On November 5th and 6th we went on a Hobo campout to camp Cutter in the Santa Cruz mountains near Big Basin. A hobo campout is where you make your own shelter out of tarps and cook your food over the fire using tin cans, foil and other makeshift cooking implements. On the way up to camp, we thought we were going to be even more authentically hobo than planned when one of the trucks hauling our gear sprung a leak in its oil line. We weren’t able to fix it with chewing gum and bailing wire, so the rest of the troop went on ahead while some of the adults stayed with the disabled vehicle. We arrived at beautiful camp Cutter and after some quick instruction the scouts began setting up their own shelters. Only problem was that a lot of the tarps and some of the food was still in the vehicle we had left behind. Luckily some adults were able to return to the gas station in Saratoga where the truck had been left and retrieve the gear. The truck was eventually fixed and made it up to camp with us as well.

There were all kinds of fun and interesting tarp shelters. Some of the older scouts made a virtual tarp city complete with a cardboard box that Mark H used as a shelter. Some of the scouts tried to build beds in the rafters of the picnic shelter but we had our first hobo ruling and it was declared that was cheating. The Purple Penguins and Falcons joined together and pitched an awesome 5 man tarp. More about that later.

We cooked Quesadillas on the tops of tin cans and soup in the cans for lunch. Then it was time for the hobo boat races. We built hobo boats using hobo cardboard and hobo duct tape. It was hoborific and everybody had a hobo great time. It started to sprinkle and the water was awfully cold. Some of the adults were worried that the scouts might catch hobothermia, but they were not deterred. Several boats were launched but in the end only one of them actually floated, the boat belonging to the Purple Penguins and piloted by Darryl C.

The rain was really coming down at that point, so we headed back to camp and changed into dry clothes and started preparing dinner. Dinner consisted of foil packs with spam and ramen noodles. The scouts in the 5 man tarp (now with a few extras) were so cozy and warm they could not be persuaded to come out in to the rain to cook. Some of the other scouts gorged themselves on ramen noodles cooked in the can. Some of those tarps that had looked so good in the afternoon were starting to get a bit soggy inside and a few more scouts moved in with the Purple Penguins and Falcons. The 5 man tarp with quickly becoming “the tent of infinity” as more and more scouts took refuge inside its sauna like interior.

As the evening grow long, Many of the tarps were no longer as warm and dry as they had been in the afternoon light. Several scouts pitched a troop tent we had brought for emergency purposes. Meanwhile in the “tent of infinity” there was a might party raging. Dr. Dubro surprised us all by showing up in the middle of the darkness with a cool umbrella and a massive bag of popcorn to share. The scouts in the party tent had a ball eating the popcorn and who knows, they just might have figured out a way to show movies inside their tent.

The rain came down throughout the night and there were a few pulled stakes and quick yet slushy repairs but the next morning we checked and two scout shelters were still going strong. One of them was this amazing A-frame/hammock shelter built by Konnor D. The other was the tent of infinity. It was hobotastic. During a break in the rain, we managed to get breakfast, clean up and load the cars after a brief Scouts’ Own. Everyone agreed that the Purple Penguins and Falcons with their amazing tarp and unsinkable boat had rocked the hobo campout.

As we drove down the mountain we all breathed a sigh of relief. We had survived! Some of us had even thrived. And the Purple Penguins and Falcons stood just a little bit taller that day, knowing that they had conquered the rain and the wilderness and done a good deed for their fellow scouts in need.

Mr. Hershberger