Above Garden Valley, Idaho
By : Jeff Head
Our Scout Troop met at the home of the father of the senior patrol leader at 9:30 AM outside Emmett, Idaho. My son, Jared was also one of the scouts going on the trip. Marve (the father of the Sr. Patrol Leader) was taking the scouts up to their camp a little early to get a head-start on building their snow shelter(s) and in setting up camp. The Winter Camp for the Payette District of the Ore-Ida Council was to be held about seven miles above Garden Valley, Idaho on the East Fork of the Payette River where a number of Scout Troops from Emmett, Payette, Cascade, and other local Idaho towns would be meeting together
I was not going to come up until a little later in the afternoon, so Marve and the boys, along with Marve's nineteen year old son, Mike, left with all the gear. The Scouit master, Terry and another father were also going to be joining us later that day. In addition, one of our Varsity Scouts, the patrol leader, Robby, was also going. I am an advisor to that Varsity Scout Troop.
The trip up to this Winter Camp is very beautiful and scenic. The pictures make it clear why some of us weather the cold and chose to be up here in this environment, truly a wonderful part of "God's country".
The scenery is beautiful, the snow deep in route to Winter Camp
Igloo that housed seven scouts and my own individual snow shelter
After snow shelter construction, we met with all of the other troops for a campfire meeting. Discussions regarding the camp activities, protocal and camp rules were held, then each troop gave a "skit". Some of those were pretty funny ... and all of them were pretty short! Afterwards, chips and salsa were served for all.
Meeting around the campfire, discussions were held, skits presented and then chips & salsa for all.
We retired to our shelters and tenets between 10:15 and 11 PM for the night. We awoke next morning to find that during the night, the temperature, after falling into the single digits just after midnight, had moderated back into the teens. Everyone slept very comfortably ... in fact, in my shelter I had been too warm and had unzipped both my insulated coveralls and my sleeping bag to allow cooler air to keep me from sweating. Any moisture, either from sweat or from a too warm shelter is highly uncomfortable in cold weather, and can turn life threatening. As a result of my experience, I was up around 5 AM to walk a couple of miles, survey the surrounding terrain, stoke our camp fire, and wait for the others to awaken.
The boys began to awaken, talk and move around ar about 6:30 AM and were quickly ready for the 8 AM camp meeting and the presentation of the colors.
Jared outside the igloo and myself, with the snow shelters in the background.
After breakfast, it was time for the instructional part of the camp. One of the principle reasons for holding a Winter Camp(oree) is to insure that the boys get good instruction in various aspects of winter and mountain survival. Four "courses" were held, taught by the local Sheriff's Department Search and Rescue team and by local adults and scout leaders. These included instruction on snow shelter construction techniques, snow camping preparedness, signaling and fir building. Both instructional and hands-on involvement are emphasized.
Search and Rescue teach snowshelter building while Seth helps hollow out a snow cave.
Then, one of the highlights for the Camp was held .... the annual "Klondike". The troops had all built sleds for the event and they were to be pulled by the boys themselves acting as the sled "team". Usually the lightest scout sits in the sled while the others use ropes to pull the sled around a set-out course up to 1/2 mile in length. Fastest sled around the course wins.
It is always interesting to see the various designs the different troops come up with. Some are built very sturdily, realizing that the sled has to hold up against the rigors of the course ... some are built extremely light, in the hopes that the resulting speed can result in a win, as long as the sled holds together.
This year we had everything from your tradiotional wooden sled designs, to a simple lawn chair bolted to two ski's, to a store-bought plastic sled. In the end, the store-bought plastic sled, coupled with the older ages of the boys in that particular troop, led to a victory for them. The snow was crusty and difficult to "pack" and the boys kept breaking through, which worked hard on their stamina. The older, more physically developed boys definitely had the edge over our mainly 12 and 13 year olds. Our boys were disappointed, but not disheartened.
You see, the major competition for the camp is the "overall" scout judging and those results were yet to be announced. While the boys were being instructed and were involed in the Klondije "race", judges were observing their attentiveness, their attitude, their scouting spirit and checking out each of their camps. inspecting them. In this, the principle competition, Troop 326 was not to be denied. They brought home the coveted Blue Ribbon, signifying First Place. Such an outcome more than made up for the lost Klondike and warmed the heart and spirit of our team as we returned home through our beautiful Idaho mountain scenery.
More beautiful Idaho scenery and some honored "guests" a little ways down the road.
OTHER EMMETT, IDAHO SCOUTING TRIPS AND EXPERIENCES: