When a group of local teens from Los Altos Boy Scout Troop 33 wanted to go to the beach, they chose the scenic route to get there, backpacking 55 miles in five days over the Santa Cruz Mountains.
Their Los Altos-to-the-Sea journey began on the drizzly morning of Aug. 6. Starting from the corner of El Monte Avenue and Springer Road, seven boys – ranging in age from 13 to 16 – and three adult scout leaders hiked up Springer to Magdalena Road, and then progressed through Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve to Black Mountain.
While it’s not uncommon for Boy Scouts to go on campouts and hikes, few scouts take full advantage of the challenging local trails that practically start at their front doors.
Using Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District preserves and the state parks system, the scouts trekked through Rancho San Antonio, Monte Bello and Skyline Ridge open space preserves and Portola Redwoods and Big Basin Redwoods state parks.
The scouts carried their own food and filtered water along the way and slept under the stars.
The group hiked an average of 11 miles per day, climbing a total of 11,430 feet while wearing packs that weighed more than 40 pounds.
Their only taste of civilization during the trip was a stop for ice cream at the Big Basin Redwoods Store.
Eagle Scout Zachary Ottoes served as crew leader for the hike.
“These scouts have a lot of backpacking experience under their belts, and we all really enjoyed this trip,” said Ottoes, a junior at Los Altos High School. “Being able to walk from our homes across the Santa Cruz Mountains and making it to the beach is really cool. It was not easy. Still, the journey was very rewarding for all of us.”
Just before noon Aug. 10, ahead of schedule, the scouts arrived at their destination of Waddell State Beach near Davenport. Their families greeted them with a picnic before everyone returned to Los Altos by car.
For more information on Boy Scout Troop 33, visit troop33.org.