Friday, January 21, 2011

Boy Scouts of America High Adventure Trip To Northern Tier Canoe Base in Canada

A couple of summers ago, my son and I took a trip to Northern Tier Canoe Base in Bissett, Manitoba, Canada.  It was the trip of a lifetime for both of us.  We canoed over 80 miles in ten days.  Outfitting ourselves for this trip took months of research and planning.  The following will include an explanation of the planning process for the trip itself including the gear we outfitted ourselves with for the trip.

Our troop had previously taken a trip to Northern Tier and canoed the boundry waters.  We decided to venture a littel further north and take the canoe trip out of Bissett.  One thing different about this trip than the other canoe trips at Northern Tier is the fact that you have to take a float plane from Bissett to reach the Boy Scouts canoe cache located on the appropriately named Scout Lake.  The flight from Bissett to Scout Lake is about thirty to forty minutes long. 

The float planes are not opperated by the Boy Scouts of America, so you have to reserve your own float plane to make the short trip to Scout Lake.   We charterd our float plane through Blue Water Aviation.  They fly hundreds of scouts each summer to Scout Lake and pick them up for the trip back to Bissett when their days on the water have concluded.  Because a lot of their business in June, July and August is dedicated to shuttling scouts, we found them to be very accomadating. 

If you decide to make the trip into Canada, you are now required to have a valid U.S. Passport.  You'll want to make sure everyone in the crew takes care of this early as it can sometimes take a couple of months to have a passport issued.  One things for sure, if you don't have a passport, you don't go on the trip. 

Since our troop is located in Texas, driving was not an option.  We flew from Houston to Minniapolis/St. Paul and caught a connecting flight to Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.  We spent the night in Winnipeg at a local hotel and then caught a shuttle the next morning for the three hour driver to Bissett where the Canoe Base is located.  When making arrangements for the shuttle service, shop around because prices vary.  Make sure you coordinate your departure time from Winnipeg with the check in time at the base so you are not late.  Also, keep in mind your return flight schedule and make sure you coordinate your departure time from the base to Winnipeg so you have plenty of time to catch your flight back home.   So, when making flight arrangements for your trip and reservations for the shuttle, make sure your have plenty of time for both. 

Once we had our trip booked with the BSA Canoe Base, we made all of our travel arrangements, flights, shuttle, and hotel reservations.  It's best to make all of these arrangements as early as possible so you don't have to worry about any conflicts with any of these three critical components of your trip. 

The next thing we focused on was the gear for the trip.  You need to keep in mind when planning what gear to take that it is critical that you only take what is necessary and the necessary gear is the right gear.  Each scouts gear for the trip, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, clothing and personal items should all be able to fit into a five gallon bucket.  So you know right off the bat that some of the sleeping bags that some scouts have are going to be way too bulky for this trip.  I found this to be the most labor intensive part of the trip for me as I like to research everything before I make a purchase.

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