Boy Scouts from Troop 443, Villa Ridge, braved overnight temperatures near zero degrees to complete their annual outdoor adventure on the Taum Sauk trail section of the Ozark Trail in January.
On Saturday, Jan. 13, at 6 a.m., Scouts and leaders gathered at the Burger King in Villa Ridge to begin the frigid and fun-filled annual adventure.
Seven scouts, Brady Morgan, Dillan Schmiderer, Nick Cook, Lucas Esterly, Gauge Shuls, Ethan Caldwell, Chase Fievet and Connor Brown, and two adults, Eric Esterly and Eagle Scout Will Colbert, braved the single-digit temperatures and embarked on an overnight eight-mile backpacking trek.
Four others joined the Scouts for the day. They were Pacific residents Dan White, Eagle Scout Mckenzie White, Ian Kaputska and Brian Caldwell, Troop 443 Scoutmaster.
The hikers visited Mina Sauk Falls, the tallest waterfall in Missouri, which is along a rugged trail that leads down from the Peak of Taum Sauk Mountain, the highest point in Missouri.
The boys climbed the many rock formations in the area and lunched at the falls before continuing to a backcountry campground and setting up camp for the night.
Temperatures plummeted to near zero overnight, but it did not thwart the Scouts, the leaders said. They were prepared and had packed the necessary gear and wore multiple layers to protect them against the bitter cold.
Surrounding a roaring fire, they ate their dinner and joked around, leaders said, as boys will do before heading to bed.
Up early the next morning, the Scouts finished their journey around 1 p.m. the next day and arrived back at Coleman Elementary around 3 p.m., full of stories to tell.
Any boy who might be interested in sharing in some Scout adventures is invited to join Troop 443 any Thursday night at 7 p.m. at Coleman Elementary. For those age 11-18, meetings are held the second Monday of the month at Cedar Grove Methodist Church at 7 p.m. There also is Venture Crew, which is coed, for ages 14-21.
For more information, contact Brian Caldwell, Scoutmaster Troop 443, at 314-458-9392; or Ann Shultz, co-adviser, Venture Crew 2443, at 636-579-3632.