Scout Troop 66 experiences high adventure Ten boys and four adults from Vermillion Boy Scout Troop 66 recently returned from a five-day backpacking trip in Isle Royale National Park.
The boys on the trip were Craig Bierle, Mitch Bierle, Mike Deibert, Tom Dendinger, Jake Jensen, Blake Ollivier, Jon Rusch, Mark Rusch, Brian Smith and Jason Smith. The adults were Jack Bierle, Joe Ollivier, Art Rusch and Terry Smith.
Isle Royale National Park is located on Isle Royale Island along the north shore of Lake Superior, northeast of Duluth, MN. The park contains over 500,0000 acres, including the 133,000-acre Isle Royale. The rest is water.
There are no roads and no vehicles are allowed on the island. The only means of transportation in the park is hiking, canoes, or personal boats. There are 165 miles of hiking trails on the island.
In order to get to the park, the Vermillion scouts took a two-hour ferry ride from Grand Portage, MN to the park visitor center at Windigo, on the west end of the island. Then the ferry went around the island dropping half of the scouts off at McCargoe Cove, where they had a 40-mile hike back to Windigo and the other half of the scouts at Rock Harbor where they had a 50 mile hike back to Windigo.
Both crews started their hikes on Monday, July 3 and arrived back in Windigo on July 7, in time to catch the ferry back to the mainland. Each scout and adult carried a 30 to 40 pound backpack with tents, sleeping bags, clothing and all necessary food for the journey.
Some of the trails the scouts took were difficult, with numerous rocks and roots, but travel off the trails was nearly impossible due to the dense vegetation, bogs and swamps.
During the trip, the boys saw lighthouses, explored an abandoned copper mine, and observed the wreck of the steamship America, which sank at Isle Royale in 1928. They also saw a moose and foxes, which came into their campsites to try and steal food from their packs. They did not see any of the wolves, for which Isle Royale is famous, but heard them howling at night.
Troop 66 attempts to schedule one "High-Adventure" trip each summer with its older scouts. This was the troop's second trip to Isle Royal. In 1999, the scouts experienced a hiking and white-water rafting trip to Colorado.
In past years they have hiked the Centennial Trail in the Black Hills and canoed in the Boundary Waters area of northern Minnesota.
Troop 66 is one of the oldest Boy Scout troops in South Dakota having been in existence in Vermillion for over 75 years. It is sponsored by the Vermillion United Church of Christ. For further information about the troop contact Scoutmaster Tony Nelsen at 624-9720.