July 7th, Day One - The Arrival
I landed at Minneapolis International Airport at 11:30 AM Central time,
coming from New York. After stretching excitingly as I disembarked the aircraft, I reached
the baggage claim area where I met two uniformed Boy Scouts waiting to greet
me. They did not need to see my uniform or the huge carry on bag I gripped
tightly over my shoulder to know I was a participant, they just had to see my wide eyes and smile.
While at the airport, I got a chance to meet my future
crewmates. For those of us who already arrived, we started playing cards while waiting for the rest
of the participants. It is simply awesome to play cards and talk to people from
different corners of the United States. One by one, the rest of the Arrowmen arrived
with the same expression I wore getting off the plane, tired yet excited.
Once everyone arrived, it was "GO" time. At 3:00 PM we loaded up on a bus to
finish the final leg of our journey; a five-hour ride to Ely, Minnesota where the
Northern Tier High Adventure Base is located.
We stopped for dinner at 6:30 PM and we had some tasty fast food. The surrounding
area was farmland, stretching as far as the eye can see. On the bus, I had a chance
to get to know more about the rest of my crew. There is Rich from Ohio, John from
South Carolina, Chris from North Carolina, Brian from Texas, two Matthews and a
Doug from Florida, Jeff from Michigan, Nate from Nevada, and of course me from New
York. In a bus cruising down the road as the sun cascaded below the horizon, ten
Boy Scouts joined together as newfound friends, representing eight different states
across the country.
Arriving at Northern Tier National High Adventure Base.
We arrived at the base at 8:00 PM and we met some of the staff at
Tier. After we all took our on base medical checks and handed in paper work, we
took the grand tour of the base. If I could say how I felt in one word, the best
adjective would be excited. I finally arrived on the base after months
of dreaming about this upcoming adventure; it was great!
First night cabins.
After the tour, we dropped our belongings in our "first night cabins" and headed
to the dinning hall for a well timed cracker-barrel. We hungrily ate some homemade
pizza, introducing ourselves and becoming closer with our crewmates and the staff.
Our next mission was to divide up into two crews. Each crew was assigned two
foremen, who were trained Arrowmen on staff to guide the crew. I was introduced
to Andy Akin and Vern Miller, two outstanding foremen and Arrowmen.
After the division, we quickly hit the trading post, where we stocked up on any
last minute items for the trek. We then got into our crews and took crew and individual
Planning our Trek in the Map Room.
The last mission of the night was to plan our trip. Our foremen brought us to
a room called "the map room" where hung a huge map of the Boundary Waters
Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW). Here we all discussed our adventure trek that we
would take after the workweek. Our foremen Andy and Vern gave us some tips and
left the room so it was just the youth of the crew deciding where to go and what
to do. Since our crew was fortunate enough to have strength and determination,
we choose a challenging voyage that spanned over 100 miles! Andy and Vern
returned to the room after we selected our voyage and gave us their approval. We
were all set for the next two weeks!
After good days of traveling and meeting people, I was worn out. I made myself at
home in the first nights cabin. I was all geared to sleep until something caught
my attention through the cabin's window - the stars. The sight was so surreal that
I got out of the cabin to see if I was dreaming. The whole sky was brightly lit
up with the most stars painted on the sky that I have ever seen before in my entire
life. The Milky Way was lit up as if I was in a planetarium! The only thing that
made be go back to bed was the coolness of the night and the fact
my eyelids seemed to weigh a hundred pounds.
As I climbed back into bed, I kept saying to myself, this surely beats New
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