How did you spend you days from July 28 to August 4?
If you were a member of Boy Scout Troop 97 in Redwood Falls, odds are you were out watching moose stroll by in the Big Horn Mountains of Wyoming.
Why a hike through Wyoming?
“A lot of these Scouts have already done summer camp three or four times,” said leader Patrick Rohland.
The leaders thought it would be a nice change to get away.
“When you get off the trail, the kids’ iPods don’t work. There’s no internet,” Rohland said.
The hike also forced everyone to work together in ways they hadn’t before.
Troops from Springfield, Franklin, and Sanborn went on the trip as well, for a total of about 24 kids and adults.
The Scouts hiked from Sunday to Thursday, a distance of about 35 miles up mountain passes, and across streams and valleys.
Well, 37 miles if you count the unintentional detour.
“We got lost where the cows hit the sign over,” said Marshal Quast.
Although the trail is popular for hiking, the Scouts saw only a few other tourists.
“There was a guy on a horse who nearly fell off the hill when he saw us,” said Max Russell.
The Scouts carried everything they needed for the hike on their backs. For drinking water, they carried a filter to purify the mountain stream water they came across.
Some of the trails were narrow with steep sides, and less fun to walk on then you’d think.
“I’m afraid of heights,” pointed out Quast. “We were so high, we saw a helicopter pass by below us.”
A somber reminder how dangerous mountain hikes can be came when several Scouts made a detour to see the remains of a Army B-17 bomber that crashed on a mountainside nearly 70 years ago.
“Here in Redwood Falls, the altitude is 900 feet above sea level,” said Rohland. “There at the trail head, it was 9,000 feet.”
“The bomber was over 14,000 feet high,” said Quast. “Five of us hiked to the top to see it; that was one reason we went.”
“It was a lot higher than I expected, and way tougher. It’s a lot harder to breathe at 14,000 feet,” said Brenden Frank.
What was the most surprising thing about the hike?
“It was very still, very silent,” said Quast, adding, “except when there was a thunderstorm. When you’re 10,000 feet closer to it, it’s a lot louder.”
Page 2 of 2 - “The sound just rumbles up and down the valley,” said Russell.