A Rescue in Big Horn Country

Good evening T648!

Wow, what a weekend!  The Bluff Springs backpack had a little bit of everything, both known and unknown.  We knew the weather would be great, that we would see the amazing 50-in-1 saguaro (the largest cactus in the Sonoran desert with an estimated 125+ arms), and that we would again camp under the largest sugar sumac tree in North America (as documented in the National Historic Register).  However, we didn’t know that we would have a front row seat of a dramatic search and rescue and we would see one of the rarest sights in all of the great outdoors.  As we arrived Saturday morning, the park ranger had us pull into the overflow parking area, as he was expecting an unknown number of search and rescue vehicles to arrive as the search continued for a solitary middle aged woman missing since early Friday morning.  About two miles in, a search and rescue team over-took us, and there were multiple aircraft cris-crossing the sky over our heads.  As we reached the Terrapin Trail split, a hovering helicopter landed in a canyon ahead of us, and took off as we arrived.  A forest ranger had discovered her and called in one of the helicopters.  If we had left the church at 6AM, we might have been the first ones to her.  In any case, what ensued were great opportunities to discuss the buddy system and first aid techniques.  Today on the way out, along about Miner’s Summit, sharp-eyed Mr. Jeorling the Younger espied a majestic male big horn sheep watching us noisy interloping humans from his perch high above.  In the collective zillion or so years of the adult leaders’ Southwestern hiking experience, we had never had the pleasure before, so guess what everyone’s rose was in today’s closing Thorns and Roses?  Please see a photo of our friendly neighborhood ram on the website next week.  Every outing truly turns out to be unique – I for one never want to miss a single one!

The next outing is one of the most important ones on the troop calendar, as we welcome our invited Webelos to our recruitment weekend on January 11-13.  Please attend the December meetings as your patrols prepare scout skills stations and campfire programs throughout the month. Led by young Mr. Dahlmann, we have reached out to a half dozen cub scout packs, and already have interest from two large dens with our 25 scouts.  We traditionally have up to 50 guests including the cub scout families, and we are looking to do as well this year.  It is also never too early to start getting excited about summer camp, and we are still looking for each attending scout’s initial $50 deposit for our outstanding July summer camp adventure in the Colorado Rockies.  During this Tuesday’s meeting we will also learn about our January 20th service project at the Rock & Roll Marathon.  Additional upcoming events are the adult leader meeting tomorrow night at Scottsdale Worship Center from 7:00-8:15, the troop Christmas party at the Turner residence on December 27th from 7-9PM (please RSVP and bring a dessert and your whole family), and young Mr. Finnegan’s Eagle Court of Honor on January 5th at Mountain View Church.  Please keep in mind we will not be having meetings on 12/25 or 1/1.

As the holidays creep ever closer, I hope that you and your family continue to be surrounded and blessed by the spirit of the season.  You are a blessing to our troop family, and I know that thanks to you, 2013 will again be one of our best years ever.

See you Tuesday night!

Mr. Cole