Our 1999 Trip Reports

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Mill City Gym - Indoor Rock Climbing Trip Report

Mount Monandnock - Mountain Climbing and Campout Trip Report

Our 1999 Boy Scout Summer Camp Week

Mead Wilderness Base - High Adventure Trip Report

Roll On America - Roller Skating and Laser Tag Trip Report

Wapack Trail - Mountain Climbing and Campout Trip Report

Mill City Gym - Indoor Rock Climbing Trip Report

On Thursday, April 22, 1999, we went indoor rock climbing at the Mill City Rock Climbing Gym in Dracut, Massachusetts. We left our town at 6:20 PM and arrived at the Gym just after 7 PM. It took about 30 minutes to register all the scouts and have equipment issued. The cost per scout, over 13 was $15 each. This included Admission, a pair of climbing shoes, a climbing harness, a chalk bag, a belay device and a locking carabiner, plus basic lessons in climbing knots, using the harnesses, climbing and belaying. You need a group of at least 10 to get this group discount.

Our three youngest Scouts, who just crossed over from Webelos, started off by practicing Free Climbing in "The Cave", which is actually a room that has hand and foot holds on all the walls and ceiling. A few expert Free Climbers showed our Scouts how to climb walls and across the ceiling without any ropes. The experts climbed across the ceiling and right out of the doorway of the cave and up the wall of the adjoining room. It was most amazing to watch. Kind of like seeing "Spiderman" in real life.

The main room has about a thirty-five foot ceiling and all the walls are covered with hand and foot holds. There are ropes hanging from the ceiling along each wall that the Scouts tie into and climb up with. Each Scout had a buddy that stayed on the ground and worked with them to take up the slack in the rope as they climbed up the walls. If a climber slipped and fell off the wall they were safely held by the rope and their buddy who belayed them. They could then regain their foot/hand hold and continue to climb or be safely lowered to the floor (belayed). Our older Scouts and Leaders took turns belaying everyone. Our Scouts loved this activity because for over two hours they climbed everything in sight. When we were leaving the Scouts were begging us to bring them back the following week, that's how much they liked it. On the way home from the gym we stopped at McDonalds in North Chelmsford where the Scouts feasted on the largest meals they could get. It was like they had never been feed, they really built a big appetite from their workout. This was a great outing for Scouts of all ages and should be considered as a good trip during any of the winter months.

Mount Monadnock - Mountain Climbing and Campout Trip Report

On Saturday, April 24, 1999, to Sunday, April 25th, we went on a campout and mountain climbing trip to Mount Monadnock in Jaffery, New Hampshire. Mt. Monadnock is a mecca for hikers and one of the most hiked mountains in the world. Mt. Monadnock offers 40 miles of hiking trails, many going up its 3,165 foot summit. The peak offers spectacular views of six states. On a clear day you can even the Boston skyline. The 360 degree view of the New England states is one of reason why this mountain is so popular with hikers.

We stayed at Boy Scout Camp Wanocksett which is loacted at the foot of the mountain. The cost of this trip was only $10 per Scouts and included their camping fee, two meals (supper and snacks Saturday night and breakfast Sunday morning), plus an icecream reward, at nearby Kimball's Farm, that they got right after they climbed the mountain.

Our trip began at 7 AM on Saturday morning with Scouts ranging in age from 10.5 to 18 years old. We arrrived at camp, unloaded our gear at the "Big Souix" campsite by 9 AM. At around 9:30 AM, we grabbed our day backpacks and bag lunches and started up the mountain’s trail. We climbed the Birchtoft (Red Dot) Trail from the pond at the base of the mountain and went up to the Cascade Links Trail. The Birchtoft Trail is somewaht of a gentle roller coaster. We followed the Cascade Links Trail about 1/2 a mile. This trail is somewhat flat along this section. We passed the junction of the Red Dot Trail, which claims to be the fastest route up the mountain, with a distance of 2.5 miles round trip to the summit. We went 1/4 mile onward to get to the Spellman Trail. The weather was perfect, clear cool, sunny and partially windy. This time of the year (Spring), the underbrush has not grown in yet, so visibility from the mountain was great and finding trails was really easy. Up we went onto Spellman. After 10 yards, the Scouts hit the first uphill run. It ran for about 100 yards of tumbled rock and boulders, which they scrambled up and over easily. About 300 yards later we hit the wall. This section climbs about 700 feet at about a 50 degree angle for the next 1/4 mile. Then hits the Pumpelly Trail on the ridge 100 yards later. We stopped for lunch at the top of the ridge to catch our breath, have drinks and eat our bag lunch. At this point we had already been hiking and climbing for about 2.5 hours. The trail to the summit was extremely windy above the tree line this day, but the visibility was very clear. We stayed for about 30 minutes on the summit waiting for the group to catch-up. Originally we planned on going down the Smith Trail and coming back along the Marlboro Trail, but by now it was near 1:30 PM. We decided tit was best to head down and get out of the stiff wind, so we took the White Cross Trail back down instead of trying to head into the wind and find the Red Dot Trail again.

The White Cross Trail was very trying. We were climbing down, but time was not on our side. The younger Scouts were showing signs of fatigue, and the older Scouts kept forging ahead at a jack rabbits pace. At the bottom of the White Cross, we told the older Scouts to go ahead and when they got back to begin setting up tents and gathering firewood. As it turns out the White Cross Trail is about 1/4 mile from the State Park parking lot. We realized we should have had a car there so we could have evacuated the tired. As it turned out we went back to the Cascade Links Trail and I do mean back up. This trail had a long upgrade and then the last 1/2 mile of it was a steep climb along rocks to the Birchtoft Trail. There were still about another 2.5 miles to go to get back to the road that we started from near Wannocksett from this point. We all made it back to camp at around 4 PM, finished setting up tents and began cooking our evening meal. The temperature that night was about 40 degrees F, but because of he strong wind it felt more like 30 degrees F.

This is definitely a repeat trip worth doing again. But in the future everyone should bring extra warm clothing, hats, gloves and more blankets, even if it is sunny and warm back at home, because it get much colder up in the woods of New Hampshire. Our Scouts really felt like they had accomplished something and were proud of the fact that they had climbed Mount Monandnock the second most climbed mountain in the world and that they had hiked over 10 miles. They were very impressed and excited by the fantastic view they had from the summit, saying that they could see all the way to the skyscrapers in Boston. Wow what a view !!!

Our 1999 Boy Scout Summer Camp Week

Summer camp this year ran from July 3rd to July 10th, seven days and six nights. We went to Camp Wanocksett which is owned and operated by the Nashua Valley Boy Scout Council. The camp is located on a lake at the base of Mount Monandnock in Jaffrey, New Hampshire.

This year we had three older scouts who came because they had heard about a new high adventure program offered by one of the camp staff. To be in this new program you have to fourteen or older and be at least a First Class rank. Any qualified Scouts in camp were welcome to attend and sign-up. They can drop the course anytime during the week, but sign up is only on Sunday (the first day of that week’s summer camp session).

The high adventure program began on Sunday evening, when the Scouts met with the counselor-in-charge. The Scouts chose to try mountain biking, rock climbing and the new COPE course. The COPE course was set up by the counselor. This COPE course is run in two parts. It starts with an 80+ event (Low COPE Course) and wraps up with a 330-ft long zip-line that is 65 feet up in the air (High COPE Course). The older Scouts had a blast and loved the zip-line!

The younger scouts attended the “Brown Sea Program,” which helps them work on their advancement for their Tenderfoot, Second Class and First Class Rank Badges. They also had ample time to work on merit badges in a variety of subjects. Most of the younger Scouts earned 3 or 4 merit badges as well as completing requirements for their three badges.

Two highlights of our summer camp week were:

The Scouts built a Log Friction Bridge, which is made by lashing logs and tree limbs with twine and rope. The base of the bridge is held together by friction, that’s why it’s called a friction bridge. Our bridge became the main entrance to our Troop’s campsite and all visitors had to cross it to get into our campsite. (Photographs of our bridge can be seen in our web site’s Photo Album.) Our bridge was so strong and sturdy that it supported the weight of our entire troop membership, including the adults! Our Pioneering Project won Troop 1 the “First Place Troop Campsite Of The Week Award,” which was the coveted “Golden Broom Award” for their effort. Our Scouts were mighty proud of this award and carried it around with them the entire time.

Down on the waterfront, on Friday night, there was a lot of excitement. There were Scouts from all over camp, who were working on their “Space Exploration” merit badge, including one of our troops youngest Scouts. As part of this merit badge the Scouts built Estes model rockets and launched them out over the lake. There were about twenty scouts in this merit badge course who had quite a bit of fun shouting out the launch countdowns and watching the blastoffs. Most of the rockets were retrieved from the lake by Scouts in canoes, but a few unfortunate ones sunk and were lost. So was the plight of our youngest Scout’s model rocket which was lost at sea. (A photos of our Scout holding his model rocket and blasting it off can be seen in our web site's Photo Album.)

Mead Wilderness Base - High Adventure Trip Report

This high adventure trip took place on August 1-6, 1999. We took eleven Boy Scouts on this trip at a cost of $205 per Scout. Which covered their expenses, including food, except for a lunch at McDonald's on the way home. This was a combination rock climbing and canoeing adventure in the wilderness of New Hampshire.

Our Scouts had a great time, a really great time!!! We got to Parker Mountain Base Camp in Barnstead, NH about 3:30 PM on Sunday. After registration, we did the usual check-in stuff, like swim test (even though one would assume ALL candidates could swim as we had signed on for a canoeing trip). We met our trip guides and proceeded to go through our gear to leave redundant stuff behind at Parker and pick up the climbing helmets, harnesses and ropes we would need for the first leg of the trip.

After dinner, we packed up and left for the old base camp in Sandwich, which is in the Southern corner of the White Mountain National Forest. We were one of three groups stationed there.

After Monday breakfast (cous-cous), we got a really through run down on what to do, and how to use and maintain our climbing equipment and ropes. We hiked half a mile from the base camp to a really cold waterfall area where we paused for a brief swim. We had a one-mile hike to reach our first climbing area in the Sandwich Notch area. When we got there, we set up two routes for the first day, which were generally rated as 5.12 - 5.14, which means they were on the difficult side to climb. Our scouts persevered and tried both routes with some measure of success. Success in a climb is an individual thing, some people climb so far and say I’ve done enough and I’m satisfied. Others want to make it to the peak to get their feeling of successful.

We refreshed ourselves, after a long day of climbing, under the waterfall on the way back and took swim in the catch basin below it.

That evening, after dinner, we played a monster game of Ultimate Frisbee with the other groups and decided to try for an evening swim at the waterfall area to cool off before bed. Man, were we exhausted!

On Tuesday morning we set out again for the Sandwich Notch area to find another site to try and climb. This time we set up three routes, which were rated about 5.8-5.9. One route had a really tough slanted crack, which five of the scouts tried and three made it to the top. We had a really great day of trying these routes and the scouts kept rooting for each other to stick it out. Amazingly enough we had NO INJURIES (Whew).

We hit the waterfall on the way back and had another awesome game of Ultimate Frisbee after dinner, followed by another refreshing cool down. Not all of the kids went for the waterfall after Frisbee, but I figured it was better to be cool and clean rather than getting into a sleeping bag all sweaty.

The weather was great, clear and sunny with temperatures in the high 70s. Many of the scouts decided to sleep under the stars even though we had Adironacks to sleep in. Of course these Adironacks have plywood bunks, so if you didn't have a sleeping pad it was rough sleeping on the hard wood.

We left the Sandwich Notch area on Wednesday morning for Squam Lake. We reached the lake and started paddling our canoes sometime after lunch and we proceeded across the lake. This is a gorgeous lake with lots of cottages and homes along the shoreline. We rested at Moon Island, took a swim and had lunch. This is one of two islands setup by the Squam Lake Association where you can camp and picnic, and it even has a latrine!

Our first lake campsite was at Koening Point, a private area whose owner lets Mead groups setup there. It has a lean-to on the rocky shoreline and a latrine that featured a Moon roof! The water was nice and warm, and extremely clear. You could see out for about 25 feet from the shoreline. It rained for the first time during our trip at around 1:30 AM. Nobody really got that wet, so it never became a real problem.

On Thursday we set off to explore the other islands on the lake before heading towards the pullout campsite area. We wanted to stop at a place called "Jumping Rock" for a swim, but a storm was passing overhead , so we didn't feel like being on the water in aluminum canoes during it. The campsite area was OK, but it was too close to a Loon nesting area and we couldn't get to the water easily, so after dinner, we hung around the campsite.

On Friday, we packed it up and went to Parker Mountain.

The scouts had a really great time and most of them not only want to go back again, but next year they want to try Sea Kayaking instead of lake canoeing. When we go back again we hope that we get the same guides again because they did an exceptionally fine job!

In terms of success, I'd say this was a winner! We didn’t have any fights or squabbles between any of the Scouts during the whole trek. Our high adventure crew really pulled together to make it a wonderful experience. I think that the fact that most our scouts had been camping together for about six years helped that aspect a great deal.

Most of Mead's high adventure programs begin at age 13. (Kayaking and Scuba have a 14-year old age requirement).

Our crew consisted of two 14 year olds, two 18 year olds, and the rest were 15 to 16 year olds. A good mix of age groups.

One thing we all learned during this trip was the fine art of rolling our clothes up into tight bundles and putting them into zip-loc bags, which is a really great way to keep things tight and compact, and neat and dry on a trip like this.

Photos of this trip can be seen in our web site's Photo Album


Roll On America - Roller Skating and Laser Tag Trip Report

On Thursday, 11-4-99, we took a trip to “Roll on America” which is a roller skating rink, arcade and Laser Storm (Laser Tag) facility in Leominster, MA.

Six adult Scout Leaders took twenty-one Boy Scouts and second year Webelos Cub Scouts (our guests) out for a night of fun and games. We roller skated, played arcade games, played two games of Laser Tag, and had a pizza and soda party.

The laser tag equipment consists of a vest, a set of stereo headphones and a gun with infrared sensors. The guns send out a beam of infrared light, just like a TV handheld remote control. When the beam of light contacts the front of another players gun or headphones it causes a tag to be recorded and sounds an alarm in the headphones. The laser tag game is a two team game played in a large room that’s painted black, has black-lights and glowing artwork. Much of the vest, headphones and gun are painted in bright colors so they glow under the black-lights too. Players hide behind objects in the room and try to tag each other with their light guns. Tags are recorded during the timed game and the team with the most tags wins.

Our Troop Committee Chairman said, “I thought that the Laser tag game would be kind of geeky,” but after coming out of the Laser Storm room he was all smiles and proclaimed, “Wow, that was great, I loved it! It was more fun than I would have guessed. I’m looking forward to the next game!” So even our adult leaders liked playing Laser Tag as much as the boys did.

The cost of this trip was only $10 per Scout, which covered two games of Laser Tag, a Pizza party and large pitchers of soda (Coke). Roller skating, was optional, with an additional rental fee of $1.75 for standard roller skates or $3.25 for Rollerblades or you save money bring your own skates. The Scouts all paid for their own arcade games as could be expected. We didn’t have to pay an admission charge on the night we went because it was “Scout Night.” Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts get in for FREE on the first Thursday each month, so this saves you money. The facility opens at 6PM and closes at 8:30PM on this night. So we had all our Scouts home early for school the next day.

All our Scouts and Leaders had a great time and would recommend a trip here with your Pack or Troop.

Wapack Trail - Mountain Climbing and Campout Trip Report

On the weekend of November 11-12, 1999, fourteen Boy Scouts and five adult Scout Leaders braved the wilds of Southern New Hampshire to hike the Wapack mountain trail. Saturday was an incredibly warm and mild day on the mountain. The temperature rose to nearly 70 degrees, which is just about unheard of in November!! This was also overnight campout. We stayed at Camp Split Rock, which is a Cub Scout Camp during the summer months that is owned and operated by our Nashua Valley Boy Scout Council.

The troop hiked the southern half of the Wapack Trail. We started our trek at the WindBlown Cross-Country Ski Center in New Ipswich, New Hampshire and ended approximately 10 miles away at Mt. Watatic in Ashburnham, Massachusetts.

Mr. Dave Gehly, the Scoutmaster, split the Troop up into two hiking teams, the Jackrabbits and the Turtles. This way the faster hikers weren't slowed down much by the turtles. The Jackrabbits managed to finish their trek about forty-five minutes before the turtle team.

The hike was great. We hiked about 1 - 1/2 miles across Ski Center property before we got to the first obstacle. A 400 foot climb with no switchbacks! Boy, were we tired at the summit. The next 6 miles were along the ridgeline, and the temperature was fantastic, warm and mostly sunny. The leaders made sure we drank a little water during each break, so that we didn’t get dehydrated and run into problems.

Most of us had lunch on Pratt Mountain, from which we had a beautiful view of Mt. Monadnock and westward to the rolling hills of Vermont. Mr. Gehly wasn't quite sure where he was, when he and his turtle team stopped for lunch.

The last major hurtle we faced was coming down off the ridgeline. We had to climb down a 350 foot drop, which was spread out over a half a mile. With dead leaf's under-foot it was pretty tuff climb down. Mr. Gehly and Mr. Sewell used walkie-talkies to communicate between the two teams throughout the hike. They commented on who had cleared the trail off so nicely for the turtle team.

We met two other hiking groups along the trail, who were out enjoying the beautiful weather as well. The jackrabbit team was made up of many of our Scouts who are planning to go to Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico in 2001. So these Scouts were all required to carry their personal gear in backpacks during this hike. Most of their backpacks weighed in at around fifteen pounds.

Everyone was a tad tired by the time they reached the state line and decided not to climb up Mt. Watatic. They were content with their accomplishments that day, so they decided to return to camp for the day. They also made this decision for safety reasons, it was getting late in the day and they didn’t want to stuck up on the trail at dusk.

We only had one case of foot blisters, but that was due to the use of the dreaded COTTON SOCK. Next time, that hobbling Scout will know better. At the end of the trail we car pooled back to Camp Spilt Rock, so our very tired hikers finally got to rest their feet.

At Camp Split Rock we stayed in Adirondack cabins (a roof with three walls). The cabins originally had four bunks in them, but we made do, by squeezed five adult leaders into one, and six of the older Scouts into another one.

For dinner that night we made home-made-chili and hot dogs, which we served at around 6 PM. Mr. Gehly tried to make a fruit cobbler in the Dutch Oven, but had forgotten to add liquid and butter to the cake mix topping, so it came out mushy. By morning most of the cobbler was gone.

It rained around 8 PM and got really intense for a few hours. The majority of the Troop was fast asleep by 8:30 PM. That's has to be a new record!

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