That There Canyon is Pretty Grand

Knowing this was going to be a frosty trip, the scouts were nonetheless eagerly anticipating getting to camp.  The caravan left the church parking lot ahead of time, flew through a take-out dinner, and managed to only one short pit-stop on their journey. Sights seen along the way included deer, elk, and a forest fire raging in multiple spots right next to I-40, but before we knew it, we were pulling into our forest road target adjacent to the Grand Canyon.  A blast of cold air and multiple inches of snow on the ground greeted our hardy T648 campers, who launched tents and hunkered down in record time for a cold winter’s night. But not before witnessing during the process the most amazing set-up in years – “Da da da da da da, circus circus,” Mr. Englehardt and his ‘step right up to the big top’ three ring circus tent!  Any clowns or elephants going to come out of that thing in the AM? 

Next morning the boys were comparing numb and pink toes stories, Mr. Cole’s contacts were frozen into two solid solution ice cubes, and the troop lighters wouldn’t work.  When it was determined that Mr. Nachtrab’s gas flame thrower starter also was frozen, we began thinking we would have to get creative and rub two scouts’ heads together to get fire.  Eventually breakfast was very good – adult mountain man breakfast right out of the Dutch oven and sooo warm in the 9-degree wind chill.  And the scouts decided that burnt eggs left in the pan lent extra flavor to the bacon fry that went into their burritos.

A five-mile hike along the rim at the most amazing canyon in the world was the day’s highlight. A new ‘Trail of Time’ identified all the rock layers laid down over the years and exposed in the canyon through erosion by the Colorado River and other contributors.  10 million years for each 13 paces made you feel like you were really getting somewhere!  This fun was followed by lunch in the parking lot, and a return to the canyon’s edge for fudge and other treasures from the El Tovar gift shop.  Heading back to camp, we discovered the sun and 37 degrees had created a bit of soup in camp, but there was still plenty of white stuff remaining for an enthusiastic snow war.

One of our scouts turned 13 the Saturday of our trip. Canyoneering, fudge, dutch oven pizza, cobbler, S’mores, a Pepsi, a gift from parents, snow ball fights, and hanging with the troop in glorious winter nature were only a few of the highlights that went into his birthday party.  Actual overnight temperatures of 7 degrees on Saturday night were the coldest yours truly had ever spent sleeping in a tent on the ground, but other than a few comments on tingling fingers and frozen toes during ‘Thorn’s and Roses,’ there was not a complaint from a scout to be heard.  General consensus in typical understated scout-speak was ‘Kinda great how big the Grand Canyon is!’

Ya’ll looking forward to family camp in McDowell Mountain Regional Park next month?

Home sweet igloo
Circus Big Tops for the Biggest Outings
Experiment: Do eggs burn at 7F degrees?
“Kinda great how big the Grand Canyon is!”
5 mile hikes can be quite tasking
Snow war before a truce for dinner
mmmm – Dutch oven pizza!
Happy Birthday Grand Canyon style!
How to handle 7 degree mornings scout-style