Wet ‘n Wild at Canyon Lake

Seven T648 scouts with a couple of adults in tow headed out of the valley and into the cloud-filled canyons of the Superstitions for their much balmier than normal December outing. Camping lakeside at Canyon Lake, we soon discovered that we would be the only humans daft enough to be tent camping this wet weekend, giving the feeling of being out in the wild even though we were only down the road from an RV Park and the dock for Dolly Steamboat. I say ‘humans’, because as we arrived, it was like a scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Birds’, we had ducks invading camp, and even waddling into open tents, with the sky and trees filled with grackles. The scouts immediately set upon naming the ducks, leaving the black birds nameless, and thereafter were calling out to Vinnie, Alfred, David and friends and often getting responses back – especially from Vinnie, whose quacking approximated a hysterical laugh. We felt so remote, that one scout began urinating on a tree right next to a building, until being told that the building was actually a full restroom. After lunch was an exceptional hike along the canyon walls with beautiful views of shimmering Boulder Creek and distant views of Weaver’s Needle, and a two-hour football game with an unusual ball – a water bottle. The first few attempts were with an empty Kirkland one, which wasn’t very effective when passed. Using full water bottles worked much better, but after a few times hitting the ground, began leaking. The final solution (a Gatorade bottle), survived the next hour and a half, even when bouncing off of foreheads. While blissfully laying on the grass under a tree watching kayaks and ducks glide past, the following was randomly heard by an adult leader – ‘Can I play UNO if I’m color blind?’ ‘Where are my socks?’ – ‘Have you checked your feet?’, and when called ‘fearless leader’, our outing SPL would launch into Boris Badenov impressions: ‘hmmm, vee muss keel zee moose und zee squirrel.’ Dinner was a smashing success for the hungry hordes, topped off by ginger snap cookies from a boys’ grandmother’s secret recipe, and peppermint bark sent along by another mom angel. From listening to ‘Thorns and Roses’ the next day, the evening to follow was a kind of good news, bad news deal. We had all day with good weather, but it rained at dinner time. However, the good news was we had eaten, cleaned up, and had a fire early, and so went to bed dry at 6:30 when the sky opened up. Bad news – it rained until after midnight, and then started up again before dawn. There were coyote serenades before the morning rains, and duck ones during it. The boys decided that the coyote wails were so unusual, they sounded like they were confused as to whether to laugh or cry – sort of like they had ‘broken their leg, but then had been told a funny joke.’ Good news – the morning rain died down enough for extra-meat burritos to be cooked and consumed by the boys, before bad news – another sprinkle led to an earlier than planned trip home. Strangely, three different coyotes confronted us on the way out – one even in the middle of the one-way bridge, seemingly daring us to stay just one more night.

Who invited the ducks for dinner?
Bird’s eye view of Canyon Lake
Water bottle boys = football players
Double meat burritos before the morning rain
Playing coyote chicken on the one-lane bridge driving out of camp