Day Hike in Harriman State Park

Yesterday Alex an I went on a day hike with the boy scouts in Harriman State Park.
We took a loop from Lake Skannatati and visited Pine Swamp Mine and Hogencamp Mine. The hike started at about 9:30 from the parking lot and we walked up towards Pine Swamp Mine from there. It was a bit overcast and muggy as we started out but by the time we stopped for lunch on top of Hogencamp Mountain it was nice and sunny and breezy. It was a good hike and everyone had a good time.
Here is a link to the hike description.

Our Hiking Crew

Checking out one of the Iron Mines in Harriman.

Backpacking Trip with the Boy Scouts

This past weekend Alex and I went backpacking in Harriman State Park with the Boy Scouts (Troop 888).  It was a great experience to hike 4 miles into the woods with your gear on your back and set up a campsite.  We hiked around Pine Meadow Lake and found a nice clearing to camp by around 2pm on Saturday.  We had set up camp and explored a bit before setting our sights on making our dinner and relaxing around the campfire.  Everyone brought a different type of ‘backpacking meal’ from simple soups, to MRE’s (Meals Ready to Eat), to Freeze Dried meals that you just add hot water to.  We had a lot of fun tasting and trying all the different foods, and the boys enjoyed sitting by the lake.  It was different from “car camping” in the sense that you had to bring everything you would need in your backpack, where as in a regular campsite you could always go to your car for an extra blanket or that nice big cooler full of ice and drinks.  Here we actually had to filter fresh water from the lake to use for drinking and cooking.  And everything we packed had to be as light as possible to keep the weight of the backpacks down.  As it was, when we were packing for the trip Alex had weighed both our packs and his weighed in at 40lbs, and mine came in at 35lbs!  That’s a lot of weight to carry.  After spending a night in the woods we packed up our camp and hiked another 3.5 miles back out Sunday morning.  Our hike out brought us up and over Diamond Mountain where we got a great view of the park and even a little bit of the NYC skyline off in the distance.  It was a lot of fun and we both can’t wait to do it again soon.

Memorial Weekend

We participated in several events over the Memorial Day weekend for Scouts.  The first was on Memorial Day, Nicholas, Paula and I all marched in the Smithtown Memorial Day parade as part of the Cub Scouts.  And then Alex marched with his Middle School Marching Band.  It was perfect weather and everyone enjoyed themselves.

Then on June 1st, we all participated in Flag Retrieval out at Calverton National Cemetery.

Pinewood Derby

Cub Scout Pack 326 celebrated it’s annual Pinewood Derby at Accompsett Elementary School on Friday night.
Every Cub Scout gets an opportunity to build and race their own car, and this year Nicholas placed in the top 3 finishers for his rank! He was very excited. His car was designed to be a tank, and I think it turned out really good. He and I worked on it over the course of a few weekends.
Some of the other cars that were built included rockets, dragsters, and even a package of BACON!

Camp Yawgoog

Alex and I spent last week up in Rhode Island at a Boy Scout Camp called Camp Yawgoog. It was a great experience for the both of us. Alex got to work on some Merit Badges for Scouts and he got to enjoy the outdoors with his friends. The camp was really amazing, each scout troop had their own camp site with either tents or lean-to’s or a combination of both. The boys were assigned daily chores and responsibilities. For example one day Alex was in charge of cleaning the latrines for our troop. Another day he was the waiter at the table in the mess hall. The Merit Badges he worked on were, Environmental Science, Rifle Shooting, Small Boat Sailing and Fishing. Each day he had a to attend a class session for each badge and in some cases he actually had homework to do back at camp. One day he and I got to take a sailing dinghy out on the water to do some sailing. We both had a great time and can’t wait to get the chance to go back next year.

Whitewater Rafting Trip

This past weekend Alex and I went whitewater rafting with his Boy Scout Troop. The trip was on the Lehigh River in Pennsylvania at a place called Whitewater Challengers. This was our second time going on this outing and once again we had an awesome time. The weather was perfect and the river was great, albeit a little cold (water temp 50°) but we were able to rent wetsuits to help keep us warm.
There were 5 of us in the raft and our troop had about 4 rafts in total. The guides followed around us in their own kayaks and they helped by telling us where to go and how to avoid trouble. The rapids where considered to be Class II and Class III which for the most part was fun and exciting without much danger. Of course at one point we got tangled up with another raft who was stuck on a large rock and our entire crew was dumped out of our raft. Thank goodness we had life jackets on. Alex, myself and another boy were rescued by another raft while a guide rescued the other boy and his father. The guide then had to bail out our raft and somehow link back up with us again so we could all get back in it. It sure was exciting!

Cubs for Cubs Outing

We recently spent the day out at Baiting Hollow Scout camp where they had their annual Cubs for Cubs event. It was a day of fun and activities for all the Cub Scouts, and this year the Boy Scouts were out there as well for their Spring Camporee. So, while Nicholas was having fun with his Cub Scouts, Alex was also enjoying the day with his Boy Scout Troop.
This year the theme of Cub for Cubs was Medieval Times, so our Pack put together a great booth. It was a giant cardboard castle that was a bean bag toss. If you got the bean bag into the right hole it would drop the drawbridge. In addition to the booths that each Cub Scout Pack had to man, they also had a group of people who reenact what life was like during that time. They showed how they made armor and how they fought. They demonstrated cooking, weaving and leather craft as well. It was a long day but everyone had a great time.

Boy Scouts Winter Camporee

This past weekend I had the pleasure to attend the Winter Camporee with my son Alex out at Baiting Hollow Scout Camp. The weather was very “wintery” as it snowed and the temperatures were in the mid twenties all day. However, despite the cold we both had a great time. There were stations that the boys had to go around to and complete tasks in order to get clues to a puzzle. Some of the stations included using a two man saw to cut a log, or learning how to use a bear bag to secure your food while camping. I helped out at the fire building station. The boys would have to use whatever tools they carried to start a fire. There were quite a lot of resourceful Scouts and almost all of them were able to get a small fire started.
Afterwards they participated in a sled race. The scouts were sent out on a mile long route across the campground. They had to pull a sled while one scout rode along in the sled. The boys were really out of breath when they returned but they had a good time.
Here are a few pictures from the adventure.

Finished Pinewood Derby Car

Last night Nicholas and I completed his Pinewood Derby car.  We put on the wheels and made sure they were aligned.  Then we added graphite for lubrication to make the wheels nice and fast.  The weigh in is this Saturday and the Derby is Friday 01/27/2012.  We can’t wait to see how his car performs.