was a great gathering for dinner and a "campfire" using a homemade candle.  The night was very nice, not too hot or cold nor too breezy.
We woke up, broke camp and made coffee.  The plan was to do another dayhike, but I had to head back home.  When we got to the cars, we ran into a bighorn sheep study.  They were catching the ewes using a helicopter, then bringing them down for tests.  It is not everyday you see a bighorn sheep hanging beneath a helicopter!
The ride back was wonderful.  There was little traffic and the weather was cool until I got past Ramona.

Cerro benchmark.

Cowboy camping next to a sheltering bush.

It is hard to see the sheep handing under the chopper.

Sheep inspection station.