Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
mdkeplers

Is it acceptable for a Scout troop to put together its own Grand Canyon trek

Recommended Posts

My sons and some of their troopmates are eager to plan a week long trip to the Grand Canyon. This would be a rim to rim backpacking trip, not a river trip. My husband is willing to be the adult lead on the trip. He and my sons made this exact trip last summer. They know the physical & mental challanges involved.

My sons were in the process of gathering info to present to the SM/ASM for permission to propose the trip to the troop. The main ASM caught wind of this and his reaction was less than enthusiastic. Am I missing something? Is there some reason such a trip would be prohibited under BSA guidelines?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know of one troop in AZ that has does a rim to rim pretty much every year. They consider it on the same level as a Philmont or Double H trek, i.e. 14 and up, and appropriate medicals. They also won't allow boys to go who haven't previously demonstrated their ability to backpack something that demanding.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sounds like a great trip to me... The Asm may have a reason that he hasn't shared with you yet, However, I'd still welcome the pitch by my scouts even if it was something that was undoable. Some of our best trips started as wild pipe dreams.

 

(btw: my spell checker is ok with doable but will not accept undoable, maybe the spell checker knows more than the ASM.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

They must not read scouter magazine as troops have crossed the US on bikes and done other extraordinary events. Your rim to rim sounds more doable than many of the celebrated events in scouter magazine.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We did a similar trip last spring to prepare for Philmont. It is hard and logistics can be difficult. But if they are willing to plan it, that's exactly what we want these youth to do. What specifically were the ASMs concerns?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I grew up in California. Plenty of high adventure in our own Sierra Nevada range. Didn't have to worry about Philmont. We did our own planning and didn't have guides.

 

Go for it. Sounds like the ASM might have his own agenda. While the kids are pitching this to the SM and the PLC, maybe your husband should have a quiet cup of coffee with the ASM. A little cross-communication might do wonders.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No reason not to do this. We do a Philmont type trek on the Appalachian Trail every year that includes a whitewater trip on the Ocoee river since it is within easy driving distance. We employ the same age, ability & shakedown rules as for Philmont trips. Not sure what your ASM's problem is.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I realize that I am reading into the post(but am trying to figure out WHY he might be less than enthusiastic about it - since it looks like an activity I would want to encourage), but is it possible that the ASM was/is concerned that the trip is for a clique of Scouts and not open to either a whole patrol or to the whole Troop (as qualified)? If a parent or group of boys was planning a trip that would be one of my concerns if they were bypassing the SM. Did the ASM understand that they were going to present the plan to the SM before he decided to be less than enthusiastic about it?

 

I see where you say they were gathering info to present to the SM/ASM and think that's great that they were initiating a trip proposal. I would very much want to encourage that!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is one adult leader and his sons ready to present a specific outing to the Scoutmaster. I'd rather see the patrol leaders' council first decide they want a week-long trip, then get 3-4 destination ideas, ONE of which is Grand Canyon, then discuss the proposals at the PLC meetings, THEN bring it to the troop.

 

From the opening post, it sounds like the adult and his sons are looking to the SM to approve a trip THEY are planning, one they have already done and are personally excited about. Maybe the assistant Scoutmaster is simply not enthusiastic about the manner in which the trip is being proposed, not so much opposed to the trip itself. If the annual planning conference has already taken place and a calendar set and approved, I'd be opposed too. If the planning conference is upcoming, this Grand Canyon trip should be one more idea in the hopper.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is absolutely no reason a troop cannot do such a trek. I do not know anyone personally who has done this, but the last time our troop in Southern California many years ago considered this, the demand for permits was so high that there was a lottery for slots. I don't know whether this is still true or not. This would be an exceptionally physically demanding trek.

 

An alternative that would be just as much fun in the same area is to trek into the Havasupai Indian Reservation. This reservation lies to the Southwest of the National Park and the northern boundary of the reservation is a section of the Colorado River. While you do not get the spectacular vistas of the main canyon, you do get the waterfalls and swimming holes on the creek that created the side canyon on which the reservation is located. You could still visit the scenic overlooks of the main canyon.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My son did Havasupi last year with our troop, and I've done hiking well below the rim hiking along the Kaibab and Bright Angel trails and on the Tonto Plateau. Haven't done a rim to rim, and haven't gone to Phantom Ranch yet, but they're on my bucket list of things to do with my son before he graduates HS.

 

The Canyon should not be compared to hiking in the mountains -- the easy part is at the beginning, and my first time in I thought I was going to collapse on the way back out...

 

Several years back, there was a somewhat publicized case of a troop from Utah who went in from the North Rim, and tried to do a trail that was well beyond their capabilities. One of the Scouts (David Phillips) died from dehydration, and the seven other members of the troop had to be medevac'd out. They got lost and ran out of water...

 

Don't get me wrong -- hiking in the Canyon is something everyone should have the opportunity to experience. But it requires a little more thought, planning, and perhaps even physical conditioning than a lot of people think it does.(This message has been edited by eolesen)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not only is it acceptable, but any time the boys develop their own program/treks, it shows that the adults are turned into a boy program. We have done the same thing with Boundary Waters where the boys did NOT use the services of the guides and it ended up being a longer trip, covering more territory and costing them about half the guide rates. A scout is THRIFTY.

 

Stosh

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've done rim to river and back twice. That's not much different than rim to rim, except that it's a 200 mile drive from one side to the other. Now rim to rim to rim is a different story.

 

It's about 21-24 miles from rim to rim depending on the route. Both my trips down, I took the same route, South Kaibab trail to Bright Angel CG, returning on the Bright Angel Trail for about 16 miles. We spent two nights at BACG and did day hikes up the N Kaibab trail. There's about a 5000' elevation difference between the river and the S rim, more for the N rim. A lot of people go down S Kaibab, spend one night at BACG, then hike out the BA trail only they spend a second night about 1/2 way out at the Indian Gardens CG.

 

People do it, but summer really isn't a good time for rim to rim hikes. It is just too hot at the bottom. Temperatures will be in the 100s and could go to 110+. On the rim you'll have 80s to 90's but really nice nights. In July and August thunderstorms are very common and can dump large amounts of rain. If you can, go in mid to late April or even October. Spring break is nice but there could still be snow and ice that you may need to deal with. That can really make for a nice experience if you are prepared.

 

Sticking to the main corridor routes is probably a good idea until the troop has experience with canyon hiking. After that there really is a whole lifetimes worth of trails to explore. As someone mentioned, back country permits can be an issue, especially for the corridor routes. Group size is limited and there is no guarantee you will get the day you request. BC permit applications can be faxed in no earlier than four months before the start date. You may not get the dates you want so that can make planning more difficult.

 

I was just at the North rim, we found a great place to camp not to far from the DeMotte CG. The N rim really is beautiful and a whole different environment than the S rim.

 

A great resource for GC hiking is http://www.kaibab.org This website is managed by a guy that just loves hiking the GC.

 

The Grand Canyon is an amazing place. It is just incredible to view, especially from the bottom and along the trails. It's immensity is overwhelming. This could be a great trip for the troop.

 

Eolsen mentioned Havasupai. There was an article in Scouting Magazine about that last year See http://www.scoutingmagazine.org/issues/0503/a-hava.html. I looked into doing that but it seemed awfully expensive. Basically a $35 fee to enter the area and then $17.50 per night. That is per person. I don't know if there were group breaks or not. Perhaps he can comment on the cost.

 

Good luck,

SWScouter

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×