After a couple of months of working on the Hiking merit badge with Etho, 30 intrepid souls marched out along the Mule Hill Trail in Rancho Bernardo through San Pasqual Valley up to Raptor Ridge. This was the first 10-mile leg of the crowning point of the merit badge. Really pretty walking through the strawberry fields and finally into the coastal desert foothills up to the Ridge.
After a quick lunch and a Nestle's Crunch Bar from the nearby Chevron station, we set out on the second leg around the South side of Lake Hodges. Highlights included walking over the new pedestrian bridge that spans the lake and a sparsely flowing waterfall, but more significantly seeing the memorial to Chelsea King who was murdered last year on the shores of the lake by a madman.
All in all, the boys and men held up well over the course of a long day. As I write this I remain a little achy despite the beer and Ibuprofen (!), but Ethan's none the worse for the wear. We'll finish up the book work for the merit badge next weekend at the upcoming Flag Ceremony on June 12, 2011. I couldn't be more proud of my son - a strong and cool young man.
|Hiking through San Pasqual Valley|
|Heading up Raptor Ridge|
|Obligatory picture of Dads taking pictures|
|Hikemaster Dave (AKA Merit Badge Counselor)|
|Hiking up from the Waterfall|
|Dads on the move!|
|Desolate location on the trail|
|Surprising amount of growth (foliage AND boys)|
|Behold — Lizard Man! (mile 17)|
|Asst. Scoutmaster M. Powers|
|Taking a short break before the final push|