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Amazing things happen when Scout troops think ahead. Take


Baltimore-area Troop 315. If they hadn’t worked, saved, and mapped out their trip to Hawaii for two years, they might never have wound up emerging tired, sore, and covered in mud from the world’s highest swamp. For this group of active Scouts and Scouters


Clockwise from top right (previous pages): assistant Scoutmaster Ross Cole cools off in the bay at Salt Pond Beach; Ross Alan Cole, Josh Simonds, Ross Cole, and Scoutmaster Charles Hazard (from left) rock on inside the Thurston Lava Tube; the beach boys get ready for a refresh- ing swim at Hanakapiai Beach on the Na Pali Coast; a submerged 11-year- old Ryan Hazard at Queen’s Bath; the big valley from the Pihea Trail; Hazard and company go slow hiking the Kalalau Trail. This page: Muddied but unbowed, Bob Sammarco on the Pihea Trail (below) and a soon-to-be discarded pair of red-dirt shorts. Opposite: Scout Hunter Reed gets in his licks during the boys’ first encounter with shave ice.


from Reisterstown, Md., that could be their definition of a good time in any wilderness location. But did we mention that the world’s highest swamp is on the island of Kauai? The boys and adults were prepared. They


regularly hike sections of the Appalachian Trail in Pennsylvania and climb Old Rag Mountain in Virginia. And some of the troop’s older guys have been to Alaska, Florida Sea Base, and Northern Tier. Still, the difficulty of the swamp hike sur-


prised most of the adults—and pretty much all of the boys, who ranged in age from 11 to 17. “That was a lot tougher than I expected, with the mud and the climbing,” said 13-year-old Jared Sammarco. “But it was cool to be in a real jungle.” Who could blame them if they felt ambiva-


lent after spending almost five hours on the strenuous Pihea and Alakai Swamp trails? Hikers seeking a challenge favor these two trails for their difficulty and their beauty. And


the weather certainly merits consideration. Though the Scout group chose a sunny


day for their trek, permitting a marvelous view of the entire seven-mile sweep of the majes- tic Kalalau Valley, this region is one of the wettest places on Earth. Located about 4,000 feet up Mount Waialeale, the trails receive an average annual rainfall of nearly 450 inches, or almost 38 feet. Their shorts told a messy story, returning with dusky crimson splotches that recorded every slip and slide. Some descents were easier navigated as


sliding boards rather than on foot. “I think these shorts are trashed,” said one adult as he was pulled up after sliding down a slope. Assistant Scoutmaster Ross Cole pointed


out at least one silver lining. “You know,” he said, “people on the mainland pay good money for Hawaii’s red-dirt clothing.” That potential to make a fortune like the manufac- turers of Hawaii’s Red Dirt Shirts didn’t keep the adult from tossing his shorts into a trash barrel back at camp. “It was tough,” said Scoutmaster Charles


Hazard of the trip’s first hike. “But I was impressed by how well the younger Scouts handled it. And I don’t think I’ve been any- where in the world as beautiful.” Both the day’s exertions and embarrass-


ments were laid to rest (almost) that afternoon as the travelers gathered in the gentle breeze and warm sunshine outside JoJo’s for argu- ably the best shave ice in the islands. An island institution, located in the ocean-side village of Waimea, JoJo’s is an unassuming wood-frame shop advertising 60 flavors of syrups and ice cream. Luckily, everyone had plenty of time to decide while waiting in a line that typically snakes out to the sidewalk. They’re not “snow cones,” as a leader


42 S COUTING ¿ SEPTEMBER•OCTOBER 2010


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