This weekend was Elliot’s first outing with Troop 150. It was their annual Snow caving overnight on Mt Hood. I can tell you that I was nervous. While I knew the Troop has done this for years, and our Webelos II at that time did it last year, I will still nervous. I did not know exactly where the event on Mt Hood would be, nor did I see the Troop do any meetings about it except for the week before. Good planning about Winter Camping would have been good. The group that was going was considerably younger. All that said, I needed to TRUST the Troop Leadership.
The whole event itself was a lot of fun. Once we ascended to the Parking Lot of Mt Hood Ski area, we descended to the jump over area to the ridge we would be building the Snow Caves. It is the same place the Troop has used for years. It is well protected and had a lot of snow. The Scouts were paired up with youngest to oldest, which mean the new Scouts had an Older Scout to help them build the Snow cave along. That really helped out the process. What also helped is that the Adults would come by and help out as needed, give direction and be there. Towards the end of the day the Adults did have to help a few kids just because progress was not being made and it was vital that the caves were built correctly.
As the day wore on and a few adults checked the weather app on the smartphones while also looking at the weather, it was turning towards being really bad. I did have my Ham Radio and did make contact with a Ham Radio Operator out of Salem, Or. His report of weather stated it was raining there and headed towards us. Which, in fact about noon, it did. It was steady and increasing in larger drops.
As it was forwarned at the drop-off at the Church, the trip might get called due to weather. That is what happened. The Adult Leader made the call several hours before we informed the Scouts. While, we were not in harm’s way for bugging out, we would have been if we stayed overnight. Two caves were going to fail and a few others had water dripping in. Our reasoning for sticking it out for a while was to give the Scouts the experience of teamwork, building snow caves and also having fun in the snow. All of which were accomplished!
Another tradition of the Troop 150, is to have a large snow cave that the Adults can sleep in, but also that a nightly Troop Meeting Campfire program is put on. Myself and several other Dads worked on building it. I quickly realized that I am out of shape and at 5961 feet, you do fatigue faster! While it wasn’t to be, we still held our program. Sang the Troop song, Played a game and conducted Troop business. It was Troop time at it’s best. (Due to Youth Protection, I am not including a photo of the Troop in the cave. Hence, you get to see me.)
While we bugged out and went home, the news did not sit well with Elliot. He actually was quite upset that he was not going to be able to sleep in the snow cave he and his partner built. I had to explain to him that I too was not happy that we were leaving. I wanted to spend the night in the snow cave. I explained that due to safety reasons and weather related conditions the Troop needed to leave. As he started to understand, I explained that we would get pizza and watch movies at home.
This annual Snow Caving event was great. It was a success in many areas. I look forward to doing it again next year. Elliot told me he had fun, and that made it a success.