July 8, 2014 at 8:55 PM
On Sunday, June 29, ten Venture Crew Scouts and three Assistant Scoutmasters from Troop 8 in Chatham boarded vans headed to the South Taconic Trails for a Northeast Backpacking adventure. The South Taconic Trails border the states of Massachusetts, New York, and Connecticut and include part of the Appalachian Trail.
All in all, the Troop 8 Venture Crew NE Backpacking Taconics Trek took us to 3 states along the Appalachian Trail, hiking close to 20 miles to summits over 2,000 feet in elevation at steep grades; offered amazing views; and gave us a true sense of what we can do when we apply the life skills learned through the Boy Scouts of America.
At the site, each crew member had a specific job to do, so we set up camp tents and a dining fly, prepared the bear bags to be lifted into the trees, purified our drinking water, set up the backpacking stove, and cooked dinner. Our meals for the week were MREs (dehydrated food ) which were prepared by adding hot purified water.
The second day of the Trek started bright and early with us breaking down camp and repacking our gear for a pre-breakfast 1.5-mile hike up to the top of Mount Alander (elevation 2,250 feet). When we arrived at the summit, we treated ourselves to oatmeal and beautiful views before setting off on our longest hike of the Trek (8 more miles) to the highest peak in Connecticut: Mount Frissell (elevation 2,380 feet), to Round Mountain, and to the Appalachian Trail. We hiked in three different states that day which was the most challenging part of the Trek, but it was also the most rewarding. On the way to the campsite at the end of Day 2, we had to cross Sages Ravine on a fallen tree bridge, which was harrowing.
After a fitful sleep, the third day was more of a fun , rest day than anything else. We hiked 1.5 miles on the Appalachian Trail to Laurel Ridge where we set up camp and swam in Bear Rock Falls. The water was chilly but refreshing!
Day four had us up early and ready for another challenging day with a hike of 3.5 miles and the steepest of our climbs with a 40 degree grade up to the summit of Mount Race (elevation 2,365 feet) and onward to Mount Everett (elevation 2,602 feet). Along the trail, I met a fellow Eagle Scout who I nicknamed Kris Kringle for his full white beard and hearty laugh. Rain, thunder, and lightning had us seeking shelter at Hemlocks lean-to until the storm passed. Once the rain stopped, we continued hiking to Glenn Brook to set up camp for the night.
Our final day of the Trek had us hiking 3.5 miles back to the Trail Head at Mount Washington Forest Headquarters. Once we cleaned up and changed into fresh clothes, we were rewarded with our T8 Venture Crew NE Backpacking Taconics Trek t-shirts, which we will wear with pride.
Author’s Note: The Members of the Crew (in alphabetical order) were Rodrigo Alarcon, Peter Duffy, Trey Helman, Tim Higgins, Patrick McAuliffe, Ryan Mayes, Bradley Rindos, Quinn Tomaro, Adam Verrill, and Andrew Ziegler. The Assistant Scout Masters (in alphabetical order) were Albert Tomaro, Mark Twentyman, and Adam Verrill.
The author is an Eagle Scout with Troop 8 in Chatham and a rising junior at CHS.