The Scouts of Troop 870 of the Denver Area Council wanted to prove their ability to Be Prepared for anything.
So for their big trip last November, they did the unthinkable: They handed the reins over to their adults.
And with that leap of faith, the Troop 870 Mystery Trip was born.
As Nicholas Cantrell explains on the Denver Area Council blog, none of Troop 870’s Scouts knew where they were going or what to expect. They didn’t know whether to plan for cold or heat — both accessible from Denver — so they had to prepare for both.
One assistant Scoutmaster, the troop committee chairman and the troop’s outdoor coordinator planned the trip, and it was all done with the approval of council staff.
Scouts were told to bring a weekend’s worth of gear: a backpack ready with food, a tent and sleeping bag, and clothes for both cold- and warm-weather excursions. The troop provided any necessary group gear.
The Scouts loaded into the vehicles and only then learned of their destination: the Comanche National Grasslands in Southeastern Colorado.
They hiked 18 miles roundtrip to the largest concentration of dinosaur tracks in the country, something that thrilled First Class Scout Joshua B.
“Throughout the mystery trip, I saw breathtaking things, but the coolest thing was the dinosaur footprints,” Joshua told Cantrell of the Denver Area Council. “When I saw the footprints and put my foot in the three claws of a dinosaur foot, it was unbelievable and mind-blowing to think that these footprints were made over 65 million years ago and were left for curious people.”
Eagle Scout Luke R. enjoyed the chance to test his mettle by not knowing the troop’s destination.
“I signed up for this trip because I wanted to see if I can Be Prepared, even if I don’t know where I am going,” he told Cantrell. “I wanted to test my skills and see if I am able to be comfortable with the supplies I have and still have fun.”
The verdict: Definite fun. So much, in fact, that Troop 870 will attempt another Mystery Trip this November.
Here’s a nice video of Troop 870’s trip posted on the Denver Area Council website.