By David Fleet
It started as a day hike.
“We all hiked in the mud,” said Jeff Hanft of Ortonville Boy Scout Troop 139. “We started from the horse camp on Fox Lake Road with about three or four scout troops in 2008. The camp was small so we asked the DNR if the scouts could camp overnight at Big Fish Lake in April before was busier later in the summer.”
“Since the Ortonville Troop was the farthest north in the Pontiac-Manito District the Big Fish Lake area was tagged “The Boonies.”
The name stuck and so now in late April more than 17 Boy Scout troops and nine Cub Packs spend two days trapcing
gathering of scouts marked it 10th anniversary with 17 Boy Scout troops and nine Cub Packs attracting more than 300.
“The hikes are just way more fun when there’s more scouts,” said Hanft, a leader for the past 16 years. “Anytime we can get these kids outside, around a campfire, carrying a backpack and finding their way on some muddy trail miles from a road it becomes a sense of accomplishment.”