Dispatch from Troop 33: Fall Semester

Montecito Boy Scouts completed three backpack trips during the fall semester, including a grueling trip to Santa Cruz Station in the Santa Barbara backcountry. The trips extended Troop 33’s reputation for high adventure and challenged its newest scouts.

Veteran Scoutmasters Otis Calef and John Tynan led the scouts through a total of 58 miles of rugged terrain. They hiked with full packs, saw a variety of wildlife, ate tasty campsite cuisine and slept under the stars.

Assistant Scoutmaster Tynan briefed the scouts before each trip at the regular Tuesday evening meeting at the Scout House in Upper Manning Park. It was not until the following Friday that the reality set in – these were difficult, glorious trips by any measure.

Among the participants: Life Scouts Andy Becker and Chris Cusack and new Scouts Jeremy Work, Hunter Becker, Peter Loomis, Hunter Hogan and Charlie Haslem, whose dispatch follows:

The Great Outdoors

Little did I know that I would be challenged by backpacking in Troop 33. My name is Charlie Haslem. I am a new Scout in Troop 33. If you want to be challenged, Troop 33 is the place to go.

The first backpacking trip I went on was to Gaviota Peak, located about Highway 101. I thought it was pretty tough. While hiking up there, I drank lots of water. Always have enough water.

We hiked up to a campsite called The Squat, a historical place where a man named George Save built an adobe house on the side of the mountain. Otis Calef, our scoutmaster, brought his mules to help us carry less weight. That night we slept under the stars.

The next morning we quickly got up and had ice cream for breakfast that Otis had brought. Most of the way down I hiked alongside Benny Bottoms, Andy Becker and Parker Clemens. We were the first ones back at the cars.

Santa Cruz Station was the next trip. This trip was special because we hiked five miles uphill at night with our headlamps on. In the dark, we saw some tarantulas and a scorpion. When we were about two miles from the peak, we filled our water bottles up in a horse trough. Once we got to the peak I got out my sleeping bag and fell asleep quickly.

On Saturday morning we hiked down the other side of the mountain. On the way, I imagined going swimming and taking a long nap. When we finally got to the campsite, I took a nap and then put my swimsuit on and some of us went in the creek. The water was cold, about 55 degrees, we guessed. We all dared my friend Hunter Hogan to jump in first. So he jumped in and started swimming and then I quickly got in the water, swam for about 10 seconds and then got out shivering.

That night John Tynan baked a chocolate cake in a Dutch oven. He also made some really good stew that had potatoes, carrots, beef and lots of other good stuff. After the stew we finally ate the chocolate cake and it tasted awesome. The next morning we hiked back 11 miles. It was the toughest hike I have ever done.

The Montecito Boy Scouts meet at the Scout House in Upper Manning Park. For more information, contact John Tynan at JTynan@tynangroup.com.