Earlier this year in June, Boy Scout Troop 63 of Amador County travelled to Lafayette, Louisiana to Swampbase High Adventure Boy Scout Camp for a five day Swamp Trek. the trip was 61.6 miles total, but Boy Scout Troop 63 only made it 59 miles due to a storm. The troop started planning and raising funds approximately two years ago with the goal of completing the Canoe trip in the Atchafalaya Swamp. When the Covid 19 Pandemic struck, the Troop was concerned that the trip would be cancelled. But after the hard work and determination the troop followed CDC safety guidelines and was able to make the journey.
The journey had just started as the troop dodged tropical storm Cristobal, once the troop arrived in the Atchafalaya Swamp they made a 10 mile trek on the first day through the Dark Forest to their destination for the evening resting on a houseboat. During the evening at base the troop members learned about the southern culture, the nearby tribes, and how to net fish.
On the morning of Day 2 according to team leader Colton Folena “ it was one of the more challenging days” the troop made an 11 mile trek to Rougarou Island. During this leg of the journey they, encountered strong thunderstorms, the troop members had to exit the swamp carrying the 350 pound canoes up a levee and across the highway to the next body of water in sweltering hot and humid conditions. During the evening on Rougarou Island, the boys bedded down in hammocks with a cool night time temperature of 98 degrees. The hot humid weather brought out the cicadas. During the evening these insects were constantly flying and chirping, limiting the amount of rest.
On the morning of Day 3 the group headed into the Cypress swamp area, this area of the swamp is known for its untouched beautiful nature encompassing old groves of Cypress trees. Today was another challenging day as they made their way across Lake Dauteriee, encountering headwater and wind. The troop ended their 14 mile day on an 24 acre island outpost which used to be used as a juvenile detention camp.
The majority of Day 4 was spent on the island as a day of rest. The troop took time to bottle fish, paddle board and make natural souvenirs.
The morning of Day 5 started early as they made a 20 mile trip across Lake Fausse and Grand Lake. The troop ended cutting a 800 foot trail for future troops as storm debris had blocked the original trail. During this time, they located a skeleton of an alligator.
In fact, on during the 5 day trek the group encountered 56 alligators. Fortunately, none of the alligators were aggressive.
The Scouts all held various positions working as a team, building morals and sharing knowledge with each other. The trip consisted of seven boy scouts, three adult leaders and one guide. According to adult leader Rusty Folena, the trip was an experience that the kids will never forget. The troop didn’t encounter any mishaps or disagreements. All the scouts were awarded with a 50 Mile Canoe Patch as they conquered this unusual journey. A few adult leaders sustained a few wasp stings from the aggressive Red Hornet and a few individuals ended up with sunburns.
Troop 63 wishes to thank the community for their support and donations, for nearly two years the troop held fundraisers and participated in community events to raise funds for this trip which cost $1,500.00 per child and would not had been possible without the community support.
Local community members that participated in this memorable journey are — Boy Scout members Joe Cooper, Javier Bidiano, Colton Folena, Riley VanSpanje, Richard Thompson, Josh Urjevich and Jake and Adult Leaders Rusty Folena, Josh Hall, and Brad VanSpanje.
Boy Scout Troop 63 is Chartered by the American Legion Post 108 based is Sutter Creek but covers all the Northern Portion of Amador County from Plymouth to Fiddletown it is a very active outdoor troop. Their goal is to expose the troop to all sorts of adventure, from Backpacking, Day Hikes, Shooting Sports, Life Skills, Scouting Skills, Summer camps with locations all over the State of California plus a few out of state. For information about joining Boy Scout Troop 63 you can call/text or email, or if you have questions where the other Troops are located we can answer that also, contact: Josh Hall, Scoutmaster Troop 63, (916) 761-3115, firstname.lastname@example.org or Rusty Folena, Assistant Scoutmaster, (209) 256-5785, email@example.com.