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The boys of Troop 36 are busy cooking a pancake, bacon and eggs breakfast so they can get started on the day’s events. As a patrol lead troop, the members decide the menus and they prepare their own meals as a team.  Besides learning some culinary skills, they also meet certain rank requirements and they get to eat food they like. Photo courtesy of Troop 36

Troop 36 kicks off spring with campout

By Gregg Scott

Staff Writer

Friday afternoon, May 20, found Chester Troop 36 setting up camp in the Cave Campground next to Hat Creek just north of the town of Old Station. After a fine dinner of Spaghetti, garlic bread and fresh fruit, the boys settled down around the campfire to go over Saturday’s planned events.  With temperatures dropping, everyone decided to adjourn to their sleeping bags a little early. Overnight lows were somewhere near 27 degrees and everyone agreed they had a chilly night’s sleep.  A nice warming fire the next morning brightened up the day and after a breakfast of chocolate chip pancakes, bacon and eggs cooked by the Scouts it was time for some handbook work to finish up their rank requirements.

Into the truck and off to explore the Spatter Cone Nature Trail located north of the Hat Creek Campground.  It has a length of just a little over a mile and a half, but it’s pretty steep as it winds its way through the rugged lava rocks, crevices and caves.  The Scouts seemed to enjoy checking out the underground caverns and many vistas. Part of the trail trip was to include paying attention to the local wildlife and indigenous plant life. Knowing what plants and animals might cause injury to people is an important part of Scouting knowledge. The added benefit is the beautiful scenery they get to see in the process.

Next stop was the Subway Cave near the intersection of Hwy 44 and 89. Subway is quite well known to the scouts of Troop 36, but it appears that going into blackness is always a welcome adventure for them.  Back to camp just in time for the lads to start fixing dinner.  Half pound cheese burgers, chips and a vegetable tray (with dip) almost filled them up. It always seems to takes a few Smores to finish the job at almost every campout.  Saturday was a little warmer and was made for an evening to sit around the campfire and chatting with the Scouts.  It is sometimes amazing to hear some of the questions that come up and always interesting to hear some of their ideas.

Next morning is made up of camp cleanup, (Leave no Trace) with the site cleaner than when we arrived and a breakfast of Troop 36’s version of McMuffin sandwich.  Grilled English Muffin with Black Forest Ham, cheese and a fried egg, along with fresh melon, blueberries, strawberries and bananas. Some orange juice and milk to wash it all down and away we go. One short stop at the Hat Creek Vista stop to see where they had been and then back to Chester. Great weekend had by all and a huge thanks to Mark Welsh and Leslie Scott for their dedication to a successful event and making it possible for all the scouts present to complete their tenderfoot rank requirements.

Some of the caverns along the trail are smaller and not so easy to enter. Here are scouts, from left: Seth Linn, Wyatt Strange and Cash Monteith getting ready to check out one of the tinier caves. Photo courtesy of Troop 36
Then again, some of the caves are a little bigger and will take you much farther into the realm of the unknown. From left: Wyatt Strange, Cash Monteith and Seth Linn are emerging from one of the larger holes and appear to be very satisfied with the experience. Photo courtesy of Troop 36
This is one of the scenic vistas the troops saw while hiking the Spatter Cone Trail. Mt. Lassen from the north side still has quite a bit of snow left and fortunately the Dixie Fire didn’t make its way this far west. Photo courtesy of Troop 36
One of the more unique finds during the hike was this giant cocoon filled with caterpillars that were starting to emerge. There was a general guess that maybe, due to the size of the caterpillars, they were Monarch Butterflies, but that still remains a mystery. Photo courtesy of Troop 36

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