A Scouts Journey to the Alaskan Wilderness
By Zohar Rosenberg, Life Scout – Troop 72
On July 16th, Boy Scouts from Troop 72 embarked on a High Adventure Trip to Alaska for two weeks. We would be backpacking Denali National Park for five days, exploring the various towns in Alaska, and hiking through the Alaskan wilderness every chance we got. This trip, along with being really fun, allowed us to get a better appreciation of natures’ majesty.
It took a lot of training and preparation but in the end it was an adventure of a lifetime. My brother and I filled our backpacks to capacity and hiked around Stratford every day for a month. You may have seen us walking up and down Main Street. Sometimes we had extra weight in the bags just to be over prepared for this journey.
Our amazing trip started at the parking lot of the United Methodist Church at 2:00 A.M. The next 15 hours of driving and flights gave everyone a chance to get some sleep before the sun stopped setting. It would take us another day to actually get into the wilderness of Denali because we needed to make sure we had all of our equipment, our food was protected, and we needed to be informed of the safety procedures around the wildlife. From then on, we were on our own, making a new path where no man has gone before.
As we hiked into the park, some of the scouts saw a rock on a far away mountain; it became our goal to reach that house-size boulder. We hiked up and down mountains and even crossed an ice-cold river. After the river, we needed to find a spot to camp and we didn’t until 1:00 A.M., when the sun was still shining overhead. The sunset in Denali was more like perpetual dusk and it just got dimmer but not dark.
The second day, we hiked 2,500 feet up a mountain and made it to the rock at an elevation of 4,000 feet. Under the massive rock was a scurry of ground squirrels. Along with the view, the sweet smell of the forest and the cool wind on our faces, we all took in the beauty around us. This, in my opinion, made the hike worth it.
July 20th, we saw not one but two bears. Not just any type of bear, Grizzly Bears! They are huge and menacing but our troop was prepared. We made ourselves look big and talked to the bear so that we did not seem weak. That night we set up camp away from all the bears and they stayed away from us. The next day, we hiked down the mountain, walked through a swamp, and found our way to the one road that goes through the park.
Our trip to Denali National Park involved amazing encounters with wildlife and stunning views that were awe inspiring. Seeing something like that in person and not from behind a computer screen gives me some perspective of how incredible nature truly is. This trip is something that I will never forget.
For more information about Troop 72, go to Troopseventytwo.com