Trip Review:  Swamp Base

Who:  
Crew 1409
3 Girls (14-16 years old)
3 Boys (15-17 years old)
2 Adult Advisors

What:
Canoeing the Atchafalaya Swamp (60 miles)
Sleeping on house boats, cabins, and hammocks, and college dorms.

Where:
Begin and end at Lafayette, Louisiana.

When:
July 18th - July 24, 2016

Itinerary:
The detailed itinerary can be found on the Swamp Base website.  The good news is that for Capitol Area crews, the drive is between 5-6 hours, so it's a relatively short drive away for high adventure.

Comments:
Across the board, the crew had a great time.  Every trek is composed of two units.  Our crew was paired with a Boy Scout troop out of La Porte, Texas.  Lucky for us the two units melded together well and behaved as a single unit for the entire trip.

The guides and staff are essentially college students mostly from University of Lafayette.  They were well prepared, in control, and kept us safe.

Yes, we saw alligators - lot's of them.  No, it wasn't scary.  We also saw birds, fish, flowers, vines... the landscape was lush and beautiful.  The mosquitos were generally not a problem at all during the day and on the water.  Dusk and dawn you did need to be prepared with bug repellent.  It was HUMID and hot, but I didn't feel it was Austin hot.  I was comfortable most days paddling along.  Bring a seat cushion.  Your bottom gets tired of the hard canoe seat.  Those with canoe seats with backs felt that the seats were too narrow.  

We had one vegetarian crew member and two crew members who couldn't eat pork.  They needed to bring substitute food.  Sausage was a major component of the meals. 

Problems:  About half the kids struggled to stay hydrated and put on sun screen.  Two kids got a heat rash.  One got hit on the nose with a paddle board and got a small cut.  Two kids got dehydrated.  One had a stomach upset.  Pretty much the normal stuff...

Roses and Thorns:
I figured I'd post the crew's roses and thorns (in their own words).

A:
  • Rose:learning new things( cast net fishing)
  • Thorn:bad farmers tan

C:

  • Rose:doing all of the activities, meeting Troop 930
  • Thorn:trying to stay hydrated

R:

  • Rose:swimming, catching a fish, blow dart shooting, and meeting new people 
  • Thorn:toilets at Rugaroo

L:

  • Rose:A's mud habits, catching a fish, and meeting new people
  • Thorn:mosquito bites and all of the sausage

E:

  • Rose:all of the activities, catching a ten pound fish, and blow gun shooting
  • Thorn:mosquitoes and inconvenient bathroom timing
R:
  • Rose:seeing the troop and crew come together as a cohesive unit (helping with the portages)
  • Thorn: turkey sausage

J:

  • Rose:scenery
  • Thorn:injuries and sicknesses

AR:

  • Rose:winding through the narrow parts of the swamp and meeting new people
  • Thorn:Rugaroo bunny

Author:  Jill Douglass (jdzurenko@gmail.com)