By Gregg Scott
The weekend of June 2 -4 turned out to be quite the adventure as Chester BSA Troop 36 joined Susanville Troop 159 on a trip to explore the Lave Beds National Monument in Modoc County. The Monument has so many unique offerings for those looking for wildlife, prehistoric as well as early American history, and miles of caves and lava tubes to go spelunking in.
The campout itself is always an opportunity for the Scouts to hone their outdoor skills; including good camp site selection, safe fire building, cooking and Leave No Trace conservation skills. The area in and around this National Monument, however, also offers the remnants of the 1915 eruption of Mt. Lassen including the aforementioned lava tubes and caves, the historical “Captain Jack’s Stronghold” of the Modoc Tribe, ancient petroglyphs in the monument and at Petroglyph Point near Tule Lake and an abundance of bird and mammal wildlife due to its close proximity to Tule Lake and Klamath National Wildlife Refuges. There have also been 16 species of bats that have been observed or recorded within the national monument. Some are relatively common year-round, while others are only observed with specialized scientific equipment and during their seasonal migration.
No matter where the Troop goes on its monthly outings, they always seem to have fun and come home with a few more skills and more knowledge than when they left. The weekly meetings are where they learn about personal management, citizenship, the rules of outdoorsmanship and the 12 points of the Scout Law. Yes, they do learn on their trips, but mostly they are just FUN. Even though scouting is a program to help youth develop academic skills, self-confidence, ethics, leadership skills, and citizenship skills that influence their adult lives, having fun in the process is a maxim used by almost every scout leader.