Eagle Scout!!

The path to Eagle Scout comes in many shapes and sizes.  No two scouts share the same path.  The basics are the same, the requirements are the same but the actual journey is the decision of the individual scout.

We could not be more proud to announce Trevor Nigus as the newest Eagle Scout of Crew 91.  We are incredibly proud of you, Trevor, and all you have accomplished.  Congratulations!

Eagle Scout - Crew 91

 

The Journey To Eagle Pt. 1

Goodness are we excited to tell you about all the activities of Crew 91. But nothing could excite us more than to announce Trevor has begun his Eagle Scout Service Project! Woot, woot!!

Over the past four months Trevor has been collaborating with the Chilllicothe Historical Society to bring you a renovated cottage.  He has diligently sought out advisors to help him along his way.  With an adult representative each from the Historical Society and the Crew, Trevor has laid the foundations to complete his Eagle Project well in advanced of the date desired by the Historical Society.

Trevor's Eagle Scout Project

The little cottage behind the main building of the Chillicothe Historical Society used to be a detached garage.  Today it functions as a Cottage with displays about the local area.  However, it has been in need of an exterior overhaul for sometime.  When Trevor approached the Historical Society it did not take long for them to propose residing The Cottage, painting the windows, replacing two exterior doors, and repairing an exterior light fixture.  The old wood siding was peeling and chipping and the windows were looking a little dreary.

Trevor's Eagle Scout Project

Trevor’s first day of service got off to a great start on Saturday, April 11.  While a couple of people worked on replacing the exterior doors the rest of the group got started with the residing.  Goodness, what a difference vibrant white vinyl siding makes on a building with previously cracked and chipped paint!

After just a few hours of service the siding was coming right along.  The side door was a little bit of struggle but the volunteers persevered and the stubborn exterior door was conquered!  Trevor has done a great job not only organizing the necessary supplies for the project but seeking guidance from more experienced adults to learn the ins and outs of residing a building.  He’s learned new skills and in turn taught others the skills he has learned.  In the end, that’s the purpose of an Eagle Scout Service Project, to grow and then to grow others.  Nothing like the teaching E.D.G.E at work!

Hike On {Part 6}

How did we come to the day we leave the back country?  Even though it’s taken all of this summer and fall and what seems to be the start of winter to bring the conclusion of our time at Philmont the actual 11 days went by in a flurry.

Ponil

Tuesday morning we broke camp for the very last time on the trail.  Jerry and Randy worked alongside the other adult leaders at Ponil to make a Chuck Wagon breakfast of pancakes and orange juice.  Breakfast was a perfect way to end our meal times on the trail.  Before leaving Ponil we rode horses throughout what was the original base camp of Philturn Rockymountain Scoutcamp. It was a lovely change of pace and a relief for the footsies. The canyon valley takes on a whole new beauty when atop a horse.  We leisurely rode with about 30 other scouts for an hour and made our way back to the stables before walking the 10 minutes to the buses waiting to take us back to base camp.

Ponil

Riding in the school bus on the way back to base camp and driving past the site where we first hit the trail brought a flood of memories.  Only 11 days ago we crammed ourselves into a Red Roof Inn with 30 of our closest friends.  Just 11 days ago we looked fresh and dust free.  On July 12 we hiked the first four miles of our 97 miles.  That Saturday our history together as a crew was just taking shape.  Making our way off the bus on July 22 we were no longer the newbies.  We were veterans. You could tell by the cakes of dirt on our legs and the sheen of our hair and the scruff on Jerry and Randy’s faces we had not just survived Philmont we had lived Philmont.

Ponil Turnaround

Over the next few hours we enjoyed a meal we did not have to prepare from dehydrated foods, we walked into air conditioned buildings, we unloaded our gear and crashed onto cots…cots!  Going through the final steps of a “Home Bound” crew we managed to return all our gear, visit the trading post and most importantly SHOWER!  Some of us threatened to take a shower and then don our trail clothes from the train ride home.  The idea was quickly vetoed!  Once we were all duded up we hopped the bus headed for Cimarron, New Mexico.  Hitting up the local stores, stopping for ice cream and ordering fresh pizza was the perfect cap to a wonderful adventure.

Cimarron, New Mexico

There is a tradition at Philmont Scout Ranch when leaving Philmont property.  It is said when you look over your shoulder at the Tooth of Time fading into the distance you are bound to return to this enchanting land.  As we made our way to Raton every single head was turned to catch one last glimpse of the Tooth of Time in hopes to be able to return.

Philmont Scout Ranch

I Want to Go Back to Philmont.

 

 

Hike On {Part 5}

Our 10th day on the trail was a doozy!  The morning was a delightful walk across open prairie of Ring Place leaving our feet nice and soaked for the next 14 miles of our Philmont experience.  We made our way to Seally Canyon by way of bushwhacking through a most challenging terrain.  There’s nothing like starting the morning by crossing a barbwire fence and making straight for the hills, okay mountains.  Talk about a wake up at 6am!  The rock face and the boulders we walked among were stunning.  When we reached the peak we had two choices: 1) go around and add 3-5 miles to our day’s total or 2) go down the rock face straight into Seally Canyon.  We were all about covering the distance in the shortest amount of time so rock face it was.

Early Morning Look

Early Morning Look

Crossing the Barbwire Fence

Crossing the Barbwire Fence

The tricky part about traversing a rock face?  Yucca plants, cacti, loose rock and no real trail.  But the view across the open expanse of mountains and valleys was a beautiful trade off for an early morning start.  There is really nothing more breathtaking as the wide open spaces of Philmont Scout Ranch.  We survived the tumbling of rocks and the occasional pricking of a yucca plant and made it into Seally Canyon in record time.  We were greeted by an amazing swap box and potable water.

View of Seally Canyon

View of Seally Canyon

Hiking into Seally Canyon

Hiking into Seally Canyon

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Cheerful Service

One of our favorite aspects to Venturing are the opportunities created to give back to our community.  The last week in September afforded us two opportunities of service.  Both service projects benefited important organizations positively impacting the Chillicothe area.

Chillicothe Weekend Snackpac

Friday evening brought us to the 2nd Annual Chillicothe Weekend Snackpac Fundraiser.  Chillicothe Weekend Snackpac provides sack lunches to the students of Illinois Valley Central School District who otherwise would go hungry during the weekend.  We played a handful of roles at the fundraiser.  A few of us bused tables and refilled patrons’ drinks while others of us took turns serving the meal and informing the kitchen of what needed refilled.

Chillicothe Weekend Snackpac

It’s always nice being the kitchen help, you get fed well!  To have the opportunity to serve the Weekend Snackpac program is really more of a blessing to the members of the crew than it is to the program.  There is such a large need not only in Chillicothe but throughout the country.  Children go hungry on the weekends but with the assistance of the Chillicothe Weekend Snackpac program fewer children are feeling the pangs of hunger.

Illinois River Sweep

The morning started a little dreary but soon the Saturday sun made an appearance at the Chillicothe River Sweep. We met other Chillicotheans at Cutright Park to patrol the beaches for trash and unwanted debris.  Crew 91 partnered up for the morning with members of Troop 91.  We combed the beaches and parks and were rewarded with bags and bags of trash. The highlight of of patroling would probably be the baby snapping turtle we found or the discarded headless cement swan.

Illinois River Sweep

There are endless opportunities to volunteer and serve in your local community.  For ideas contact your local food pantry, chamber of commerce, school district or pet shelter.  There’s no need to be bored when there are countless ways to lend a hand, a shovel or a smile.  Happy serving!

Illinois River Sweep

Hike On {Part 3}

We thought we published this but…oops!  Enjoy round three of our adventures. 

After two wonderful days in Ewells Park and enjoying the meadow’s beauty it was time to head over to Upper Greenwood in the Valle Vidal.  Going into the Valle Vidal was unchartered waters for our merry little band.  We decided to break camp early so we could take part in the programs at French Henry.  It was an extremely good thing the first 1 hour of hike was relatively easy after the long haul to the peak of Baldy.

 

It is not very often a group of people become excited to see porta potties.  When we walked down the hill into French Henry the questions were flying, “Can we use those?  Are those for us?  Are those only for staff?”  It doesn’t take a lot when you’re on day six without plumbing.  Does a porta potty even count as plumbing?

Panning for Gold

Panning for Gold

We were greeted by a very enthusiastic Paul the geologist and a hearty welcome to hot water to make oatmeal a cup of joe or hot chocolate.  The mountain stream offered refreshing and first the first time in days COLD water for drinking.  We all attempted a little gold panning.  No success stories, we will not be retiring anytime soon.  The question was asked and yes, every day someone finds gold in the streams at French Henry.  It was not our lucky gold panning day but luckily for Ashley her camera was restored by the talents of Jerry!  She lives for pictures.

 

While at French Henry Ross and Tanner became smithy apprentices and showed their talents and trained their muscles.  Unfortunately, their tool did not live to leave the forge.  Oh well, the rest of us had a good time watching their efforts.  We loaded up and began the arduous climb out of French Henry to stop at the Aztec Ponil 2 mine up on the bluff.  The climb was exhausting but the mine was fascinating and the stories told were equally spooky for some.  Randy led us out of the mine without use of flash flights.  Who knew 300 feet could take so long when avoiding rock and low ceilings.

working the biceps

working the biceps

After roughly 28 switchbacks we made it out of Copper Canyon to only be met by the rain on the north side of Baldy on our way to Upper Greenwood. Upper Greenwood is really quite decieving when coming from Ewells Park.  You go up 28 switchbacks which takes an eternity and then spend three hours going DOWN!  We got caught in quite the rain storm and were hit by our second round of hail.  The hail was intense.  We had to take shelter in the Ponderosa Pines and even then the sting of the hail was enough to leave red welts on bare legs.   Shoes were soaked, rain jackets did not do the trick and we still had hours of hiking remaining.  By the time we made it to Upper Greenwood everyone was ready to call it a night.

 

#17 and Still Going

#17 and Still Going

But when living in the back country there is no rest until camp is set up, bear bags are hung, dining fly is strung, water is purified, sleeping bags are hung out to dry and food is prepared.  We were all moving a little slow but some how we managed.  We had quite the water purification system.  Ashley opened the empties, tossed to Ross across the stream, Ross tossed back to Ashley and Ashley handed off to Randy who tossed to Jared and Trevor for the Micropur.  Randy challenged Ashley and Ross to timed throwing of water bottles.  They rocked it; impeccable timing!  Trevor traded out spots with Trevor and the line of purified water continued to grow.  Everyone slept well and woke to semi-dry apparel.  The bushes were lined with drying socks, boots, rain jackets, sleeping bags and tent flies.

Fresh Mountain Water

Fresh Mountain Water

Dusting our feet of Upper Greenwood we started the never ending march to Iris Park.  Despite our gear being soaked through and through the sun was shining and the meadows were drying.  We enjoyed a lazy stroll through Greenwood Canyon.   We buckled and unbuckled our packs as we crisscrossed the stream running through the meadow.  If it were not for the sun it would have made for one soggy 10 mile day.  Just when Ashley thought her feet would be dry for the rest of the day, she slipped off a rock.  Oh well, there was still 6 miles to go and plenty of drying opportunity.

 

Water Everywhere

Water Everywhere

We played an age old hiking game, “My Father Owns a Grocery Store.”  If you’ve never played, the whole point is for your group to guess an item in a grocery store by just knowing the first letter of the item and then playing twenty questions.  Try it sometime and when you correctly guess Wrigley or barcode or tomatillo you know you’re a professional.

What's a Tomatillo?

What’s a Tomatillo?

Hike On {Part 2}

Hiking with a 40-45lb pack can be exhausting.  After the ill fated game of Uno in the boy’s tent naps were had by almost everyone.  Jared and Ashley started dinner and then another bout of rain had us scurrying under the dinning fly.  While in transit the first of three hail storms came upon us.  This hail wasn’t tiny!  But what’s a good camping story without a little hail!  After clopping through the mud to hang up bear bags it was off to bed.

Venture Crew 91

We gave ourselves a little break and broke camp around 7am to head to Baldy Skyline for our conservation project.  The views on the way to Baldy Skyline were pretty fabulous.  We caught a glimpse or two Mt. Baldy, the highest peak at Philmont.  Tanner busted out his sketch book and took down a few notes for future sketches.  Trevor wished he had his sketch book but whipped out his iPod to snap a few breathtaking pics instead.

 

View of Mt. Baldy

View of Mt. Baldy

By now we’re used to the afternoon rain but hoping it holds off for us to complete our conservation project.  The fellas at Baldy Skyline put on quite the informational show.  Tanner volunteered to be their accident prone scouter and demonstrated how to wear all the PPE required for the project.  We threw rocks and logs and trees and branches for three hours to help in the completion of the Baldy Skyline trail to Ewells Park.  It was a cacophony of voices bellowing “Rock, Tree, Twig, Log” every time something was lofted into the air.  Beware, don’t stand downrange of a rocks, trees, twigs and logs being thrown in your general direction.  Thank goodness for hardhats and sturdy trees!

 

After a short 10 minute walk from Baldy Skyline to Ewells Park we made camp.  Everyone was super excited to be setting up camp in the same spot for two whole nights!  Everything was wet from the night before, including Megan’s sleeping bag.  We thought we’d catch the sun while we could, set up camp and hunker in for the afternoon.  Ross and Tanner made their way to the Red Roof Inn while the rest of us started setting up camp.  It wasn’t too much later when we hear these perturbed cries from the woods.  Tanner and Ross somehow managed to toss the toilet paper out of reach and needed to be rescued.  Jared could have let them suffer but they were disturbing the wildlife.  We just held it over their heads when we needed a good laugh.

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