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  • Scoutmaster Greg Long

Sunbeams and Starlight: Boy Scout Troop 12's Unforgettable July Hiking and Caving Adventure

Updated: Aug 27, 2023

Summertime is the perfect season for outdoor adventures, and Boy Scout Troop 12 made the most of it with an exhilarating hiking and caving expedition in July. Led by 2 experienced adults and accompanied by a group of 7 enthusiastic Scouts, this unforgettable journey took them deep into the heart of Oregon's natural wonders.

From exploring the breathtaking Skylight Cave to spelunking through the lava tubes of Little Belknap, every moment of this adventure was filled with excitement and camaraderie.

Skylight Cave Exploration

The adventure began as the troop rendezvoused with Mr. Nick Turtura, a certified Level 2 BSA Climb Instructor, at the entrance of Skylight Cave, located just outside the charming town of Sisters, Oregon. Donning harnesses and helmets, the Scouts prepared themselves for an adrenaline-pumping descent into the cave.

The name "Skylight Cave" was well-earned, as ethereal beams of sunlight penetrated through holes in the cave's ceiling, creating a surreal and mesmerizing atmosphere.

Hiking and Camping at Huckleberry Lake:

Having successfully explored Skylight Cave, the group's spirits were high as they hiked a mile to the serene Huckleberry Lake. Nestled amidst the picturesque Oregon wilderness, the Scouts set up camp and took a well-deserved plunge into the refreshing mountain waters and basked in sunshine.

Hiking to Huckleberry Lake

Educational Stop at Dee Wright Observatory

A wise Scoutmaster once told me – a happy scout is a fed scout!

Adventuring works up an appetite, so these famished scouts put their cooking skills to use and had an early Mountain House dinner, cooked on backpacking stoves.

At Dee Wright Observatory

The troop then headed to the Dee Wright Observatory, where they gained valuable knowledge about the surrounding Cascade mountains. This educational stop not only added a touch of geology to their adventure but also fostered a deeper appreciation for their home state they were exploring.

Conquering Little Belknap

The real test of the Scouts' determination awaited them as they embarked on a challenging 3-mile hike along the rugged Pacific Crest Trail, venturing through barren lava fields to reach Little Belknap Cone.

This extinct volcano offered a thrilling opportunity for the Scouts to rappel 45 feet down into a mysterious cave, its floor covered in a blanket of frozen snow. Spelunking through the lava tube, they navigated through tight spaces, crawling on their bellies until they emerged from a small hole, triumphant and awestruck by the experience.

The Moonlight Mile

As nightfall descended, the troop finish the remaining climb to the summit of Little Belknap and experienced the magic of the "Moonlight Mile," aptly named by their guide, Mr. Turtura.

Snacking on Moonpies, they journeyed back the 3 miles to the trailhead, guided by the glow of their headlamps and the twinkling stars above. The lack of a moon on that particular night only added to the enchantment, allowing them to fully embrace the beauty of the starlit sky.

Troop 12 on Little Belknap
On the Summit of Little Belknap

The Scouting Spirit

Exhausted but filled with unforgettable memories, Boy Scout Troop 12's hiking and caving adventure in July proved to be a testament to the spirit of exploration, teamwork, and resilience. From the captivating Skylight Cave to the challenges of Little Belknap, each moment showcased the beauty and wonders of nature.

As the Scouts returned to their campsite at Huckleberry Lake, they knew that this adventure would forever hold a special place in their memories Undoubtedly, they would do it all again in a heartbeat, eager to continue their journey of discovery in the great outdoors.

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