Troop 33's Canoe Trip
(Click here for some photos of our training exercise that we did on Lake Nokomis: Picture 1, Picture 2, Picture 3, Picture 4)
Here is the DNR Map for the area we canoed. Here is the part of the map annotated with the details of the trip.
Sunday, June 15, 2003 1pm
We all met at the Dunwoody parking lot, labeled our names on our PFDs, loaded up and departed. Our rest stop was Sinclar Lewis Park, Sauk Center. Games of steal the cap, steal the shoe, and crouch behind someone for a pushover appeared and continued for the rest of the trip.
We arrived at Wadena County Park's "Tree Farm Landing" campsite. Occupying five of nine campsites, Ted assures the two guys at the far campsite that we meant no harm. We cooked fried chicken for dinner and some Patrols made a pineapple upside-down cake, and Ty's Patrol found out what a "cup of brown sugar" looks like. That night we got applause from the far campsite for "Waltzing Matilda" during our campfire. Drew told a terrifying story about a scary coffin (cough-in?).
Monday, June 16
Ted delights in waking everyone at 7am, even though some were awake long before that. We had our only hot breakfast: chicken ramen with summer sausage. Ted had thought it was going to be a dinner item.
Then there was a review of canoeing skills, followed by all scouts trying a slalom course around the junior staff and adults standing in the river. The CW river was rarely deeper than an adult waist. Lunch of PBJ sandwiches, a bag of chips, apple, cookie and Drano. Meat, cheese, mayo (sometimes lettuce) were to appear in later lunches. Then we went up stream to apply our canoeing skills, or to build some character according to Ted. Some of the faster canoes reached the confluence of the Shell and CW rivers.
After all had canoed two or three miles, it started to rain, then really rain. When the thunder started we congregated on a riverbank to get wetter. The rain pretended to stop, so we headed back out and had some more rain. Arriving at a wet campsite, some of us gathered under McHugh's rain fly and proceeded to whittle dry wood shavings from lumber mill rejects (piled at every one of the Wadena County campsites we stayed at or visited...it probably prevents their trees from being whittled on.)
Surprisingly, the rain stopped and fires got started. Tacos were on the menu and some staff made theirs into taco salad. Fishing, swimming, and card games were popular pursuits. The campfire story by Kyle featured a scary violin.
Tuesday, June 17
After a cold breakfast of cereal, tang, yogurt, oranges and milk (pop tarts appeared later in the trip), we packed up some soggy tents, got in our canoes, and paddled south. Dodging only a few rocks, we paddled past wooded shores and the occasional house or cabin. We saw several large fish. Scouts started to put their lessons to work.
Lunch was at the Huntersville Forest campsite. Located in Huntersville State Forest, and run by the MN DNR, they featured "no firewood due to budget cutbacks" and charged $9...one dollar more per campsite night than the county. While we were there a new civilization was born (and faded just as quickly). More paddling completed the 13-mile day, arriving at Anderson's Crossing. Some minor rapids preceded that location and followed it. Some were interesting but most were distinguished by shoals, which grounded all but the luckiest canoes.
Macaroni and cheese with sausage was on the menu, with salad and pudding cups. Ty's patrol had lots of fun trying to cook their dinner. S’mores featuring one whole Hershey bar per scout was the evening treat. Wes told a terrifying story about a dragon.
Wednesday, June 18
Ted awoke us at seven and we had our cold breakfast. We paddled south through some minor rapids, decorating some rocks with bright aluminum.
There was a mix-up about where to stop for the lunch and the front half of the group paddled all the way to the endpoint: "Little White Dog" campsite. They ate a very late lunch. We later developed the technique of stopping frequently to get the group get together before pushing on and spreading out into a thin mile-long convoy which tested the reach of our FRS radios with "UP TO two mile capability."
Dinner at Little White Dog was Spanish Rice n' Corn, with green beans. Smores again, with a short campfire led by Ty. This is also where we had our only ‘injury’, thankfully it wasn’t severe.
Thursday, June 19
"That Darn Ted" woke us up again at 7am. However we didn't break camp since the leaders decided that our current campsite had many fewer bugs than the one at day's end. After a cold breakfast and no tent packing we paddled south. Nate had developed strep throat, and parted company to recover back home. True to the description of Glenn, the Wadena County Park employee, the rocks pretty much vanished after the Knob Hill landing. Our group again became widely spaced.
We stopped for lunch outside the "Wahoo Valley Bar and Grill", on the riverbank erosion control project, just upstream from Cottingham County Park. We ate lunch and waited for Bel and Johann's canoe. They arrived 30 minutes late. Both Joe and Ted "advised" them to canoe harder, and their subsequent paddling performance was much improved.
A long afternoon paddle later, we arrived at the mosquito-mudsucking infestation of "Old Wadena County Park" landing where we carried the canoes out of the mud up a long flight of stairs. We waited for the vans to arrive and had snacks. A 24 minute ride later we were back at "Little White Dog" to make dinner of Spanish Rice. Kyle's campfire story was "The Farmer's Fun-loving Daughter."
Friday, June 20
We broke camp and drove south to Camp Ripley, about seven miles north of Little Falls. We visited their Military Museum, then drove to "Rest Area #2" to make lunch in a large pavilion with one picnic table.
We then followed the naturalist (since the camp is also a MN DNR State Game Refuge) to the site of our service project of bush-whacking a small trail into an eight-foot-wide promenade. The naturalist added many gray hairs to Ted’s head by pulling out wickedly dull axes, brush cutters, and saws and handing them out to all the Scouts. Even though we didn't quite finish the task, great progress was made on the trail. Some of the older Scouts also carried railroad ties to form a platform for future picnic tables.
Several wood ticks and two bottles of water later, we then went to the training area of a MN National Guard Air Battalion where we split our group of 31 into 3 and were shown around by a Sergeant, a Captain, and a Major. They had Hueys (helicopters costing $500/hr to operate) and Blackhawks ($7.5 million, $1300/hr) flying around and showed us their command and control centers, portable kitchen and other cool stuff. It was very interesting.
We then went to our barracks where we picked out cots in a sleeping bay and then took our highly-awaited ten minute showers. Then, back to the picnic pavilion for all the dominos pizza we could eat, and all the Coke-Sprite-MelloYellow we could drink. Then on to the Little Falls Dairy Queen, where we were handed $2 to buy a treat. After more cap-snatching, shoe throwing and pushovers we went back to the pavilion for our final campfire. The ice cream inspired some spirited singing and then we each individually shared what we thought were some of the most memorable events during the trip. Back to the barracks for a nice slumber on a thick mattress.
Saturday, June 21
We originally thought that one of our canoe trailers had been stolen (including 6 borrowed canoes, 36 borrowed paddles, and 30 borrowed life jackets), but it turned out to be just a soldier’s prank. They had pulled it down the street a little ways and hooked it to some unsuspecting person’s truck. After getting it back Ted, the ol' softie, was feeling generous enough to let us sleep until 8am.
We then ate breakfast and drove south for Minneapolis. Arriving only seven minutes late to the North Mississippi Regional Park by the 42nd street bridge, we made lunch.
Then, with some family members in a total of 19 canoes, we shoved off into a terrific headwind. We stopped a couple times so all could catch up, and watched a water-ski school practice just upstream from the Broadway bridge. We went through the two St. Anthony Locks, admiring very tall wet walls, and back into that darn headwind. By the time we reached a sand shore just downstream from the Franklin Avenue bridge, we were way behind schedule, and stayed that way until we landed at Hidden Falls Regional Park shortly after 7pm.
(Lock pictures: Picture 1, Picture 2, Picture 3, Picture 4, Picture 5, Picture 6, Picture 7, Picture 8, Picture 9)
However, a fabulous subway sandwich and potluck buffet awaited us and some strong parents carried our canoes up from the landing. We mostly sorted out the belongings and food fragments (scouts vowed to freeze their flexible Hershey Bars) and we vanished without a trace by 9:30pm. A grand adventure all around!
Submitted by John & Kyle McHugh
Contributing editor: Ted McLaughlin J