Boy Scout Canoe Trip – 2019

My son’s Boy Scout troop makes an annual trip out to the Colorado River to work on their canoeing and kayaking merit badges.  This outing is a family camp style so parents and siblings are also welcome to join.  We tried a new place and time of year this time.  Traditionally they have been in September up near Needles, CA and this year we tried out Blythe in May.

We drove up to the new camp location on Friday night.  The gas tank was getting low so I passed our exit and drove the extra 2 1/2 miles over to the Arizona side and filled up my tank for about $1.50 a gallon less than the California side.

Once we got to the park, the scouts got together and setup their camp.  The majority of the boys slept in the open air under the stars.  One of the older patrols setup a lean-to shelter and I saw one tent setup.

The whole camp got up at 5:30 am to get prepared for the day.  We all put on our swim clothes, got our gear ready, and made sack lunches for the day on the river.  The boat rental company was there at 6:30 am sharp to ferry us to the drop off point.  We had 72 people and 37 water craft present for the 16 mile adventure and it took two trips to get us all there.

I’m guessing that we were on the water by about 8:00 am.  I left my phone back at camp in my car so all my times are approximate for the day.  We were split up into 5 groups of 7 or 8 watercraft.  I was in the first group code named “Naboo” which was followed by the group code named “Hoth”.  I don’t remember the other groups names but they were all Star Wars related.  All the different groups had new scouts/parents and many were new to canoes and rowing.  We got off to a slow start but most of them had it down pretty good by the 11 to 12 mile mark.  We had a strong current and not much wind or boat traffic so we made good time and got to camp by around 2:30 pm.  We unloaded all the people and then helped the boating company to load them all up.

Once we got back to the actual camp site everybody took a well deserved rest.  Once dinner time came around the Boy Scouts made their own dinners according to their meal plans and quartermasters.  The adult leaders made Blood Orange Chicken and we had a very good taco bar setup.  Everything always tastes better when you’re camping.  For desert, they made S’Mores cake in the Dutch ovens.  Pretty much everybody was passed out by the 10:00 o’clock lights out.

I woke up around 6:00 am to the sound of rain falling on my tent.  I got dressed and packed up my sleep bag, sleeping mat, and camp cot before venturing out.  Once I did, I discovered that it was barely drizzling.  The drops always sound later falling on the rain fly of the tent.  It’s a good thing too because most of the boys were sleeping outside with no cover.

We got most of the camp packed up and then the scouts and leaders went down to the lagoon and offloaded the single trailer full of kayaks and canoes that we had rented for the merit badge training.  It took a couple of hours but all of the new scouts finished their Canoe Merit badge activities.  They will now be able to use kayaks next year.  The boys that already have their Canoe Merit Badge worked on the Kayak Badge.

We left the camp around 11:30 am and stopped for lunch at In-N-Out Burger.  We also made a brief stop in Cabazon for our traditional Dinosaur selfie.  We had one other scout that rode up with us.  After dropping him off we were home by 4:00 pm.

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