Troop 102

Kneeling from the left are Scouts William Trent, Evan Derrick, Carter McCraith, David Papach, Zachary Craig, and Blake Hermes. Standing from the left are Leaders Dr. Steve Kottemann, Tim McCraith, David Smith, Scouts Jack Graue, Zach Smith, Elijah Burton, Carter Robison, Caleb Jackson, Leaders Edmund Robison and Chris Graue.

Where in the wild is Troop 102?
Days one and two

Send a link to a friend  Share

[July 01, 2016]  LINCOLN - On Wednesday afternoon, 11 young men, all members of Lincoln Boy Scout Troop 102; and five adults, set out to what many will consider the trip and adventure of a lifetime. The twelve left Lincoln at approximately 12:30 p.m. and traveled to Galesburg. At approximately 5:40 p.m. they boarded an Amtrak train headed to New Mexico and the Philmont Scout Ranch.

The Amtrak portion of the trip will take approximately 15 hours with the scouts arriving in Raton, New Mexico at approximately 11 a.m. on Thursday.

This will be the first and last “easy day” the young men have for the next twelve. The scouts will be trekking through the wild, most of it in mountainous terrain, for a total of 67 miles.

For those 12 days the boys will work together as a team to navigate the hike. They will learn just how strong they are, how capable they are, and how resilient they are when faced with difficult situations and unexpected twists in their itineraries.

Most days they will be on their own, with their adult leaders they will spend their nights in campsites they create with no access to modern amenities, or even any form of civilization. They will be self-reliant and co-dependent upon one another as a team.

They will hike several miles each day, in all weather conditions. They will experience hot days, and cold nights, as they set up camps at elevations that are far above anything they encounter in central Illinois.

Each scout will carry a fully loaded backpack with all the gear they need to survive the 12-day experience. On certain days they will start out in the morning knowing that when they camp for the night, they will be in a location with no access to water. To prepare, each scout will add to the load they carry approximately 8 liters of water, to get them thru the current day and the next.

Though they have conditioned themselves for this big trip, at the end of the day they will be tired, with sore muscles, and more than likely a few bumps and scratches. For most of them, this will be the hardest thing they have ever done.

So, why would they go? According to Scout leader Chris Graue, who is making this trek for the third time, what the young men will gain far outweighs the hardships. Graue said that for many, this will be a life-changing experience. He said it would show them who they are in a deeper sense, and just what they are capable of doing as an individual, and also as part of a team.

“For most of the scouts, this could be the first time they have been away from home for longer than three or four days. No internet, no WIFI, no X-Box.” Graue said, “We will encounter some type of difficulty on the hike that will cause us to alter course, change our routine. Weather, injury of a participant, something will happen. This is an incredible confidence builder for not only the boys, but for adults as well. The boys and the adults will be doing some things that they have never done before and may never do again.”

The Scouts going on the trip include Elijah Burton, Zachary Craig, Evan Derrick, Jack Graue, Blake Hermes, Caleb Jackson, Carter McCraith, David Papach, Carter Robison, Zach Smith and William Trent. The adults accompanying the scouts will be Chris Graue, Dr. Steve Kottemann, Tim McCraith, Edmund Robison and David Smith.

Among the adults going on the hike is Dr. Steve Kottemann. Dr. Kottemann is a well-known local family physician, now retired from practice. In the scout manual for this trip, it states that there must be members who are trained and certified in first aid. Dr. Kottemann was asked if he was going on the trip as the team’s medic. He said that he would certainly help if needed, but that he was going on the trip, mainly for the experience. He said that he has a great friendship with the Graue family, and Chris has known for a while that the doctor was interested in going along. This year, it was made possible.

[to top of second column]

Dr. Kottemann said that as a young Boy Scout, he went on a comparable trip with his brother. It created memories that he still enjoys today. He also noted that getting ready to depart was a long time coming. He noted that those going started months ago training and preparing for the trip, and those who were organizing, also spent several hours getting everything together just as it should be.

Wednesday as the boys arrived at the parking lot of the First United Methodist Church, they were accompanied by parents and siblings, and even a few girlfriends, there to see them off.

At 12:15 p.m. Pastor Michael Paulson of the Methodist Church arrived to send the group off with a prayer. Before he asked for bowed heads he noted that in the minds of the participants, they were men, but in the eyes of their parents, they are still little boys. The parents would be concerned for them, would miss them, and of course, would pray for their safe return as would the church.

In his prayer, Pastor Paulson asked for safe journeys, but also noted that the boys would face challenges and uncertainty on some days. He asked that God lead them in their decisions, and protect them in their journey.

Then it was time to load up the Boy Scout Bus and head toward Galesburg. As the boys climbed aboard, those there to send them off shouted goodbyes, and a few tears were shed, but over-all there was a great deal of optimism, excitement, pride and support for these young men.

While the boys are gone, LDN will bring daily updates about where the boys should be on their hike and what they will be doing. While on the hike, there will be no access to internet or cell phones, so the kids will not be able to update us, nor will they be able to phone home.

Before leaving on the trip, several of the boys were available to answer questions about the trip, what they have done to prepare, and what their expectations are. They were asked what they were looking forward to and what day they find the most intimidating.

In each of the upcoming articles, LDN will include quotes from the boys about the various aspects of this trip.

Opened in 1939 and originally called the Philburn Rocky Mount Scout Camp, Philmont Scout Ranch is located in northern New Mexico in the Sangre de Cristo (Spanish for Blood of Christ) Mountains.

Located on 215 square miles of mountain terrain, elevations throughout the hike will range from 7,400 feet to 11,650 feet.

During the twelve day experience, the Scouts will spend their nights at five staffed camps, five trail camps and two “dry camps” with no access to potable water.

To learn more about the Philmont Camp, view this YouTube video: Mqy1To&feature=em-share_video_user

[Nila Smith]


< Recent features

Back to top