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Washington Voices

Valley Troop’s trek featured in Boy’s Life

Sat., May 3, 2014, midnight

For Boy Scout Troop 413 in Otis Orchards, last August’s hiking trip to Mount St. Helens was pretty spectacular.

“We hiked around the whole entire mountain,” said troop member Nathan Leland, 15. “It was really, really cool.”

This month’s edition of Boy’s Life magazine includes a three-page spread of the trip.

Scoutmaster Bryan Cox said the troop usually makes a 50-mile trip every year – hiking, biking, canoeing or another outdoor activity. Before the trip to Mount St. Helens, Cox contacted Boy’s Life offering to write something short about the trip and send in a few pictures. They declined, but someone called back a short time later. They wanted to send someone along on the troop’s hike.

Boy’s Life photo editor Garth Dowling joined the troop after a trip for another story to the Oregon Coast. He said the magazine usually features “Super Troops” – troops with a long legacy of outdoor activities – to kick off camping season. Troop 413 is one of those troops. In previous years, the troop canoed on the Flathead River in Montana and hiked the Glacier Peak Wilderness, Cox said. This year, they are planning a 50-mile biking trip along the North Umpqua River in Oregon.

Every month, the troop goes camping, no matter the weather. This month, they are doing a mountain biking campout in Riverside State Park. The first Monday of every month is usually a night hike.

All that practice readied the scouts for their trip to St. Helens, which still has some rugged terrain after its eruption in 1980.

“They were so fit,” Dowling said of the scouts, joking that he ended up as the caboose in many of their hikes. The photo spread is part of the magazine’s 18 pages devoted to camping in the May issue offering tips and ideas to Boy Scouts this summer.

There were two trails the troop hiked during its trip. The first was a 12-mile trail to the summit. The less-experienced hikers just did this trail and were able to earn their 5-Mile Merit Badge.

The second trail was around the mountain, which earned Scouts a 50-Mile Merit Badge. Some members of Troop 413 have six or seven of these badges.

Leland, an eighth-grader at Greenacres Middle School, will have his copy of Boy’s Life to remind him of the trip for a long time to come, and he thinks that’s pretty cool.

“Hiking up to the summit” was his favorite part of the trip, he said, “just because of the view.”

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