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An Ontario Scouting Adventure

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John Wiebke Scoutmaster of Troop 358 in Zionsville, Indiana, shares his summer plans (and what great plans they are!)

Nothing makes the winter pass quicker than looking forward to a great summer adventure!

Every other year our troop travels to Ontario, Canada, for summer camp at Haliburton Scout Reservation (three hours north of Toronto on Lake Kennabi) and a simultaneous high adventure trip just a little north of Haliburton at Algonquin Provincial Park.

Haliburton Scout Reserve
Our council camp program is a highly structured program focused on advancement. Merit badge classes run from sun up to sun down. Haliburton is much different; Scouts decide when to get up, what and when to eat, when to go swimming, and choose their own programs.

Haliburton campsites are accessed by boat, there’s no road or trail! Our week begins on a pontoon boat that transports Scouts and their gear to our site. Canoes serve as transportation around the camp for the remainder of the week.

For a younger Scout working towards First Class Halliburton is all about doing what Scouts do. Scouts camp as patrols, cook all of their own meals, paddle canoes everywhere, chop, saw and carry firewood, go fishing and prepare a fish dinner, it’s a real Scouting heaven!

Older Scouts enjoy the less structured experience too. They lead their patrols and work on merit badges like camping, cooking, canoeing, wilderness survival.
Haliburton has a health station with a nurse on staff, a commissary that stocks staple food items, and fills custom orders with 24 hours’ notice. We get our non-perishable items at home and buy our eggs, butter, meat vegetables at the commissary.

Haliburton offers rifle shooting, climbing and repelling, mountain biking, kayaking, small boat sailing, snorkeling, an excellent wilderness survival program, and interpretive history of the area at the trapper’s cabin.

Thursday afternoon is the highlight of camp life at Haliburton, the camp regatta. Troops compete against one another in a series of events culminating in a war canoe race. War canoes hold 11 Scouts! Talk about troop spirit: my Scouts are already fired up about improving their war canoe skills.

Algonquin Provincial Park
While the troop is camped at Haliburton some of our older Scouts (aged 14 and up) are off on a high adventure canoe trip in nearby Algonquin Provincial Park. We drop the first group at Haliburton and the bus continues 1.5 hours north to the Lake Opeongo access point for a week of paddling that is the culmination of months of route planning, equipment, meal planning and practical training in paddling and portaging.

Our high adventure group will travel between 40-50 miles on routes that crisscross this natural wonderland. Outfitters in the area are happy to assist in all facets of the planning.

Portaging between the lakes can be as short as a hundred yards or as long as two miles. Although they are not always the highlight of a Scout’s day, what scoutmaster does not have a wry smile when considering the lessons in citizenship, character and personal fitness Scouts get on a good portage?

We charter a bus for this trip and travel overnight from Zionsville to Haliburton (about 15 hours). All told (transportation, fees, food, reservations, etc.) the trip costs $485.00 for a Scout spending a week at Haliburton and $530.00 for a Scout spending the week at Algonquin. We work with Algonquin Outfitters  for our thigh adventure trip into the park.


Algonquin Provincial Park

Friends of Algonquin Park Website
An amazing Algonquin Map
Here’s the first article in a series with lots of  high adventure canoe trip advice.


Haliburton Scout Reserve

Haliburton information at  this website, here’s the 2014 Leader’s guide

HSR Map Kennabi Lake (Blue) (1)