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Local Boy Scouts get a unique experience during trip to Alaska

As this reporter knows first hand, Boy Scouts can provide an huge variety of incredible experiences that boys either cannot or will rarely experience anywhere else.
However, three local Boy Scouts had a unique and special experience this summer that most scouts will never get the opportunity to do.
Tyler Poorman, Logan Harper, and Phil Kreckel, members of Boy Scout Troop 300 in Tyrone, recently spent 11 days in Alaska.
These scouts actually received this special opportunity by accident. A Boy Scout Troop from Hollidaysburg had been planning this trip for a long time and had a small group of their scouts who planned to attend this trip cancel their reservation. The Hollidaysburg Troop sent the word out to local Boy Scout Troops to see if anyone would be interested in filling these open spaces and attending this trip with their Troop.
The 11 day excursion started when the boys flew out of Reagan International Airport in Washington D.C. They flew to Seattle and then to Fairbanks, Alaska via ‘Alaskan Airlines’, which the boys joked about the picture of an Eskimo on the tail of the plane.
From there, the boys and the rest of the group started their canoeing trip down the Yukon. To reach the location where the canoeing trip started, the scouts had to travel for an 8-and-a-half hour drive down a windy road, that was also a seasonal road. One thing that Tyler, Logan, and Phil all pointed out was that everything in Alaska is far from civilization. No matter where you want to go, it will be a very long trip and will take about 100 miles to go anywhere. The area of Alaska where Tyler, Logan, and Phil were traveling in was about 40 miles from the Arctic Circle.
Our local scouts traveled with a group of about 18 people, including the guides. The guides were provided by the Midnight Sun Council, the local Boy Scout Council in that area of Alaska. There were two different groups, a group of their local Scouts that joined them for three days and the high adventure group, that Tyler, Logan, Phil, and their fellow scouts from Hollidaysburg were traveling with.
Most of us picture Alaska as being a cold, icy, snowy climate. However, our local scouts experienced a climate that was a bit mild compared to how most people picture Alaska. The boys said temperatures ranged from the mid 70’s to the low 80’s except in the higher elevations. Another aspect of Alaska the boys found interesting was that daylight lasted 24 hours-a-day this time of the year, with the only exception of about 2 hours of dusk each day. Because of this, the boys were told to take their watches off. According to our local scouts, time basically means nothing in Alaska.
On the Yukon, their group canoes for over 160 miles. During this trip, they had to carry all gear they needed in the canoe with them. In fact, they could only carry the gear they needed for their canoeing trip on the Yukon, they would have to pick up the rest of their gear later. The boys said that the Yukon is a quick moving river and their trip down the river was smooth, but fast. They also said that the Yukon was an extremely dirty river. According to our local scouts, you can hear a “hiss and crackle of particles” against your canoe as it travels down the river. During their trip down the river, the boys commented that the scenery was amazing. They mentioned that at one point, they saw a group of grizzly bears, a mother and her two cubs. They said when they were approaching something, everything seemed so close. However, everything was actually so far away.
At one point during the trip, the boys had the chance to spend two nights at a place known as ‘Slaven’s Roadhouse’. This was currently a ranger station that had no modern conveniences. This once used by gold miners many years ago. While staying here, they also had the chance to go fishing. According to the boys, fishing is really easy in this part of Alaska, especially salmon and hooking is legal there.
Tyler, Logan, and Phil also had the chance to go glacier climbing in Valdez, Alaska. On this hike, they traveled to elevations most likely higher than any elevations in Pennsylvania. Also while in Valdez, the boys went sea kayaking in Prince William Sound, a secluded bay, in tandem and triple kayaks. When they reached Valdez, the boys were able to pick up the rest of their gear. The boys also stayed in cabins, known as ‘public use cabins’. These are free and can be found throughout the area. Most are old, without modern conveniences and some are a little more modern.
The boys also had a chance to eat at a location a little more on the modern side. They were able to try out an Alaskan hamburger place. They served regular burgers and menu items we are familiar with, but they also served salmon sandwiches that all three boys decided to try and were quite partial to.
When asking the boys what they liked best about this trip, that was a pretty tough question for all of them to answer. Logan said he seemed to enjoy glacier climbing, watching the grizzly bears, and sea kayaking in Valdez best. Tyler really enjoyed the fishing, and Phil enjoyed the glacier climbing in Valdez and most everything in Valdez.
Even though they differed on what they liked best, there was one thing that Tyler, Logan, and Phil all agreed on. They all said that if they have the chance to go back someday and experience this trip all over again, they wouldn’t hesitate to do so.
By the end of this interview, these three local Boy Scouts wound up talking with a reporter (and Boy Scout during his youth) who was extremely envious of the incredible experiences they had this summer.