Silver Bearpaw - August 19-26, 1967 - Troop 400 - Trail log of packer Dick Beach with his original illustrations

August 20, Lords Day - Sunday
The fire was started at 6:00 a.m. The scouts are working more and more as a team. Very little supervision by the packer was needed for breakfast. Everyone got up at 7:00 a.m. The temperature was 49 degrees. We left Twin Lakes at 10:00 a.m. Upon reaching Silliman Pass, we had one trail problem for the burro. The scouts made a ramp for Walley to go up - good job. Our view point at Silliman Pass was the perfect place for our church service. The group took a few pictures and then went down to Ranger Lakes for a lunch of pilot biscuits, orangeade and caramels. We had trouble in finding the trail at this point. The insects, mosquitoes, from Ranger to Lost Lake are bad! After reaching Lost Lake, everyone went swimming birthday style due to the warm temperature of the lake. The campsite was only a few feet from the shore and is a small resort as the guide book said.

August 21, Monday - Base of Deadman’s Canyon
We got up at Lost Lake at 5:45 a.m., had a pancake breakfast and then packed up all gear and were ready to go by 9:00 a.m. Our destination for this day would be the Roaring River Ranger Station about 14 miles. By 1:30 p.m. we hit the Sugarloaf River where we also met Rich Stowell and his Troop 237 group of 11 boys. We all ate lunch there. After talking about our destinations, we all decided to camp together. After reaching Roaring River we decided to move up Deadman’s a ways. At this time the clouds decided to yield some rain. Luckily we got into camp just in time to set up our tube tents. We made our camp next to Troop 237, they arrived earlier and set up a small shelter so that we could eat out of the rain.

August 22, Tuesday - Deadman’s Canyon
The troop got up at 6:00 a.m and finished breakfast by 8:30 a.m. The temperature was 58 degrees. We all started up the trail towards the upper drift fence. Dick Stowell knew of a swimming slide along the way. Our troop stopped for a delightful swim and slide. After a refreshing dip we continued on our way. About an hour later, the troop stopped for lunch. This was the same place where one of our staffmen* had slipped 600 feet down a cascade. The cascade emptied into the meadow which we had just crossed. We only had seven miles to go today and everyone decided to take it very easy. This gave us plenty of time to enjoy the wild flowers and scenery of Deadman’s Canyon. We all arrived at the upper drift fence at 4:30 p.m. As usual the clouds had come over as they had done each afternoon of this trip. Since both groups were camped at the upper drift fence, we would use the same fire. Troop 237 had caught 22 fish and had very generously said that they would give Troop 400 some. Troop 400 in turn, decided to pop some corn and make punch for the whole group. Our dinner tonight would be fish, chili, beans, peas, strawberry shake, pudding, punch and popcorn. After a most satisfying party, we hit the sacks around 9:00 p.m.

* Richard Williams slipped, fully clothed, while crossing the swollen creek. He was carried downstream and sustained a concussion. He walked to Horse Corral Meadow where he was taken by car to the Exeter Memorial Hospital. After treatment, he returned to camp. - ed.

August 23, Wednesday - Layover day at Big Bird Lake
Around 5:00 in the morning we got up and covered our burro and gear. Both troops started breakfast. The 8:00 a.m. temperature was 52 degrees. We had pancakes. It seemed just in time because the clouds broke long enough to fix breakfast and then covered over again - with rain. By 10:00 a.m., both groups were ready to go to Big Bird Lake. The sky was clear so we left. Once at Big Bird Lake, both troops caught plenty of fish. Now, it clouded up for the third time this day. It started coming down sudden-like, leaving scouts stranded all around the lake. I, myself, was caught on a small peak above the lake. The temperature at lake was 60 degrees at 2:00 p.m. By 5:00 p.m. everyone was back at camp at the upper drift fence with dry gear and a few wet shoes. At 5:30 p.m., the sky was clear and dinner was on the way; beef stroganoff, biscuit mix, Great Shake and later popcorn and punch. Tomorrow is the big day, Elizabeth Pass!!! A trek of 4 miles with a 2,000 foot elevation gain. According to the hikers we met coming down from the pass, the pass didn’t look good for stock (Walley). If we try it tomorrow, Walley will be carrying the minimum amount of weight, mainly beacause we want to keep him above the snow as much as possible. It also means we will get up at 4:00 a.m. and leave by 5:30 a.m. to insure a harder snow pack. Both troops will leave together in case of any burro trouble and we are forced to make rock ramps. Everyone will pack tonight and get tomorrow’s breakfast ready. We just got rid of all of our Bernard’s.

August 24, Thursday - Last drift fence, upper Deadman’s Canyon
Both troops awoke at 4:00 a.m. sharp. We all had prepared our breakfast the night before, so that when we got up, we merely had to dump in our oatmeal and raisins. Every second counted. By 6:00 a.m., we were all packed and ready to go. The burro (Walley) only had the fire grates and the two, ten gallon, cans. This was to insure that she would stay on top of the snow instead of in it. Getting up a 4:00 a.m., also meant a harder snow pack and less hot sun. Troop 237 was first guided by Dick Stowell, their packer, then Troop 400 followed. Walley and I brought up the rear. We had one or two bad places on the trail, but with 20 scouts, they were easily overcome. As we came to within the last 300 feet of the pass, we hit snow. Snow-wise, the two days before our attempt it rained so much that it melted a lot of it. If it hadn’t rained when it did, we couldn’t have made it over when we did. At 9:00 a.m. everyone was standing on Elizabeth Pass looking down on the 4 mile, 2,100 foot gain that we had made that morning. A fine accomplishment. After a 30 minute rest, half of the group wanted to look over the nearby ridge to view the Great Western Divide.

August 25, Friday - Tamarack Lake - Layover Day #2
Today everyone slept in until around 8:00 a.m. After yesterday’s big day, we all looked forward to our layover day at Tamarack Lake. Last night we had a few showers but by this morning, the sky looks good. After breakfast, everyone will take a leisurely walk up to the lake. Art Marquez and I have been advising on the cooking and other activities. We both felt that you can tell a scout just so much, then he must do it himself. Art and I went into Bearpaw last night and left the scouts to be on their own. We returned around 9:00 p.m. that evening. The results were most satisfying. They had prepared the whole meal without any advice. They all work together even better than before. Today’s breakfast is even better. With a good meal in their stomachs, this will insure a fine day of activity.

August 25, Friday - At Tamarack Lake - Cold and rain
After breakfast, six of us wanted to go to Tamarack, rain or shine. Being their packer (no fisherman), I decided to take them up to the lake. The rain broke long enough to get them to the lake. When we got there, it started to rain. Luckily, there was an old cabin at the lake. It was an ideal place for staying out of the rain. I brought several books to read while the rest fished. Sitting in this old cabin, out of the rain, is a pleasant experience. So far, the fisherman have seen plenty of Golden Trout but the rain is restricting their style. Tamarack Lake is a very remote place and very few people and fisherman get in there. The lake is the only Golden Trout lake in Sequoia. Dinner time - Tonight is our last night out which means we get to eat anything that is left over. Our dinner consisted of beef stroganoff, peas, soup, biscuit mix, corn bread, lemon bits, pudding and popcorn! We are having plenty of punch and popcorn. This is all to prepare us for tomorrow’s long hike out to camp.

August 26, Saturday - Bearpaw Trail back to camp
The troop got up at 5:00 a.m. with a clear sky above. After a hot, oatmeal breakfast, we headed down to the High Sierra Trail junction at about 7:30 a.m. We had to take the burro down a mile of trail canyon. This was by far the hardest incident with our stock. Walley did okay all the way. The scouts think he’s great. So do I. I have never handled a finer burro. We made a stop at the High Sierra Camp and thanked the couple who cooked the meal for Art and me. We all bought candy bars and headed on our way. Our lunch stop was at the Panther Gap junction with the High Sierra Trail. It’s now 1:30. We expect to be in camp by dinner.

The text has been slightly edited for spelling, punctuation and grammer. No content has been added or removed. - ed.