Troop 26 Scout Owen S. chose a project at one of the troop’s favorite camping spots – Horseshoe Bend on the Manzana River. It’s a popular camping spot, and a toilet would really improve the area for both the sheer luxury of it, but also since not all campers practice ‘leave no trace’ in certain outdoor activities.
A reconnaissance crew went out the week before to drop off supplies about a mile downstream, driving in on a private road, whose owners kindly allowed the drop-off. On the big weekend, we hiked in, carrying camping gear, plus some tools, to Horseshoe Bend. The taskmaster set us right to work, and we worked hard hoping Owen would give us some time off later in the day to cool off in the river. The project consisted of digging a deep pit and anchoring the toilet over it, constructing a decorative privacy screen, and installing a sign indicating the direction to the toilet.
Some thoughts of the weekend shared by participants::
- Stop whining and keep carrying that lumber, I’m sure the site is just around the next turn.
- It was stupid hot out when we did the project, so going in the river after it was done was great.
- I never knew such a small fish could bite.
- Carrying “the spoon” to camp was an adventure. (Note: The Spoon is a 10 foot long digging tool)
- The afternoon swim, and Mr. Schott’s food made for a great weekend!
- Installing this backcountry toilet was a crappy job but someone needed to do it.
It was a great improvement to a favorite site – and hopefully we’ll be back there soon!! It was also gratifying to see how everyone, even non-Scouts, practiced the Scout Law ‘helpful’. Everyone who participated in the project: Mr. Beckstrand, Mr. Schott, Mr. Bohley, and Mr. Weakliem, Cooper B., Owen S., Nathaniel S., Logan B., and Jonathan W. plus the folks who live out there and saved us from carrying all the supplies and wood for 5 miles, the people who donated their old deck to be repurposed into the project, the Los Padres Forest Association, and to Channel City Lumber, who helped Owen pick out needed hardware and wood, and then donated it!