On Aug. 1, more than 200 miles north of Oakland and 50 miles east of Redding, without knowledge of each other's whereabouts, two Boy Scout troops from Oakland met over 7,200 feet above sea level by coincidence.
Both had planned a weeklong backpacking trek in the Trinity Alps Wilderness north of Redding months in advance -- and not knowing that within the same city another troop was planning a trip of the same type for the same time to take place at the same area.
One of the troops, Troop 202, was split into two separate crews, each taking similar routes but in reverse.
One of the troops, led by John Oberholzer, was taking a day hike to check out four lakes and a summit of a nearby mountain while a crew from Troop 305 was doing the same loop, but in an opposite direction.
A couple of days later, both troops returned.
"From my experience (being in the Troop 202 crew that met up with them), I found the whole trip wonderful, but the small-world encounter with a group of boys similar in so many ways was a strange yet among the most memorable parts of the adventure," said Connor Prime of Troop 202 of Oakland.
"After exchanging 'hellos,' we figured out that their Troop 202/206 is also from Oakland," recalled Rich Craig, assistant Scoutmaster of Troop 305. "They spotted Montera Middle School shorts and Skyline Lacrosse shirts on our Scouts and I knew a bunch of the adult leaders from their Troop. It was quite a coincidence and was very inspiring to see another group out in the wilderness from the Oakland hills.
"As we stood and stared at a glorious mountain lake (Diamond Lake), at about 7,200 feet elevation, we talked about the A's and folks we knew in common," Craig continued. "I also feel that their Troop taught us a lesson in trail etiquette; they were very cheerful and friendly and slowed down to let us pass. You meet incredibly nice people while backpacking but this group was one of the best that I've come across to in over 30 years of camping and backpacking."
Craig said Troop 305 Scouts attend Montera, Head-Royce and Redwood Day School. The Troop 202/206 Scouts attend Montera, Claremont, Edna Brewer, Head-Royce, Oakland Tech, Bishop O'Dowd, Oakland School for the Arts and Skyline High.
Troop 202 is both the oldest -- more than 80 years old -- and largest Boy Scout troop in Oakland. Troop 305 isn't far behind and has been serving the community for more than 50 years.
-- Connor Prime, Troop 202, Oakland