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  • Scoutmaster Greg Long

Up the Creek WITH a Paddle- Canoeing the Willamette River

Updated: Aug 27, 2023

Troop 12 Scouts. taking off from boat ramp in Harrisburg, OR

One of the best things about living in Oregon is that you don’t have to travel far for outdoor excitement. Oceans, mountains, rivers, and caves — our great state has it all. BSA Troop 12’s High Adventure Crew seized the opportunity to explore the wild side of Oregon and embarked on a 67-mile canoe trip down the Willamette River from Harrisburg to Independence, OR in June 2023.

Twelve scouts and 4 adults prepared for the canoe trip — first by retesting their BSA Swim test and then by practicing paddling skills and emergency drills at Fern Ridge Reservoir.

The weather was perfect for the thrill ride, and the river— at times fast— provided a picturesque canvas way better than any 3-D game animation. This canoe trip was a real-life adventure the scouts will never forget

Journal Entries from a Troop 12 Explorer

Assistant Scoutmaster Tony Westover provided the following day-to-day recap of the amazing journey.

Day 1

-- Day #1 is in the books! 16.2 miles down. About 50 more to go!

Day 2

-- Today was our longest paddle of 20 miles past Corvallis and ending up just south of Albany. All the kiddos got a little discouraged by the long flat water just north of Corvallis, but a few hours in camp swimming and playing games brightened up the spirits nicely!

Oh, and Mr. Gramzow caught a BEAUTY of a fish.

Day 3

-- 18 miles today with stops in Albany for a food drop and lunch. It was a little slow-going today with very little current, so our pace was only a little better than four miles an hour. Still, once we got camp set up and had cool-off in the river, our spirits were high.

We also got to see LOTS of bald eagles today flying high above us and catching their dinner right from the river, so that was very cool. We're all looking forward to a polar bear swim bright and early tomorrow and then our last day of paddling!

Day 4

-- Day #4 and our last day of paddling. We went a little more than 12 miles today for a total of 65 on our way to Independence, OR! We started with a "Polar Bear Swim" at 7 AM and after our trek, we were greeted with a surprise ice cream sundae treat from Mr. Mr.!!!

We also did a little trash cleanup for the park ranger when we got to the camp today. What a great trek overall with no mishaps, issues, or disasters. All the scouts said they'd do it again!

2023 Troop 12 High Adventure Crew

The Troop 12 Adult Adventure Crew Leaders

High Adventure 2024

So what’s next for Troop12? MORE HIGH ADVENTURES! August 2024: 50-Mile Hike- South Sisters Loop August 2024: Sea Base Bahamas live-aboard sailing December 2024: Sea Base Florida Keys live-aboard Scuba

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