HUMBOLDT - There is a long list of equipment that needs to be brought along for a weekend of winter camping at the Boy Scouts Twin Lakes District Winter Campout in Frank A. Gotch park.
It includes rope, saws, pocket knife, matches, spoons and bowls and even a ruler.
Unfortunately, one of the things left off the list was snow.
-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Fort Dodge Boy Scout Troop 8 Scoutmaster Jim Kramer, left, watches as Bennet Pals, 13, center and Geoff Astor, 11, work on studying the directions for building a free standing friction bridge made from poles.
Nick Davis, assistant Troop Leader for Humboldt's Troop 108, had a ready answer for that problem.
"We adapt and work around it," he said.
Dealing with the lack of snow was only one of the many things the scouts had to learn to work with over the weekend. Each troop also had to work as a team to solve various problems.
Building a free-standing friction bridge from poles faced the Scouts of Fort Dodge Troop 8 first thing after lunch.
Given a set of plans of what it should look like, they were left to their own devices on how to get it done.
Scoutmaster Jim Kramer could only watch them.
"The hardest part is not telling them what to do," he said.
There is a seriousness of purpose to it though.
"This is to see how well the boys can solve a problem, work together and accomplish it," Kramer said.
The group did get it done, once they learned to communicate and work as a unit.
"Whether they build it is irrelevant," he said, "It's the process, not the result."
One of the Troop members, Edward Crawford, agreed it was all about communication.
"It's getting your point across on how to do it," he said.
Members of Algona Troop 71 were facing another challenge - getting each of them though a "spider web" made of rope, without touching the line. Each opening in the maze could only be used once.
The first Scout, Joe Erpelding, 14, made it easy, he just crawled.
The second Scout, Zach Mallia, 12, faced more of a challenged; he was passed through from one to another.
The last, Brian Mallia, they all agreed was the hardest.
It took them several attempts to make it. Once they stopped and planned their moves, it began working a lot easier.
They were missing the snow for another reason.
"It would be easier to pull the sled around," Zach Mallia said.
It would also be a quieter place. The Klondike sled made a loud grating noise as they pulled across the paved parking lot.
Zach Collins, 13, a member of Humboldt's Troop 108, got to pretend he'd suffered a broken leg near the river bank.
As bad luck would have it, fellow Scout Aaron Diesburg, 12, broke out with a limp too. Getting them back up where they could be transported to help became the challenge for his fellow troop members.
They used a combination of ropes and pushing to get him up the hill in their sled. Robert Monson, 13, became the de facto patrol leader.
"He stepped up to take charge," Davis said.
Davis said that the exercise teaches important first aid skills. An Eagle Scout himself, he found skills learned in Scouting useful during his three years of active military duty, a year of which was in Iraq.
"Everything I learned in Scouts, I used in the military," he said.
That of course means improvising; he had an idea for the Klondike race to help his troop.
"We thought about wheels," he said.