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Super Senior: Arle Lohof preps Scouts for 100-mile canoe trip

Posted at 5:30 AM, Aug 07, 2023

In just a few days, 84-year-old Arle Lohof will lead a group of nearly 10 scouts on a 100-mile canoe trip down the Missouri River.

The group will drop in at Fort Benton and get off at the Fred Robinson bridge, spending four nights on the banks of the river along the way.

For Lohof, the excursion just feeds her passion for the outdoors.

"I've always just been outside," Lohof said. "I love being outside."

The Chinook native said she grew up skiing and hiking, but that over the years, she's developed a favorite.

"Canoeing is slow," Lohof said. "You take your time and that's really nice, and a good thing for me."

Arle on the Missouri

That love is why Lohof got involved in this canoe trip more than 40 years ago. Every other summer since she's taken a group of Scouts on the voyage.

"It's just great fun and besides, it's beautiful," Lohof said. "It's great to be out in the wilderness. Every stop we make is where Lewis and Clark stopped and so the kids get to learn a little bit as well."

But it isn't just history the Scouts will be learning. Lohof said the trip can teach them a lot about life, both the good parts and the bad.

"It's just great to be out, enjoying the outside or maybe not enjoying the outside," Lohof said. "When the bugs are bad or the hiking is hard, it can be difficult. But that's life. They learn to deal with any eventuality."

Lohof took the Scouts to Lake Elmo last week to prepare for the journey. Many of those going on the trip are girls, something that is extra special for Lohof who as a teen never had a chance to go on a trip like the ones she now leads.

"We got comments early saying how much they appreciated me getting girls out," Lohof said. "I've always said, 'Every little girl wants to be a Boy Scout.'"

Scouts on the water

Lohof's experience with Scouts first began when she married her husband. He was a troop leader for years until their kids graduated high school. Lohof said that's when she knew it was her turn to explore.

"Once our last kid had moved out and gone to college, that's when it became my turn to play," Lohof said. "I just love being outdoors with kids. It's the best way for them to learn."

When asked if her favorite part was the relationships, the memories, or the outdoors, Arle couldn't decide.

"All of the above," Lohof said. "I just love it."

Lohof said she understands that being involved in Scouts for this long is somewhat unique.

"I've found that an awful lot of adults don't want to do that kind of stuff," Lohof said. "I guess they think they've outgrown it? Well, I never outgrew it."

And she doesn't plan on growing out of it anytime soon.

"I'll know when to stop," Lohof said. "When I can't do it, then I'll stop. Until that time happens, I'll just keep going."