Boy Scouts from DeKalb’s Troop 33 traveled west to experience an exciting summer adventure.
Beginning at the Badlands, they explored a landscape almost like the moon’s surface. Ellsworth Air Force Base provided a tour of historic aircraft and a missile training site. Looking into the granite faces of Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt and Lincoln was a monumental experience at Mount Rushmore.
At Yellowstone, America’s first national park and the world’s most active geothermal site, Scouts saw hundreds of geysers, hot springs and mud pots. They saw an amazing waterfall at Yellowstone Canyon.
“Yellowstone was my favorite part of the trip. I loved seeing all the hot springs and Old Faithful,” Scout Ryan McNett said. “Spending a few nights at the Tetons was great; we were so high up that snow covered the mountains.”
Camping in the Tetons found them fishing at an alpine lake and hiking higher than 10,000 feet. They watched a team of hang gliders launch off a high mountain ridge; thermal air spiraling upward lifted the gliders 1,000 feet above their launch site.
They saw moose, bears, deer, elk, herds of buffalo, plus many other species of native wildlife.
“One morning I woke up and heard a bunch of buffalo walking past our tents. I wasn’t expecting that,” Scout Aidan Witthoff said. “It was pretty exciting.”
At Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado, snow-covered mountains set the stage for their next challenging outdoor adventure. Backpacking means carrying everything you need on your back as you hike into the wilderness. Group gear is divided among each Scout.
They began hiking through forest, but as the trail climbed higher, rocky peaks appeared in the distance and they encountered some areas with drifts of snow, remnants from winter storms. Still higher the trail became steep and thin air made breathing harder.
Snacks and rest breaks provided time to enjoy the amazing scenery.
“The backpacking was hard, but I got through it,” Ryan McNett said. “It was so much fun.”
Visiting the Strategic Air and Space Museum on their final day, they learned about military aircraft, nuclear missiles and space vehicles.
The trip was about the boys learning new things, visiting new places, discovering natural wonders, sharing loyalty, teamwork, responsibility and overcoming new challenges.