Midlo Boy Scouts brave the elements

Boy Scout Troop 897 travels to Northern Tier

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On August 1, 2019, Boy Scouts from Troop 897 and their respective scout leaders, twelve of whom are Midlo students ranging from freshmen to juniors, departed for the high adventure camp Northern Tier in Ely, Minnesota. After spending the night in Pennsylvania, the Scouts drove to Sandusky, Ohio, where they spent the day at Cedar Point. “Just being at the park was fun due to the new rides at the park that I had never ridden.” says Midlo junior Joey Keating. On Saturday, they drove to Minneapolis, where they visited the Mall of America, home to the Nickelodeon Universe, an indoor theme park in the center of the mall. Finishing the drive to Ely on Sunday, the Scouts unloaded their packs from the car and headed into the Northern Tier Base Camp. After settling down in their Yurts, round cabins used by several nomadic groups in the steppes of Central Asia, the Scouts broke into three groups to meet with their respective interpreters.

The next morning, the Scouts conducted one final shakedown, their packs carrying everything they needed for the next five days on the Boundary Waters. “The hardest thing about getting ready for the trip was just ensuring we had the right gear and not too much. Each person had a personal 30 L dry bag, that had to hold everything we needed for a week: shoes, clothes, sleeping bags, pillows and any luxury items we would want.” comments Mr. Martin Gundel, an assistant Scoutmaster for Troop 897. Early Monday morning, the Scouts split into their three groups and began their 60-70 mile trek of canoeing and portaging. After paddling on the other side of the lake, the Scouts docked their canoes and strapped their 50-100 pound packs on their backs, while hoisting the 16 foot long canoes over their heads to hike anywhere from 100 yards to a mile to the next lake, where they reloaded the canoes and paddled across the lake to begin the trek all over again. On Thursday, the Scouts participated in what they call a dawn paddle, where they awake at 3 am and paddle out to the middle of the lake to eat their breakfast while the sun rises. “The best part about the dawn paddle was looking at all the stars in the sky because they were much more visible than at home.” says Midlo junior Brennon Osborn. Along the way, the Scouts enjoyed the beautiful new scenery as they listened to interesting stories about the area surrounding Northern Tier, including the story of Dorothy Molter, also known as the “Rootbeer Lady,” named for the root beer that she sold to thousands of passing canoeists in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, near her home on Knife Lake back in the late 1930’s. At Eddy Falls, a popular site for passing canoeists, the Scouts enjoyed the freezing cold waters of the “tub and shower” of Eddy Falls, letting the water rain down on them from the cliff above.

Rising Friday morning, the boys paddled on the waters until Friday afternoon, when they made it back to the Northern Tier base. That evening, the Scouts took their interpreters out for dinner at a restaurant called  Ely Steakhouse, where the boys and the interpreters enjoyed some Bucky Burgers and Dorothy’s famous root beer. Finally making it home on Sunday, August 11, the boys relished in the feel of being home, taking warm showers and eating home cooked meals.