Last month Great Neck Boy Scout Troop 10 successfully completed a backpacking trip in Harriman State Park over a beautiful, although initially misty, fall weekend.
The scouts prepared for this event during the preceding troop meetings. Older scouts taught the younger scouts the proper use of and safety practices for lightweight stoves. They taught them how to pack efficiently as they had to carry everything, including the tents and their food and cooking equipment on their backs as they camped out overnight.
16 scouts hiked about 3.7 miles starting with the Appalachian Trail. They had lunch at the Lemon Squeezer. They then continued and found their shelter on the Ramapo-Dunderberg trail after climbing to several viewpoints and enjoying vistas of valleys and fall foliage.
Several of the boys hiked further and back to the site without backpacks to complete their five mile hiking requirement for rank advancement, using their baseplate compasses and topographic maps, which had been reviewed previously at the troop meetings, to navigate the terrain and the trails without getting lost. They became familiar with the trail marker system.
Three scouts who were involved with the PSATs in the morning came up and hiked a shorter route in from the different parking lot. They brought extra water because although the scouts had brought water filters, they anticipated that the stream would be dried up.
Three scout patrols, one older boy patrol, and one adult patrol each cooked one pot meals on lightweight stoves. Cleanup was minimal.
They slept well on the mountain, and arose just before dawn and had hot oatmeal for breakfast. After policing the area for any traces of their presence they backpacked out by the short route, 1.5 miles.