|Backpacking to Camp Cleland|
|Sunday, 18 April 2010 18:52|
The Crew drew double-duty last weekend. On Friday night, an envoy of the Cabinet (President, VP Admin, Secretary, and 1 Crew Guide) visited Camp Parsons to meet with the staff of the Centennial Wood Badge course. The Crew has been invited to serve on the 2nd weekend of the Wood Badge (Friday and Saturday, May 14-15) and needed to review the syllabus as well as introduce themselves to everyone. On mid morning Saturday, the remainder of the Crew rendezvoused with the Cabinet at Parsons for lunch.
As a light rain began to fall, everyone loaded up to drive down to Hamma Hamma. As soon as we reached the turnoff and started up the Hamma Hamma River Valley, it started raining in buckets. A hard rain. The kind of rain with the wipers going full speed and you still can't see more than a car length in front of you. We parked at the FS Trail #810, mounted up, and started up from the Trail head. It's not a difficult or technical trail, but with the heavy rain, the trail bed soon changed into a creek. We joked about taking a kayak back down and retitling the event as a Whitewater Backpacking. There was no one behind us, and everyone we encountered was coming down to escape the weather.
At Mile 3.0, we crested the ridge line and the rains finally abated. We dropped a hundred feet or so to the base of Lena Lake, and started looking for a large enough site to accommodate all 18 of us. As luck would have it, we found an open site with several adequate flat spots that were fairly free of rocks and even had a few tree stumps that could serve as tables for our camp stoves. We quickly set up the fly for our packs and pitched our tents, setting aside 2 of the Crew to start putting dinner together. Needless to say, we were just a little moist, so the hot meal hit the spot. Temperatures plummeted as soon as the bear bag was hoisted and the sun fell, so the more valiant of us set about to find as much dry wood as could be gathered; the small campfire was started with flint and steel, and while no one could claim to have been warmed or even dried out by the fire, the stories started and morale soared.
Amazingly, we awakened to a beautiful cold blue sky with alto-cumulus. The tent rain-flies came off and were set out on lakeside logs to dry in the sun....along with the rest of us. While we were breaking camp, we found a old bronze plaque bolted to a rock: Welcome to Camp Cleland, Tumwater Council, 1939. Wow, imagine that, this place was dedicated over 70 years ago by Scouting. Not surprisingly, we all stood up a little taller and hiked out in less than half the time it took to hike in the afternoon before. Day hikers coming up the trail commented incredulously, "You really camped up there last night? In that weather?" I guess there's only a short gap between being mentally tough and just being plain stubborn. We hauled out a lot of trash and wondered what Camp Cleland would look like in 2081. Back at the cars, we reflected on the weekend and promised to come back in better weather and swim the Lake.