Scouts BSA Troop 321 canoes the Boundary Waters at the Canadian border
By Guest Columnist Tommy Carroll
Boy Scouts of America High Adventure Troop 321 from Long Beach recently traveled to Minnesota and canoed the Boundary Waters between the U.S. and Canada. Five Life Scouts, working on their Eagle Scout rank, Addison Carroll, Austin Reeves, Chase Cockrell, Jonathan Potts and Justin Elliott, and two of their two adult advisors, Terry Togstad and Tommy Carroll, made the trip to explore the wilderness at the border between the two countries.
The Boy Scouts of America have a High Adventure Base, Northern Tier, located a few miles south of the Canadian border from where the crew launched. This base is located in Northeastern Minnesota at the edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, a region containing over one million acres of wilderness and over a thousand lakes. It is located in the Superior National Forest and is listed as National Geographic’s “50 Destinations of A Lifetime.”
The crew began their expedition with a 3/4 -mile portage (carrying the canoes overhead while another person carries their gear) to their first launch of their six-day and five-night journey. Battling wind, rain and mosquitoes, the scouts completed a 57-mile trek over water and on land. While on their expedition, the adventurers fished, explored, cliff-jumped and swam. They carried gear and supplies needed to cook their own meals while there.
One of the days was simply a “lay-over” day, due to a thunderstorm that hit in the late morning. The scouts spent that day fishing, swimming, exploring the small island that they just happened to be camping on that day and working on merit badges. The other days were filled with packing up camp in the mornings, canoeing, portaging and setting up at a new camp site in the afternoons.
Temperatures, while there, were seasonably warm for the area, reaching only down to a low of 50 degrees and highs in the lower-80s. Sunrises were spectacular, and sunsets were amazing over the water, and the crew were up and going for both at each end of the day.
The area was formed by glaciers and has some fascinating features. The crew visited and portaged next to waterfalls and climbed a 1,500’ peak at Thunder Point to capture a view of Knife Lake, which forms part of the border between the U.S. and Canada.
After the canoeing adventure, the troop stopped at the Mall of America, the country’s largest mall, located in Minneapolis, where they rode the ride “Fly Over America” and got to virtually visit places that they have previously hiked and visited.
Scouts from Troop 321 hail from Diamondhead, Poplarville, Gulfport, Biloxi, Ocean Springs and Long Beach.