High Adventure

HighAdventureYoung people today seek greater challenges to their physical, mental, and emotional capacities. High-adventure treks entice them to ‘stretch’ to attain the goal of successfully completing an extensive backcountry trek. They will learn to work together to overcome difficulties and to grow in critical thinking, judgment, and decision-making skills that will last a lifetime. High adventure inspires young people to undertake worthy challenges and to work together to meet common team objectives. It offers a meaningful and lasting experience in their lives.

The exhilaration of being in the wild outdoors is hard to top. Free from the distractions of everyday life, a trekker has a chance to pause and reflect. There are no ringing telephones, instant messages, e-mail, televisions blaring tragic events, traffic congestion, school, work, or meetings.

The Passport to High Adventure guide is designed to help older Scouts, with guidance from their adult leaders, to plan and safely carry out national, council and unit high-adventure treks using ‘leave no trace’ techniques.

Click here to download BSA’s Passport to High Adventure guide

Below is a summary of BSA’s 4 national High Adventure Bases, followed by a list of regional council High Adventure programs.

BSA National High Adventure Bases

As a long time standing tradition, thousands of units from all over the country travel to these high adventure bases. If you are interested in traveling to these bases, follow these links to Scoutings four most popular National High Adventure Bases. Start your journey today!

Philmont Scout RanchPhilmont

The Boy Scouts of America’s premier high-adventure base, challenges Scouts and Venturers with more than 200 square miles of rugged New Mexico wilderness. Backpacking treks, horseback cavalcades, and training and service programs offer young people many ways to experience this legendary country.

Northern TierNorthern Tier

Offers Scouts and Venturers the best in wilderness canoeing treks. Beginning in December, you may participate in the challenging cold-weather camping program called Okpik (OOk’ pick). The Northern Tier offers many adventures, each geared to the goals and desires of your group. Come to the Northern Tier for an unforgettable experience in the world famous northwoods “Canoe Country

Florida Sea Base Seabase

Owned and operated by the Boy Scouts of America to offer unique educational aquatic programs to our members. Located in Islamorada and on Summerland Key in the beautiful the Florida Keys as well as Marsh Harbour, Great Abaco Island, Bahamas, the heart of the Florida Keys, the near shore reefs and crystal clear waters offer unparalleled opportunities for long term and short term programs year round.

The Summit Bechtel ReserveSummitbetchel

Situated in the wilds of West Virginia, The Summit is an adventure center for the millions of youth and adults involved in the Boy Scouts of America, and anyone who loves the outdoors. Home to the National Scout Jamboree, the Summit is the 4th BSA High Adventure Base.

Regional High Adventure Bases

Parsons High Adventure Base

Camp Parsons high adventure treks will challenge older Scouts who are looking for an excellent outdoor experience. Kayaking/Canoe Trek: Scouts will canoe along the shores of the Hood Canal, viewing unmatched scenery and wildlife while meeting the challenges of navigation and planning. Hiking Trek: This expedition will provide breathtaking vistas and daunting challenges, creating memories that will last a lifetime. link to Parsons High Adventure Base

Montana High Adventure Base

Montana High Adventure Base offers Wilderness trekking and packrafting for Scouts and Venturers in America’s remotest wilderness!

North Idaho

Enjoy miles of guided whitewater rafting that flows along wilderness back country – at a great value. The Salmon river provides plenty of action while you navigate through stunning canyons on paddle boats and hike an array of historical Native American sites. These trips specialize in team building efforts so they are ideal for all Scout Troops, Venturing Crews, and Explorer Posts. (A demanding program for those 13 years and older) See for yourself how this activity is a perfect escape with a mix of fun-filled excitement and relaxation.

Maps: One of the 10 Essentials

Maps are one of the 10 Essentials.

Always carry a detailed topographic map of the area you are visiting, and place it in a protective case or plastic covering.  Always carry a compass.  A Map and Compass is used for Orienteering, the use of map and compass to find locations and plan a journey.  Check out the Orienteering merit badge.

There are a number of free map resources available on the internet that allow you to view and create maps.  One of the most full featured free mapping tools is   HillMap it  is a web based mapping app that lets backcountry travelers create and print free, customizable maps from high quality map layers.  You can also use hillmap tools to calculate slope, check the weather at your destination, analyze snowpack, and more.

Here are few other great mapping resources:





Google Map: Stehekin Area


Backpacking Gear Checklist

Welcome to the Troop 120. This backpacking gear checklist should provide some basic information of the gear you’ll need during your years as a Scout. The gear list below lists out all the gear you will need for a basic 3 season single overnight backpacking trip.

The below gear checklist can be accessed by clicking this link.

Cotton is bad.
Cotton does not wick moisture, does not keep you warm when it gets wet and unfortunately does not dry out very quickly. Do not bring cotton on a Scout outing (camping, hiking, etc). This includes sweatshirts, T shirts, socks, briefs, jeans, etc.

Keep the total weight of gear in mind. Slogging up a hill under a 40-50 pound pack just isn’t fun no matter who you are! A target weight of 3-4 pounds or less for your sleeping bag, and backpack is optimal.

A good target ideally would be that your combined gear (without food or water) is less than 20 pounds, and sub-optimally in the 20 to 30 pound range.

Don’t let your Scout become discouraged about backpacking by carrying a pack that is too heavy!

Though we have many experienced leaders and scouts in our troop – remember that you must always exercise your own judgment in evaluating the applicability and utility of the information provided based upon your scouts own ability, experience, and comfort level.

Troop Gear:
The Troop supplies; Tent (includes poles, stakes, ground cloth), Water filters, Stoves & fuel, Cooking kits (pots), and other misc gear. Plan for 3 pounds of gear to be added to your pack once this has been divided up.

Good places to look for gear are: Costco, campmor.com, golite.com, rei.com, backcountry.com , sierratradingpost.com, campsaver.com,  and ems.com.    Spring is a good time to find clearanced items, craigslist is good for finding used items,  REI garage sales are good source.   Here are a couple of other links for sourcing used gear:  NWHikers,  Gear Swap, and Gear Deals. On these forums Post a message listing what you want to buy and the price range.

You can find great deals if you shop around a lot, especially during off seasons. Talk to a Scoutmaster if you have any questions.

** Identify 10 Essential Items.

Backpacking Gear Checklist

The pictured gear below serves as functional gear examples, purchase the gear you are comfortable having your scout use.

Required Personal Gear Worn

Backpacking Gear Checklist
Trekking shirt and pants – no cotton
Underwear – no cotton
Trail running shoes or boots
Merino wool or synthetic hiking socks – no cotton
**Compass on neck lanyard
**Pea-less whistle on neck lanyard

TIP: Convertible Scout Pants work great for backpacking and hiking trips, as well as polyester sport pants.

TIP: Shoes – Trail runners, or hiking shoes are recommended. Boots are O.K but Shoes compared to boots cause fewer blisters, dry out faster, and are cheaper in the long run. Scout’s feet grow fast!

All in all, get the footwear you are comfortable having your scout wear.

Required Personal Gear Carried in Pack

Backpacking Gear Checklist
Backpack (Size: 3050 cu. in. / 50L)
Sleeping bag in stuff sack
Sleeping pad (closed cell foam or inflatable)

Pack liner (trash bag, or trash compactor bag)
Stuff Sack for clothing
Dedicated nylon stuff sack for food storage
2 Large gallon Ziploc bags for organization

TIP: A trash bag or trash compactor bag works well to protect your gear from getting wet.

TIP: Gallon size ziploc bags are recommend for organizing your gear, and can be used for packing out trash.

TIP: A 3050 cu in/ 50L backpack works great if your sleeping bag compresses well. Bigger backpacks have increased padding and structure to support heavier loads.

The pictured backpack is 50L and has been used for 5 day 4 night trips successfully.

Sleep System

Backpacking Gear Checklist
The Sleeping bag is probably the most important gear investment.
On average the coldest we camp at is in the mid to high 30’s.

TIP: A 15-30 degree synthetic bag, with a target weight of 3 pounds or less is recommended.

TIP: A down bag requires increased care & responsibility to keep it dry.

The Sleeping pad – pictured here is a self-inflating pad, many scouts choose a foam pad (recommended) which is both lighter and cheaper.

Backpacking Gear Checklist
TIP: A Compressible sleeping bag makes it easier to fit in your pack, while allowing for a smaller lighter weight pack to be used.

The sleeping bag pictured stuffs to a size of 7″ x 13″

Clothing Packed – baselayers (part of sleep system)

Long underwear top and bottom (base layer)
Sleeping socks – Merino wool or synthetic

TIP: In our rainy northwest clothes that you wear can get wet and dirty.
A pair of Long Underwear (baselayer) and socks should be kept in reserve for exclusive use for sleeping, this keeps your sleeping bag clean, and keeps you warm.

Mud, dirt, and grime inside your sleeping bag compromises the loft, warmth, and shortens the lifespan of your bag.

TIP: Heavyweight Baselayers are optional and work well when temperatures are in mid 30’s and you have a tendency to get cold.

Clothing Packed

Backpacking Gear Checklist
**Insulating jacket – no cotton
Waterproof-breathable rain-jacket and pants
Second hiking socks – Merino wool or synthetic
Warm hat – no cotton
Warm gloves – no cotton

TIP: Layering keeps you warm by trapping air between layers, and is significantly warmer then wearing a bulky and heavy jacket!

TIP: The Recommended insulating layer is a Polar Fleece Jacket, pictured is a $20 down jacket from Costco which requires additional responsibility in its use.

It is common while hiking for scouts to either add or remove layers as we hike or stop at camp.

TIP: Unused layers and clothes can be stuffed into your sleeping bag stuff sack for use as a pillow!

Water, Mess kit, and Essentials

Backpacking Gear Checklist
2 Water bottle(s) for 2L capacity (Soft bottle OK)
Mess kit (24 oz bowl, 12 oz cup, and spoon)

Toiletries (toothbrush/paste, hand sanitizer, TP)
Concentrated soap (<1 oz) in small bottle **First aid kit (small gauze, tape, etc)
**LED light (Headlamp & spare batteries)
**Small pocketknife
**Sun Protection (sun glasses, sun screen, lip balm)
**Fire (fire starter, matches, lighter)
**Repair kit (knife, duct tape, tools, spare parts)
Bandana – cotton OK
Insect repellent

TIP: 1 Liter Gatorade bottles work great and are free!

TIP: Mess kit – if your meals are simple a small disposable ziploc bowl works great.

TIP: All of this gear except First Aid Kit – fits into a 1 gallon Ziploc bag.

Optional Personal Gear

Hat with brim – cotton OK
Mosquito head net
Extra torso layer (wind shirt or long underwear top)
Trekking poles
Gaiters – ankle high
Camera + film/batteries in water proof bag

Patrol Gear (Provided by Troop)

Patrol Tent/Shelter, stakes, ground cloth
Patrol Cook kit (pot, stove, fuel canister)
Patrol water carrier
Patrol first aid kit
Patrol bear bag hanging system

Leave No Trace

Outdoor Ethics Awareness Award

Boy Scouts and Scouters interested in learning more about outdoor ethics and Leave No Trace should begin by exploring the Outdoor Ethics Awareness Award. The requirements are as follows:

  1. Recite from memory and explain the meaning of the Outdoor Code.
  2. Watch the National Park Service Leave No Trace video.  It’s on the right side of the page.
  3. Complete the Leave No Trace online youth course . Print the certificate.
  4. Earn the Tread Lightly! online course  certificate. Print the certificate when you are done.
  5. Participate in an outdoor ethics course, workshop, or training activity facilitated by a person who has completed the BSA outdoor ethics orientation course or is a BSA outdoor ethics trainer or master.

The 7 Principles of Leave No Trace

Leave No Trace_logo_tagline_url.jpg
Plan Ahead and Prepare

Know the regulations and special concerns for the area you’ll visit.
Prepare for extreme weather, hazards, and emergencies.
Schedule your trip to avoid times of high use.
Visit in small groups when possible. Consider splitting larger groups into smaller groups.
Repackage food to minimize waste.
Use a map and compass to eliminate the use of marking paint, rock cairns or flagging.

Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces

Durable surfaces include established trails and campsites, rock, gravel, dry grasses or snow.
Protect riparian areas by camping at least 200 feet from lakes and streams.
Good campsites are found, not made. Altering a site is not necessary.
In popular areas:
Concentrate use on existing trails and campsites.
Walk single file in the middle of the trail, even when wet or muddy.
Keep campsites small. Focus activity in areas where vegetation is absent.
In pristine areas:
Disperse use to prevent the creation of campsites and trails.
Avoid places where impacts are just beginning.

Dispose of Waste Properly

Pack it in, pack it out. Inspect your campsite and rest areas for trash or spilled foods. Pack out all trash, leftover food and litter.
Deposit solid human waste in catholes dug 6 to 8 inches deep, at least 200 feet from water, camp and trails. Cover and disguise the cathole when finished.
Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products.
To wash yourself or your dishes, carry water 200 feet away from streams or lakes and use small amounts of biodegradable soap. Scatter strained dishwater.

Leave What You Find

Preserve the past: examine, but do not touch cultural or historic structures and artifacts.
Leave rocks, plants and other natural objects as you find them.
Avoid introducing or transporting non-native species.
Do not build structures, furniture, or dig trenches.

Minimize Campfire Impacts

Campfires can cause lasting impacts to the backcountry. Use a lightweight stove for cooking and enjoy a candle lantern for light.
Where fires are permitted, use established fire rings, fire pans, or mound fires.
Keep fires small. Only use sticks from the ground that can be broken by hand.
Burn all wood and coals to ash, put out campfires completely, then scatter cool ashes.

Respect Wildlife

Observe wildlife from a distance. Do not follow or approach them.
Never feed animals. Feeding wildlife damages their health, alters natural behaviors, and exposes them to predators and other dangers.
Protect wildlife and your food by storing rations and trash securely.
Control pets at all times, or leave them at home.
Avoid wildlife during sensitive times: mating, nesting, raising young, or winter.

Be Considerate of Other Visitors

Respect other visitors and protect the quality of their experience.
Be courteous. Yield to other users on the trail.
Step to the downhill side of the trail when encountering pack stock.
Take breaks and camp away from trails and other visitors.
Let nature’s sounds prevail. Avoid loud voices and noises.
– See more at: http://lnt.org/learn/7-principles#sthash.oG58MmLx.dpuf

Backpacking Meal Ideas

Need some backpacking meal ideas? The best backpacking food is lightweight, tasty, calorie-packed and quick cooking. However, each meal type is different — lunch is usually heavier, more bulky, high energy, and no-cook. Cooked dinners are typically dehydrated so they are lighter. Good backpacking food for breakfasts consists of about half no-cook and half quick-cook. Most importantly is snacks these are eaten throughout the day between meals, and should consist of variety of items Energy bars, Fritos, trail-mix, dehydrated fruit etc.

You should repack food from bulky store packages into sizes that will pack easily, and minimize trash.

Keep it simple (little or no clean up) and always carry food that provides at least 100-150 calories per ounce of food carried.

Backpacking Meal Ideas

Here are some additional food tips


Troop 120 Backpacking Meal Ideas
Breakfast should consist of about half no-cook and half quik-cook.

Some ideas are: individually packaged Oatmeal, and Cream of Wheat.

Dry Cereal can be repackaged into ziploc bags along with dehydrated milk mixed in, once water is added these can be eaten straight from the bag.

Adding almonds, or eating Energy Bars can supplement any breakfast too.


Troop 120 Backpacking Meal Ideas
Lunch should be high energy, and no-cook.

Here are some ideas: Prepackaged Tuna, individual packages of Peanut butter served on Sandwich Thins, Pita Bread, or Tortillas.

Aged cheese lasts for several days. American cheese, mild cheddar and other soft cheese are not a good choice because they don’t keep. Aged Chedder, blue cheese, Swiss and other hard cheeses work well. As well as String cheese.

Antipasta – hard salami, pepperoni, proscuitto, etc generally do not require refrigeration and make an excellent cold lunch, especially when server with cheese and pita bread or wheat thins


Troop 120 Backpacking Meal Ideas
Cooked dinners are typically dehydrated so they are lighter.

Mountain House is a good standby – add boiled water to the pouch let stand 8-10 minutes and eat straight from the pouch.

If Mountain House is not for you a number of meals can be made cheaply from:
Instant potaoes, instant rice, instant beans, couscous, and angel hair pasta quick cookly.

Repackage as necessary into ziploc bags.

A favorite meal of mine is Top Ramen (minus the flavor pack), half cup Parmesan cheese & basil, Sun-dried tomatoes, and 1oz of Olive Oil.

Bean and Rice Burritos

Troop 120 Backpacking Meal Ideas
Another favorite is Bean and Rice burritos. Made from instant rice (add taco seasoning for taste) and Dehydrated Refried Beans (can be found at Winco, and Central Market in the bulk bin sections)

Stuffing and Gravy

Troop 120 Backpacking Meal Ideas
Another favorite of mine is Stuffing and instant gravy. This can be supplemented with shelf-safe vacuumed sealed chicken.


Troop 120 Backpacking Meal Ideas
Shelf safe meat that is vacuumed sealed can be added to many different ingredients to create a virtually infinite menu.


Backpacking Food Ideas
Bring small containers of olive oil, canola oil, or powdered butter flakes to add calories and taste.

Spices, especially red and black pepper, are nice. Sugar, salt, and pepper packets can be picked up at most fast food restaurants (along with ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, relish, tobasco, and many other sauce packets.)

Foods to avoid

* Juice boxes – they puncture and get sticky liquid all over your gear and other food.
* Anything that can spoil if not chilled.
* Canned food – too heavy to carry, and generates trash volume that no one wants to carry.
* Fresh fruit. It’s heavy, doesn’t stay fresh and bruises easily in your pack.

Order of the Arrow

Scouting’s National Honor Society
For more than 90 years, the Order of the Arrow (OA) has recognized Scouts and Scouters who best exemplify the Scout Oath and Law in their daily lives. This recognition provides encouragement for others to live these ideals as well. Arrowmen are known for maintaining camping traditions and spirit, promoting year-round and long term resident camping, and providing cheerful service to others. OA service, activities, adventures, and training for youth and adults are models of quality leadership development and programming that enrich and help to extend Scouting to America’s youth.

The mission of the Order of the Arrow is to fulfill its purpose as an integral part of the Boy Scouts of America through positive youth leadership under the guidance of selected capable adults.

As Scouting’s National Honor Society, our purpose is to:

Recognize those who best exemplify the Scout Oath and Law in their daily lives and through that recognition cause others to conduct themselves in a way that warrants similar recognition.
Promote camping, responsible outdoor adventure, and environmental stewardship as essential components of every Scout’s experience, in the unit, year-round, and in summer camp.
Develop leaders with the willingness, character, spirit and ability to advance the activities of their units, our Brotherhood, Scouting, and ultimately our nation.
Crystallize the Scout habit of helpfulness into a life purpose of leadership in cheerful service to others.

Our Local Lodge

Our Local lodge for the Mount Baker district is Sikhs Mox Lamonti.

Sikhs Mox Lamonti

Layering & staying warm on hikes.

Scouts camp year round, and you probably have concerns about keeping your Scout warm!  Well the best and most flexible way to stay warm in the backcountry is layering.  You have probably heard this phrase before – dress in layers for hiking.  Does it work, yes and proven by thousands of hikers around the world.

There are three layers – base layer, middle layer and outer layer. The base layer – next to the skin layer is probably the most important layer as it regulates your body temperature.  The middle layer insulates you from the cold and keeps you warm.  Finally there is the outer layer that protects you from wind and the rain.

Watch this short video from boy scouts premier backpacking destination Philmont Ranch to find out more!

Trail Assessment

The Boy Scout motto is “Be prepared” to be prepared on a backpacking trip you must be prepared with both the gear you carry on your back, and most importantly what you bring between your ears!

To enjoy your trip you will be bringing 3 resources; Gear, Supplies and Skills.Be Prepared

But past assembling your gear and food, how can you ensure that you are in fact prepared?

You need to know what to be prepared for! To do this you must ask yourself what is the environment and route conditions you will experience on this trip? The questions you have to ask are: What is the temperature high or low, is there a possibility of rain, will the terrain we are hiking on be muddy or dry, will there be insects or animals we need to take precautions for, and what is the remoteness of our destination.

Trail Assessment:
This might seem like a lot but if we all work together we can quickly and easily gather this information!

Climate & Daylight
• Average Temperature High and Low (Note: adjust about 3 degrees for every 1,000 vertical feet.)
• Average and record high/low precipitation
• Wind & Cloud cover
• Hours between civil sunrise and civil sunset (Note: expect 30-60 minutes of less daylight due to heavy cloud cover.)

Problematic wildlife/insects
• Types, e.g. mosquitoes, black flies, no-see-um’s
• Peak intensity
• Intensity fluctuations based on time of day, location, wind
• Bears
• “Mini bears example: mice, raccoons, marmots

Vegetation & Water Availability
• Types, example: trees, brush, none – Thickness/density
• Allergens, example poison ivy
• Combustibility for fires
• Distance, terrain and time between water sources
• Water Reliability

Footing & Navigation
• Snow-covered or snow-free
• If snow-free: rocks, dirt, sand, vegetation, dry, dusty, wet, muddy, smooth or uneven?
• Visibility, example open or forested
• Topographical relief, example subtle or prominent features
• Quality of trail tread
• Signs, blazes, cairns, posts
• Quantity/frequency of use or social trails

• Distance and time to the closest trafficked road and the closest town with services
• Natural barriers to self-rescue, e.g. canyons, thick brush, big rivers
• Cell reception

What resources should you consult in assessing environmental and route conditions? These will help:
• Climate atlas and historical weather data.
• Landsat images, e.g. “satelite” view on Google Maps
• Geo-tagged photos, e.g. photos on Google Maps
• Topographical maps, e.g. USGS topos
• Guidebooks, databooks, and water charts
• Official information published by land mangers and trail associations, made available on their websites and in their printed materials
• Communities, e.g. online forums, hiking clubs
• Local experts, e.g. backcountry rangers, lodge owners, experienced backcountry users

50 Miler Award

What is the objective of the 50-Miler Award? The award seeks to stimulate interest in Scouting ideals and promote activities that improve personal fitness, self-reliance, knowledge of the outdoors, and understanding of conservation.

Who is eligible for the 50-Miler Award? Boy Scouts, Varsity Scouts, Venturers, and Scout leaders.

What constitutes a qualifying trip? A chartered unit or provisional group might organize a trip, usually a high-adventure trek. The unit must make a complete plan for the trip that includes possibilities for advancement. The group must cover a trail (or a canoe or boat route) of not less than 50 consecutive miles and take a minimum of five consecutive days to complete the trip—all without the aid of motors. During the trip, each participant must spend at least 10 hours working on a conservation project such as trail maintenance.

Ten hours of service seems like a lot. Is there an alternative? If it’s not possible to complete the service requirement during the trip, you can do a similar project in your home area. This is how Philmont crews can complete the 50-Miler Award, because they do only three hours of service during their treks and an additional seven hours later.

What means of transportation can we use on our trip?The award covers hiking, bicycling, boating, and canoeing. Pack animals may be used where appropriate, but requirements prohibit the use of motors.

Can a Scout or Scouter earn the 50-Miler Award more than once? Yes.

How do we apply for the 50-Miler Award? Complete the 50-Miler Award application (No. 34408A) and submit it to your local Scout council service center. Find an application atscouting.org/filestore/pdf/34408.pdf.

Who approves the award? The unit leader or provisional group leader signs the application, which is then submitted to the local Scout council service center for final approval.

What recognition items are available? Recognition items include a decal (No. 32261), an embroidered patch (No. 191), a leather patch (No. 241), and a hiking-staff medallion (No. 14131). The leader should order recognition items when submitting the application.