Back pack inspections have been done, we’re ready to go on our first boy scout hike. Six miles in, six miles out, what’s around the next bend along the river. So many questions are going through our minds.
Once we got to our drop off destination, which was Upper Pittsburg Campground along the snake river, we headed up the trail. Walking for 30 minutes or so until we came across our first challenges. Hiking up a draw, zig zagging around tall brush, rock boulders and the not so friendly poison oak. Topping out from the tall brush we looked back to see how far we had gone. We were thinking, “ Wow, look how far and high up we are.” Press on boys we have a long ways to go, we will take a break when we get closer to the river. Singing songs along the trail kept the moral up. Our first stop was along the trail, we walked down to the river and refilled some of the water containers. The weather was very hot today. Breaking over 90 degrees. Rehydrating and getting the needed fuel from food is necessary to keep your strength up.
We’re off again, singing and keeping focused as the trail soon will be getting narrow and steep again. One draw after another. Taking breaks as we need them. The boys asked so many questions, such as: What’s around the next corner? What time is it? How much longer: Each time we took a break the boys had to find out where we were on the map. It helped them know where we were at and they were learning map skills.
It was early afternoon and we made it to the 4 mile marker, only two miles left. It gave the boys incentive to keep on going.
Along the way we enjoyed watching all the rafters, kayakers, and jet boats. We saw signs of animal life, coyote and bear scat, grasshoppers of various kinds, and birds. Part of being in boy scouts when you are hiking or camping, they must follow the outdoor code. It’s, “As an American, I will do my best to be clean in my outdoor manners. Be careful with fire, be considerate in the outdoors, and be conservation minded.” We encourage all of you to do the same even if your with your family or some kind of outdoor function.
Hearing the boys say “we see it”, that meant down the hill we go to our resting place for the night. We made it to Kirkwood Historic Ranch. Backpacks came off and down to the creek they went. Cooling off by the water, filling water bottles, setting up the camp site and bringing out the food supply. Not to mention the boots came off and the boys lay in the green grass surrounding the Kirkwood museum. There were 4 mule deer does and one lone hen turkey walking around. There was also a rope in a very large walnut tree that kept them entertained for awhile. After some rest from carrying our packs for over 4 hours, the boys wanted to go for a walk. They tried to go up river further to suicide point, but we had limited day light, so they turned around and came back. Next trip up they will get there.
Darkness fell and we headed to our tents. The wind blew all night, but it didn’t seem to affect the boys much. They were ready to go the next morning. Eating MRE’s, hot dogs,apples, and filling their water bottles, they were pumped for the hike back. The day is about 20 degrees cooler, and the six miles back to our vehicles won’t be so hot.
I am very thankful that we had no major injuries. Only a couple blisters.
In boy scouts the Scout Slogan is “Do a good turn Daily.” This was done continuously on our two day hike. Whether it was sharing a snack, waiting for someone to catch up, filling each others water canteen or cheering each other on and more. We are very proud of these boys on what they have accomplished. Persevere to the end because you never know what lies around the next bend in the trail. Thank you Kirkwood Historic Ranch for letting us camp on the river and for giving the boys a memory they will never forget.
From left are Seth Chaffee, Drew Cochran, Mike Karel, Dakota Wilson, Robin Krol (exchange student), Tyler Hankerson. Not Pictured are Terry Cochran SM, Shari Chaffee ASM, Dani Cochran (Medic Mabel). The sign pictured is of the 4 mile marker that we came across along the trail.