Thursday, September 21, 2017

2017 Scout Camp and High Adventure

Since 2011, I have had the privilege of spending at least two night each summer at scout camp and/or high adventure.  Scout camp is generally for 12-13 year olds.  High adventure is for 14-18 year olds.  This year, the entire group, age 12-18, went to scout camp together for six days up at Island Park Scout Camp in Eastern Idaho.  I was able to make it up and spend half a day with Xander on Thursday morning.  Then I had the unbelievably amazing opportunity to go with seven of the high adventure aged young men (including Taylor and Parker) for a two-night, 22-mile hike in Teton canyon and Alaska Basin Wyoming.  It was an unforgettable adventure I will always cherish.  Thanks to Jordan Johnson for putting it together and taking the time from his busy schedule to guide us!

The morning with Xander was great.  We had a great breakfast, some of which was prepared by Taylor.  Xander spent awhile finishing up a merit badge (he finished six in all! Way to go:)  Then we got to shoot rifles.

Before I arrived, the older scouts did both a low and a high COPE course, shot rifles, and also visited Yellowstone National Park.

They had to help everyone through these ropes without anyone touching the ropes:

Try to keep your balance!

Getting ready to watch Old Faithful erupt:

Bonding time for the boys - Parker putting a ponytail in Taylor's hair :)

The high adventure portion of the trip was incredible.  The first day we hiked in six miles to a perfect campsite.  No facilities, we packed everything in.  As we went through Teton Canyon, we were treated to one of the most scenic trails I've ever been on.  Because of the heavy snowfall last winter, there was still a huge amount of runoff in mid July, resulting in about a dozen 200 foot plus waterfalls cascading down both sides of the canyon.  Amazing!

On the trail!  I love the red backpack to the right.  It's as big as he is!!!

It's so hard to capture the beauty of these waterfalls in an iPhone picture :(

Parker plugs along...

On the trail:

At our campsite:

On day two we hiked six miles around the cirque of Alaska Basin.  We had no idea that in the middle of July we would be hiking on snow.  It was somewhat slushy and we weren't prepared with the best gear.  (We should have had snowshoes!)  But in spite of the additional challenge it presented, we had a great first half of the day.

We seriously hiked through miles of snow that day.  I twisted my ankle three different times.

When we reached the first of the basin lakes, we had another surprise in store.  It was still 70% iced over!  Parker and I have a deal: if he gets in the water, I get in the water.  And he always gets in the water 馃槀.  He was the first one in, but then all but two of our group jumped in as well.

It took a lot a intestinal fortitude to sit in this pond like they were in some warm-water paradise:

After the lakes, we really started to get tired.  Some of the seven young men who were with us were not as experienced and prepared as others, and the snow and elevation gain was starting to wear on them.  But we all decided to continue on until our destination: Hurricane Pass.  Over 10,000 feet in elevation, this is the back entrance to Teton National Park.  If we could reach it, we were supposed to have incredible close-up views of the Teton range.

So. Much. Snow!

After brutal switchbacks and many false peaks (where we thought we would be there over the next ridge, but were not), we finally reached the pass.  There was immediately no question that all of the effort was worth it.  Pictures cannot capture it, but you can get some sense of the ruggedness of these amazing peaks:

Best friends:

The clouds are amazing in this view back over where we had just hiked:

To get back to camp more quickly, we did a variety of things.  For one, we slid down the snow where we could.  This is a much steeper, longer run than it looks on video:

We also took a shortcut trail that made our hike back only about two miles.  But wow were they steep and somewhat treacherous.  We all made it back safely and were so glad to be out of the snow!

The next day we hiked six miles out and drove five hours home.  None of us will ever forget this experience.  I'm so grateful to live in Utah so close to so many natural wonders!


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