Craters of the Moon Backpack

Doing a spring backpack to Echo Crater in Craters of the Moon is becoming a regular hike for Troop 100.  We had 12 scouts and 8 adults head out there, each with at least 3 liters of water.  There is absolutely no water out in that desert route.  Before the hike Tom B. gave a short class on map reading and orienteering, and the scouts divided up into 3 patrols and set out with compass bearings of a route on which there were 7 checkpoints, with a poker chip for each patrol.  All three patrols came back with all their assigned poker chips.

For a lot of these scouts this was their first backpack, and carrying 3 liters of water, you always wonder how its going to go.  Boots can give blisters, packs can be ill fitting, and kids can bring more weight they can carry.  The picture below is the group moments before departure.

 Along the way we saw some tiny desert wild flowers, like the tiny allium (wild onion) above.

Along the way we saw some tiny desert wild flowers, like the tiny allium (wild onion) above.

 Above is a tiny larkspur adapted to live in the short growing season, with cold winds and little water, growing in chunks of volcanic pumice.

Above is a tiny larkspur adapted to live in the short growing season, with cold winds and little water, growing in chunks of volcanic pumice.

 Another larkspur growing in the protection of a thicket of sage branches.

Another larkspur growing in the protection of a thicket of sage branches.

 Above is our fearless leader Tom Baskin trying to figure out where the scouts are, or maybe where we are.

Above is our fearless leader Tom Baskin trying to figure out where the scouts are, or maybe where we are.

 One more tiny flower, about an inch tall.  Some kind of violet?

One more tiny flower, about an inch tall.  Some kind of violet?

 Above, from the rim of Echo Crater looking down into the bowl of the crater, where we would set up tents and spend the night.

Above, from the rim of Echo Crater looking down into the bowl of the crater, where we would set up tents and spend the night.

 Above, a scout is always prepared, this time with a hammer.

Above, a scout is always prepared, this time with a hammer.

 The next morning, the scouts pack up and head out at a rapid clip.  I didn't catch up to them till we reached the cars.

The next morning, the scouts pack up and head out at a rapid clip.  I didn't catch up to them till we reached the cars.

 Talk about a strong leadership group, we practically had those scouts outnumbered.

Talk about a strong leadership group, we practically had those scouts outnumbered.

 Gary could not resist doing some climbing on the hike out, in this case, in a dead tree.

Gary could not resist doing some climbing on the hike out, in this case, in a dead tree.

 Above: typical terrain hiking through the desert.  Snow in the hills in the distance, but the temperature was pleasant where we were.

Above: typical terrain hiking through the desert.  Snow in the hills in the distance, but the temperature was pleasant where we were.