Troop 797: Anatomy of a Scout Campout (7-15-10 – – 7-17-10 Mount Timpanogos Backpacking Trip and On Target) (Updated 3x)

Troop 797, in which I serve as scoutmaster, just completed quite an adventure.

Planning and Preparation

The plan for this camp out was conceived about four months ago. In two Sunday’s in February and March, the Patrol Leader Council (PLC) held an Annual Planning Conference. The PLC members were:

Senior Patrol Leader – – Tyler Rife
Assistant Senior Patrol Leader – – Colton Moore
Patrol Leader (Falcon) – – Sam Jensen
Patrol Leader (Flying Donkeys) – – Max Hoopes
Scribe and Historian – – Morgan Hunter

Adult leaders participating in the Annual Planning Conference were Greg Jones (scoutmaster), Daniel Ybarra (assistant scoutmaster), and Spencer Fowers (11-year-old scoutmaster).

The PLC decided to broaden the troop’s camping experience to include backpacking, and to work on the backpacking merit badge, which requires 3 backpacking trips that last 3 days and cover 15 miles, and 1 backpacking trip that lasts 5 days and covers 30 miles.  The troop also knew that an “On Target” event was scheduled for July 17.  After discussion, including follow-on work after the Annual Planning Conference, the plan became to have a 3-day backpacking trip that would include troop participation in On Target at the summit of Mount Timpanogos.

The talents of Spencer Fowers were critical to the success of this outing.  Among other things, he plotted our trail and identified where we could camp, registered the troop to be an official participant in On Target assigned to Mount Timpanogos, helped the troop plan the menu’s, made jerky, became expert in mirror signaling skills and built a portable 2-foot x 2-foot mirror comprised of for smaller mirrors, and has a ham radio license essential for each On Target team.

Spencer and I had a planning meeting in his home the evening of Tuesday, July 6.

On Sunday, July 11 Spencer and I met with Matt Housley and members of the PLC at the home of Tyler Rife.  Matt is working on First Class rank requirements, which include planning and preparing meals, so we held a special meeting to plan for the camp out’s food.  We then held the PLC meeting itself, which included additional planning for the camp out.

The evening of Monday, July 12, Spencer and I went with Matt Housley to purchase the food for the camp out, making purchases at CostCo and Macey’s.  Later, Spencer divided all the food for the meals into packets to be carried by scout leaders and scouts in their packs.

I headed up communications with parents, providing scouts with an equipment checklist, and lining up transportation, as well as getting our tour permit and making sure all health forms were in order.  Lance Moore volunteered to drive, and Spencer’s father-in-law also drove (and let Spencer use his ham radio equipment).  Finally, Young Men’s President Taylor Cline and Spencer secured “Class B” uniforms for the troop, which are gray t-shirts for scoutmasters and brown t-shirts for scouts.

Sam Jensen prepared a duty roster for the camp out, setting forth the  assignments for all the scouts.

Spencer and I both made efforts to obtain signal mirrors, obtaining mirrors used by Troop 797 in the past from Robert Lambert and Erin Flinders, and trips to Jones Paint and Glass in Provo.

On Wednesday, July 14, at 5:30 pm, the troop had a pack check at the Grandview Ninth Ward chapel.  Scout participants were Max Hoopes, Matt Housley, Morgan Hunter, Sam Jensen, and Colton Moore; adult participants were Taylor Cline, Spencer Fowers, Shawn Hoopes, and Greg Jones.


We backpacked from the Timpooneke Trailhead located on UT-92 (elevation 7370 feet), stopped at Scout Falls, then turned at the fork that eventually leads to the B-25 Crash Site, proceeding only a few hundred yards where we camped in a meadow on Thursday night.  On Friday we continued on the Timpooneke trail, heading south across Timpanogos Basin, then turning east to Emerald Lake (elevation 10,380 feet), setting up camp at a group of trees at the top of a small ridge several hundred yards to the east of Emerald Lake.  On Saturday morning we hiked from Emerald Lake to Timp Saddle, proceeded to the summit of Mount Timpanogos (elevation 11,749 feet), then returned to Emerald Lake by hiking further south and descending the Timp Glacier.  You may trace this route in this map (if the maps is too small to read, click on the map to enlarge it).  From Emerald Lake, we descended Mount Timpanogos via the Aspen Grove trail, depicted in this map (we traveled from point 5 to point 1 on the map).

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Grandview Ninth Ward Chapel, Provo, Utah (7-15-10)

We planned to depart from the Grandview Ninth Ward chapel at 3 pm, and probably left at about 3:30 pm.  Above, Taylor Cline and Shawn Hoopes are helping prepare the troop to leave.  Spencer Fowers drove one vehicle, and Lance Moore the other.

Troop 797 at Timpooneke Trailhead, UT-92, Utah (7-15-10)

Above, having arrived at the trailhead, the troop makes final preparations.  From left to right, those in the picture are:  Spencer’s father-in-law, Spencer, Taylor Cline (standing behind Spencer), Morgan Hunter, Sam Jensen, Max Hoopes, Colton Moore, and Matt Housley.  We hit the trail at about 4:30 pm.

Scout Falls, Timpooneke Trail, Utah (7-15-10)

By 5:40 pm, the troop had arrived at “Scout Falls,” removed its packs, and hiked off the side of the trail to enjoy the falls and take pictures.  Those in this picture are, from left to right, Spencer, Taylor, Morgan, Colton, Max, Sam, and Matt.

Timpooneke Trail, Utah (7-15-10)

The troop had originally planned to hike 2 to 3 miles the first day, but was making good progress, and ended up hiking about 6 miles, up that point on the Timpooneke Trail where a “Toilet” sign is posted.  We turned off at the sign, Colton and Matt inspected the toilet and found it completely unusable, and we proceeded to a meadow Spencer had identified as a campsite.  It was getting dark as we set up camp.  We used Sam’s duty roster to determine who was to go to the nearby waterfall to filter water, and which would prepare the meal.

Timpooneke Trail, Utah (7-15-10)

The dinner was ramen soup combined with an egg and vegetables, and a dessert of milk and Oreo cookies.

As we ate dinner, I enjoyed occasional exclamations of Scouts after a long day of hiking, such as “My butt hurts!” or “My knees are stuck in this painful position!” or “I’m uncomfortable and I don’t know why!”  Matt is going through some phase where he calls most anyone “Broseph” or something like that, Max bursts out singing, and Colton seems to have learned only one half of one verse of a song, which he sang over and over again.

Before going to bed, I read a portion of a book I’m currently reading:  “Maradona:  The Hand of God” by Jimmy Burns.

Click here for an album of pictures from this day of the outing.  I take a lot of pictures on these trips.  This is motivated by my realization that I would appreciate having more pictures from my youth, and by my desire to give the families of the scouts the opportunity to see some of what their scouts experience on our outings; this is enabled by digital photography, I would not be taking all these pictures if I had to pay to have them developed.

Friday, July 16, 2010

We had seen deer near our camp as we ate dinner Thursday night, and I saw deer when I left my tent at about 6:30 am.  It was a beautiful day, and I took the opportunity to take some photos of our campsite and surrounding areas, including the photo below, which is a view from a spot to the south of our camp.

Troop 797 Camp, Timpooneke Trail, Utah (7-16-10)

By 7 am Scouts were out fulfilling their assignments to filter water and to prepare breakfast (eggs with bacon, and hash brown, and some Oreos left over from Thursday night) – – this was the first of three meals Matt prepared as part of his First Class requirements.  By about 9:30 am we had eaten breakfast and we’re ready to start hiking.  We read the Title Page of the Book of Mormon for our morning scripture study, and hit the trail.  In the picture appearing below, we are hiking southward across the Timpanogos Basin; after crossing the basin we followed a trail eastward to Emerald Lake.

Timpooneke Trail, Utah (7-16-10)

After emerging from Timpanogos Basin, we looked down on Emerald Lake and its surroundings, including  herds of mountain goats, one to our left, and one to our right, shown in the picture below.

Mount Timpanogos, Utah (7-17-10)

We set up camp several hundred yards east of Emerald Lake.

Troop 797 Camp, Emerald Lake, Mount Timpanogos, Utah (7-16-10)

After setting up camp, we all went to Emerald Lake, which is fed water directly from the Timp Glacier, and contains large floats of ice covered with snow.  The scouts and adult leaders then progressively tested the ice cold  waters, first dipping their feet, then walking through the water to stand on the ice float, then all but one submerging themselves completely in the water, then Taylor Cline and Matt actually dared to swim short distances.  There was much shivering and chattering of teeth after each such feat.  In the picture below, Max Hoopes rushes to shore after submerging himself in the water.

Emerald Lake, Mount Timpanogos, Utah (7-16-10)

We left Emerald Lake for camp, where we ate lunch (beef jerky made by Spencer Fowers), two granola bars, and a mix of dried fruit and nuts.  I think most people took a nap at that point.  I fashioned a sort of lounge chair as comfortable as anything I have in my condo (see picture below), where I read from the July 10, 2010 edition of The Economist, then pulled my railroad engineer cap down over my face, and slept until about 3 pm.

Greg Jones Lounge Chair w/ Headrest, Emerald Lake, Mount Timpanogos, UT

When I woke from my nap, I went searching for the Scouts, and discovered they were busily involved in a Colton-inspired project to divert the runoff from Emerald Lake to create a new waterfall.  It brought back memories of my having dammed up the ditch that carryied water from the gutters of my neighborhood to the gully down below, which was not favorably received by the homeowner closest to the ditch.

Emerald Lake, Mount Timpanogos, Utah (7-16-10)

After the dam-building activity, Spencer again trained the Scouts on signaling with mirrors, in preparation for On Target on Saturday.  I then helped Max and Sam complete a First Class requirement by having them discuss with a lawyer (i.e., me) rights and duties under the United States Constitution.  We then joined Spencer and the rest of the Scouts, who were having a great time making “ski” runs down a big patch of snow.

Troop 797 Ski Hill, Emerald Lake, Mount Timpanogos, Utah (7-16-10)

We returned to camp to prepare dinner (Jambalaya with salmon, and chocolate pudding), while mountain goats comfortably roamed about our camp throughout the evening.

Troop 797 Camp, Mount Timpanogos, Utah (7-17-10)

After dinner we had our Scoutmaster’s Minute, in which we read the introduction to The Book of Mormon, and then Spencer reviewed our plans for the next day.

After retiring to my tent, I read from the Economist and from “Maradona:  The Hand of God.”

To see all the photos I took on Friday, along with videos of the troop submersing itself in Emerald  Lake and “skiing,” click here.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

I woke at about 12:30 am, surprised that I would not be dead to the world.  I read again from The Economist, certain that the magazine could put me to sleep, but went away disappointed.  So, went ahead and read more from “Maradona:  The Hand of God,” then took some cold medicine, and further relieved my nasal congestion by using pages 85 and 86 of The Economist to blow my nose.  I was finally able to get to sleep again.

I woke some time after 6 am.  By earlier than 7 am we could see people sitting on both sides of the observation shed that sits atop the summit of Mount Timpanogos.  We broke camp, stashing our gear in the trees and bushes at our camp, ate breakfast (oatmeal and granola), had our scripture reading (The Testimony of the Eight Witnesses, instead of The Testimony of the Three Witnesses, which is slightly longer), and hit the trail by about 8 am.

In the picture below, Troop 797 heads west from Emerald Lake toward the Timp Saddle, crossing a snow-covered field of boulders.

Mount Timpanogos, Utah (7-17-10)

We arrived at the Timp Saddle right at 9 am, and looked down onto Utah Valley below.

Timp Saddle, Mount Timpanogos, Utah (7-17-10)

From Timp Saddle, we continued south on the trail to the summit of Mount Timpanogos.

Mount Timpanogos, Utah (7-17-10)

Once at the summit, Troop 797 set up its signaling station just to the south of the summit, known as Timp 2 in the On Target competition.

Troop 797 at Timp 2 On Target Station, Mount Timpanogos, Utah (7-17-10)

Don’t look at this next picture if you are afraid of heights.  Here Morgan Hunter practices with a signal mirror, with Emerald Lake to his right, about 1369 feet below.  (This camera angle makes it look worse than it really is.)

Troop 797 at Timp 2 On Target Station, Mount Timpanogos, Utah (7-17-10)

Below Troop 797 is poised for On Target to begin.  Taylor Cline and Spencer Fowers have assembled the 2-foot by 2-foot mirror we brought up in pieces.  We listened to opening proceedings of On Target on Spencer Fowers’ ham radio.  Brother Michael Taylor, operating from another Mount Timpanogos peak to our south welcomed everyone, and David Beck, General Young Men’s President of the LDS Church, gave opening remarks, citing the values of the Scout Law and Scout Oath, and scriptures on the meaning of “light.”  During his opening remarks, we were buzzed twice by a single engine propeller plane which carried a pilot and a Scout.

As for the competition itself, Spencer brought a sheet of all participating peaks that we could signal from Timp 2.  For each peak there was a distance and a compass bearing.  With that information and a compass we would match incoming signals (seen as flashes of light in the distance) to an actual peak, return the signal, Spencer would confirm contact by ham radio, then report the contact to the those coordinating the activity.  We would initiate contact with another peak in a similar manner.  In the end, we contacted about 10 peaks, the farthest being about 71 miles away.  Also, we signaled our stake center, Max was able to speak to his parents by cell phone from the summit, and Morgan communicated with his father at the stake center.

Troop 797 at Timp 2 On Target Station, Mount Timpanogos, Utah (7-17-10)

At about 12:30 pm we wrapped up our participation in On Target, and headed south to the Timp Glacier.

Mount Timpanogos, Utah (7-18-10)

The Timp Glacier is the primary source of injuries on Mount Timpanogos.  Years ago I stopped going down the glacier, and had intended not to go down it this year.  However, Taylor Cline assured we could descend the glacier safely.  True to his word, he succeeded in making sure no Scouts were injured.

Mount Timpanogos, Utah (7-17-10)

Taylor went down the glacier first, making footholds for those who would follow him, the Scouts followed, and I went last.  Attempting to retrieve a portion of the Spencer’s mirror that was to the left of the trail Taylor had made, I reached the mirrors, threw it further down the glacier, but then slipped, and gained speed as I slid towards Taylor, not fully realizing that behind him was a patch of rocks.  When I arrived at Taylor he slowed me down, but I skidded past him and he spun around.  I came out of it with a scraped elbow, I saw a cut on his right shin, and asked if he was OK.  He had not even realized he had been cut, but saw it was somewhat serious, so we grabbed my first aid kit and he had me tape gauze to the wound.  He headed down the glacier as fast as he could, I went back to retrieve the missing piece of Spencer’s mirror, and my backpack, taking a while to get down the Emerald Lake.

Mount Timpanogos, Utah (7-17-10)

Below, Sam reaches the edge of Timp Glacier.  The view is to the south.

Mount Timpanogos, Utah (7-17-10)

When Sam and I neared Emerald Lake, we saw Troop 797 gathered around Timpanogos Emergency Response Team personnel near the Emerald Lake shed, and I hurried over.

Emerald Lake, Mount Timpanogos, Utah (7-17-10)

The TERT personnel had determined that Taylor would need stitches, and were cleaning his wound, pouring generous portions of disinfectant into the would, and bandaging it for his walk down the mountain.  We got all our gear from camp, filtered more water, distributed lunch (jerky, granola bars, and the mix of dried fruit and nuts), and as we walked down the mountain it began to rain – – the last thing we needed.  But the rain subsided after about 15 minutes.

Emerald Lake, Mount Timpanogos, Utah (7-17-10)

Below, Troop 797 on the Aspen Grove trail.  The body of water to the left of the picture is Deer Creek Reservoir.

Aspen Grove Trail, Mount Timpanogos, Utah (7-17-10)

Below Max has fallen off the trail.  We got him back up without any problem.  Matt slid off the trail 3 times on the way down – – we had forgotten to train the Scouts that the trail is the brown part of the path.

Aspen Grove Trail, Mount Timpanogos, UT (7-17-10)

Below is a spectacular view of the territory we covered on the Aspen Grove Trail.

Aspen Grove Trail, Mount Timpanogos, Utah (7-17-10)

When I arrived at the parking lot, Taylor was there with Troop 797, Shawn and Cyndi Hoopes, and Lance Moore.  He had bled significantly on the way down the mountain.  In fact, many young men who were just behind them on the trail discovered they had blood on their right legs – – Taylor’s blood had rubbed off on the plants on the side of the trail, and the blood rubbed off the plants onto the young men.  As of Sunday, Taylor had received 11 stitches in the Emergency Room, was up and walking around, so hopefully all is well with him.

Aspen Grove Trailhead Parking Lot, Mount Timpanogos, Utah (7-17-10)

Troop 797 together with Shawn and Cyndi Hoopes, and Lance Moore.

Aspen Grove Trailhead Parking Lot, Mount Timpanogos, Utah (7-17-10)

At 7 pm an On Target Ice Cream Social was held at the Grandview Stake Center.  President Wayne Francom presided, Brother Michael Taylor, who led On Target, conducted.  There was recognition for those who helped plan for and run the event, and for various achievements during the competition: most peaks signaled (29), farthest point signaled (I believe about 82 miles), smallest mirror used to make a contact (1 inch), best wild life experience (several troops won, including 797, for having 35 mountain goats in its camp).  From Troop 797, those attending the social were: Morgan Hunter, his father and siblings; Max Hoopes with his parents; Spencer Fowers; and, Greg Jones.  Below, Max enjoys an ice cream while sitting with his parents.

On Target Ice Cream Social, Grandview Stake Center, Provo, Utah (7-17-10)

To see all the photos from Saturday, click here.


I think this camp out illustrates well the Boy Scout ideals of having a boy-led troop, of instilling the values of the Scout Oath and Law in the young men, and what can happen when leaders and parents sacrifice, including leaders who go far outside of what is required by their formal assignments and callings (I’m thinking of Spencer Fowers and Taylor Cline).  I don’t know if we ever actually achieve the ideals, but we achieve a lot by attempting to do so.  I believe the Scouts had a lot of fun, but there were also a lot of challenges, this was not an easy thing to do.  Hopefully this will leave all with some great memories, and some lessons, adults and youth alike.  Also, I am reminded of the great talk by Elder Lance B. Wickman, “Confidence Tests.” Hopefully that has application as well.

Update (7-23-10)

Here are a few more aspects of the July 15 – 17 campout.

In the picture below, a man runs toward the summit of Mount Timpanogos, passing Troop 797.  As he ran he told us how he is from Alaska, how he lives at sea level, how it was hard for him to breathe at this altitude (as he ran the entire trail) – – right.

Mount Timpanogos, Utah (7-17-10)

Brother Michael Taylor, mentioned above, woke at 4 am to take his position at the peak to the south of the summit.  At the ice cream social, two maps of Mount Timpanogos were on display.  The maps identified the On Target positions in the areas, and the confirmed contacts between peaks.  To me the two maps captured much of what happened at On Target, I wanted a photo, but I had let Shawn Hoopes take my camera to download my photos.  Sister Taylor took photos of the map for me, but later Brother Taylor gave me the maps themselves.  The two maps appear below.

Map 1, On Target 2010

Map 2, On Target 2010

Finally, the engineering cap I wear on hikes and campouts was drenched with sweat by the end of the backpacking trip.  I wondered aloud to Spencer Fowers about how one cleans a cap.  “In the top rack of the dishwasher” he replied.  I tried it out.  Not bad.  See below.

Engineering Cap of Greg Jones (7-23-10)

Update (7-24-10)

An July 24, 2010 article in the LDS Church News covers the On Target activity in which Troop 797 participated:  “Scouts told: `Be lights to the world’ – – Varsity teams find unity in `On Target’ adventure.” (a local copy may be accessed here – – 20100724 lds church news on target)

Update (8-7-10)

The Sunday after On Target Max Hoopes delivered this nice token of thanks to each of the adult leaders on the outing:

Token of Gratitude from the Hoopes (7-18-10)

Today, Michael Taylor asked if he could link to this post from an On Target blog he has created.  Of course, I said yet, and click here to see his blog.

10 Responses to “Troop 797: Anatomy of a Scout Campout (7-15-10 – – 7-17-10 Mount Timpanogos Backpacking Trip and On Target) (Updated 3x)”

  1. The Best Story from Sunday (7-18-10) « The Greg Jones Blog Says:

    […] The Greg Jones Blog serving a vast readership « Troop 797: Anatomy of a Scout Camp Out (7-15-10 – – 7-17-10 Mount Timpanogos Backpacking Trip … […]

  2. Michael Taylor Says:

    Greg, I am in awe at this incredible report. Kudos to you for being such an organized and dedicated leader. I was sorry to see the pictures of the injury to Taylor. I hope he is healing well. Thanks for all you do. On Target will be on July 16th next year. I hope you will be able to participate again. Brother Taylor.

  3. Jennifer Lund Says:


    Looks like a fantastic trip. Scott Lund would have loved this! I think it is great that you take so many pictures for these boys to have. Scott is at Scout Camp with Christian and William this week–Camp Kern near Fresno. Marcus pulled his hamstring at football practice so he is a little bumbed. Two weeks before he can run again. He will be back-up QB and starting Wide Receiver this year.
    Best, Jennifer

    • gregjonesorg Says:

      Thanks, Jennifer. If Scott wants to come, we have another one in the High Uintas – – I’m making every effort to go with my work schedule. I’m sure Scott, Christian, and William are all doing well in camp. Tell Marcus I have the secret to avoid pulled hamstrings. In all the years I played football, I never had that injury the once. The key – – don’t have any muscles. Good to hear from you. Greg

  4. Troop 797: Summer Camp – – 30+ Mile Backpacking Trip in Utah’s High Uintas (8-2-10 through 8-6-10) « The Greg Jones Blog Says:

    […] was the case with our On Target outing in July (reported in an earlier post), the concept for out summer camp was hatched about four months ago. In two Sunday’s in […]

  5. Troop 797: On Target Campout (20110715 – 20110716) « The Greg Jones Blog Says:

    […] Last year, 2010, our troop had an amazing experience participating in On Target, a Scouting activity in which troops are assigned to mountain peaks and signal to each other using mirrors. We turned it into a 3-day backpacking trip to Mount Timpanogos, and signaled from that peak. It was a wild adventure, described quite fully in this post. […]

  6. Header Photo (July 2012) « The Greg Jones Blog Says:

    […] month’s photo was taken on July 17, 2010, during a Troop 797 campout I reported in a blogpost.  Here is the full  […]

  7. John Blackham Says:

    I hope you don’t mind but I posted a link to this blog on the Varsity On Target Facebook page at

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s