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was complete. And thanks to a night of hard work and the rhythmic pulse of raindrops, sleep was hard to resist.

AT DAWN, SEVERAL TENTS showed the effects of the night’s unrelenting rain. Lines that had been guitar-string tight on Friday night sagged on Saturday morning. A few boys discovered small puddles inside their tents, but no one grumbled. Everyone crowded the

space under the two dining flies to stay dry during break- fast. Patrol boxes and stoves formed the perimeter of one dining area, while the other was crowded with camp chairs. The adults found time to toast English muffins with cheese and what had been mislabeled as sausage patties. They were actually the ham- burger patties for that night’s dinner. Oh, well. The older guys filled

up on oatmeal, while the younger ones went with some “don’t tell Mom” fare: chocolate Pop-Tarts and sour-cream-and-onion potato chips. Yum. The 71st edition of the pilgrimage began early Saturday morning, and Troop 88 arrived at the Mount Rushmore National Monument on time at 8 a.m. There they joined other troops in what became a colorful sea of rain gear. Heads poked out of oversize garbage bags, translucent ponchos billowed in the breeze, and water beaded off of an orange-and-black nylon Harley-Davidson motor- cycle suit (the famous Sturgis Harley rally takes place about an hour from where they were standing). Troops rode in a shuttle

to the monument site for the awards ceremony before hiking one of four routes

back to their campsites. Each route is named for one of the presidents whose images have been preserved in granite: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Troop 88’s assigned route: Theodore Roosevelt. The longest path is 15 miles; the shortest seven. Troops rotate so that after four years of making the trip, boys will have hiked every trail and received all four segments of the pilgrimage patch to prove it. When the event began

in 1938, workers were still carving Teddy Roosevelt. And just like seven decades of young men before them, 450 Scouts from four states gath- ered to celebrate Scouting in their area. By kick-off time for the

awards ceremony, the rain and fog had dissipated enough so that the leaders and Scouts could get a clearer view of the presidential faces. When offi-


Acting senior patrol leader Chris Morgan, left, listened as Scoutmaster Jerzak gave a few tips on how to set up a dining fly in the dark. For the most part, though, Jerzak was a silent observer, letting the boys solve minor problems on their own.

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