Scouts Hike Colorado Peaks

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A rain-caused mudslide covering the tracks of the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad did not stop the 10 Boys Scouts of Troop 354 from finishing their hikes.

They shouldered their backpacks and marched the seven miles from Cascade Canyon to Needleton, Colo.

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Eagle Scout Chase Reed, Boy Scouts Daniel Utz, Derek Williams, Kenneth Nyhus, Ben Rogers and adult committee member Chase Reed pause on a Colorado mountain peak. Scouts not pictured are: Keith Williams, Andrew Howell, Seth and Josh Horsley, Paul Utz, and Josh Leonard. Adults not pictured are: Scoutmaster Dan Utz, Assistant SM's Tim Williams and Jeff Leonard, committee member Dan Nyhus and volunteer Dave Mittleider.

"We worked on our backpack merit badges, but mainly it was a fun summer camp," Keith Williams said.

A veteran of many hikes with his family Williams said he packed light and smart -- 33 pounds -- for the journey, because everything packed in had to be taken out.

He carried freeze-dried food and two liters of water. He also carried a pump to filter bacteria from stream water.

"I don't carry extra stuff like chairs," Williams said.

From the camp at Needleton, the Scouts hiked six or seven miles to make a base camp in the Chicago Basin.

The elevation in the Chicago Basin is 11,000 feet.

There are 54 hikes to 14,000-foot elevations in Colorado.

During the next few days, the Scouts would hike up several of the state's "fourteeners," including Mount Elois.

Although altitude sickness affected a couple of the Scouts most were able to enjoy the scenic mountain vistas, deer and mountain goats.

Andrew Howell plans to make a wool cap with the shaded goat hair he collected.

Williams made it to the top of the first 14,000-foot peak, but did not quite make it to the top of the second one. He did stop and have a snowball fight in the snowfields with his fellow troop members before the afternoon rains.

"We got up at five each morning to start hiking at six," he said.

Williams joined the Boy Scouts two and a half years ago.

"I love all the outdoor stuff and it's a great way to socialize with people," the 13-year-old said.

Many local Scouts are at the Silver Axe youth leadership training at the R Bar C Camp near Christopher Creek this week.

Next up for local troops is the Scout-O-Rama at Green Valley Park from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Aug. 11.

"We encourage boys and the public to come down and see what activities there are," said Scout mom Ellen Farnham.

Bottle rockets are just one of the highlights.

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