Mt Tam Hike

After weeks of being shut in because of COVID19 and poor air quality from fires, a small contingent of T104 scouts and scouters met at 8:30am on a very pleasant September Saturday for a 10-mile hike to the East Peak of Mt. Tamalpais in Marin County.

In lieu of our recent normal kayaking trip in the Fall, our scouts decided it would be good to do a number of hikes in our area. We are fortunate to have many good, medium-length hikes within easy driving distance. And the recent merger of three Bay Area councils — the San Francisco Bay Area Council, the Alameda Council, and our home council the Mt Diable Silverado Council — in the Golden Gate Area Council has created new excitement for doing hikes that were previously out-of-council, such as the Mt. Tam hike.

So we met at Pantoll Ranger Station, said “hi!” to another troop with the same idea, got a brief orientation from one our scouts on where we’d be heading, and off we went! Our first leg led us up the Old Mine Trail to the Mountain Play amphitheatre. The skies were fairly clear and it the temperature was just right. We lingered briefly at the amphitheatre, several folks saying they hadn’t yet seen a play there before and others reminiscing about the summer crowds that swarm over the area in normal years. We walked across the top of the theater to continue on Rock Spring Trail, which leads to the West Point Inn. A short break there let the snails catch up with the rabbits, gave us a few minutes looking at the view of San Francisco, and provided a break for some water as the sun was heating things up.

Our trip to the peak took us up the northern stretch of the Old Railroad Grade, past the Visitor’s Center and up to the Fire Lookout at 2,471 ft, where we lingered a while to have water and lunch. Although there were others hiking to the peak, the trail was pretty empty, spoiling us all, and giving us room to spread out. A couple of planes flew by at or below our altitude, native bees buzzed avidly in the chaparral, and we chatted idly while looking over San Rafael and the Richmond Bridge.

The way home was mostly a return on the same trails except that we cut down Fern Trail to the southern part of Old Railroad Grade, giving us a little bit longer hike so that those scouts who wanted it could get a 10-miler for their Hiking merit badge. The detour took us past the natural spring waterfall on that trail and a few people dipped into the pleasantly cold water. The walk was just a tiny bit shy of 10 miles, so the outing ended with a few scouts walking down to the end of the Pantoll parking lot before returning to the group to say thanks and goodbyes.

Thanks to everyone who participated and helped organize the outing. We’re looking forward to the next one coming soon!

Angel Island Kayak Outing Sep 21-22

t104scouts@googlegroups.com; on behalf of T Mumley

Our kayak overnight outing to Angel Island is on September 21-22.  The trip starts 9 am Saturday morning in Sausalito (Schoonmaker Point Marina) where the group will first learn the basics of kayaking, then paddle to Angel Island and spend the afternoon and evening exploring the Island. The group will stay in a Civil War era building in Camp Reynolds on the west side of the Island (which has camping mattresses) and then paddle back Sunday morning to Sausalito. The trip ends early afternoon (no later than 3 pm). Check out the attached document with trip details. 

This trip is great for novice to advanced paddlers of varying abilities and backgrounds. The minimum number of participants (scouts and adults) is 10 and the maximum is 24. The cost per participant is $158, plus the cost of food (maybe $20 or so). 

To confirm our reservation, we need to provide a head count by August 26. We also need to pay a deposit (1/2 the total cost) by August 26, which I will cover based on confirmed commitments by then. The remaining balance is due by September 13. Jennifer or I will post a signup sheet soon. 

This is our annual outing via Environmental Travel Companions (ETC), a non-profit organization that specializes in accessible outdoor adventures for people with disabilities and youth from under-resourced backgrounds, but they also work with youth groups including scouts. ETC Guides are experienced in facilitating sea kayak trips and working with people of all backgrounds and abilities, and they ensure the trip is safe, educational, and fun. We have done trips with ETC for several years; We have been rotating three trip opportunities: whitewater rafting on the American River, which we did two years ago, an overnight kayak trip on Tomales Bay, which we did last year, and this kayak to Angel Island outing, which we did in 2016. Scouts that went on that trip all raved about it! 

You can call me if you have questions.

Alaska High Adventure

“To the lover of wilderness, Alaska is one of the most wonderful countries in the world.”  John Muir.

It’s been almost a week now since we’ve returned from the Alaska High Adventure trip.  I wanted to share some pics of our intrepid crew and highlights from the trip.  This is just a small sample (click to view).  We have yet to pool our photos, may have a slideshow at a meeting in September, and expect there will be written stories about the trip’s adventures for the Troop’s newsletter this fall. 

The fabulous guides and staff from Midnight Sun Council in Fairbanks hosted 6 scouts and 4 scouters from Troop 104 and Crew 104.  The group earned the 50-Miler Award while backpacking and canoeing.  We were fortunate to have Lost Lake Scout Camp, the council’s own ‘Wolfeboro’ all to ourselves as a base for our wilderness excursions, complete with a lake teeming with fish.  We hiked above the treeline for the most part, surrounded by caribou, and climbed to the craggy top of Pinnell Mtn, with sweeping views in all directions of the White Mountains.  The subarctic alpine tundra surely is the most beautiful and varied flora one can ever see.  We spent two days paddling.  The Tanana River was wide and wild, and the Clearwater calm and crystal clear with grayling hugging the bottom (we caught some!).  We hiked to two glaciers, the Castner and Gulkana and camped in the Amphitheater Mtns, surrounded by snow-covered peaks.  The salmon and caribou in this area, the Tangle Lakes Archaeological District, has supported human occupation and hunting for the past 10,000 years.  We learned a lot about Alaska, its history and peoples as we visited three museums in Fairbanks, and also went on a sternwheeler riverboat cruise in Fairbanks, where we were able to get off and visit a recreated Athabascan fish camp and village and play with sled dogs.  Lots more pics and tales to share … !