Posts Tagged ‘Tres Ritos’

“About A Mile”: Backpacking Pecos Wilderness, New Mexico

26 July 2012

Summary: 45.5 miles over five days, mostly above 10,000 feet, 5700 ft of altitude gain (and loss), waterfalls, elk, cold, hail, and a wonderful time!

The South Plains Council of the BSA has a camp facility named Tres Ritos in north central New Mexico. The camp is between Las Vegas and Taos, NM, and is about 45 miles SW of Philmont Scout Ranch (beloved of Bill). Ian and I were able to go to Winter Camp at Tres Ritos a couple years ago, and Ian went to Summer Camp there three years ago. We were both able to go this year, and both attended the Tres Ritos Pecos Packers program, which is a five-day backpacking trip in the Pecos Wilderness.

Update: I have some aerial shots of the Pecos Wilderness area we hiked on another blog entry, here.

We left OKC Saturday morning, with about 45 people in three vans and a couple personal vehicles, and three trailers filled with personal and Troop gear. We had our first “oops” outside Clinton, OK. The van I was driving started having transmission slippage. We thought that going through the mountains with transmission problems was Not A Good Thing, so we left the van in the K Mart parking lot after redistributing the people riding in the van, and rearranged trailers. We had lunch at a rest stop in the Texas Panhandle, and made our way to Tucumcari, where we stayed overnight on the grounds of the New Mexico National Guard Armory. The nearby Mesalands Community College has a wind turbine:

We went through the Mesalands Community College’s Dinosaur Museum, which is an excellent paleontology museum and research facility in Tucumcari. The staff was kind enough to take us through both the public areas and the research areas. The crew there had been out in the field that morning collecting fossil specimens for cleaning and display.

These are fossilized turtle shells found in the area:

A bone found locally:

It was dry and warm, so I elected to unroll my closed-cell pad on a sidewalk next to a hedge (there was a lot of lights on the outside of the building) and slept under the stars. When I woke up, this way my view:

We had a great dinner cooked in the parking lot of the Armory Sunday evening, with chicken and steak fajitas ala Sweatt, including beans and rice. Great stuff!

We headed out Sunday morning after breakfast and went to Las Vegas, NM. We bought lunch stuff at the Wal Mart there and lunched on the parking lot, while one of the Troop vans that had been running hot was getting a new thermostat installed. We had a longish wait, and took the boys to a city park, which was shaded and had a lot of playground stuff for them to burn energy. After a bit, we headed into Tres Ritos and got checked in and camp set up.

Dinner in camp Sunday evening was cooked by the staff; it was fajitas, and they were pretty darn good.

The pictures from the camp and the Pecos Packers backpacking trip are in my Picasa/Google+ account.

Day 1

We got up long before the Sun hit the meadow. The boys cooked breakfast of eggs, sausage, cereal, milk, and juice. When the boys went off to morning flag ceremony and got to the first program of the day, the Pecos Packers (there were 16 of us) got our trail food and got packed up.

We got divided into two crews due to a Forest Service reg that allows no more than 15 “noses” in a crew (one horse is a nose, and one person is a nose). Four of our guys (including Ian) went with a partial crew from Texas, and the rest of us went as a group (so we had 13 including our Pecos Packers guide, the very fine guide Danny).

Only one comment as to the groups. The food is rationed for four people. The guide joins one of the groups, which means that five people have to eat the rations for four. The rations are NOT enough. From Tuesday noon until Friday, I was literally hungry 90% of the time. You burn a lot of calories while backpacking (I’ve seen estimates of 7K-8K calories per day), and the food bulk needed to replace those burned calories needs to be larger than the Backpackers Pantry four-person meals. Lesson learned: bring more food to supplement those meals.

We loaded up into our vans and headed to the trailhead, getting there around 0930. We started at the Santa Barbara trailhead. The first of the three Pecos Packers crews headed out, we waited about 20 minutes, then we headed out. The altitude was just under 9,000 ft.

The trail heads steadily uphill for a while, then enters the Pecos Wilderness area. We had lunch at a bridge over the Middle Fork of the Rio Santa Barbara; it was PB&J on “mountain bread”. Mountain bread looks like a Ritz cracker on steroid, but doesn’t taste like a Ritz; they are dense and largely tasteless. Recommendation: bring your own crackers. Put the mountain bread in the container for toxic waste :).

After lunch, we hit a series of switchbacks that took us up at 700 ft. The trail continued to gently rise. We made it into camp around 1600 and got set up. I don’t remember what we had for dinner, but it was good.

The first day was 7.3 miles and about 1700 ft of altitude gain. Sleeping was great! Camp was at over 10,600 ft.

Day 2

We were up the next morning around 0700. Breakfast was good and fast. We hit the trail around 0800.

Again, the trail started up. And continued up. We walked steadily up the Santa Barbara valley. The views were stunning. We say towering cliffs on the west, and rock slides to the east.

Eventually we made it to treeline, and took a couple long switchbacks to the Santa Barbara Divide, above treeline at just over 12,100 ft, for an altitude gain of 1500 ft. We had lunch here. It was chilly and a bit breezy. More mountain bread. Oh boy. The views were of the Rio Grande plain to the NNW, and the Pecos River drainage everywhere in front of us.

After a bit we noticed that our guide Danny was headed up a ridge to the east. In the spirit of the buddy system, another Scout and I followed him up. We walked up, and up, and up. We saw fossils in some of the rocks, which was very good. We got to the top of the ridge and walked along it for a while. The altitude was over 12,600 ft (so, another 500 ft) and the side hike was 1.75 miles.

I took these photos while up there with my Blackberry. I had signal up there as well, so I sent it to Raegan. This is looking SW. You see the Pecos River drainage, the mountains above Santa Fe, and in the distance, the Sandia Range near Albuquerque.

After the side hike, we headed down down down. After a bit we ran across a large slide area to the left. We kept heading steadily down until we got to the Pecos Falls. These were beautiful! We headed down a trail on the east side of the Falls, then headed downstream. It was slow going. It was also wrong going! We realized pretty quickly that we were not on the right trail. Or *any* trail. We sent out a scout to find the trail; it was about 100 ft above us and back to the north. We bushwacked up a steep slope back to the trail.

We got to camp around 1600 and got set up quickly. One thing we hadn’t known was that camping is prohibited unless you are farther from the Falls than something like 300 yards. We were quite a ways away, and at 10,600 feet. Our nearest water was a walk of a couple minutes, and down about 70 feet below the camp.

We heard a couple rumbles of thunder here during the evening, but only got a couple spits of rain.

Our guide Danny told me about the SPOT device he was carrying. It gets the current GPS location, and sends one of three signals back to a satellite at the push of a button: OK, in trouble, and send help. The unit is pretty compact. The signal sent is emailed to one or more recipients, who are supposed to take action.

One of the Scouts found an abandoned camp site on the other side of the stream. There was a large tent, a sleeping bag stuff in a trash bag, and some cooking stuff including a 10″ cast iron skillet. I used a couple pine cones and a flat rock to whet away most of the rust on the skillet.

The Day 2 hike was 8.35 miles (plus 1.75 more for the couple of us that took the side hike up the ridge). The net altitude gain was pretty much zero.

Day 3

Day 3 was a layover day for us. We were to take a day hike to an abandoned cabin to the south, and loop back up along the Pecos River.

Since we didn’t have to break camp, we decided to cook the breakfast that had pancakes in it. One thing to note: the pancakes need cooking oil, which are not in the meal packet. We used the cast iron skillet from the abandoned camp to cook ours. They were good, but I just do not think that pancakes are a good trail food. The pancakes used a lot of stove fuel, as well.

We had a bright blue sky overhead through all this. I took the clothing I was not wearing and rinsed it out in the stream, ran a clothesline, and hung it all up to dry. I also took my fleece hoodie and hung it up to air.

We all selected a lunch, loaded up packs for a day hike, and headed out. We hiked along with the though of a side hike to summit a peak to the NW of camp, but by around 1030 the clouds had completely covered the area, and we started getting hail and rain. We got at least an inch of rain over more than an hour, and *five* rounds of hail, raining from tiny to pea sized. When the hail started we dodged into a grove of trees, and spread out under the biggest ones. Lightning stabbed around us. We all had rain gear that we had broken out as soon as it started raining. It was cold. We couldn’t get our of the grove due to the lightning. The storm lasted almost an hour.

After the storm had passed, we continued hiking. We got to a large meadow and lost the trail. A couple of us spread out to find it again, and found an abandoned platform made out of logs on the north end of the meadow. We found the trail eventually. We had lunch on the north side of the meadow, and decided to head back to camp. A couple of the Scouts were pretty wet.

We had two shorter delays due to more lightning, and we burned across one meadow during a slack period. We got back to camp to discover hail piled up. My laundry from the morning was still wetter, and worse, my hoodie was soaked.

A couple of us tried to light a fire for about 30 minutes. I blew air into the fire for about five minutes, and when I stood up I was so dizzy I almost fell over. James and Brent eventually got the fire going, and they and the boys piled enough wood up to form a veritable bonfire.

The fire dried off a bunch of boots, socks, sleeping pads, and one hoodie. It took a couple hours, but I eventually got that hoodie dry. I also dried off the socks I had been wearing during the day (got them a little scorched, in fact), and my boots and liners.

As we were finishing dinner, we had a couple instances of Sun peeking out. It was pretty chilly. We went to bed before the sky was fully dark.

I needed to wash my clothes, but I should not have left the hoodie out. I was lucky to be able to dry it. The other issue is that I should have carried a set of shoes for camp. I will from now on.

While we were having dinner, a couple cows tried to walk through camp. James ran them off.

Day 4

The next morning, we got up and had oatmeal for breakfast, tried to dry the tents off, and packed up. There was still hail on the ground.

We got out of camp around 0900, and headed the wrong way. It was only a short detour, and added about 3/4 mile to the trek. We crossed the Pecos River above the Falls. We headed back up along a ridge, and started contouring along the side going north. We continued to climb until we got to saddle, and pushed over it at about 11,800 foot, for an altitude gain of about 1200 feet. We got into camp at Middle Fork Lake around 1615.

My stuff was finally drying off. I had tied it all to the pack for the day’s hike, and over the day it got drier and drier, and finally was dry in camp.

There was another abandoned tent site at the campsite. We took it down and packed it out the next day, but before we did, the boys spent the night in the tent, so they didn’t have to pitch theirs (or take them down the next morning in the dark).

We camped at just under 11,800 ft. Our total mileage for the day was 8.7 miles.

Day 5

This was a long day. We got up before dawn. Venus and a couple other planets were stunning in the east. I went to get the bear bag, and look at the sky, and saw three satellites and a couple meteors. The ISS made a pass to the NW as well, brilliant.

We headed out at 0600. We started up by bushwhacking pretty much straight up the cliff face to the west of camp. I think this was the most dangerous thing we did on the trek. It was steep and rocky. We saw some Rocky Mountain sheep on the hillside above us.

As we got up to the top of the ridge, we swung around to the south side of the ridge. Below us, we saw some elk emerge from the trees into a meadow. We stopped to watch, and the elk kept coming. After about 20 minutes, probably 100 elk had passed through the meadow. We were up much higher than they were, and we were in shadow, and quiet, so it was a perfect place to watch from.

We got to the top to get a beautiful view of the camp from the night before. We had come up 650+ ft in just over an hour. It was a tough climb.

Now started The Slog. We headed along the high ridge towards Jicarita. We walked 5 miles along the ridge pretty much continuously. The walk was up and down in 200ft+ increments. The altitude changes are not that much, but a lot of the walk was over big chunks of rock that were not particularly stable. This area would be prime for turning or breaking ankles. Some of the path was steeply down on the rocks. With packs it was not particularly fun. We all made it, but there were slips for everyone.

Eventually we got to the Jicarita trail junction. Most of the crew headed out to summit Jicarita. I didn’t, and was lucky enough to be there when Ian came down from Jicarita! His crew had spent the night at Serpent Lake below, and had side hiked from Serpent back to Jicarita. It was great seeing him and hearing how his trek had gone (well!).

For the second time on the trek, I had signal, so I made contact with Raegan and we made sure we were coordinated for meeting that evening. We waited for a bit, and then headed down to wait at the Serpent Lake trail junction. After a bit, the Jicarita summit team came down, we had late lunch, and then headed down the trail towards Tres Ritos.

This was a long segment; 9.8 miles. It was mostly downhill, and we blazed along with only one short break to pump some water at a creek. We got into camp around 1620. Our walk for the day was 14.5 miles; a long walk any day.

A longish shower was refreshing. I wasn’t particularly dirty, but it felt nice. Raegan and Erin got into camp around 1800, and we loaded up and headed out to our next adventure in Wyoming and Montana.

Maps

These are the topo, terrain, and altitude maps for the trek. I have both a plain topo, and another annotated topo.

What Went Right

I was pleased that I was physically strong enough to handle this. Mental attitude is also a large part of it, and every day on the trail helps with that aspect.

My pack worked out just fine. The Cabela’s pack had more than enough room for my personal gear and my troop gear, including food.

What Went Less Than Right

Need more food! I was actively hungry at non-meal times for several days after the trip. The Backpackers Pantry entrees are very good. They taste better than Mountain House, and the recommended amounts of water to rehydrate them are correct (the Mountain House meals tend to ask for more water than needed, and are runny). The “four-person” meals are probably 2.5-to-3-person meals. It didn’t help that we had our guide eating with us (not blaming him, of course), but the food groups should include the guide in the four-person concept.

If you use the Backpackers Pantry meals, either use one four-person meal for three people, or pack along extra food objects (maybe an extra veg or two per meal). For every breakfast and lunch, you should pack two extra food bars for each person.

Equipment Notes

My Cabela’s pack worked well for this trip. I had enough stuff that I needed to strap my closed-cell pad on the outside of the pack (Dave and I shared his tent, I carried the ground cloth, tent, and fly, and it was a bit more bulky than my tent; and I carried a 20F bag that was pretty bulky as well).

The 20F bag was good for this trip. Morning temps were probably in the low 40s (hail on the ground wasn’t melted even 20 hours later).

One of my water bags for the Sawyer filter failed, right at the top. I will try to repair it with some super glue. I also did a little research, and the Platypus hydration bag fits the Sawyer filter unit, and I think it is more sturdy. I am going to try it out on my next hike.

Summary

What a wonderful trip! The backcountry was beautiful. I was not even really aware of the Pecos Wilderness as an outdoors destination before this trip. I would like to hit some of the southern parts of the Wilderness at some point, and I would like to summit Jicarita as well (that’s worth a patch flash!).

You might be wondering about the title “About a Mile”. That was our guides standard response to the inevitable question of “How much farther?”. Perfect response.

I’m already looking forward to my next visit here. Maybe next summer?

Advertisements

A Most Excellent Scout Outing: Tres Ritos, NM

25 January 2010

Ian is a Boy Scout (as I was), and I am a Committee Member of his Troop (http://troop15yea.com/). The Troop sent a contingent of boys and adults to a winter camp at Tres Ritos Scout Camp in the mountains of New Mexico. Tres Ritos is owned by the Council in Lubbock, Texas. That Council has been putting on a Winter Camp for a couple years, and Troop 15 has been to that camp for summer camp for a number of years, and so decided that Winter Camp would be fun. BTW, in answer to the question “Why drive so far for Summer Camp when there are really nice camps in Oklahoma?” (like Slippery Falls, and Tom Hale), the answer was “Why camp out in the heat and humidity when the mountains are so much nicer?”. I like that attitude!

The Winter Camp is over the long MLK weekend. We headed out that chilly Friday afternoon from Oklahoma City in a couple vans. Our first destination was Tucumcari, NM. After stops for dinner, gas, and snacks, we were approaching Tucumcari. We got in there around 2330 local time. We were supposed to sleep inside the local National Guard Armory, but the guy that was supposed to show up and let us in FORGOT we were coming, had left town, and could not apparently find anyone else in Tucumcari that had a key to the building! Not a very good showing for the local Guard unit – I wonder what would have happened if the Governor of the state had needed them?

So being Scouts, we are supposed to be able to camp, so we did, right on the lawn and parking lot of the Armory. Curious – not a single law enforcement guy even gave us a second look. We had some tents, and they got set up, but we had a lot of tarps, so these were pressed into service as dual ground cover and top cover.

Ian got creative with a shovel to make a single-person tent.

I woke up at some point overnight and saw Canis Major through the sleeping bag. Very cool. I woke up around 0700 and had frost on the outside of my sleeping bag where the tarp didn’t cover it up. The temp overnight had dropped to around 20F, but I was warm all night, until I crawled out of the bag.

The guy in the ski mask is Ian.

After we shook everyone out, we got the gear into what feeble Sun there was available to the ice crystals off, then we had a standup breakfast and took off again.

After passing though Santa Rosa, we headed towards Las Vegas, NM. We got a good view of the Sangre de Cristos on the way in.

We stopped in Las Vegas at the local Wal Mart for final supplies, including lunch for the day, which was sandwiches, chips, and milk. North of Las Vegas, we stopped at a roadside marker and pullout to eat the lunch. The mountains were drawing very near!

About 30 miles out of Las Vegas, we got to the turn in for Tres Ritos. At this point, we started seeing serious snow.

We got the gear out of the vans and found our campsite. It was just inside the treeline on the south side of a nice meadow.

That’s my tentmate Dave in back of the tent. We shared a tent the last time on a trip to Philmont Scout Ranch in 1993.

There was a LOT of snow out there, at least to us. We found out later that this year has seen the least amount of snow at Tres Ritos in some time. We were able to drive up to the parking area near the camp headquarters, and in most previous years the snow prevented that. Groups had to haul their stuff up from the lower parking lot near the highway. Most of the boys and the adults had come prepared to essentially backpack from the lower parking area up to the campsite – that would have been about a mile slogging through the deep snow. As it was, we had to haul our stuff about 200 yards from the parking lot to the campsite.

Tres Ritos is at just under 9200 feet altitude. You noticed this as you slogged through the snow with about 30 pounds on your back.

We didn’t have a lot of directed activities. One of the “things” about Winter Camp is building snow caves to sleep in. The idea here is that you pile up a heck of a lot of snow, let it “harden” or “bake” for about six hours to get a crust of ice on the outside, then dig into it, hollow it out, hope it doesn’t collapse, then line the floor inside with a tarp or two to sleep on. I know this sounds crazy, but think on this: ice gets to pretty much no lower than 32F, and is a pretty good insulator. Once you get a couple bodies in the small space in the snow cave, body heat helps to warm it up somewhat. We got two snow caves started for the guys that wanted this.

Ian decided that maybe the work involved with shoveling the driveway at home wasn’t as bad as he thought…

It involves moving a lot of snow. A good way to do this is shovel snow onto a tarp, then drag it to the snow cave location and dump it out.

The camp buildings were where we ate and socialized.

Speaking of eating… the food there was excellent and copious. We had a hamburger beef stew the first night, and either/both chili and beans the second night. Breakfast Sunday morning was pancakes and biscuits and gravy. All tasted excellent. The stew and chili and beans were made in 10-gallon pots, and food was left over every night, surprisingly enough. The chili was especially good; I essentially had three bowls of the stuff, and a bowl of beans. It was spicy enough to leave my lips slightly burning. I said to myself “well, it’s really cold, and I’m burning the calories…”. The adults pretty much stuffed themselves, the boys, not so much. I guess that when I was a Scout, whatever didn’t kill me made me stronger, but kids today are a bit more picky. Even Ian didn’t finish his bowl of beans or stew.

The staff had snacks all over the place free for the scarfing. They also had big jugs of water and bug juice out, hot water for tea and hot chocolate, and coffee pots with both caf and decaf, and kept a fire burning in one building from 0430 – 0100 each day. The whole support structure was really well organized. I was impressed.

I just cannot get enough of the night sky, especially in the mountains. Saturday night after dinner, I walked out to the middle of the meadow and just… stood… there… with my headed looking up, my neck hurting a bit, for a solid hour. It was stunning. I could see the Milky Way, Saturn came up, and the Orion Nebula was visible. I also saw one polar-orbiting satellite, and no less than five meteors, tons of stars, and the occasional airplane. An owl hooted off in the distance. It was just beautiful.

Sunday morning was really pretty. The temp overnight had dropped to around 8F. I was perfectly warm overnight. Ian and I both had a mummy bag rated at 0F. I bought them at Cabella’s in Omaha, for $40 apiece on sale, great value. Both bags were supplemented with a fleece liner. I ended up losing a layer of clothing and leaving the fleece liner unzipped the second night, when it got to 12F.

One thing I was surprised about. I was NOT looking forward to changing clothes in the morning (it’s a good idea to put a dry layer on next to your skin every day). I stuffed the clothes I was going to change into into my sleeping bag so they would not be completely cold, and then stood outside the tent the next morning, stripped down to skin, and changed. I was not terribly cold during this process. It was 8F and was I standing outside on snow, but wasn’t shivering at all. Now, I didn’t spend 15 minutes doing that, more like three, but still, it was not unpleasant at all. I guess you can really get used to the cold.

After breakfast Sunday, we took the day to ski at Sipapu Ski Area, about 10 miles from Tres Ritos.

Some of the guys got skis, some snowboards, but pretty much everybody had a lot of fun. Two of the adults rented snowshoes and went for a backcountry hike. That really sounded fun, and I will be torn in the future on which to do. I love skiing, but snowshoe hiking sounds like a lot of fun also. Several other troops also went to Sipapu. I actually got a coordinate a mini-rescue while there, one new skier had gone right over the edge of a run about 20 feet, and we used one of his buddies and a pair of ski poles to pull him back up onto the piste.

I’ve got to say I was pretty much deliriously happy at Sipapu (I had never even heard of the place before committing to Winter Camp). I never stood in a lift line. There wasn’t enough snow to get all the way to the top of the mountain, but just skiing off the main lift at the bottom got me to enough runs to keep me very happy. Up, down, up, down, I stopped counting at 15 runs, I think I had 20. It was great. A couple of the runs were a little thin on snow cover, but there were blue runs on the east side of the area that I never saw another person on; I had them all to myself time after time. The food there was not unreasonable, and they had free refills for iced tea and Coke! Almost unheard of at a ski area. I skied on a pair of 175s, the longest skies that were rented. I was amazed that most of the beginners (including the adults) were on what I would consider skies for four-year-olds. The boot bindings were darn near as long as the skies.

Back in camp, the non-ski/snowboard/snowshoers had a sled race and several other activities as well.

When we got back, we had dinner, and some of the guys went to the snowcaves that had been finished.

No stargazing Sunday evening, since it was cloudy.

The next (Monday) morning, we all got up, had breakfast, and broke camp. We got out around 1000, and arrived back in OKC at 2130. As always, I was really sad to leave the mountains behind. I’m not really a beach lover.

We had a couple small issues pertaining to sleeping arrangements with the Scouts, but overall we had a good time. A couple of the guys had headaches (we were up very high and doing some exerting), but nothing debilitating.

A couple observations on technology and gear. Ian and I had new sleeping bags rated at 0F, with fleece liners. They were wonderful! I’ve a goose down bag I’ve used for years, and been very cold in the bag in temps north of 30F. This time the temps were south of 10F and I was, if not overly hot, very comfortable.

Footwear. The only way that I was uncomfortable were my feet. I wore my standard boots that have served me well for years. The thing I had forgotten about was that waterproofing wears off. Walking in snow, and in and out of buildings, the snow that accumulates turns back into water and finds it’s way into the boot. I had wool and cotton socks, and they happily absorbed the water. A side effect was that the wet boots then froze overnight, leading to problems getting them back on. At the least, I should have had gaiters with boot covers. Even better, next time, I will go armed (or, footed) with rubberized boots. Most of the people there had them, and very few people had wet feet. I will be looking at Academy and at Cabela’s at Omaha.

Footwear 2: Ian had an older pair of my snow boots to wear. They served me well for many years. Too many years. At some point one of the boot soles completely failed, leaving the bottom of his foot exposed to the snow. Fortunately, one of the other leaders had mentioned he brought some duct tape, so I secured that and built, this…

Duct tape would not adhere to the boot material, but it would adhere to itself, so I went front to back and side to side and around, and it survived until we left Monday morning. The lesson – inspect the gear before departing, ALL of it.

When we struck camp, Dave and I noticed some interesting effects. The tent was on a ground cloth on top of snow. Our body weights and heat had pressed down where our sleeping pads were, leaving an ice dam about 4″ high between our sleeping areas. Also, right underneath his chest area, the snow had melted and refrozen. The area underneath my chest area showed a similar effect, but not as pronounced. I’m heavier than Dave, so I interpret the difference as being that Dave had a thinner closed-cell foam pad, while I had two thicker closed-cell pads, both of which are ridged, to allow a bit of air circulation, meaning less heat to melt the snow. It was pretty cool.

All in all, a wonderful way to spend a long weekend. The temps never got above 33F while we were up in the mountains, but the staff of the camp had the buildings to be in, and the gear kept us warm at night (which is the most important time), and that helped keep everyone’s spirits up. We had some crashed Scouts and Scouters on the way back, and I didn’t really like getting up at 0445 the next morning to head to the airport, but we all stayed safe, and that’s what was most important.

I think I’m already looking forward to next year! I know I’m looking forward to Summer Camp there!