A dozen Fort Hunt Boy Scouts are preparing for the adventure of a lifetime as they test their wilderness skills during a canoe trip through southern Canada.
Bill Hanna, scoutmaster for Troop 654 out of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church at 8009 Fort Hunt Road, said the scouts will fly to Minneapolis July 16 and begin their expedition the following day. The trip will begin on the lakes of northern Minnesota and head toward Canada.
The trip lasts through July 27.
“It’s just such a terrific experience for them to use all the skills they learned,” Hanna said. “They joined Boy Scouts when they were 11, and they get to grow up and see all these things in action. It’s tremendous confidence building.”
The participating scouts range in age from 13 to 16. The expedition is known as the “Northern Tier” trip. Scouts rotate among high-adventure wilderness trips each year, Hanna said. The other locations are in the Florida Keys and in Philmont, in northern New Mexico.
The scouts will be accompanied by trained adults and a guide. They will be divided into two groups for the trip, with each group taking its own course through the wilderness.
The challenges are formidable. The boys must provide their own wilderness first aid, and the only contact with the outside world is through a satellite phone that is locked away by the trip guide. Hanna said he didn’t expect any bear sightings during the trip, but they expect they may come across some moose.
On previous trips to the area, scouts encountered bald eagles and heard a few wolves.
The scouts must also take care of their own bodies, purify their own water, avoid “trench foot” and erect their own tents and camp sites.
“It’s very exciting, very remote,” Hanna said. “... It takes all of the Boy Scouts' skills the kids learn.”
The scouts have been canoeing out of the Belle Haven Marina in preparation for the trip, Hanna said.