2004 Wild West Adventure Tour
Troop 33 - First Lutheran: DeKalb, Illinois

Wild West Adventure Tour
July 22 - August 1, 2004 . . $425.00

The Wild West was one of the most exciting periods in American history.

Troop 33 experienced the Wild West recently on an adventure tour that included backpacking in the mountains, climbing, desert hiking, mountain biking, whitewater rafting, and exploring historic sites.


Camping Locations
  • Camp Eagle, Nebraska
  • Dead Horse Point State Park, Utah
  • Koshare Indian Kiva, Colorado
  • Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado
  • Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska
  • Rifle State Park, Colorado
  • Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
  • Vedauwoo Recreation Area, Wyoming
  • Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
  • Get-a-grip Climbing Gym, Wyoming
           (Vedauwoo rocks cancelled due to rain)
  • Arches National Park, Utah
            + Devil's Garden
            + Fiery Furnace
    Historic Sites/Museums
  • Bent's Fort National Historic Site, Colorado
  • Fort Atkinson State Park, Nebraska
  • Koshare Indian Kiva Museum, Colorado
  • Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado
  • Strategic Air & Space Museum, Nebraska
    Mountain Biking
  • Canyonlands National Park, Utah
            + Lathrop Canyon Trail
            + Shafer Trail
            + White Rim Trail
    Scout Troops Encountered
  • Troop 31 - DeKalb, Texas
  • Troop 136 - Laramie, Wyoming
  • Troop 232 - La Junta, Colorado
  • Troop 493 - St. Louis, Missouri
    Special Stops
  • Casa Bonita, Colorado
  • Jet boat tour of Colorado River, Utah
  • Ole's Big Game Lounge, Nebraska
    Whitewater Rafting
  • Animas River, Colorado
  • Colorado River, Utah



    In southern Wyoming a place called Vedauwoo ("earthborn spirit") was planned as a site for climbing adventure. Its unique exfoliated granite formations attract climbers from all over the world.

    Due to rainy weather, activities moved indoors to Get-A-Grip climbing gym in Laramie, Wyoming. Though not our original plan, it was still a great climbing experience. We thank our friends at Troop 136 of Laramie for this opportunity.


    We backpacked deep into the wilderness of Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. Our trek took us to high alpine lakes, through pine-covered mountains, beneath snow covered peaks and cascading waterfalls, and along sheer rock cliffs. Three times we encountered snow on the trail. The air gets pretty thin above 10,000 feet and breathing becomes more work. Tents, food, water, and clothes, everything needed to survive, we carried on our backs for miles through the mountains. It was hard work, but a fantastic experience!


    At Arches National Park in Utah, we hiked through Devil's Garden, home to most arches in the park. As the temperature climbed above 100-degrees, we reached a narrow ribbon of stone 306 feet long called Landscape Arch, one of the world's longest free-standing natural arches.

    Also within Arches National Park lies a place called Fiery Furnace, one of the most unique hiking areas in North America. With its dense array of stone, red fins standing on end—hoodoos, spires, and slabs 200 feet high, it's easy to get lost in its maze of deeply grooved slots and dead-end passageways. Visits to this area are normally restricted to ranger-guided hikes, but Troop 33 secured a special permit to hike the area on our own. The special permit required a ranger led instruction in the ecology of microbiotic soils.


    Moab, Utah is often called the mountain biking capitol of the world! One of our highlight adventures was mountain biking across Canyonlands National Park. Our adventure began at "Island in the Sky", bicycling down the Shafer Trail, White Rim Trail, and Lathrop Canyon Trail, through deep canyons, narrow trails next to 1,000-foot sheer drops, up and down steep hills (some so severe we dismounted our bikes and walked).

    Finally across long miles of burning hot desert, eventually we biked our way to the banks of the Colorado River, where we boarded a jet boat for a river tour revealing hidden grottos and Indian petroglyphs.


    Two whitewater rafting adventures included the Colorado River in Utah and the Animas River in southern Colorado. Whitewater stretches were always exciting, but even calm sections of river became fun when bailing buckets were used in great water fights. No one in the raft remained dry.



    Mesa Verde National Park, world renowned for its amazing cliff dwellings, preserves sites of the Anasazi people dating from the 6th through 13th centuries. The most adventurous and challenging tour is Balcony House where Scouts climbed a 32-foot ladder high above a deep canyon to enter, squeezed through an 18-inch opening at one point, and exited by climbing 60-feet up a sheer cliff face using hand and foot holds carved into rock.


    Koshare Indian Kiva Museum in La Junta, Colorado provided us with Native American dances, museum tour, and an overnight lock-in.


    Nearby La Junta is Bent's Fort National Historic Site, a large reconstructed adobe fort, which was built along the Santa Fe Trail providing service to fur trappers, Mexicans, Indians, and wagon trains. It was the only civilization for many years between Santa Fe and St. Louis.


    Adjacent to Bent's Fort was the annual Santa Fe Trail Festival which provided an Arapaho village, fur trappers camp, military camp, blacksmith, teamsters, all authentic to the 1840's with interpretive staff in period costume explaining life in that era.


    Fort Atkinson State Park near Omaha, Nebraska was the location for a signature event of the Lewis & Clark Bicentennial.

    The first council held between Lewis & Clark and Native Americans took place on that site in 1804. To commemorate the event were a trappers and traders village, Indian village, large tents for educational programs, with many interpretive staff on site to answer questions and explain frontier life in the early 1800s.

    A replica of Lewis & Clark's 55-foot keelboat "Discovery" was on display. In honor of Troop 33's visit, the ship's builder, Butch Bouvier, fired its cannon. Mr. Bouvier also explained how the ship operated and details of life onboard.


    One of our more unique camping locations was Offutt Air Force Base near Omaha where we camped by a lake and enjoyed meals at the base's dining hall. We really enjoyed touring the Strategic Air & Space Museum, which preserves military aircraft flown by the Strategic Air Command.


    We lived Scouting history just meeting other Scouts from around the country. Troop 136 - Laramie, Wyoming served as our climbing partners. Troop 493 - St. Louis, Missouri camped alongside us at Offutt Air Force Base. Troop 232 - La Junta, Colorado performed Indian dances at the Koshare Kiva. Last but not least, at a restaurant road stop we met Scouts from Troop 31 - DeKalb, Texas. It's always great to run into DeKalb Scouts, even when they're not from Illinois.


    The Wild West was one of the most exciting times in American history representing tremendous growth along a new frontier.

    Troop 33's Wild West tour will always be remembered for fun, adventure, challenge, excitement, and the thrill of new experiences. Our boys returned with newfound knowledge, greater confidence and skills, and a sense of accomplishment. It was one of the most exciting parts of our summer and a time of tremendous growth while we discovered and explored our own new frontiers.

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    Cliff Golden



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