Scouts thrive and learn on lake trip

Queen Anne Boy Scout Troop 72 returned to Bowron Lake Provincial Park last week after a four-year hiatus for an experience of a lifetime.
Bowron Lake Park is a large wilderness area situated on the western slopes of the Cariboo Mountain Range. The Bowron Lake Canoe Circuit encompasses a 116-km chain of lakes, waterways and connecting portages. This wilderness canoe trip typically takes from six to 10 days to complete and Troop 72 completed it in six from July 24 - 29. The trip included 66 miles of canoeing across nine lakes and eight portages ranging from a half mile to 2.5 miles.
Scouts planned, prepared and trained for several months for this trip, including canoe training on Lake Washington, on-line BSA water safety training, first aid and swimming merit badges, and learning about wilderness camping. No trace was left behind. Scouts used biodegradable soap, but not within 100 feet of the water. Waste water was poured into pit toilets. Trash was packed out. Leftover food was reused, creating a delicious scrambled eggs and salmon dish the second morning. Fresh food lasted two to four days and dehydrated meals were saved for the end of the trip. Freeze-dried phad thai was one of the favorites over curry and jambalaya.
The park has tremendous diversity in topography and vegetation. The rounded hilltops of the Quesnel Highlands on the west side of the circuit have a unique character quite different from the imposing Cariboo Mountains on the eastern and southern sections of the circuit. The park is typically a place of many moods, from bright sunshine and placid blue lakes to angry gray waters and torrential rains. This trip was blessed by constant sunshine everyday and tailwinds five days out of six.
A wide variety of wildlife lives in the park. Scouts saw moose, caribou, black bears, bald eagles, heron, loons and of course, plenty of mosquitoes. Rangers reviewed wildlife safety and etiquette with the troop. Bear mace was required, but never used.
There are no cellular phone capabilities on the circuit. Six public two-way radios are placed around the circuit for use in the event of an emergency only. Even then, help can be half a day away. It is essential to "be prepared" and safe, because you are mostly on your own.
"This kind of trip is what scouting is all about," said retired scoutmaster Chris Saether. "Being prepared, so you can appreciate the beauty of the wilderness and conquer new challenges -- that builds character."[[In-content Ad]]