Re: Cellular Phones
Jack Wood (wood@GDWEST.GD.COM)
Wed, 28 Sep 1994 12:00:13 PDT
In July 1993, four of our troop began a 50 mile hike on the Sespe
River near Ojai California. We camped in a National Forest campground
that had no resident Ranger or Host, and it being a Monday, the camp
was only 10% occupied.
After a 5 hour drive from San Diego, we were happy to be there. We
swam in the river, cooked a neat dinner and played cards by the camp-
fire until bedtime.
At 10 pm, three vehicles pulled into the space across from us and
disgorged 6 guys and 2 gals, about college age. They made lots of noise
getting settled, and within 30 minutes it became clear they had come
there to raise Hell until dawn. I MEAN HELL ! They had a keg of beer and
a sound system that your teenager would die for! It produced easily 150
decibels at 50 meters, enough to make you deaf. I couldn't understand
much of the foul language rap-CDs they were playing, except enough to
tell I didn't want much more of it!.
My co-leader yelled-out between CD's that he would appreciate their
"cutting it out". The kids responded with the location where he could
stick it. I knew at that moment that the night would be long and hard!
I spent the night from 10pm til 5am trying to determine a workable
plan to do away with these people. Lots of ideas came to me, but none
would have left my van intact for long. (We had to leave it there for
6 days). There appeared to be no way we could notify authorities with-
out driving out of camp (no phone on site) and no viable way to convince
these kids of their civic responsibilities. Thoughts of relocating our
camp at that hour somehow held no attraction for me. There was no way we
could even get licence plate numbers (for later use) without betraying
our purpose. At 5am, after NO sleep for 24 hours, my co-leader rousted
me with "Let's get out of here. There's no reason to stay!" And the
kids were still going strong !
Well, the trip was wonderful ! That morning two more of our guys
arrived and we took off. We crossed the Sespe river dozens of times in
the following week. We camped in beautiful spots each night and had
delightful daily swims in one of the last wild rivers in California. We
visited abandoned mining sites and two hot spas fed by hot springs. We
also ran into bear scat along the trail many times. The SPL was positive
it was llama puke, but he's hard to convince. (By the way, the reason we
hadn't done a Sierra trek was the heavy snowpack from the prior winter.
Thus we trekked at 3500 foot altitude instead of 10,000.)
We also experienced a metaphysical happening: a horse had just died
falling off a cliff right at our en-route campsite. The owner had left a
leather purse of runes, teeth and a farewell note nearby. In the west, at
sunset, a Vandenberg rocket contrail formed a stylized purple horse that
held for an hour, right after we discovered the body and the purse. It turns
out the rest of our troop was at Lost Valley for summer camp, 250 miles
south, and saw the same purple horse. We all marvelled at the obvious
theological meaning of the event and the power of that purse. It was a fine
trip, without mentioning the six-pack we found on the trail that day!
A month after returning home, I called the Ranger Station in Ojai
and spoke to the supervisor about how we could have dealt with the
punks at Lyons Canyon CG. At first he didn't grasp the danger to our van
associated with driving out in the middle of the night to a phone to call
the Sheriff. After a long friendly chat, we concluded that IF I had a
cellular phone with me in my TENT, that could reach FAR enough, we could
have summoned the gendarmes in secrecy (in between rap CD's !).
The issues of 1) would "the law" have come? and 2) would it have helped?
remain unknowable. The dangers of what I had conjured-up in my tent are
unthinkable. I hope to have more foresight and preparation next time.
When I tell this story to ANYBODY, they say it has happened to THEM too!
Every single person who camps in the backcountry of California! (Some call
it the land of fruits and nuts, but I'm not so sure.)
Does this stuff happen out there, too?? What would you have done?
Yours in Scouting
JACK WOOD |>>>====WWW====>>| SM Troop 668, Escondido CA |
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