High Adventure Trips

During the summer months, the BSA offers troops the opportunity to attend one of four High Adventure Outings: Northern Tier, Philmont, Sea Base and Summit Bechtel. Only one High Adventure Outing is available to the Troop each year. Over the course of four years, a Scout could elect to attend each of the High Adventure Outings and achieving the high distinction of the 'Grand Slam of National High Adventure Award'. Below is a description of the High Adventure Outings from Troop 159 Scouts.


Philmont is a Scout ranch based in Cimarron, New Mexico. In Philmont you get to backpack throughout the ranch. You and your group get to choose how much you want to walk or how little and how many activities you want to do. There are different treks you can choose from, spanning from 7 days to 3 weeks in length. There are many fun activities you will get to do on your hike, some of which are cowboy action shooting, gold panning, and building railways. There are beautiful views in Philmont, the best of which is from the top of Mt. Baldy which is over 12,000 ft high and you can see all of Philmont from up there. Even when the trek is over you'll probably wish it was just a little longer. M.G.

Summit Bechtel

Summit Bechtel is probably one of the best Scout camps in our area. The camp offers 32 merit badges, such as archery, swimming and cycling. The camp will provide you with a tent, bug screens, and food, and more, so you don’t have to bring your own equipment to the summit. The camp’s campgrounds are really good, and the camp also surrounds several bike trails, kayaking roots, and a climbing cave. The camp also provides specialist programs, such as COPE, fish camp, hunting education, and Brownsea Island that can fit everyone’s style. Our troop goes to Bechtel every several years, if there is enough interest to go on the trip. F.Y.

Northern Tier

Northern Tier, one of BSA’s four high adventure bases, is situated in Minnesota on the border lakes with Canada. Northern Tier’s focus is on canoeing. You arrive at the base, typically after a day or two of travel / sightseeing in Minnesota, and begin preparations for your journey on the water - food prep, gear packing, meeting your interpreter to plan your route, etc. The following day, you depart, and an efficient crew can get out of there well before noontime. The crew gets to decide the route and what they want to do while on the water. It’s days after days of portaging (you become a real pro at carrying a canoe on your back), paddling (often in solitude - really, we went a whole day without seeing anybody), singing (there’s nothing like the feeling of singing as you paddle across an otherwise silent lake at 6 in the morning), and so much more. I mean, seriously, I have so many amazing memories from the trip. Remembering watching the rain roll across the mighty Kekekabic lake while we were perched high on a hill above. Rushing to our tents by 8 P.M. in order to avoid the droves of refrigerator sized mosquitoes. Watching the mother bear and her cub swim across the lake, or the crayfish clustering the shoreline on a night with a full moon. Or looking up at the sky, watching the ISS pass over or taking in the beautiful stargazing. My favorite thing, by far, was simply being able to disconnect from the rest of the world and really be in solitude and one with nature and your crewmates for one week. Northern Tier was an amazing experience, one you really can’t replicate, and I would encourage those of you who have the opportunity to go to take advantage of it! C.P.

Sea Base