Venture Crew 27
Crew 27 has outdoor adventures

Washington, June 10-19
Narrative by Jan

Saturday, June 10

Dutch Ovens cooking stackWe left Belmont at 8:30 for a drive east to Rte 5 and then north, past Lake Shasta to the CA-Oregon Border. We stopped for lunch at a rest stop featuring dogs on potty breaks and long haulers in the background while we engaged in "bonding" games. To elaborate, we had 8 youth and 7 adults, packed with food and gear into 2 vehicles for this road trip to Washington state. We practiced naming each other, got capsular summaries of each other's likes and goals, and ended with 2 groups competing at keen observation of each other. These games broke up the long day of driving and kinda "broke the ice".

As we crossed the border, the sunshine vanished and we were greeted with rain going across the Cascade-Siskiyou NF. We continued past Ashland and Medford to Valley of the Rogue State Park, our first campground. With  rain showers on and off, tents went up lickety-split, a hasty tarp was hoisted over the dinner table and the cooks got to work. Dutch Oven lasagna, salad and modified Aluminum Pan Dutch Oven-style Peach Cobbler. All very scrumptious and filling after > 400 mi. By this point it was raining steadily, so we abandoned our campfire and after cleanup dove into our sleeping bags.

Sunday, June 11

Crater Lake in the fog and snowReveille was at 7, yeah not raining, egg burritos and off by 9:30 with soggy tents to Crater Lake. Overnight the route was dusted with snow, just gorgeous, a mid-June winter wonderland. CL is a volcanic Crater now filled with snow melt that formed 6.8 thousand years ago when the ~12,000 ft Mount Mazama volcano last blew and collapsed into it's current form. It's now the deepest lake in the US, and who knows when it might erupt again, so I'm glad I finally got to see it. After briefly visiting the Visitor Center, we grabbed a picnic lunch between the rain drops and began the drive to Newberry Volcanic National Monument. Because the snow closed the northerly exit from CL, we were obliged to retrace the southerly approach and add considerable mileage. We were not able to make the Caves in before the gate closed, so we used the remaining afternoon to explore the Paulina Lake area just south of the Caves.

It was snowing mildly at Lake Paulina, so we pushed on to the Obsidian Rock Field. This is an enormous multi acre deposit of lava rock, generously littered with obsidian deposits (black glass) and pumice (hardened lava formed with gas, thereby of lighter density). Mixed in were snow fields, and, yes, snow showers. We formulated a rather spontaneous hike over the tundra.

From here we proceeded to LaPine State Park. Off in the distance, we could see Mt Bachelor and South Sister. At the campground, rain showers threatened, so we rapidly assembled and started dinner: marinated tri-tip smothered in mushrooms and onions, broccoli, topped off with freshly-made apple pie from our Dutch Ovens. Great free showers available in this LaPine State Park, some got clean.

I'd say that the youth are adapting to the routines and are learning good skills in the kitchen arena. Enthusiasm remains high and and there are no slackers.

Monday, June 12

Crew member exiting GulerIce CaveThis morning the weather shifted to windy, cooler and partly cloudy. The dampness was sucked up, tents all dried. Hearty breakfast of French Toast, pineapple and left over pie.

Off to the Lava cave.  It's at risk from white nose fungus transmission to bats, so we couldn't wear shoes or clothes from a previous spelunking trip.

After a brief orientation by a ranger, we descended into the Lava Cave, a one mile Lava tube formed thousands of years ago by moving lava flow that hardened in the outer layers forming a 20-50 ft diameter tube, now a long tunnel. Hiking over massive rocks that have fallen from the crust-like lining, one can go through the entire tube, in total darkness, 43*F. Not sure how the pictures will turn out, given the general lack of light.

We grabbed lunch and then crossed the remainder of north central OR after passing through Bend. The countryside was vast high dessert, with patches of grass waving in the wind where irrigated. We drove over a massive ridge and there below was the mighty Columbia River. The Gorge is awesome, the river averages 0.25 mi wide, it's lined by massive cliffs. We crossed over to visit a reconstruction of Stonehenge, actually a great replica that was created as a WWI Memorial to locals that died.

From here we traveled west a ways and turned northward inland along the white salmon river to Peterson Prairie Campground. On the way we stopped off at the Guler Ice Caves . Yes, spelunking again into caves with natural icicle stalagmites, columns and stalactites. From here we dropped into the Campground, and rustled up some chili-hotdogs and some  s'mores.

Tuesday, June 13

Raft on the White SalmonWe woke up early (6:30) and were on the road by 8:00, after a cold breakfast ("grab n go"). It was chilly and drizzly, some were frankly a little anxious about rafting the White Salmon River.

We arrived at 9:00 at  Zollers Outdoor Odessey Rafting in BZ Corner WA and were greeted by a well-rehearsed group of guides who organized wetsuits, booties, helmets, fleeces, and gortex jackets; gave us a safety lecture and got us on the water in 3 rafts by 10:00. The river was immediately raging, there were class 4 rapids and for those in the front seats, complete submersion. This went on for 20 min before it calmed enough for us to catch our breath. It was wild! We will have some great action shots to show for it.

We lunched at the site and then started our drive along the OR side of the River, searching for falling water. We stopped at several warerfalls for hiking and picture taking. The most spectacular was Multnomah Falls, it had a waterfall hike and a bridge midway up for closer viewing. At the concessions, there was locally made fudge.

From here we crossed again just north of Portland and found Paradise Point Campground. It was rich in lush vegetation, really felt like the NW coast. Actually had a view of the sunset. By this time the Crew was getting the hang of cooking, we fired up briquettes and cooked baked potatoes and blueberry cobbler. The former was garnished with all sorts of goodies including chili and cheese, etc. Can't decide which was better. Plus left over cobbler was good on bagels in the morning.

Wednesday, June 14

Boy on Ropes CourseYes, another grab n go b'fast, up at 5:30, packed and out by 7 AM, wow, all were quiet and efficient and motivated. On to Lake Bellevue to the Challenge Course. Two very skilled guides did a great job of engaging everyone with a naming game, squeaky elephant tag and balancing all 15 on a see-saw platform. Then we donned harnesses and helmets and went aloft to challenge ourselves on a horizontal array of platforms and tightropes. Midway through we had lunch. Each one of us pushed to the limits of our comfort zone.

From here it was a short drive to downtown Seattle where we parked and let the youth roam around in Pike Place market. A famous collection of food, art and novelty shops; all of us grabbed a dinner of our choice and roamed around for 2 hrs. The youth were disciplined and stuck together, made timely check-ins. Then we boarded a huge Ferry for the 35 min ride to Bainbridge Island. Then across to the Olympic Peninsula and the city of Sequim. This is where we ascended up to the home of Dan and Sue Mannisto. A former Crew 27 Advisor and Troop 27 Scoutmaster, they settled here recently and generously opened up their home to us.

They were happy to see old friends and Sue had freshly baked blueberry cobbler waiting for us. They found room for all to sleep under the roof, boys got the garage, since it was threatening to rain. Nice to have a brief encounter with civilization.

Thursday, June 15

Fort Worden Artillery Museum facadeThis morning Sue had a grand breakfast waiting featuring blueberry pancakes and we left refreshed and showered to board the Glacier Spirit in Port Townsend for a whale watching trip. We traveled west along the Strait of Juan de Fuca that separates Victoria, Canada from the Olympic Peninsula. The ride was quite enjoyable, the boat had an enclosed viewing salon to shield us from the spray and a young fellow who offered a great deal of information to fill some time. But, the whales decided to dine in some other part of the world and we saw no spouts! We were expecting orcas and humpbacks, both had been spotted recently in the area. The Company was very apologetic and honored their guarantee with free vouchers for a future trip. Luckily, no serious mal de mer in our group.

Our next stop was Fort Worden, a decommissioned defensive installation overlooking the entrance to Puget Sound, now a State Park. There we roamed around a very fascinating Artillery Museum in lieu of climbing up the Crest Trail above Port Angeles for the view, it was in the clouds. On our return to the Mannisto's for dinner, Big Blue, our trusty Van, began to act up and display transmission malfunction. Mannisto's to the rescue, they loaned vehicles to ferry us back to their home from the Safeway Parking lot where we did our mid trip food restocking. They set up a tremendous barbecue of brats, chicken and potato salad with homemade chocolate chip cookies for dessert. Sue, our hostess, was cooking all day, it was fabulous.

Friday, June 16

Kayaking  in Freshwater BayWe awoke for another round of fresh berry pancakes with a plan to go sea kayaking northwest of Port Angeles while a local mechanic fixed Big Blue. We again donned wetsuits and paired up for the wind and waves. The Crew learned quickly how to operate the kayaks, displaying synchronous paddling and adroit rudder control. After paddling around in 2-4 ft swells, we returned and were informed that Big Blue would take longer to repair. We decided to remain another night at the Mannisto's and used their kitchen to make burgers, asparagus and chocolate fudge cake for dinner.

Saturday, June 17

Moss hanging from teww in Hoh Rain ForestIn the morning we loaded up for the 2.5 hour drive to Hoh Rainforest on the western side of the Olympic Range. One of two "cold" rainforests in the world, it averages 12 ft of rain per year! The result is magnificent growth with abundant moss and ferns. We did a small nature hike and returned through the town of Fork, where the Twilight movies were filmed.

Unfortunately, Big Blue was still in need of unavailable parts to complete the repair, so we were forced to rent two alternative vehicles to take it's place, and so we said farewell to Mannisto's and thanked them profusely for their gracious hospitality.

After leaving Sequim, we drove across Washington stopping briefly for fast food and continued south to our Campground at Lake Baker Bay in central Oregon near Eugene. Being 11 PM, we tiptoed into our sites and being quite warm, we rolled out tarps and sleeping bags and were asleep in no time. In the morning a fellow passing by was amazed by all the bodies strewn around and started snapping pictures.

Sunday, June 18

Baker BaySlowly we emerged from our sleeping bags, and Dave cooked up his famous camp stove waffles which were served with sausages and topped with whipped cream and syrup.

We were packed quickly and after a brief Scout's Own, we headed further south to the Wildlife Images Rehabilitation Center. We received a guided tour through the park. Their menagerie included brown and black bears, cougars, badgers, birds and even some reptiles. Despite the heat, we cooled off in the Store and the proceeded  to our Campground at the foot of mighty Mt Shasta. We had a little hike along the McClellan River to the middle falls and cooled off before starting our dinner of chicken pot pies and some more s'mores. Another night under the stars!

Monday, June 19

Hiking toward Mt. ShastaThis morning we packed out in 1.5 hrs and hustled to the town of Shasta where we were fitted with crampons, helmets and ice axes. From there we went to the embarkation point for climbers on Mount Shasta at 7,000 feet elevation. Our mountain guides led us up several hundred feet to a snow field where we learned how to walk up steep snow fields and slide down on our butts. We actually became experts in self-rescue and ended with the glissade down the slopes.

At this point, we gathered for reflections and began the long journey to Belmont. The consensus was that water rafting and ice rescue stood out as favorite activities.

I think it was a great Super Trip and I'm certainly ready for more.