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Camp Baker, Oregon Trail Council, near Florence, Oregon
We arrived at Camp Baker after an overnight trip from Camp Marin Sierra in California. Camp Baker is located near the coast, just about on the coast, in Florence, Oregon. Roger Langley, Camp Director, was off property when we arrived, but Program Director, Brent Harty, was excited to see us arrive because he had a great deal to show us--and show us he did! We were pleased to have him take us for a tour around the entire camp.
At Camp Baker the climbing tower is the most prominent camp feature and most likely is the first thing most visitors see when entering camp. While centrally located, the tower is completely enclosed by a sturdy fence. Its location affords all campers an opportunity to watch Scouts practicing climbing skills. Nearby is a bouldering wall where younger Scouts can practice their skills too. The impressive tower also forms the first element of the C.O.P.E. course with a bridge stretching from one of its corners to a tall pine. Pine trees provide support for all high C.O.P.E. elements. A new zip line was just being built and tested as we were visiting the camp. A well-designed, well-maintained low C.O.P.E. course is nearby as well. The climbing crew was very accommodating and allowed us to harness up, ascend the tower (from the inside ladder), and photograph climbers from this vantage point.
The camp's property has some giant pine trees that must be hundreds of years old that, while perhaps standard fare for residents in the northwest, were most impressive to us Midwesterners. Even more impressive were some of the larger stumps from trees that had to be removed or had fallen to weather over the years, some as large as six feet in diameter.
Siltcoos Lake is used for the camp's aquatics program. A nice swimming area, and a good selection of sailboats, and a great lake for sailing are offered.
We were lucky enough to be at Camp Baker on the evening of their weekly hike to the sand dunes on the shores of the Pacific Ocean. These are large dunes that require a good climb up but are well worth it. The dunes go on for a hundred miles or so up the coast and extend a mile or two or three from the edge to the ocean; in fact, at times, they encroach upon the coastal highway and need to be cleared off.
The Scouts seemed to enjoy running and jumping and running and jumping and jumping and running on the sand dunes for hours, finally the evening was called, the grand jumper was recognized as the grandest dune jumper of them all, and the boys returned to camp.
We were well cared for at Camp Baker, and while we were well cared for everywhere we stopped, the treatment we received at Camp Baker was exceptional and we'll always thank them for that. We left Camp Baker well rested, stocked with parting gifts of local root beer and cookies, and with very fond memories of both staff and property. We headed north towards the Meriwether-Clark reservation to Camp Meriwether and Adventure Cove Cub Camp (Camp Clark).