Ahh, High Adventure. It’s an annual tradition in the Boy Scouts: the “big trip” for the older Scouts (14 years or more). This year the trip was up in the Rawah Wildnerness in north central Colorado. The boys learned how to fly fish prior to the trip, in the hope of catching some dinner.

As it turned out, High Adventure kicked their butts. I came up on Day 3 to relieve one of the leaders who couldn’t stay for the full six days, and heard the story of what had happened the previous few days. The hike from the trailhead to camp was about six miles, and much more difficult than anyone had anticipated. Several of the boys really struggled with their packs. After arriving at camp, one of the boys and one of the leaders had pretty bad altitude sickness (camp was at 10,500 feet), and another boy refused to wear a hat and forgot his sunscreen, leading to a really bad sunburn and probably the beginning of heat exhaustion.

The second day was spent in camp, mostly lounging around because several of them felt pretty beat. A few headed up to a lake to do some fly fishing, but even that proved tough because the mile-long trail to the lake had a 1,000-foot elevation gain.

Then came the rain. And hail. It dumped all night, and a few of the boys ended up with wet sleeping bags (never a good time). On the dawn of Day 3, they had a camp meeting to decide what to do, and the majority decided it was time to head home.

So there I was, pack on my back and ready to hike up on Day 3, and they all came down the mountain to tell me we were leaving. Umm, what?

To his credit, Alex was one of three boys who wanted to stay. He had packed well, kept his stuff dry, and he’s actually in really good physical shape. But since most of the boys were done, the group decided to leave together. We drove through Fort Collins and enjoyed some awesome pizza at Beau Jo’s, then went over to the home of one of the leaders to watch a movie. It didn’t quite live up to the “High Adventure” name, but I think several of the boys learned really good lessons about packing light, drinking, using sunscreen, and getting in shape before a hiking trip.