View Full Version : Raiders of Camp Bothin

08-03-2006, 04:50 AM
In the nineties, I worked high above Marin at Boy Scout camp Tamarancho. One night three of the guys and I thought it might be fun to sneak out. They provided spare combat boots, camoflage and a wireless radio, and we slipped over the grassy hills into the redwoods. One mile down the fire road we filed silently into Girl Scout camp Bothin.
It was past bedtime. Here the girls slept in two-story sorority houses, while we dwelled in some of the canvas tents we pitched week after week. We swept past the gymnastics area to the parked cars. Only then did we notice counselors milling about. Two were close, listening to the radio in the car one of us happened to be crouching behind. He got a mouthful of exhaust.
After an eternity, they retired. On the far end, a man started patrolling the grounds with two dogs. One by one we jumped behind some trees. I was last and landed on a pile of branches. The flashlight swung our way. Again we waited.
Eventually the night was still. As planned, we made our grand exit. We lined up two-by-two and marched out the way we came. Inspired by John Wayne in "Green Berets," we shouted as we picked up the pace, "Who are you?" "Airborne!" "I wanna be an airborne ranger..."
Obviously no one was asleep. The girls were at the balconies in seconds. Some even started to chase us up the hill as we sprinted away. We gave one more shout from the hillside. By sheer luck, the ranger had just finished fixing the pump, and the director had yet to stand watch following a call from police, so we strolled back to camp unseen. Someone tipped us off about the call so we hit the sack early.
Epilogue: next year, camp Bucher Berg, Germany. (Scouting is coed outside the states.) A Finnish scout told me about her summer staffing in California. In Marin. “Did the boys ever visit?” “Well, once…”

Dear Lucas employees: I’m sorry if we frightened your daughters.

12-12-2007, 11:43 PM
Another night we wandered down to a quiet stretch of Sir Francis Drake Boulevard. They say in Fairfax everyone is either related to Jerry Garcia, or works for George Lucas. We hitched a ride with some Garcia girls to a bonfire in the redwoods, where I met the daughter of a Skywalker Ranch accountant. The next day I sneaked behind the commissioner's cabin, clipped a field phone to his box, and set up a date with her. It took several tries because the wires were short and I tended to stroll as I talked.
During a party at the dining hall, while the director and ranger scarfed ice cream, I sprinted out of camp and a mile down the private road, scrambling over security gates, to the Land Cruiser a friend parked below. The back was held together with plywood and the stick shift was a Yoda figure. (Not that I knew how to use one.) Somehow I made it through the night accident free.
Her house was full of Lucas stuff. She and others had once provided background chatter at ILM for the school bus scene in E.T. She was raising ferrets for the Lucas kids. Unfortunately I had missed the company picnic. On July 4th she wore an awesome YIJC embroidered letterman jacket to a spot on the Golden Gate where we viewed the fireworks, boats, and full moon. Later the moon betrayed me to an MP on patrol from Fort Barry, who roused me shirtless from my locked back seat. Usually I rouse slowly, but my car alarm brought me out of rambling conversation in just ten seconds or so.
We broke camp, I returned to college... and still I ramble.
Good times.