It’s called the 50-miler and it’s tough. The trek includes 50 miles on land and water in 5 days by foot, bike, boat or kayak and must include 10 hours of conservation work to earn the coveted distinction of having completed the endurance test as a Boy Scout.

It’s called the 50-miler and it’s tough. The trek includes 50 miles on land and water in 5 days by foot, bike, boat or kayak and must include 10 hours of conservation work to earn the coveted distinction of having completed the endurance test as a Boy Scout.

Imagine spending 5 days in the middle of the summer in central Missouri where it’s hot, humid and the goal is to hike, bike and kayak from in and around Warsaw and back to Lake of the Ozarks, ending the 5-days at Ha Ha Tonka with a celebration to mark the accomplishment.

That’s exactly what Boy Scout Troop 29 from Camdenton did. With leaders, Scott Riedel and Blake Conklin, and the support of St. Anthony Catholic Church, the group returned home on Aug. 4. Tired and dirty but excited about what they had accomplished.The troop was joined on their trip by another leader, Brad Simmons, and his son from Iowa who partnered with the Camdenton troop. The 50-miler is not something every troop attempts and Simmons wanted to be a part of the adventure.

The planning and logistics of the trip began in January with Reidel putting together a plan. The plan was the easy part. Logistically it included starting in Warsaw are using biking and hiking trails there while camping and helping the Warsaw Chamber of Commerce clear land for a campground.

“It was brutal, everything had to be cut by hand for the campground area,” Reidel said. “We were exhausted.” The troop hauled their equipment and troop trailer with them. That allowed the leaders to provide meals along the trip.

The group started in Warsaw where they did their conservation work, hiked and biked and ended with a float in kayaks from the Whistle near Macks Creek to Ha Ha Tonka. Surprisingly there were few mishaps along the way. One kayak flipped but everyone returned a little worse for wear but safe and victorious.

Parents provided logistical support getting the troop and their supplies from one place to another.

The trip started out with 11 young men. All finished but one had to leave due to an illness not related to the trip. Although over the 5 days, there were some complaints about bug bites, the heat and a few sore backs, Reidel said, it was an amazing experience to be a part of with the young men. It was a tough exercise for all involved but especially the younger boys.

“There was a lot of pride, and a lot of heart that went into it,” he said. The boys put their all into it and worked together as a team, helping their fellow scouts and encouraging them when they would get tired. The young men even made sure to have their troop flag with them and carried it while on the trip.