Camp Stoves

During the good weather months, we try to avoid 'car camping'. Backpacking, or at least camping somewhere that we have to walk some distance from the car help us to feel like we're more outdoors. This means we don't do much dutch oven cooking except in the winter or on special occasions. Instead we use camp stoves and focus more on backpacking style food.

One of the books that has really helped us is 'Pack Light and Eat Heavy' by Bill McCartney. Unfortunately it's out of print and harder to find. I'll try to write up some of the recipes here, but without the other information in the book, they're of limited value. Bill's key premises are that:
  1. you can eat a variety of food on the trail without undue difficulty or added weight

  2. you can 'build your own' backpacking meals easily and cheaply instead of relying on expensive selections from vendors

  3. you can prepare good meals without doing more cooking than boiling water

When we're completely in this mode, we use a Coleman 1 burner stove. This isn't the lightest or smallest stove available, but it's sturdy and reliable (I've even used it in cold weather, I just need to take a fuel bottle to bed with me) -- it was economical too, since my Assistant Scoutmaster and I both have one. If you're not planning on doing too much backpacking with it, this is a pretty decent stove to start with.

If we're not camping too far from our vehicle, we might plan meals that don't go so well on the single burner (like pancakes and bacon, ummm). In this case, we might step up to a Coleman 2 burner stove. Again, this is one that we already had access to (it's part of my family's emergency storage). It's served us well for everything from New Scout Patrol trips to cooking up some rainbow trout we caught at Strawberry Reservoir.

Of course, if you're serious about getting light for a back packing trip, neither of these is the right answer for you. I'm looking into some alternatives ... we'll see where that journey takes me.

Pictures from Camp

I could have done a much better job of taking and posting pictures from our various camping trips. I've created some albums over at facebook, and thought Maybe I should share them here.

In May of 2007, we went to Topaz Mountain with Troop 757 (we camp with them several times a year). It's a pretty nice area out in the Utah deseret, and allows mining of topaz crystals with hand held tools. The boys enjoy beating on rocks with hammers and chisels, clambering around on the face of the hill, and exploring some of the badlands in the vicinity. Here's a link to the album: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=50477&l=fb91a&id=678427115

In June of this year, we did a 21 mile backpacking trek along the Great Western Trail. Along the way, we put in 2-3 hours of service, cutting back branches and vines that had grown out onto the trail (and in one case cutting and removing a log that had fallen across the trail). Two highlights of the trip (for me at least) were having a short snowball fight in June, and getting thanked for our efforts by a mountain biker who said he could really tell the difference between the trail we cleared and the other one he'd ridden that morning. Here's a link to the album for this trip: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=50484&l=24392&id=678427115


Notes on aug 19 2008

I was able to make some good progress last night and this morning -- not on Wood Badge tickets, but on important stuff nonetheless.

First up was as the Boy Scout Roundtable Commissioner. I've got calls out to our supporting units for September (late, sorry) and October. I've really been studying the Boy Scout Roundtable Planning Guide and I'm convinced we can do a better job of making this meeting more fun and effective. One thing I'm driving for is moving away from the monolithic lecture format that we've been in since I've been going to Roundtable. For the next two months, I'm shooting for 3-4 presentations/activities led by different leaders and separated by songs or run-ons. I'd like to add a contest or skit at each meeting as well. What kinds of activities do you enjoy at your roundtables?

I also got myself registered for the Commissioner College training this weekend down in Richland, UT. As a new commissioner, I'm feeling a bit unprepared. I sure hope this training will help me figure out what I should be doing and how I should be doing it.

Finally, I've also been working with my OA chapter about an Ordeal in October. It looks like things are coming together. I've contacted the couple of people that had been asking about it.
Now I need to get it (and other scouting activities) onto my google calendar.


Blind Walk ... Not So Much

Well, my planned for 'Blind Walk' on our camping/canoeing trip didn't come to pass. Kevin (my co-wood badger and assistant scoutmaster) had also put together a unity building activity, and since it fit in better with the canoeing we went with it. It was nice to run the activity, see the boys reactions to it, and then spend some time in a retrospection/processing phase afterwards.

I also helped my wife work on one of her wood badge tickets this weekend. She's putting together a promotional video, with short interviews of attendees, so I went in front of the camera on Sunday. She's also planning on getting some scouts into the video mix, to help cement the idea that we're going to wood badge as an investment in building better boys.


Wood Badge Ticket Report Aug 15 2008

I've made some progress on all five of my Wood Badge tickets:
  • One ticket is to create and distribute media to help recruit OA Arrowmen at BYU for the Lakota Chapter where my son and I serve. I've got some ideas for flyers and a poster, and have found two people on facebook that are interested in helping out (and have given me great ideas about where I can post things to get the most people seeing them).
  • Another ticket is to create a Timberline (NYLT) recruiting presentation for my troop and other troops in my district. Last night at roundtable, I spent some time talking to the district committee member who's putting together a local Timberline session for next year.
  • My third ticket is to run some unity building activities at 75% of our campouts over the next year. We're headed out tonight to go camping and canoeing, and I'm planning on helping the boys do a couple of blind walks -- I' better not forget to bring some bandanas.
  • My fourth ticket is to complete the requirements for the Personal Fitness merit badge before my next birthday. This week, I've been getting up early each morning to exercise. Monday I'll start the periodic measurements required by the merit badge.
  • My fifth ticket is to become a certified Leave No Trainer. I've signed up for the October class the council is doing. So far, three other members of my woodbadge troop have signed up as well. It'll be a reunion of sorts.


Back from Wood Badge

Well, I'm back from Wood Badge, the second of three scouting activities I'm involved in over the course of three weeks, and I'm really feeling fired up about scouting and my calling to serve as scoutmaster. As part of my Wood Badge experience, I'm working on five tickets (goals to improve myself and benefit the scouts I work with in my various capacities). I won't go into a lot of detail about my tickets now, but I'm sure I'll be posting more about them as time goes by. Hopefully I'll be posting more here about; my experiences as the scoutmaster of troop 37, my continuing Wood Badge experiences, and related topics.

The Wood Badge course was a great experience for me. If you're on the fence about attending one, please hop of the fence and sign up, you won't regret it.