Concho Valley Council

 Charles L. Sommers Wilderness Canoe Base

Friday, July 13, 1984 and returned on Sunday, July 29, 1984
Bissett, Canada

Picture of Crew 717-B

Bottom Row L to R:  Patrick Shannon, San Angelo; Frank T. Hilton, San Angelo; Aaron J. Miles, Barksdale; Trey Walker, Eldorado; Marcus A. Ryan, Brady; Derek Roberts, Ft. Stockton; and Mark D. Miles, Barksdale
Standing, Top Row L to R:  Our Guide; John Herrera, San Angelo; and McNeil W. Allison, San Angelo
Not Identified:  Trey Walker, Eldorado; Marcus A. Ryan, Brady

Picture of all three crews together before we left for Bissett.
Top Row L to R:  Duane Avery, Brady; Joe Huro, III, Brady; John Fisher, San Angelo; Mark Miles, Barksdale; Jimmy Keese, Sonora; Jason Beebe, San Angelo;  Aaron Miles, Barksdale; Derek Roberts, Ft. Stockton; Trey Walker, Eldorado
Middle Row L to R: Marcus A. Ryan, Brady; Patrick L. Shannon, San Angelo; McNeil Allison, San Angelo; Joe Will Ross, Sonora; John Hinnard, Robert Lee; Pat Smith, San Angelo; John Herrera, Jr. (white T-shirt), San Angelo; Clay Allison, San Angelo; Loren White (white hat), Uvalde; Ysabel Ledezma, Jr., Brady
Kneeling Front Row L to R:  Robert Allison, San Angelo; Lace E. (Gene) Hinnard, Robert Lee; Frank T. Hilton, San Angelo; Jose G. DeAnda, Big Lake; Ysabel Ledezma, Sr., Brady
Names not identified:  Fred Sanders, Del Rio
We are ready to go!

 Frank Hilton talking to group as they prepare to leave. 

The Trip

We left the Concho Valley Council's Service Center at 8:00 am on the morning of July 13, 1984 and traveled some 1,635 miles. Overnight stops on the trip were at Vance AFB in Enid, Oklahoma, Waubonisie State Park in Hamburg, Iowa, and Fargo, North Dakota, where we stayed in the St. John Lutheran Church.  Then on the 4th day we made it to Winnipeg, Canada.  Dave Drummond, Canadian Scout Commissioner, had made arrangements for each Scout to stay in a home of a Canadian Scout and each adult to stay with an adult Scouter.  This is were we earned the World Friendship patch.

The next morning we drove over paved and gravel road the 172 miles to Bissett, Canada and the Northern Tier Canoe Base, arriving there about 1:00 p.m.   We had divided ourselves into three crews - 717-A, 717-B and 717-C.  This story is mostly about crew 717-B.  Each crew took a different route into Atikaki Park, which is primarily a wilderness area characterized by glacial lakes and what is called "Canadian Shield."  We did not see the other crews again until ten days later. In fact, after the third day, we did not see anyone else!  But we did see eagles, moose, bear and other native animals.  Included in this set of photos are many photos of Crew 717-A led by Gene Hinnard.  Sorry, but we do not have any photos of Crew 717-C.  If some come our way, we will certainly include them.

David Drummond, Scout Commissioner, Winnipeg, 
Manitoba, Canada, and his family, were our hosts for our stay in Winnipeg.
          Base Camp - Here we were checked out on our gear, 
           canoes and other equipment in preparation to depart 
           the  next morning on our 110 mile canoe adventure. 

Our Guide - He forgot the mike to go with 
his radio so we had no communications
the whole trip.  Patrick Shannon still had
to carry the 20 lb. useless radio in his pack.
         Proper way to carry a canoe. First day we canoed 14 
         miles of which 4 miles were portages. Needless to
         say we were not in very good shape!  It took us three 
         hours that first day to make the four portages (see 
         map below). On the return trip, it only took us one hour! 
         We were in much better shape for sure! 

This is what we slept in.  They were waterproof 
provided you did not try and put one up in the rain!
Mosquitoes were very bad at dusk and sunrise so
you learned to be in your tent during those times.

Getting loaded up to make a portage.  Note the 80 lb. packs   that those who did not carry a canoe had to take over the portage. Of the 110 miles, 10 of those miles were portages.
Patrick Shannon said "I'll never forget that I got to ride with the guide and basically never carried a canoe on any of the portages.  The guide didn't want me touching his canoe." He did have to carry an 80 lb pack of which 20 lbs. was the radio that we could not use.  Except for the ranger's pack, each gear pack held the personal equipment for three people. Another two food packs held the food for ten days and cooking gear.

  Proper way to "rest" a canoe, including one's self.
May the wind always be at your back.  Sometimes the wind would blow to your front and you wondered at times if you made any progress at all in the water.
Four miles of portages our first day out!

       No wonder they call this God's Country!

       A layover day!  Time to catch supper - maybe.

Boy does that ever look good!  We found
the wild blueberries near the campsite.

Their guide Doug getting supper prepared.  However, He 
doesn't do dishes!

Gene Hinnard of Robert Lee.  This was Gene's
5th trip to Sommers Canoe Base but his 
first trip to Bissett.  He was with Crew 717-A

A layover day - time to rest! Yep, that is Frank Hilton.  We had two "layover days" which gave us a chance to wash clothes, sleep late (sure), and fish.  They were looked forward to with great anticipation. 
I see another portage up ahead!

Loren White is in front. Might as well rest!  How did we 
get in this mess anyway?

Another portage almost over.

   Are there actually people in those weeds canoeing?

  Yep, there are real people now that we look closer!

Who said this country is not beautiful?  Just look at this scene. Crew 717-A

  First Catch!  Mark Miles, Lone Scout, Barksdale

John Herrera asks if this is enough fish for supper!  Sure beats trail food!  The Bissett program specialized in fresh water fishing, particularly for walleye.  There were plenty of opportunities to fish and when they were caught, they were always served for supper along with our regular meal. A few times, enough fish were caught to make it the main meal.

We carried a gallon of cooking oil and a 10 lb bag of corn meal just for this purpose.  Not much of it was left by the end of the trip.

Lots of good fishing! Lone Scout Aaron Mles
doing his share to provide food on the table.

  Joe Will Ross, Clay Allison and Pat Smith - Crew 171-A
Got to show off supper!  Now who is going to cook?  One day we stopped for lunch and got busy fishing and caught enough fish for our crew.  So, instead of the usual dry lunch, we broke out the cooking gear and fixed supper instead.  That night we ate the lunch menu. 

Our guide was human after all.  He managed to drop his eye glasses in the water at that time and was unable to find them. 
I guess they are still in the water.

Gene Hinnard cooking pancakes.  He was with Crew 717-A.

L to R:  John Hinnard, Robert Lee; Clay Allison, San Angelo; Joe Will Ross, Sonora; Pat Smith (pot in hand), San Angelo; Jason Beebe, Gene Hinnard, Robert Lee; and their Guide Doug.  Crew 717-A
Supper cooking after we got back to base camp - barbecued chicken.  Fresh food! 

Now this is canoeing!  By the time we were half way through the 110 miles, all three crews had gotten the hang of canoeing and as your can tell by this picture were really enjoying the trip, the experience and sailing right along. Crew 717-A

Just one of several beautiful sunsets.

We managed to miss our portage only one time, but boy was it a nightmare.  We had to carry our canoes cross county in an area with lots of down trees.  Once we got to the next lake we were able to hike along the bank until we found the actual trail and guide the others behind us over to the trail.  We were only a quarter of a mile off the trail.  Was not one of our best days.

Another day it started to thundering and lightening.  One did not want to get caught on the water in that situation so we dashed to a  large rock self, climbed the rock, which was about 16 feet high above the water, and got our wet gear up there. The canoes stayed below.  About that time it started to rain really hard.  Our tent group decided to go ahead and get our tent up so we would not get wet.  Bad mistake! The other half of our group just stood out in the rain and did not even try to put their tent up.  By the time we got our tent up it was floating in 1/2 foot of water - inside.  Yep, the tents were waterproof all right.  We had to bail the water out of the tent before we could get in it.  Being as we were camped on solid rock we had to use other rocks to hold the ropes of the tent.  Sleeping on a rock shelf does not make for a comfortable bed, even with sleeping pads.  That was the only time we had rain in Crew 717-B.

We did make it back to base camp on Friday, July 28, 1984, had a great supper, and all three crews relived their trip.  Of course, each crew had a harder time than the other crews according to the stories told that afternoon and evening.  The next morning we left the base, stopped briefly in Bissett and then traveled to Oakwood State Park, Bruce, South Dakota for the night. The next day we motored to Salina, Kansas and the Salina YMCA. Finally we arrived back to the Council Service Center about 6 p.m. on Sunday, July 30th.  This was a trip to be remembered by all today.  Now if we can just remember the names of all the great people that went with us!

How The Crews Were Divided

Crew 717-A
Lace E. "Gene" Hinnard, Robert Lee
Robert Allison, San Angelo

Clay Allison, San Angelo
Jasen Beebe, San Angelo
John Hinnard, Robert Lee
Joe Will Ross, Sonora
Pat Smith, San Angelo
Loren White, Uvalde

Crew 717-B
Frank T. Hilton, San Angelo
John Herrera, Jr., San Angelo

McNeil Allison, San Angelo
Aaron Miles, Barksdale (Lone Scout)
Mark Miles, Barksdale (Lone Scout)
Derek Roberts, Ft. Stockton
Marcus A. Ryan, Brady
Patrick Shannon, San Angelo
Trey Walker, Eldorado

Crew 717-C
Jose G. DeAnda, Big Lake
Ysabel Ledezma, Sr., Brady

Duane Avery, Brady
John Fisher, San Angelo
Joe Huro, III, Brady
Jimmy Keese, Sonora
Ysabel Ledezma, Jr., Brady
Fred Sanders, Del Rio

We want to thank Patrick Shannon, Wynn Alston, Joe Will Ross and Patrick Wedding, all of San Angelo, TX, for their help in gathering the information for this page.

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