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  • Writer's pictureGreg Long

Riding the Trails on Horseback

Troop 12 saddled up and channeled their inner cowboy at the unit’s recent outdoor adventure at Butte Creek Scout Ranch in the Cascade Pacific Council.

As a boy-led BSA Troop, the youth leadership team unanimously selected horseback riding back in May 2021 as a “must experience” scout skill. It just so happens Butte Creek Scout Ranch, which is located northeast of Salem, has the largest herd of horses of any BSA council in the USA.

Twenty-two scouts and 5 adults headed to the horse ranch on Saturday, March 12, for an afternoon ride and overnight camping fun.

Before saddling up, Scott Depaolo and his team of trail leaders taught the Troop 12 boys the intricate language of horses, how to safely and confidently interact with a horse, and the basics of riding—getting a horse to start, stop, turn and reverse.

The troop picked their horses, and took to the trails on what started out as a textbook-perfect sunny day— but within minutes dark, ominous clouds rolled in and the rain began to pour. Not one to call it quits, Troop 12 cowboyed up and continued their wild horse trek up and down the muddy slopes.

First-Class Scout Kian Gramzow said that riding in the rain is harder than it sounds. “My hands got cold and numb from the wind and rain, which made controlling the horse more challenging.” Kian said that the rain definitely made the excursion a more memorable experience.

Four hours of riding in the rain may sound miserable to some, but from the smiles on the faces of all the Scouts as they trotted back to the stables, it was evident that Troop 12 had developed a new love for horseback riding.

“I definitely recommend Butte Creek Scout Ranch to other troops,” Kian enthusiastically exclaimed. “It’s a great place to camp. It has Adirondacks that sleep 10 people, and it’s got amazing horses.”

Rain or shine, Butte Creek Scout Ranch is Oregon’s premier horseback adventure destination.

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