Scouts-L Mail Archive for August of 1999: Prep for Northern Tier Trip
Prep for Northern Tier Trip
Thu, 26 Aug 1999 15:42:33 -0600
> Can anyone recommend how we might arrange our program this year to make
> sure that our youth are prepared for this, our Troop's first High Adventure
> trip? Thanks.
We just finished a six day Northern Tier Trip, I say Northern Tier, we spent the
whole trip in Canada in the Quetico area. You are right to get ready for it
because I found it very physical. You really need to give your Scouts AND ADULTS
time to see what is ahead of them. But if you prepare them mentally as well as
physically, they should have little problem. We had one adult who's job didn't
allow him to attend most of our training and he was not really physically ready
and the trip was difficult for him.
I suggest you find someone who is experienced and knows the ins and outs to
canoeing, but more importantly, portaging. We had a very experienced adult who
held several classes that range from what type of clothing and shoes to how to
lift a canoe. Without his training, I think we would have had a difficult time.
As it was, we look at this trip as one of our best.
We did not go through Somners because we could not get reservations at the right
time. So we used an outfitter. If you decide to use the outfitter, ask around
because there are as many bad ones as good ones. We had a good one which started
our trip well planned.
If I had to suggest specifics, I would start with kevlar canoes. Somners canoes
weigh about 80 pounds. I know this because everytime we ran into another troop
from Somners, they reminded us about their 80 lbs. canoes. Ours weighed 37
pounds. My 100 lb. son had no trouble carrying these canoes. He did however
choose to take the 80 lb. Duluth pack because he found the canoes hard to
balance. If you can find and take the kevlar's, I think you will find the extra
price well worth it. I think about $10 a day per person but don't hold me to it.
Don't get me wrong, even the 37 pound canoes are hard to carry, but compared to
Everyone should at least practice picking up and walking with a canoe once
before leaving for camp. They should also practice their paddling strokes too.
Especially the "J" stroke.
For the adults, I suggest running or some kind of conditioning to get ready for
the constant workout. You can stop and rest in the middle of a lake, but unlike
hiking, if the wind is blowing in your face, you will go backwards. I learned
last year the Scouts seem to do OK physically without really having to get as
prepared. I would have them run a little if you can, but our boys did fine.
If you can, and this would be hard, find a Duluth pack, fill it with about 80
pounds of stuff and let everyone walk around to get use to them. Most of the
packs aren't that heavy but a couple were. Still wonder who ordered the
potatoes. Don't worry about the comfort of the packs, they aren't.
One thing that is very important, portaging is part of the adventure. Once you
realize that, you just take in stride. The one adult who was a little out of
shape explained it to us best like this, "I couldn't wait to get to a portage
because the canoeing was so strenuous, then while I was carrying the canoe to
the next lake, I couldn't wait to dump that canoe and start paddling." Get
everyone thinking it's just part of the fun.
Gear. The gear that really stands out that you might need to know about is get
good rain gear. Pants and jacket. A poncho gets in the way of paddling, so don't
bother. Shoes, they will get and stay wet, so look for hiking shoes with vents
or material that allows them to drain. Several shoe manufactures make shoes to
do this about $100 dollars. We bought Army jungle boots that worked great for
about $20. Most of the Troops we ran into also wore the jungle boots. If I could
fix one thing, look for boots with a steel shank because you step on a lot of
roots and rocks that eventually start to bruise the arch.
All other gear is the same stuff use for backpacking.
We had a really great adventure. And I give full credit to our crew advisor that
taught us how to lift the canoes, carry the Duluth packs and what gear to take.
There were no surprises. We were mentally ready which I have learned is more
important than physically ready.
Oh and the great wild life of moose and bear. Forget it. At least in my crew,
the Scouts had so much fun, they yelled and laughed all day long. Problem is
they scared away every critter with in five miles. It was a wonderful trip and
to top it off, Minnesota is a beautiful state to visit. But I don't think they
want you stay there because every night their trained mosquitos tried to carry
us off. Hmm.
Have a great week.