When I went to Joshua Tree National Park for a campout, it was with my Boy Scout troop. My dad and I left around noon. We ate at Sizzler along the way. We spent about an hour and a half setting up the camp.
We went rock climing. There was a safety course we had to listen to.
It was my first time doing so much of the prep on my own. The harnesses were quite hard to get on correctly. The first course I did had me rappeling. After finishing, I was shocked how high up I was.
Sadly, I wasn’t used to rappeling, so, I scraped myself. The second course I did was a rappell practice. I was fine on that one. Next, I had to wait in a long line to do a difficult course where you climb up and then back down. I went on the first climbing course again and did another rappell practice.
Next, I did some belaying. That means you use the rope to let them go up or down.
After I finshed that, all I had left was the knots and the paperwork. I completed the knots later that day. I will be going to another campout in April. You can see what I did last year right here. Overall, it was a fun campout.
For our nature school, we went to a simulated archaeology dig site. We did find more artifacts than was probably normal. Two of my friends and I went early to do some work for the archaeology merit badge. The most fun part was using the precursor to the bow and arrow. You set it on this thing that you hold. You move your arm kind of like a throwing a baseball.
We had to try and match tin cans from the 1800’s to what we have now. We only got about half of them right.
After that, we got to go dig. The excavation was fun. Once you had enough dirt to fill up your bucket 1/3, you were supposed to sift it. That meant putting it on a thing with a netting.
All the small dirt got out, but if there was anything good it would still be on. My team was almost able to pull a vase out, but we didn’t dig deep enough.
Ian, Jayson and I went back for more requirements for the badge.
We dug in the Iron Age site next to it. The artifacts in it were over 3,000 years old. Once we arrived, we started digging. Some of our friends who were taking the class there came over to talk to us. Since we dug up a firepit, the wind blew the ash everywhere when we sifted it. There were pieces of stone with ridges. There was also a half handstone. A handstone was used to grind things. They were used in pairs. We also found a few pottery shards. When we thought we had been digging for 2 hours, we had only been digging for 80 minutes. About 45 minutes later, Ian suggested sifting a full bucket. It took about 20 minutes to get it full. It was somewhat hard to carry. The effect was amazing, though. We made good progress. I had to leave 1 minute early to go to the Newport Sea Base. It was extremely fun, but it was hot.
We saw a solar eclipse on Monday at Caspers Wilderness Park. It was hard to find parking. Mom dropped us off at the line for the viewing. We saw some of our friends soon after.
Our mom took 5 minutes to get parking after she dropped us off. The solar eclipse didn’t look as cool as I thought. But it did look like a crescent sun sometimes. Ian used a welding mask to look at the eclipse, and it didn’t work well. We went to the nature center, and they had snakes there. Kate pet them. I was busy doing other stuff. We went to the park and played Lava Monster. After that, we left.
What we saw was a partial eclipse. Not this:
An eclipse is when the moon passes in front of the sun. A total eclipse is when the moon is completely in front of the sun.
I went on a campout with the Boy Scouts, and on Saturday we went to Palomar Observatory. I am working on my astronomy merit badge, too. The hike was 2.5 miles each way. The observatory looks like a giant white dome with a rectangular strip on the side and top. That strip opens up when the telescope is being used. When we arrived, we went into a room that they called the basement even though it was not below the building.
It stored spare parts and such. Then, we saw the telescope itself. It is huge!
They have a place for different mirrors for the telescope. The different mirrors work well for different functions. Their smallest one is 48 inches and their biggest is 200 inches. They were the first observatory to have a 200-inch mirror. They are the 19th largest observatory in the world. This observatory was built around the time of World War II. The sinks in the bathroom are weird because they have two faucets. One sends out hot water and one sends out cold water.
On the last day of March, we had fun at Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary with friends. We hiked to the water hole, and Thomas was our guide. When we arrived, we were going to play football. Unfortunately, before we started it was time for the picnic. After the picnic, Thomas reviewed the safety rules.
The hike was a total of four miles, and we were proceeding excitedly to the water hole. We saw two garter snakes on the way. Lucas touched Stinging Nettle and Poison Oak. We were stomping in the snake area to scare them.
Finally, we arrived at our destination. It was the watering hole. We saw a water snake which had a really thin body. Lindy captured a newt. Some people held and/or touched the newt. I’m glad I didn’t because it was poisonous! Thomas filtered some water with his portable water filter.
The water tasted far better than normal. Kate and Ciara kept asking for more. People walked on the rocks, and I did. Thomas started bouldering. I joined soon after but not soon enough. When I started, it was time to leave.
On the way back Luke almost got bit by a rattlesnake! He was about five inches away! Quickly, Thomas tried to hit the snake with a stick. He failed and succeeded. He missed, and the snake bit the stick instead. Before we finished the trek, we saw a Pacific Ringneck.
Not everyone returned home right after the hike. We walked into the museum and looked at the animals. After everyone but one family left, they bought us ice cream. Meanwhile, Kate and Sarah were doing art. Next, we went to the park. Lucas, Ian and I played football. Then, we threw rocks over the play equipment. We needed to go to the bathroom so went to a volunteer fire station. That day was a really good d