February 2000, Longbow

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On the 19th of February, Troop 163 went to Longbow on the Santiam River. We were able to arrange using this campsite in off season by talking with the Sweet Home ranger, and doing a service project.

We had 6 scouts go on this trip: Neil B, Ty F, Antwoine G, Curtis M, Sean M, and Thomas R. We also had four adults: Bob B, Jody F, Dave R, and Don S. The main structure at Longbow is a covered pair of massive picnic tables and cooking area. The cooking area had a fireplace and a wood cooking stove.
As we entered the camp, we picked up some downed wood, and most of the scouts took turns with the axes to practice their chopping skills. A bow saw would have been a better tool, but the axes are a bit more fun. All of the scouts improved with practice. Antwoine and Neil are new scouts. One of the first skills to learn is how to handle and use knives, saws and axes. Jody took some time to work with these scouts to obtain their Totn' chit.
We took a nature hike (a couple of miles) to look for ten plants, and 10 animals (or signs of animals). One of our stops was at a deer skeleton. There is a herd of elk in the area. We saw lots of signs that these animals were around, but didn't actually see the elk. We did see the plants and animals that some of the scouts needed for advancement.
The camp is right along the Santiam river. We could hear the river running all night long, and most of us had a very nice sleep. There are six cabins, each of which sleep eight people. These are three sided cabins with dirt floors and wooden bunks. In front of most of the cabins is a small stone fireplace.
This place has moss growing over everything, and the woods and trails are quite secluded.
Part of the service project was clearing tree branches and small obstructions from the trails. The wood stove was a convienient place to warm up, and to cook on. One of the camp volunteers says it is also a favorite hiding place for a skunk. It was not present for this weekend.
The picnic tables are huge. At one point there was a walk bridge from the highway to the camp. It was removed in about 1966. There is a viewing platform available from the highway side of the river.
Another part of the service project was moving a pile of rock from the woods to the campfire bowl. The weekend after our trip, there were some workers coming in to rebuild the firepit. The rock we moved was original rock that was used to build the camp in the first place.

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