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Troop 33 Scouts chill out on adventures

Caption
Cliff Maxfield of Danbury, Wis., a professional musher, works with Troop 33 Scouts to teach them about dog sledding. Provided photos
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Scouts explore an ice cave on a frozen Lake Superior. Pictured are Jacob Marx (from left), Nathan Overman and Dan Corzine, with A.J. Rouse in the background.

Winter 2008 was a time of exciting fun and adventure for the Boy Scouts of Troop 33. The Scouts define exciting fun as skiing, snowboarding and sledding down hills. They define adventure as snowshoeing, dog sledding, ice caving, eagle watching and hiking to frozen waterfalls. Boys and mountains of snow just naturally go together. In January and February, the Scouts made the most of enjoying the great white fluffy stuff. At Cascade Mountain near Portage, Wis., Scouts enjoyed skiing and snowboarding down 500-foot high slopes. It was one of the coolest ways to enjoy the coldest time of year. Cabin camping at Russell Woods forest preserve near Genoa provided the Scouts ample opportunity to explore the surrounding woods and test their meddle on the sledding hill. Scout troops from all over DeKalb County gathered for the Kishwaukee District Klondike Derby in early February at the Sycamore Sportsman's Club. It is an annual competition where teams of Scouts pull Klondike sleds through a course competing in traditional Scouting skills. Events this year included tomahawk throwing, firebuilding, first aid, orienteering, teamwork challenge, .22 riflery, sled race and more. Starved Rock State Park also offered Scouts special adventures. Boys enjoyed touring the Starved Rock lock and dam where giant barges passed through the lock and Bald Eagles dove for fish in the churning waters below the dam. Scouts enjoyed the Starved Rock Visitors Center and later hiked along snow-covered trails through rocky canyons in search of frozen waterfalls. Their journey brought them face to face with magnificent giant frozen waterfalls with columns of ice towering high above them. Their biggest adventure took them far north to Lake Superior for a series of exciting adventures. In northern Wisconsin, they stayed overnight in a cabin and learned the basics of snowshoeing in the deep powder of the surrounding woods. Later, near Iron River, Mich., they enjoyed more snowshoeing through the dense north woods as they snowshoed in search of Saxon Falls. They enjoyed a small indoor water park at a hotel resort before embarking on their next round of adventures in the frozen Apostle Islands. Scouts witnessed the start of the 10K cross-country ski race, “Book Across the Bay.” More than 1,400 skiers traverse Chequamenon Bay between the cities of Ashland and Washburn, Wis. The entire 10K route is lighted by thousands of luminaries, creating a spectacle of lights stretching out across a frozen Lake Superior. Scouts later hiked miles across the frozen ice shelf to explore the world-famous ice caves of Squaw Bay. Sea caves etched into the sandstone cliffs become decorated with intricate ice formations during the winter months, creating fantastic ice caves. On certain years when the turbulent waters of Squaw Bay freeze solid, people can venture out onto the ice surface to explore the ice caves, some of Mother Nature's greatest and most delicate winter masterpieces. Scouts also experienced driving across the famous ice bridge connecting Bayfield to Madeline Island. The dead of winter is the only time you can travel by car across the ice to Madeline Island, otherwise you'll need a boat. Visiting the Northern Great Lakes Visitors Center provided boys with lessons about the rich history of the area through many interactive exhibits. The Scouts' last snow adventure involved dog sledding at a dog kennel in northern Wisconsin. Boys were instructed in sledding history, dog breeds and the techniques and commands used in dog sledding. Scouts had an opportunity to visit with some dogs and then actually go out on a course winding through the woods riding on an authentic dog sled. The winter of 2008 will be remembered by most for its many snowfalls. The boys of Troop 33 will always remember it for the fun and adventures they experienced. Troop 33 has been sponsored by the First Lutheran Church in DeKalb since 1925. For more information, visit Troop 33's Web site at http://troop33dekalb.org.

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