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.

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.

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.

Annual Camping Trip

This past weekend we took our annual camping trip. We stayed at the NYS DEC campground “Little Pond” which is in the Catskills in NY. It is a nice place, with well maintained facilities and very picturesque views. This year we chose to camp in a more remote site on the back side of the pond. The site was perfect, nice and quiet and natural. We were situated right up at the edge of the pond and the boys had fun catching fish, and salamanders. Alex spent his time out on the pond in the Kayak and Paula and I just enjoyed the quiet. The only down side was that since it was a remote site all our provisions had to be hiked in. We were about 1/4 mile in from the parking lot so all our gear was carried or wheeled in. And since it was bear season and the rangers had warned us that bears had been seen recently by our site that we should make sure to pack up all our food and put it in the car each night. The weather was a bit of a bummer but we survived and had a good time.

Annual Camping Trip

We just came back from our annual camping trip. This year we went up to Woodland Valley Campground in Phonecia NY. Although it rained a bit, the boys really had a great time. They enjoyed fishing on the Esopus River and just exploring the wooded campground. Due to the weather we didn’t get a chance to do any real hiking but we did go on the Catskill Mountain Railway. I’ll try and get some pictures up when I get a chance.