All ‘Fired up’ to go Tubing!

Neither Slate fire, nor Sunset Point accident, nor Flagstaff bridge detour, nor neighboring cows, nor dark of night could keep the scouts from their appointed base camp this weekend at the base of Antelope Hill, just north of Lava River Cave.

Advance scouts sent up early on Friday afternoon to reserve a spot survived all of the above (except the dark of night part – that was left to the bulk of the attendees), and turned left at the two motionless mule deer eyeing us five miles from the SR 180 road closure for the Slate Fire, which by now was thankfully heading in the opposite direction from Lava Tubes. Possibly because of the presence of the fire, we unexpectedly had our choice of all our favorite prime spots along the forest roads surrounding the cave.  Discussions regarding the herd of cattle sharing our camping area ensued – ‘No, you cannot pet a cow, yes they sometimes do sleep standing up, no we cannot go cow tipping like Tow Mater did in the movie ‘Cars.’’  The next morning, after an assessment of everyone’s sleep – (‘Ow, I slept with my head on a rock,’ ‘Cow conversations at 3AM are really annoying’, ‘Can 38 degrees give you frostbite? – my toes are tingling’) we headed for the tubes.  While the walk from our camp to the Tubes was only about the same distance as the length of the cave itself, there was some discussion of wishing we could have saddled cows for the trip.  But the ¾ mile length of the caves was as invigorating as ever, with chunks of ice being found, opportunities for bouldering, scary face making, narrow areas where one almost had to crawl (‘I wish I had gone left, this hard way is way janky!’), and good use was made of the mandatory helmets, as many a head met the low overhangs in between soaring caverns.  After the walk back, lunch (‘Is it still called cooking if I make a Dorito sandwich?’) and card games, football, hammock swinging, and more games took care of the heat of the afternoon.  The day finished with orienting maps and triangulation in the meadow with the cows looking over our shoulders, a hike to the top of Antelope hill with a super-fast return back down, advancement (what does EDGE stand for??), dinner, and more relating as laughter in camp chairs around a hammock (fire restrictions) and s’mores with fudge-striped cookies and marshmallows took us up until lights out.  The 9 scouts and 5-ish adults (I’m still not sure where the ‘ish’ came from) agreed that it was another most incredible T648 event, especially considering that in 6 hours today, we went from 36 degrees at awakening to 108 degrees at noon back in the church parking lot.  When can we head out again?

Mommy, I shrunk the tent!
Spelunkers ready, set, GO
Psyching up to go under
The Green Lantern (and Orange…. and Blue….)
Ahhhh, the end of the tubes
Rocking it!!
Head’s up, Mr. Carson!
Orienting Antelope Hill before conquering it
This outing? Almost all roses!