February 12th, 2011


We're havin' a heat wave

It's in the 40s, the snow is melting. My winter jacket was too warm for me when I walked the dog. Can spring mud be far behind? (And crocuses and daffodills and mushrooms and backpacking?)

It's a far northland that's a-callin' me away

Finally got around to working up rough estimates for Isle Royale backpacking trip for our Venturing Crew. We ought to be able to do this for, like, cheap. I mean, around $350 per person for nine days of camping adventure.

But, there are challenges . . .

1) Our screwy school system is now guaranteed to NOT be done with the spring semester by the time we had planned to go. If we push our schedule back, we get into Annual Conference. If we push it WAY back, we get into bug season (which you really, really don't want to experience on I.R.). None of our Venturers are HS seniors, nor are any of them borderline passers (I think), so we could probably just say, "see you next year" and take off -- but we'll have to talk about it.

2) I count at least twelve adults and youth I expect will want to go, perhaps one or two more. That's great! Except that the maximum crew size on I.R. is TEN. If we have more than ten backpackers, we'll have to split into two crews and pursue separate itineraries (maybe a boys' crew and a girls' crew?). That means we need to obtain another dining fly, another first aid kit (and they're EXPENSIVE), maybe some other stuff, which pushes the price up a bit. More importantly, we have to have fully qualified adult leadership for each crew, and that means some credentialing issues -- especially, Wilderness First Aid. So, we'll have to see how best to tackle this.

3) If we go Memorial Day weekend and stay at a State park, we'll have to pay for three nights just to stay one; on the other hand, there are private parks and Boy Scout camps in Wisconsin. What we have to do about Ft. Wilkins S.P. I don't know (there ain't no place else in Copper Harbor), but I can call up there once we've got firm dates.

4) I'm assuming we're not doing anything extra like a Chicago museum crawl or any big side trips. Two days up, five days there, two days back, no muss no fuss, overlap two weekends so that the other adults don't have to burn more than five days of vacation. That'll all have to be gone over, too.

Anyway, we'll have to thrash all this out within the next month. In the meantime, there's a shakedown to be planned. So far, it's set for March 17-19 in the Owen-Putnam State Forest. Might be a bit chilly. Or it could be 65 degrees -- who knows?