Troop 1 Finds High-Adventure in Utah
Hoodoo in Bryce Canyon National Park
A crew of eight Scouts and adult volunteers from Hopedale Troop 1 spent a week in July exploring Utah’s Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks.
Months before the trip, the troop began their planning and preparation – considering budget, where to go, travel arrangements, where to stay, what to do and how to build the fitness and endurance that would be needed. As the date drew closer, the group covered how to prevent injuries, first aid to treat common injuries, and appropriate gear for the planned activities.
First Stop, Zion National Park
To beat the heat and the crowds everybody stayed on east-coast time, waking up at 4:30 AM every morning to be among the first to all trail heads.The group started the week acclimatizing to the desert conditions and higher altitude by hiking Canyon Overlook Trail and the Watchman trail. These shorter hikes gave the group a sense of what to expect on the longer hikes while giving a preview of the amazing landscape and trail conditions.
Zion’s most popular hike is The Narrows - a slot canyon with awe-inspiring canyon walls reaching 1,500 feet in height and areas where the canyon walls are only thirty feet apart. The Virgin River flows through the canyon and the scouts spent the day hiking through ankle to waist-deep, and sometimes chest deep, water. Record snow during the winter led to increased snow-melt water flowing through the river, making the hike more challenging. When the hikers plunged into the river around 7 AM they were surprised at how cold the water was and as the day went on, how little light made it down into the canyon. It was hard to imagine that you would want a winter hat and polar fleece on a 95-degree day in the desert!
The most anticipated and anxiety-provoking hike was Angels Landing. For safety reasons, the National Park Service restricts the number of people who can take this hike and admission is lottery based. In April, a few troop members entered the lottery and were lucky enough to be awarded with passes for the entire group. The five-mile hike has a 1,500-foot elevation gain and in some areas has safety chains that hikers use on the exposed trails. The hike is intense and requires constant focus to navigate the terrain and be aware of other hikers. The reward was regular 360 views of Zion Canyon and a tremendous sense of accomplishment as the group stopped at the peak to rest, experience the sensation, and enjoy their lunches.
Next Stop, Bryce Canyon National Park
On their second-to-last day, they traveled to Bryce Canyon National Park, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary. Bryce is known for its iconic hoodoos, rock towers in shades of red, orange, and white. Scouts hiked down into canyon on the Queens’s , Navajo Loop, and Mossy Cave Trails. After walking among the hoodoos, they hiked along the Rim Trail taking in the panoramic views from the different lookout points.
At the end of the week, the group returned to Zion for a sunrise hike on the Timber Creek Overlook Trail in Kolob Canyon. Due to rain, part of the road was washed out, and the road was closed to car traffic. This did not deter the scouts who decided to hike an extra 2 miles, past the washed-out road, to reach the trail head. The reward was making it to the observation point in time to see the sun beginning to light up the canyon walls while having the entire area to themselves.
It was and one-of-a-kind adventure for Troop 1, many of whom had never been to this part of the country before. They achieved 38 miles of hiking, thousands of feet of elevation gain and experienced stunning views.
“Something that was unexpected was the number of people who recognized we were scouts and were excited to talk to us about their own scouting experiences. From younger Cub Scouts to the pilot of our flight, to restaurant workers … it was wonderful sense of community,” said Scoutmaster, Consuelo Staheli.
About Troop 1
Hopedale’s Scouts BSA Troop 1 for boys is chartered through Union Evangelical Church. During the school year, we meet on Tuesdays from 7:00 – 8:30PM at the Hopedale Community House. Are you a boy between the ages of 11-17 and would like to be part of our adventures? Visit our booth at the Day in the Park, send us an email at [email protected], or register online at beascout.org.