September Newsletter

The Voice of Experience

Cleaning Your Gear

I know. You meant to scrub and scour your gear after last campout. But … (insert your excuse here). Now, set aside one weekend afternoon to get your gear back into action and promise to be better next time.

Tent Cleaning

• Pitch your tent in a well-vented spot. Shake it upside-down to dislodge dirt and debris, then vacuum or sweep the interior. If it’s dirty, hose off the exterior with cold water. Wipe down with a towel and let it dry thoroughly. Never store a wet tent.
• Brush away mildew by adding a half cup of bleach to one gallon of hot water (1/32 solution), followed by multiple rinses of hot water mixed with small doses of lemon juice and salt. For serious funk, you need to deodorize in a tub with special chemical. (McNett’s Mirazyme. Check
• Scrub off sticky pine sap with a sponge soaked in mineral oil, then rinse the fabric to remove residue.
• Clean balky zippers with a toothbrush and warm water. Lubricants can attract dirt and grime.
• Let your tent dry completely. Store loosely in dry, cool place.
• Replace any missing or worn guylines. Straighten bent stakes.

Boot Cleaning

• Wiping away dirt isn’t just cosmetic. Caked-on mud clogs pores in leather, drying it out and compromising breathability. Use warm water and a stiff brush to remove what you can; clay and mineralized soils may require mild dish soap. Use a toothbrush for tight spaces.
• Scrub especially grungy footwear with Nikwax Footwear Cleaning Gel (about $9), which is designed to remove mud without clogging waterproof/breathable membranes.
• Dry boots at room temperature. Do not put your boots in kitchen oven or blow with hair dryer. Let boots dry slowly to avoid cracking.
• Restore waterproofing with a coating specific for the boots. (Leather, suede, nubuck, or fabric) Check out or

Recipe of the month

Capellini Caprese – Serves 4

1 lb. capellini, thin spaghetti, or angel hair, uncooked
3/4 cup Italian dressing
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups halved grape or cherry tomatoes
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup fresh basil, finely sliced

Cook pasta as directed. (Al dente – Do not over cook !!!)
Heat dressing in large skillet on medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic, cook and stir 2 minutes. Add tomatoes; cook few minutes.
Drain pasta. Add to tomato mixture; mix lightly. Sprinkle with cheese and basil.
Serve with Baguette.
Special Extra
Add 12 oz. Deli Fresh Grilled Chicken Breast Strips with the tomatoes

Younger Sierra Trek 2015
by Jonathan Weakliem

Day 1 (Sunday)


On August 1, 2015, 8 scouts and 7 adults met at Big 5 at 5:45am for the younger Sierra Trek trip to Dusy Basin. We really didn’t need to park any cars at the church, so we hit the road right away. After driving on the freeway for a while, we finally stopped at the eastern sierra visitor center to have lunch after looking inside at where we were going to be hiking to. Soon, we got to the Bishop Creek campsite for our first night. We stayed there for a day without hiking or backpacking so that we should get used to the altitude (8,250 ft. at the camp). It was a pleasant place, with a river, tables, a spigot and a bathroom. After setting up our tents and exploring our surroundings, we went to repack our bear cans. First, we divied up the meals. Next, we went and put the stuff in our bear cans. For some of us, it didn’t all fit. Luckily, we had two giant bear boxes at the camp, so we could store what didn’t fit. Soon, we were chowing down of chili or hot dogs, potato chips, and hot cocoa. For dessert, we roasted marshmallows on some re-shaped clothes hangers that Mr. Pinner brought. We would stuff these in between two chocolate chip cookies. Eventually the excitement of being up in the Sierras for our trip finally started to die down, and we all retired to our tents for our first night on the Sierra Trek.

Day 2 (Monday)


Today was the first day of backpacking. We were going to hike up to Chocolate Lake (it’s called that because it’s right next to chocolate peak, a mountain made of brown rock). After packing up our bear cans, tents, and any other gear we needed to store, we had a breakfast of croissants and cream cheese. Soon, we were switching from breakfast to making sandwiches for lunch, though many people just packed a croissant. By 8:30am, we were off to the trail head. At the trail head, we looked at where we were going and appointed a trek leader for each group. Group 1 (Jonathan, Wyatt, David E, Logan, Mr. Beckstrand, Mr. and Mrs. Spencer) elected Logan, while group 2 (Alex, Ben B, Kellen, Connor S, Mr. Weakliem, Mr. Brown) elected Alex. We were doing a 2.75 mile hike to the Chocolate Lake campsite, with a 1,200 foot elevation gain. It was slow going. For the first part of the hike, group 2 outpaced group 1. We had a great view of South Lake going up though, and don’t get me wrong, it was very steep.


After a few hours of hiking we missed our turn off, and kept going for about a quarter a mile before realizing it. The adults went to scout it out, and sure enough, they found the trail junction we missed. From that time on, group 1 was in front of group 2. After a while though, the trail would twist, turn, and seem to die out at times. Finally though, group 1 reached the campsite and had lunch. Due to the fact that Connor was having altitude sickness, the second group arrived much later, and Connor and the adults even after them. This campsite had a lot of rocks and trees throughout it, so it was a bit difficult to see some of the tents. Some people played cards, chess, or went fishing. We made dinner on a giant rock about 10 feet above the main part of the campsite. For dinner, We made kraft mac and cheese, cup o noodle, and chocolate cheesecake. While this all sounds great, it wasn’t quite as good in reality. Group 1 didn’t find their mac and cheese until after dinner, so they had top ramen instead. Group 2 had Kellen and Connor down at camp due to not feeling well, so they had to be served by their fellow scouts. And don’t even get me started about the dessert. While it tasted good, both groups apparently added to much water, so the texture was extremely disgusting. The adults were lucky, there dinner went smoothly. After an eventful dinner and some free time, we all went to our tents to catch a few z’s.

Day 3 (Tuesday)

Today was the second day of the backpacking part. This time we were hiking to Bishop Lake. We got up at 6:00am and started packing up our sleeping pads and bags. For breakfast, we made backpacking eggs and hashbrowns. It was great. After packing up and doing a camp sweep, we started on our hike (2.65 miles). Unlike our wake up time though, our hiking time was extremely late (10:00am). Sadly, 3 of our number would not continue. Connor S was still feeling ill, so Mr. Pinner and Mr. Soga went with him back to the cars. They were only planning on being with the group for another day before hiking out to spend a few days fishing, so their part of our trip was cut short by a day. And though Connor wasn’t with us in person from that time forward, we remembered him during the rest of the trip. They said goodbye to the rest of us right before the hike began.


Let me just say, the trail on this hike was pretty sketchy. They were small trails, sometimes dying out, sometimes going into bushes, and many times being cut off by rockslides. We took quite a number of… detours on this hike. Anyway, after hiking for a small amount of time, we came to an extremely steep section. We had to take a few breaks going up it, and this was one of those times where the trail was getting hard to see. As we neared the top, David was starting to feel ill. When we finally did make it, we took a long break. Eventually, we got on the move (David’s belt was just way too tight and he felt better when it was looser) to Ruwau Lake. After descending to the lake, we decided to stop for lunch. Today’s lunch was the beginning of the lunches being A. Ritz crackers, B. some other kind of meat, and C. jolly ranchers.. So, today’s lunch was ritz, summer sausage, and jolly ranchers.

After lunch, we hit the road again. Finally, only one more ridge between us and the campsite. After some more loved, hated, and above all slow rock hopping, we finally made it to the main trail. Yes, I know, there was a good trail a few miles away from the sketchy one (this is the one we hiked back on). After less than a mile, we made it to one of our only 2 day campsites (we stayed there Tues.-Wed. and Fri.-Sat.) Sadly though, because of our late start, we arrived much later than we anticipated (3:30pm).

The only bad thing about Bishop Lake was that it was very windy the first time we stayed there. It was a nice campsite. There was a hill to go up to use the restrooms, lots of nice lakes nearby, good tent spots and my personal favorite cook spot. People read, went fishing, played cards, or just hung out around camp. It was a nice day. For dinner we made teriyaki chicken (freeze dried), cup o noodle, and top ramen. After dinner there was one more special treat for the troop. The donut holes. Mr. Soga had carried the supplies in most of the way. First, we got a small ball of the donut dough and fried it with some crisco . Next, we rolled it in a sugar coating. Then, they were ready to eat. Everyone enjoyed them. It was sad that Mr. Soga, Mr. Pinner, and Connor couldn’t be there. We at least remembered them while we made the donuts. Once it got dark, we all retired to our tents to rest. Some slept well, while others at times were kept up by the wind. I think we all got some sleep, because we all survived the next day hiking over Bishop Pass.

Day 4 (Wednesday)


Today was probably one of the hardest, easiest, and most annoying hikes of all. Today was Bishop Pass (3.45 miles). After a nice breakfast of oatmeal and fig bars, we packed up our gear and hit the road by 9:00am. The worst part was definitely the first 1.25 or so miles. We gained over 600 feet in that distance before reaching Bishop pass, so it was a very slow, steep hike.

Group 2’s trek leader (Kellen) did pretty well. They didn’t have any problems as far as I’m aware (though group 1 still was slightly faster). Group 1’s trek leader (Wyatt) had a camelback leak very early in. While it wasn’t a major problem, it was annoying for Wyatt.


After a slow climb of many breaks and switchbacks, we finally made it to the top. It was a great view, but had many inconveniences as well. While it was nice up there, it was also windy, as well as the fact that you had to climb an extra 28 feet to finally reach 12,000 feet of elevation. All the scouts did it though, and we were rewarded with another great view. Soon we grew tired of all the wind, and we headed down.

It was a great hike downwards, I certainly enjoyed it! There were also virtually no people in Dusy Basin, so that was also a plus. Just us and nature. Sadly, we once again missed the best place to turn (It was still cross country, so hard to spot) and went a little too far down the trail. After hiking back up for a bit, we stopped to have lunch while Mr. Beckstrand and Mr. Weakliem went to scout out for our campsite. Today’s meat with the ritz was beef jerky. Anyway, it was a pretty long break while waiting for the path to camp to show itself, but finally, we found it, hiked a bit more, and reached the campsite. Or, so we thought. We had reached the lake, but the adults once again scouted out for the best campsite. After what seemed like forever, we moved into a nice and cozy and GIGANTIC campsite. The worst part about today’s hike was that we arrived at about 1:30pm, when we could have gotten there at noon.

While I think everyone loved the campsite, it was huge. Group 1’s cook area must have been 200 feet away from their tents! Anyway, after setting our tents, almost everyone got changed into our swimsuits to take a dip in the water. It was FREEZING! The lake was supported by melted snow, so it was cold to the touch. We would dive in and swim to a medium sized rock that would fit a few people on it, wait for however long we wanted to, and then dive back. Even most of the adults did it! However, the wind definitely didn’t make us want to do a polar bear swim the next day. After getting out we dried off on some warm rocks around the lake and changed later. Soon, it was time for dinner.


For dinner that night we made sweet and sour pork, top ramen, and creme brulee for dessert. While most scouts didn’t like the main course (pork) besides David, we did enjoy the top ramen. I’m pretty sure the adults appreciated the food more than we did though. After cleaning up, we all got to have a little free time, some went fishing, read, played cards or chess. It was a nice evening with a beautiful sunset. Finally, we started dropping like flies as the long day caught up with us, and all went to our tents.

Day 5 (Thursday)

For once, we actually slept in. Without having to pack up in the morning, we could stay in our tents much longer (7:30am). And o boy! For breakfast we got to make hashbrowns and eggs. Once again, we loved our breakfast of potatoes and powdered egg mix! After that great breakfast, we went over some merit badge stuff (camping, hiking, and backpacking merit badges) with Mrs. Spencer. We actually knew a lot of the answers to the questions she asked. We talked about safety, first aid, and a few other things regarding those subjects.


After the merit badge session, we packed up whatever we could use as a daypack and got ready for the day hike. We were going to go to the end of a nearby lake, then try to find a waterfall we heard about. The only problem was that it was cross country, so each group had to decide the route they would take. Group 1 went first, and group 2 went second. After a bit of looking, we found a nice little waterfall to have lunch at. Today’s lunch was spam and crackers. For some reason, a few people didn’t like it. Anyway, after lunch, we started hiking back to the campsite. On the way back, we stopped at a small island that we rock hopped to. We stayed there for about 10 minutes, and the scouts started skipping the stones we found on the shore. Just before leaving, we all tested our whistles out. Some were much louder than others. Soon we were back to hiking. We went around the nearby lake instead of going along the close side of it. Along the way, we worked a bit on triangulation (A little trick about finding out where you are on a map using a compass). We finally made it back to camp at 1:30pm, where Mr. Beckstrand showed us his experiment of cooking top ramen. He sealed it with some water in the ziploc bag and left it out in the sun while we were gone.


After that, we had some freetime. A few people washed their clothes, some played cards, and yet others just enjoyed being on the trip. For dinner we made beef stew. However, group 1 made their mac and cheese and cup of noodle for dinner instead. We probably would’ve made the stew as well, but we didn’t have fuel to waste. For dessert we made coconut key lime pie, which was also neglected by group 1. It was a great meal, even if it wasn’t the same in each group. Soon, we all decided to go to bed and rest for the next day.

Day 6 (Friday)

Today was the last full day of the trip. We all had to once again pack up our stuff for the hike over Bishop pass, to get back to our last Sierra trek campsite. For breakfast we had oatmeal, fig bars, and granola. We packed up the last of our gear after breakfast and made it out by 8:30am.

For the first .8 miles or so, we did cross country hiking. We saw some other campers on the way to the trail, but all in all, we could enjoy the hike without tons of people around. Once we made it back to the trail, we started the gradual climb up to Bishop pass. Even though it was uphill, we made good time. We got up to the pass at about 11:00am but we didn’t stay there long. It was too windy. We rested at a spot a bit farther down where we were slightly sheltered from the wind. There was a great view of what we had been hiking through there (not quite as good as the Bishop pass view, but still good. After a short rest, we split back into our hiking groups for the rest of the way down. The rest of the hike was nice, group 1 gaining a bit of distance on group 2. This is probably due to the fact that we ran into a man with a horse and mule, and Kellen (group 2) is allergic to horses. They had to find a place to pull away from the trail. Anyway, once group 1 reached the trail junction, (the troop was debating whether to go past the planned campsite or stay there) we took out some cards and played while we waited for group 2. Soon they caught up, and we decided to stay at Bishop Lake a second time.


We set up our tents in the same positions as last time (mostly at least) and had lunch. Today’s special was beef jerky with our ritz and jolly ranchers. It wasn’t the best lunch on the trip, but it was still good. Mrs. Spencer talked us through some more merit badge stuff, and after that, we got some free time. This free time we did a lot of things. Some people played cards, almost everyone went fishing, and I played quite a few games of chess after fishing. Luckily for us, the wind wasn’t so bad this time, so it was much more enjoyable. I think everyone was also in a good mood knowing that today was the last day we had to stay in the outdoors. Even though it was a fun trip, we were excited about the thought of getting back to the cars. For dinner we made some chili mac. However, this wasn’t the average dinner. For one, group 2 kept trying to get a fish for a fish fry, but I’ll get to that later. Group 1’s event that made dinner different was that I myself made my spare ramen that night (oriental flavor) with Spam in it! It was delicious! Even if it made Ben give me faces. And finally, Kellen caught a big fish for the fish fry. First, they beheaded and gutted it, and washed it off. Next, we put it in a bag with some Parkay and crumbled ritz crackers. After soaking the fish, we finally put it on the frying pan. After a good bit of frying, we finally tried it. It was excellent! The only problem with it was all the tiny fish bones. You would have to pick those out.

After a great dinner and a quick clean up, we all went back to our tents for the last night of this trip.

Day 7 (Saturday)

We had finally reached the last day of our trip. While still in our tents, some of us began packing up sleeping stuff. I however, and probably many others, did not want to leave the tent that morning. It was so cold, we had frost on the tents and bear cans. I feel bad for Mr. Beckstrand. He left earlier to go back to Chocolate lake to get his stove back. Eventually, we all got up and made a breakfast of oatmeal and hot cocoa. We also had fig bars on the side. Anyway, it was a morning of packing and refilling water. We were finally ready to go at about 8:30am.

We went out as one group, more or less. It was still the two groups sticking together, but we were right next to the other group. This day’s hike was 4.6 miles. We were taking the same route back for about .6 miles, but this time we stuck to the good trail. In a little while, we had to stop because Wyatt’s camelback was leaking again. After that was sorted out, we continued hiking. Since we were on a good trail, we made decent time. Also due to the fact that it was almost all downhill. We met with Mr. Beckstrand right after Long Lake, at the trail junction we missed on our first backpacking day. We stayed there for a while, but soon we were on the trail again.

While the views were nice, it wasn’t the most exciting hike ever. I got bored of hiking after a while, as I think many scouts did. We finally made it to the cars at about 10:30am. There, we were welcomed by Mr. Soga and Mr. Pinner. They said we got there earlier than they expected, but they didn’t complain. After packing up all our gear, we hit the road to get to lunch.

We had our lunch at Carl’s Jr., where we each got 7 dollars to get our lunch. In my opinion, the fries were overpriced. Anyway, after a great, unhealthy lunch, we went back to the cars to get our swim stuff. On the way to the parking lot, we saw a ton of policemen giving out tickets and such. There must have been about 5 cop cars! No one knew what was going on, and we just walked past them. Once we got our swim stuff, we headed to the pool. Once we all got signed in, we went and enjoyed ourselves. There was a water slide, a shallow end section, a deep end section, and a wading pool (nobody went in that). We played Marco Polo, went on the slide, had some splash wars, and just swam around. After about one hour, we had to go. We went back to the cars and continued the ride home.

At about 4 hours we reached our next destination, Shakey’s Pizza. We had a big table reserved for us, and tons of pizza. We also had some cups we could get drinks out of. It was a great dinner. Eventually, we went back to the cars, and did the rest of the drive back to the church. We got back at about 9:00 p.m.. All in all, we had a great trip, with good views, good food, and good friends.

The trip was attended by the following scouts: Logan B., David E., Wyatt S., Jonathan W., Alex R., Ben B., Kellen T., and Conor S. and adults: Mr. Beckstrand, Mr. Brown, Mr. and Mrs. Spencer, Mr. Weakliem, Mr. Soga, and Mr. Pinner

More Pictures







Scoutmaster Minute

Adversity is the Crucible in which to gauge yourself

Trustworthy, loyal, helpful friendly, courteous, kind obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent. Child’s play, all of them, no problem at all for anyone, at least on a good day, when our bellies are full, we’re well rested and not very challenged. There’s the rub. How well will obedience sit with you when you’re hungry and tired, and you don’t particularly agree with the one giving orders? If you think that situation might be a difficult scenario in which to maintain adherence to the scout law, guess what, you’re not alone. Most people would struggle with the laws in adverse situations. The thing is, scouts, especially those seeking the rank of Eagle, are not most people.

Adversity is the crucible in which to gauge yourself. How well you keep it together when the going gets tough is the mark of an Eagle scout.

Baden Powell Quote

A Scout smiles and whistles under all circumstances

Don’t Stop Here

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