High Adventures in Scouting
In scouting, there are 3 High Adventure Trips that can define an individual’s time as a scout. These trips are remembered for years to come, often even reflect memories of generations, and can bring people together from worlds apart. In my time in scouting, I was able to experience the Triple Crown of Scouting High Adventure trips in Northern Tier, Philmont, and Sea Base. These trips can boil down to three moments for me that defined my time in scouting and my relationship with the outdoors that I carried through 4 years of employment with Tulane Outdoor Adventures.
Northern Tier includes a variety of activities and locations, but this story for me takes place in the Canadian Wilderness after a remote floatplane drop off north of Bisset, Manitoba in the watershed of the Bloodvein River. We had planned our route and knew we had a planned 80 miles of canoeing to do on the trip with at least a handful of portages (crossing from one body of water to another over land) each day. I have never seen more pristine wilderness in my life. Over the week and a half long paddling trip, we didn’t see another soul. A few days in was a day that my dad and I will remember forever. We had already done 3 or 4 portages across watersheds, and we were coming up to another. Up until this point on the trip, I had been carrying a pack and my father a canoe. These were awesome old Grumman canoes that could take a beating, and oh boy were they heavy. My dad and I were the last two to start across the quarter-mile portage, so when my dad couldn’t get the canoe up onto his shoulders, it fell to me. My dad and I were able to trade off the pack for the canoe, and I shouldered the weight of the canoe for the rest of the trip. For us, that transition represented the passing and acceptance of responsibility in life taught through scouting.
To see a Gulf South edition of this trip, look into the Outdoor Adventures Black Creek Canoe and Camp trip! This trip offers an intro to overnight canoeing with fun for canoers of all skill levels.
Philmont is probably the most recognizable name in scouting, with people coming from all across the U.S. and abroad to backpack across New Mexico. My father had been to Philmont 40 years prior to the trip we went on together, and the memories he had made persisted across the time. At the Visto Grande campsite in Philmont, there is a specific “Big Ole Rock” next to a specific “Big Ole Tree” that my dad remembered from his scouting days. From the rock, braced up against the tree, you can look down over a wide swatch of Philmont’s beautiful landscape. You could see where fires had scorched the land, where vegetation had regrown, and where generations of scouts had come before to build trails, establish campsites, and maintain the land for the generations still to come. Sitting on that “Big Ole Rock” and leaning up against that “Big Ole Tree,” the persistence of nature across generations of humanity put our existence into perspective with that of the environment.
To see what a Tulane Outdoor Adventures edition looks like, check out our Fall Break and Spring Break backpacking trips! These trips offer an extended overnight backpacking experience with awesome guides and incredible Gulf South wilderness.
Sea Base comes in many different forms, and on the occasion when I was able to go, my crew drew the lucky straw and was able to live and work aboard a sailboat for a week and a half. During the initial portion, we were able to meet and get to know our captain Ben and his fascinating life story as he so graciously opened his home to teach and educate us students on sailing and marine life. By the last few days, we had gotten into a rhythm with our ability to tack and jibe and had grown comfortable with heeling as we accelerated with the wind. On the final day of the trip, I was at the helm steering us back to the dock, and Captain Ben, the only actual sailor on board, saw another sailboat coming in at the same time. He knew the captain of the other boat, and they constantly messed with each other in a friendly sort of way in different ports and docks. Captain Ben knew our vessel was faster, so he told all of us that we were going to get ahead of the other boat, circle around them, and then pass them again. As fellow scouts pulled the various lines to turn the boom abou,t I focused on steering us around, and not into, the other ship. Yikes! When we passed on the other side, and all looked up at each other we all knew that it was our teamwork that got us through. Scouting at Sea Base showed the importance of teamwork, even in fun, challenging scenarios.
While Outdoor Adventures doesn’t offer any sailing trips… yet, check out our skills clinics including knot tying to find out how you can continue to engage with the necessary skills. Also, check out our Varsity Sailing team at Tulane!