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

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Windy Weather

The last couple of days Chillicothe has been pummeled with wind, rain, hail and crazy weather.  The straight line winds which coursed through our little town left quite a wake, espeically in the north end of town.

Though we as a crew have been unable to help as a group with clean up there have been scouts all over town lending a hand.  Between the power lines snapped in two and the dozens of trees ripped from the earth there’s quite a little mess.  Monday early morning knocked power out of half the city and closed the entire school district.  The roads were flooded and delayed getting to and from work.

Courtesy of Trevor J. Nigus

Courtesy of Trevor J. Nigus

The really wonderful thing about living in a small town: your volunteer fire department, your police department and the community as a whole.  Everyone working together to remove debris and picking up the pieces to start another day.

 

Kudos to the members of Crew 91 who were out and about lending a hand.  And a huge thank you to the men and women of our volunteer fire department and the police department for their relentless services.

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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Hike On {Part 1}

When you spend 11 days hiking in the back country of Philmont Scout Ranch it is hard to squeeze everything into only one post!  So much happened we’ll need to share over a few days.  Hold onto your hats, we did a lot of hiking.

Venture Crew 91

Our grand adventure started off with a bit of excitement.  Crew 711-G was the honored recipient as the designated 1 millionth crew of the day when we arrived on Friday, July 11.  Our fearless Crew Leader, Trevor, was presented with a folding sheathed, engraved knife to commemorate this being the summer of the 1,000,000 scout to attend Philmont Scout Ranch.  We were quite shocked and honored.

Venture Crew 91

Mr. Sam Moore was introduced to us as our Ranger and we hit the ground running.  It did not seem possible for over a year of planning to finally be upon us and we were taking everything in with wide eyes.  From the dining hall lined with crew Class Bs to the opening ceremony to the gathering of our crew gear we were as ready as we could be.

Venture Crew 91

Saturday afternoon brought us to a Leave No Trace campsite where Sam filled us in on all the important stuff we needed to know.  Like how to put up bear bags, the importance of the Bermuda Triangle and the Human Sump.   Thanks Tanner for  sacrificing your gut on our first night! For some unknown reason girls always catch the blame for talking late into the night.  Not so on this first night in the back country.  Tanner, Ross, Trevor and Jared could not stop talking…they were not quiet folks!

Venture Crew 91

Campos Heck

Venture Crew 91

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Kansas Forever

Well we rolled into Kansas City last night at 10:30pm.  It’s 8 am local time and guess what…we’re still in Kansas. 

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The train was FREEZING! Sleeping was intermittent for those of us without blankets or long pants.  We made it through the night but have yet to escape the clutches of Kansas.

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Now that the train is warm and the view has been the same for hours we’re all catching up on some rest.  Had a little breakfast of muffins from ice cream containers and like champs ate pudding and brownies with Capri Suns.

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Trains, Scouts and Sleeping

It’s pretty fabulous to travel by train.  There’s way more room for wandering and for sleeping and overall better experiences.

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We’ve managed to make some friends from Michigan. Playing ‘Boy Scout’ and euchre in the cafe with our new scouting family.  We’ve shared our Twizzlers and Capri Suns and escaped onto the platform in Kansas City. 

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Trevor made friends with a few conductors and engineers and they’ve said they’ll give him a tour of the Galesburg Amtrak.   There was a crazy card game with pizza on the line. 

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Now we’re back on the rails and everyone is mostly winding down.  Tanner ‘s been sleeping for sometime curled in a little ball and Megan’s all comfy next to the window. 

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It’s bound to be a great trip!

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