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Mike R.

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About Mike R.

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  1. Mike F. I'm inclined to agree with you and that is why I initially mentioned I'd ruled out NT. I would think having a staff guide along would change the dynamics and the boys would feel more like guests than adventurers. But an awful lot of folks swear by NT. And although my personal contacts are running about 4 to 1 against NT, the reasons are the quality of the Interpreter or, less often, the quality of the equipment. No one has yet complained they'd made a mistake by going 3 to a canoe (though I can't imagine doing that) or by having gone out with a competent Interpreter. One more thing. In my short time as an adult leader I have found, quite often begrudgingly, that the Boy Scout way is most always the best way. So when my initial reaction is "no way!", I try to step back and get an objective perspective of the big picture. That's kinda what I'm doing here. Just making sure by biases and preconceived notions aren't clouding my view. The input from all of you has helped a lot.
  2. Thanks to everyone. I'm beginning to think it's hard to mess this one up whichever way we go. We'll be well trained and well prepared either way. I am inclined to stick with a private outfitter rather than NT though. My luck, I'd get one of the (propably rare) Interpreters that soured some of the other leaders I've talked to. Mafaking, I'm sure you didn't mean to disparage my ASM. But, just to be clear, I think he wears his Philmont patch because it's one of his fondest memories of scouting. He truly lights up when he recalls that trip. If I can come close to giving my boys on our BWCA trip what Philmont did for him I'll be quite proud of myself. By the way, he was the first to volunteer to go through the five day adult canoe training program, the Wilderness First Aid Basics training and the CPR certification that we're requiring for leaders to go on this trip. No doubt, he's hoping to help his boy and others experience what he did. Again, thanks to those who've replied.
  3. Thanks again for your input guys. Now I'm going to break my own rule and ask about Northern Tier. I thought I had decided agains NT but after rereading some old threads and NT's website I'm having second thoughts. Some things my boys won't be able to get with a private outfitter: official high adventure patches, T-shirts, commemorative paddles, etc. This is not a big deal to me. But the boys really do treasure them. I have an ASM, for example, who still proudly wears his Philmont patch from his days as a scout. Yeah, our 4 leaders know canoeing, but we've not been to BWCA or Quetico. I'm, not worried about getting lost but I remember backpacking in europe with a friend and missing many a site a guide could have pointed out. I wonder, is my personal desire for independence and adventure clouding my judgment about what's best for my boys? It is about the boys, after all. Eagle90, I believe I saw on an old post that you had been on a few NT high adventures in addition to contracting with a private outfitter (NNNO). What are your thoughts? Anyone else, please chime in. If I'm considering NT my timetable just moved up quite a bit. Registration for 2010 begins this April 1.
  4. Thanks eagle90. I had seen your NCO recommendation on an old post and it's the only recommendation I've been able to find anywhere on this board. NCO is one of the outfitters on my final list but I would like to hear about others.
  5. I'm taking two crews of 8 from my troop to BWCAW or Quetico the summer of 2010. All are or will be trained and experienced canoeists but none have yet been on a canoe high adventure (they will be doing a "50 Miler" this summer). I've researched outfitters around Ely and Atikokan, interviewed some at boat and sport shows, have brochures stacked a foot high. I have a couple of respected local referrals but, of course, not to the same outfitter. I still can't decide among the my final six. Sooooo.... I would really appreciate referrals. Who have you used whom you like? Better yet, who would you not use again? With the exception of Northern Tier, I've never had a scouter tell me he was unhappy with his outfitter. Maybe they are all that great. But please let me know your thoughts. One caveat. I have already decided NOT to use Northern Tier. I know some of you will swear by them (while others will swear AT them). That's not what this thread is about. Nor, I hope, will it become a debate about whether to use commercial outfitters. We are going to use one - period. I just need some suggestions as to which one. Thanks in advance for your thoughtful input.
  6. Brent, the link worked and I viewed the pics. Very nice. Thanks
  7. Thanks for your input, Chief Decorah. The one thing I thought I had made a definitive decision about was using a private outfitter rather than NT but in lieu of your high recommendation I'll keep my options open. We have almost a year to make the decision. By the end of next summer I'll have a better idea what my boys can handle. We've scheduled three canoe training campouts. The first is two days on a lake, the second is three days (25 miles) on a creek and the third is a five day "50 Miler" on both. On the second and third they have to pack all their gear in the canoes and paddle to the campsites. It won't be BWCAW or Quetico but it should give us all some idea what we're ready for.
  8. I'm interested in leaders' experiences too. I have a 10 day BWCAW trip planned for my troop the summer of 2010. It's planned two years ahead because so many scouts and leaders could not physically or technically qualify today. (By "technically" I mean most do no know how to canoe, though some do have their canoeing merit badges. By "physically" I mean ... well... you know). We will be doing a lot of canoeing this summer. We do not plan on using Northern Tier, primarily because they require we take along their guide and they require 3 scouts per canoe (though I believe you can request 2 per canoe and pay extra). I've talked to a few scouters who have used NT and I have not heard good things about their guides or their gear. But my investigation is limited so take it with a grain of salt. There are many outfitters in Ely and Atikokan and my scouts will be choosing one. They've already received brochures and DVD's from 7 or 8. The outfitters tour the Boat, Sport & Travel shows in the winter and my boys will be going to ours to interview them. Picking the outfitter, deciding on how many days canoe, choosing the route, coming up with a fundraising plan, all these things are activities that keep their heads in the game and make winter a bit more tolerable. So without stealing DeanRx's thread (I think), can you folks also comment on your experiences with private outfitters at BWCAW and Quetico?
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