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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Local Boy Scouts explore wilderness on a Western camping trip

Members of Boy Scout Troop 895 of Falls Church headed west for summer camp this year, traveling a bit farther than usual, reports Matt Dillard, assistant scoutmaster.

After over a year of planning and fundraising, 26 boys and 14 adults spent a week in Yellowstone National Park and a week in the Grand Tetons.

At Yellowstone, the scouts hiked trails and geyser fields, saw Old Faithful, and went horseback riding and whitewater rafting. Along the way, they saw incredible wildlife, including  bison, elk, bald eagles, and black bears. 

During their stay at BSA Camp Loll in a beautiful remote wilderness area at the base of the Teton Mountains, they enjoyed a variety of activities. The older scouts backpacked in the Tetons, while the others hiked, rappelled, and worked on merit badges in wilderness survival, astronomy, sailing, and first aid. Daniel Wisdom of Falls Church completed a one-mile swim in frigid mountain waters.

One challenge throughout the trip was cooking: Learning to cook over 30 meals for hungry Scouts in an area inhabited by bears was not easy. Nonetheless, great meals (and desserts) were enjoyed by all, and no bears were fed.

In 2015 the troop plans to send a contingent of scouts to Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico for 10 days of backpacking.

Troop 895 has been active in Falls Church for over 55 years. The troop meets on Mondays at 7:30 p.m. at Falls Church Presbyterian Church, and will start its fall program after Labor Day. Anyone interested in more information is encouraged to contact the troop.

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