Reflections from Scouts- SPL Joshua chen and Kelvin Frans, ASPL Joshua Wu:
At around 9:30 on Saturday, we all grouped up at Palo Verde before departure to discuss bike safety and organize groups for the trip. We decided to break into two groups for biking to make things easier to keep track of: one of older scouts and one of the younger and newer scouts. After a bit more getting ready, we headed out, through the baylands and into East Palo Alto. After a break before the big climb, we started out once again for the Dumbarton Bridge. After everyone made it over and took a well-deserved break, we started out biking on land strips over the water to the campgrounds, where we set up the tents and rested.
Around 3:30, we decided to do an activity, and we all voted on going to see rock formations that were nearby. We climbed and explored around the site, and after obliviously taking millions of harder paths with an easy path nearby, we went back to the campsite to start dinner, and then a campfire with marshmallows and a skills patrol on axes and fires. Everyone then went back to their tents and rested.
Early the next morning, we packed our tents, started another fire, and ate our breakfast. We then headed out again at 9 o’clock towards a reserve, where we took some pictures and did some roses and thorns. Then we split into groups once again and took off back to Palo Alto. After arriving at Subway with the entire group, we rested and ate lunch, and then met at Palo Verde to collect our things, and went each of our separate ways.
From ASM Calvin,…. (…you have been warned)
A spring day in April 2014 -a glorious day to be a scout !
Spirited take-offs from the comfort of Palo Verde, making a daring dash into urban midst of our infamous neighbor, dodging white ammunitions from the muni fairways, mockings of the Ravenswood Preserve crows, and coming face to face with the LIKE of Facebook HQ, the T5 scouts fearlessly pedaled hard and resolute, through it all.
The rise and roars of 84 flooded the veins of each scouts with the rushes of adrenaline as they met with the blurry headlights, glaring metal grills, and faceless drivers. Onward they pushed. Some were faster, others were more steadfast, but all were Trustworthy of their ASMs, Loyal to their Cause, Brave with their innocence, and Reverent to the pursuit of the outdoor code. Pedal they did.
At half mark, we peeled away from noxious 84 roadways and were swallowed by the expanse and the surphuric wiffs of the evaporation ponds and marshlands, the icons of our beloved but often under appreciated baylands and waterways. Under the crashed shells and base rocks of Shoreline trails, the horde of troops on 2-wheels, spared no calories. Immediately, the view became refreshing but mesmerizing….the narrow trail opened up bodies of water on the western edge of the Fremont, with little to no evident of greedy land grab. While the midday sun beat down, the scout spirits rejoiced at such a sight..of surreal desert-like mirages of watery horizon, of baby blue sky and the rolling pale green hills. The scouts’ nostrils flared with each in-take of the foul but fair air, swirling around the gently heated algaed but still ponds. It’s a great day to be alive and to be outdoor…the silent wishes of any scouts on expedition.
The long stretch of Shoreline trail curved towards the hills where coyotes and Indians once roamed. As we entered the landed part of the park, a few short turns of gentle climb and descent brought us to our group site, the Dairy Glen. This was much more luxious than was expected. 3 separate but distinct group of picnic tables and benches under the canopies of Architecture Digest inspired trellis roofs. Nice but indulgent. Quickly, lunches were devoured and soon the scout spirits arose again.
The scouts started scouting for choice grounds to pitch their half domes. ASMs preached about site selection to eager ears while nimbler hands dealted with unwildy poles, straps and the art of staking. No sooner did younger creative scouts started to align their tents for connected vestibules while the older scouts seek holier and farther grounds for privacies. Such were the nature of the Lords of the Flies. The program for the afternoon took on more exploration of the nearby tall craggy rocks capping the numerous hills, while the piercing crackles of the 7 walkie-talkies with CB jargons of Roger That and Roger This, Overs and Outs filled the air space. Severals had their diet of 10 fauna and 10 floral requirements meet during ASM-led walk-about. And out of the blue, we had a pleasant visit from our very own Commissioner, Mr Enderby. All was well and we bade him greetings, thanks and good-byes.
The evening started with the art of axe swinging, and the unsuccessful attempt with flint fire starters. The scouts managed to shoot plenty of sparks but the starter lint wouldn’t co-operate.. The common household match came to the rescue and soon the prancing orange flames lit up the scouts faces with glee. These were the signs of happy scouts.
By now the fire was roaring, and the marshmallows were out. The silent competition to make the mallows lit with fire or charred to the nth degrees seems to be the protocol. Soon the scouts retired into the warm glow of their domes with more card games and small talks. The game of Zork was not to be this time. Perhaps another time, when 14 miles of punishing pedalling was not the soup de jour.
Good Night Moon-big round Moon, and Good Night Scouts!
The warm winds howled during the midnight hours, so typical of east bay hills; but at last, even they had to yield to quiet peaceful inevitable sunrise. While dew lingered on the rain-flys, the rustlings from the domes became louder. Soon, Joshua Chen the scout SPL and his posse of ASPLs roused the troops to test their iron chef skills while our very own adult leader’s chef, Sammy Huang filled his large flat skillet with chinese styled pancakes and omelets. Tent breakdowns, and site sweep led up to the troop’s departure from our Dairy Glen site, a bit past nine.
ASM Mark prompted the Troop to visit the nearby Don Edwards SF bay national Wildlife Refuge. A short ride way, the troop rode up to another vista point over-looking the sweeping scene of the Dumbarton and yonder. The rich blue hues of the Santa Cruz’s ridge-lines appeared to embrace the skylines of our bay cities like her endearing broods.
The split group finally reassembled for the troop photos opps and our Roses and Thorns reflections spoke of the good, the bad and the memories of a great scout day. We hit the road again towards and over 84 and onto our final destination at Midtown Subway.
It was a memorable adventure for all, 10 scouts and 5 adults.
Thanks to Trip leader ASM Mark Chen, Adult leaders Bill Cortright, and Bin Tang and last not but least trip coordinator Lianhong
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