Backpacking at Red Lake and Potato Butte

The small group of scouts disembarked their cars at the trail head full of pent-up energy and more than ready to stretch their legs on a steep uphill climb. And that they did; each was carrying a full backpack filled with enough gear to stay overnight, and their destination was over 1000 feet above them. The scouts toiled up the 1.6-mile trail steadily, with only a couple of short breaks on less-steep sections. Upon reaching Red Lake, the scouts finally took the weight off their backs, set up camp, and ate lunch. As soon as they were done, all the food was sent up into the trees in bear bags, and the scouts took out the unnecessary weight and continued their hike to Potato Butte. While they encountered difficulties in the form of losing the trail multiple times, the hardest part of the hike came when they reached the last section of trail on side of the butte. The trail was short, around a tenth of a mile, but was over 200 feet of elevation gain and had no switchbacks at all. The scouts slaved up its harsh shoulder and were forced to take a break along the way. However, when they reached the top, their hard work was well rewarded with a beautiful view of Mt. Hood and the surrounding hills and ridges. After some time was spent socializing, the scouts decided to head back down but lost the trail yet again. Instead of the trail, they happened upon a huge pile of boulders, Potato Butte’s namesake, that looked over various lakes and ridges in a splendid view that culminated in an up-close view of Mt. Jefferson. The scouts again stopped to enjoy the view before finding the trail. Some of the more adrenalin-inclined scouts let gravity take the reigns and ran down the hill, while the others moved down at a more reasonable pace. After regrouping, the whole crew hiked back to Red Lake for dinner. Dinner was quite an affair; Brendan and Geordie made steaks and set them out on a fully outfitted (folding) table, and acted quite posh, and Mihira and Dhruva also opted for real food in the form of fried noodles and vegetables. The others were left eating their re-hydrated meals out of a bag and watching enviously. When dinner and cleanup were completed, the scouts filled up water and hung out at the lake for a while, enjoying the companionship that comes with scouting. At this point the light was beginning to fade, so everyone moved to their tents for the night. In the morning, everyone rose early and repacked their sleeping gear, ate an average breakfast, and were ready to go in almost no time. After finishing packing their gear for the trek ahead, the group all set off down the trail. It took no time at all for the scouts to reach the parking lot, which was a relieving fact for some; they had packed their bag poorly that morning, and it was very rough on their backs. Tired and very ready for a shower, all the scouts piled into the cars for home..


Thorn (what we didn’t like): Getting Wet, Flashlight died, Bear bagging in the dark, Bugs, missed spending time at the best viewpoint on Potato Butte

Rose (what we liked): Lake Play, steak or noodle dinner, slept great, hike to butte,

Bud (what we hope is better next time): drink better water, have a swim outing, pick the best campsite on the trail, bring better gear, get great at backpacking

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