Sunday, April 5, 2009

AT Hike - Race Mountain

What a hike! After moving the start of the hike from Friday night to Saturday morning to avoid possible thunderstorms, Troop 137 went full gusto right into snow squalls and rain, oh yeah! The morning hike was great, the boys made great time and managed to stay mostly dry. The scouts broke for a long lunch break around 11:15 and hung out in the beautiful Sages Ravine, right along the stream. What a view!

After lunch, the hike paralleled the stream for about a mile, when suddenly the trail crossed the stream. Well, sort of crossed, it was more like the trail went through the stream. The stepping stones for crossing were about 6 inches under water! Their really is only one way to hike in these conditions - march on through and the boys did so in great spirits! Trying to find another way, rarely yields positive results and can result in injury from slipping on wet logs or dealing with another hazard. Wet feet and boots are easily dried.

Next up, a tease of sun, then a steady light snow! The hike up Race Mountain was gradual, but slow as the long day wore on. Just as they got to the 180 degree view from the ledges of Race Mt, the clouds totally enveloped the scouts and the only view was snow in the face! They hiked on along the ridge line and the higher they went, the shorter the trees became. The boys walked a long ridge-line and over the summit of Race Mountain through a beautiful alpine forest, where the trees were all of about 3 feet high and lightly sprinkled with snow - gorgeous! In fact, the varied terrain offered a beautiful mix of pine stands, deciduous trees waiting for spring, awesome streams and water falls. What a place!

On any trip, how many times do parents hear, 'how much further? ... are we almost there?'. Magnify that times 11 and you get a feel for what the end of the hike was like! Finally arriving at camp at 5:30pm, the boys went about setting up their tents, breaking out dry clothes and sleeping bags, and crawling inside for warmth. Suddenly they were all happy again. Leaving one brave scout, Adam B., and the adults to start a fire and cook dinner, the boys got warm and waited for dinner to be ready. They crawled out for 5 minutes, ate, and back in the tents they went. Who can blame them. The adults huddled around the fire they took so long to build out of the cold wet logs and headed to their tents at half past hiker midnight - 9:30pm. What a day.

The wind howled all night, sleep was fit-full, but somehow listening to the wind was quite magical when you are bundled up in your tent. What wasn't quite as magical was waking up to a dusting of snow on the ground in the morning! After a quick cold breakfast, the camp was packed and the boys headed down the trail to complete the journey.

Finally, the weather turned and the boys had a partial view to the east at one lookout, giving them a tease for what they missed on top the day before. The real treat was walking along race brook and after a long switchback, standing at the base of a huge waterfall - what a treat.

A short while later as they continued down the mountain, the sun suddenly broke through and the boys had to stop and de-layer. A beautiful day ensued. Snow and dampness became a distant memory as the boys began talking about the great hike and how they would like to come back here again... when the weather is much dryer and warmer, of course!

The boys had a great hike and showed tremendous perseverance in the face of adversity - a great lesson for all.

Sunday, March 15, 2009


The skiers arrive...

This way up...

On top of the world...

Break time!

Fun stuff!

Home for the weekend...


Sunday, February 22, 2009

Clear Lake Cabin Trip

The boys had an awesome Cabin Trip weekend at Clear Lake, Putnam, NY. A favorite camping spot for the troop, this BSA Scout Camp offers a variety of tent sites, cabins, backpacking, hiking, and general outdoor fun. On the annual winter cabin trip, the boys get to experience winter hiking, while sleeping in the warm indoors. This year's trip was exceptional as not only was the hiking scenic and fun, but the ice was a foot thick and they got to hike across the lake.

Normally, the boys do not bring electronics for their weekend adventures, but with the long winter nights the boys bring entertainment options like movies, music and video games. The competition is good light-hearted fun and the noise level is something to behold! They sure had a great time!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Battleship 137 Rockets into Klondike History!

The 5 boys and 3 adults had an excellent Klondike experience, Saturday January 17, where Adam B., Peter D., David M., Evan O., and Mike V. boarded Battleship 137 for a chilly, winter wonderland adventure. After scoring 100% for required equipment at check-in, the boys shoved off for a whirlwind 9-station, 5-point per station, tour where they scored 36 out of a possible 45 points. Considering that the 5th point at each station was a discretionary bonus point based on the judges thoughts on the patrol's efforts, they boys did very, very well. The final tally was three perfect 5s, three 4s, and 3 threes. Great job boys!

* After watching the previous troop miss the 50-foot safety rope toss about 50 times, Adam B. connected on his first try and the boys pulled Evan O. to safety very quickly! 5 points!
* The boys constructed a tarp liter and carried Evan O. blind-folded around the course for another 5 point score!
* For animal track identification, the boys only reversed two out of nine animal tracks and got the bonus moose track for 5 points! All the boys were very knowledgeable about paw prints. Who knew?

Areas for improvement:
* Fire-building: Nice attempt by Peter D., David M. and Adam B. who had a brief flame going in the 5-minute time limit. It really is easy when you have the right tinder, so we need to brush up on our tinder choices.
* Knot tying: Adam B. saved the day here, but we need to teach all the boys the ropes and how to tie things up in three easy steps: tie, dress, and seat.
* Lashing: Knot tying on steroids, need I say more? Adam B. and David M. did a fine job getting the poles to lash together long enough to carry Mike V. around the track and back to the starting point, where everything fell apart into a pile of laughing boys.

Other fun areas:
* All the boys had fun tipping the scales to finally balance the sled and patrol on the platform beam trick.
* David M. instructed his blind-folded helpers Peter D. and Evan O. to put up a tent within 10 minutes! Great job!
* Mike V. had two near misses in the sling-shot contest and the instructor pointed out his technique for others to follow.

Scout spirit:
* The boys worked hard and fast to earn the Klondike patch, not only for performing the station events, but for showing their team work and scout spirit, which was especially noteworthy on this very cold day.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Great Hollow Redux

Troop 137 backpacked into Great Hollow, covering three trail miles over a mountain and through the woods to the Great Hollow waterfalls they went. They camped, they cooked, they all had a great hollow time.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Historic Gettysburg!

The scouts had a tremendously good time exploring the new Gettysburg National Military Museum and Visitor Center, experiencing the newly preserved Cyclorama, the new film, "A New Birth of Freedom", narated by Morgan Freeman, experiencing the Rememberence Weekend Reenactor Parade, touring the Battlefield and walking past the candlit grave markers at the Gettysburg National Cemetery Evening Memorial.

This was a wonderful example of 'a game with a purpose' as the scouts had a blast and also saw and experienced American history up close and personal.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Camp Sequassen Webelos Weekend

The Camp Sequassen camping trip was an awesome weekend. The boys did a great job leading, teaching and working with the Webelos this weekend. Everyone had a fun time and helped make the trip a success. There are some terrific Webelos crossing over and joining us in the Spring and the boys will have many more leadership opportunities.