Sunday, August 14, 2016

1959 Boy Scout Silver Moccasin and Camp Verdugo Pines

First row LtoR: Walter Henry,  Kent Gardiner, Vernon Jolley, then Mike Reeder and Hugh Brown.
Second row: Tad Callister, Brent Frost, Wayne LeCheminant, Don Browne and Lynn Reeder. 
Standing: Mike Ragsdale, Jim LeCheminant, Steve Leeper, Gordon Christiansen, John Broberg, Brian Pettit, Charles Brown and Vernon "Rip" Ragsdale
 I still have my Silver Moccasin Award: two silver moccasins hanging from a green ribbon.
I don't remember much about the hike.  I thought we started at Switzer's Falls and ended up at Camp Verdugo Pines (about 55 miles) near Wrightwood and next to Jackson Lake and I think we stayed for a week of Summer Camp.  I think that camp is now Verdugo Pines Bible Camp  (I think they bought it from Verdugo Hills Council in 1963).  Some of the stuff I've read online says the Silver Moccasin Trail began at Charlton Flats but I thought we started at Switzer's.

We went with an older scouter (I can't remember his name) who wore shorts and the "Smokey Bear" type hat, and it became a joke that he was always having us check our socks and had us eat a lot of apples and cheese.  Ward members would meet us at campsites along the trail to resupply us.  I remember there wasn't much water available and we were always concerned about whether there would actually be water at the next planned watering spot so we could fill our canteens. 

I remember there was a series of switchbacks (just above Chilao I think) which were a killer and I think the highest point of the trail was Mt Baden Powell. B Frost

On the hike I remember being determined not to be last.  I felt I could do better but there were a lot of strong boys that seemed to me to be better equipped for this hike.  The hardest part of the Silver Moccasin was the day we did the switchbacks.  The sun beat down on us and the trail was steep.  When we started out I planned it out so I was in the first group.  When others were taking a break I pushed myself forward.  At the top of the hill I was in the first group to hit the summit.   I decided to would always remember this moment.   It showed me I could keep up with the other scouts.  From that time on I held a few of these triumphs in my mind as a reminder I could accomplish difficult tasks. Kent Gardiner

Clay Crowley: I took everything. My backpack weighed 2 lbs more than I did so I divided it up and put it in two backpacks. I carried one in front of me for balance. I ate regular food which is why so much weight. Everyone else ate dehydrated and were envious of me. It was an experience I will never forget. I do not remember taking our pancake skillet but it is possible. On my first campout as a Boy Scout, mom bought my food. She included cereal for my breakfast in one of those small cartons that you cut open. For milk she included canned milk. I can still remember how bad it tasted.