It’s fire season, so we are avoiding back-country camping for a few months. That said, we have Scouts and Scouters who need to break in backpack gear and get used to our packs.
So we took some of our Scouts out on a shakedown hike to Sycamore Falls in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. It was warm, a couple of our number did not bring enough water, and it was more strenuous wearing masks, but it was a lot of fun and a real confidence-builder for a Troop that has made car camping a habit over the last few years. I am going to suggest to the PLC that we make this an annual activity.
I can’t wait to head into the back country in a few months. Meantime, we have some great front country trips planned.
Socially-distanced, of course.
On Saturday, Scouts from Troop 234, accompanied by Arrow of Light scouts from Pack 3234, began the year with a seven-mile hike up Sycamore Canyon in Point Mugu State Park. With a maximum elevation change of 120 feet, it was a comfortable way to start the year and include our incoming scouts as well. It also gave scout William Smith a opportunity to complete a key requirement for advancement.
(One of the unique aspects of Troop 234 is the way the entire troop will get behind each scout in their effort to advance and to capture the full scouting experience.)
The troop rarely takes part in outdoor activities in heavily-trafficked areas, but the location of the park – and the fact that many other trails in the region had been damaged or closed by the recent fire and flooding – meant that Sycamore Canyon was especially busy. The trail, used by hikers, mountain bikers, and runners alike, offered the troop a unique opportunity to learn and practice trail etiquette, how to properly share a trail with a range of other people.
The park is well-managed, the trail is patrolled by rangers on mountain bikes, and we agreed that the park would be an excellent site for a family campout at some point in the future. Point Mugu State Park is yet another example of the wealth of outdoor opportunities right in Troop 234’s own backyard.