The Boy Scouts of America has been in the news a lot recently, and rightfully so. Let’s hope the Boy Scouts of America HQ get’s its stuff together real quick. While some adult scout leaders have wasted time not being brave, friendly, kind or the rest of the Scout Law, Troop 14 got busy doing real scout stuff this past weekend: snow camping.
I love snow camping. It is one of the most outdoorsman activities you can do. Telling a friend I went snow camping gets the best reaction. “You camped where??”
More than any other troop outing, snow camping teaches endurance. Temperatures dropped below 10 degrees F at night. And although that might not sound too bad to my friends back in the Midwest, remember that these are California city kids. And they are sleeping in this weather. These kids have to learn to problem solve in the teams while fighting numb toes and fingers.
We don’t hike much, maybe 1 mile round trip. But snow shoeing is extreme hiking. Everyone is carrying a full backpack, dragging a sled and trudging through 1-2 feet of fresh powder. Older boys typically go in front of the line, to let the younger ones trace their steps. I was more sore after this trip than I am after any other.
Everything is more difficult in the snow. Cooking, for example, takes much longer since water boils at a higher temperature at 7,500 ft. Not to mention the breezy cold air keeps some stoves from every getting really hot. I asked this boy if he was trying to protect his stove from the wind. “No,” he said. “Trying to warm up my hands.”
One of the boys and his father dug a snow cave for their sleeping quarters. Snow caves are actually warmer than tents as they don’t allow wind to pass through and can store heat quite well. I also built a snow cave, but it collapsed on me during construction.
Note the rabbit foot prints above their cave. Those foot prints weren’t there the night before.
The dads had some time to kill Sunday morning, so one of them tried building an igloo. He had brought a saw, and with the help of his son, they cut out frozen blocks of snow. Other fathers weren’t without lots of advice and supervision.