Troop 305 of Kearny successfully reached the summit of Mt. Washington, the highest peak in the northeast, at 6,288 feet (1,917 meters) on August 6th as the apex of their first annual High Adventure outing from August 4 through August 10, 2018.
The Scouts and leaders hiked through terrain on the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail that varied from loose boulders, gorges, steep drop offs, waterfalls, and treeless rocky trails marked by cairns. This part of their outdoor adventure took a day and a half, including an overnight stay at the picturesque and rustic Lakes of the Clouds Hut at 5,012 feet. The off-the-grid accommodations that sit above the treeline are operated by the Appalachian Mountain Club on one of the faces of Mount Washington in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. In accordance with the Boy Scouts of America’s motto “Be Prepared” Troop 305 planned for the erratic weather on Mount Washington which can change in an instant and turn dangerously windy and cold, even in mid-August. The temperature variance from the base of the mountain to its summit can be 40 degrees. The Scouts packed accordingly, used trekking poles, and carried sufficient water to stave off dehydration during the arduous climb up changing topography. All 10 of the Scouts chaperoned by 7 adult leaders accomplished this feat, the first of this magnitude and altitude for Unit 305, with the additional direction of two professional guides from Northeast Mountaineering. Once the hikers reached the geological summit, they explored the area of Mount Washington State Park.
They toured the Mount Washington Observatory, historic Tip Top House, Sherman Adams Visitor Center, and museum. To descend, the Scouts carried their backpacks aboard the legendary Cog Railway for a scenic ride back down to the base. In addition to climbing Mount Washington, the Scouts and leaders of Troop 305 challenged their orienteering skills by learning survival techniques in mapping, triangulation, and navigation, including using the sun and moon as reference points. After a morning wilderness navigation class, teams hiked up to the ledge of Pinkham Notch. While taking in the breathtaking mountain views, Troop 305 took compass bearings with adjustment for declination, utilizing their newlyhoned orienteering skills to identify various peaks of the wide range of the White Mountains. Teams were challenged to meet at various set locations after bushwhacking through the dense forest and rocky terrain which opened through fields of wildflowers onto grass-covered ski trails of Wildcat Mountain. Ever searching for the elusive moose, a few Scouts found compelling evidence that the moose had passed through the same trail the previous evening. Kearny Scouts / Unit 305 After three days of intense outdoor skills, the Kearny Scouts of Troop 305 earned a day of fun at Whale’s Tale Waterpark in Lincoln, New Hampshire. The Unit then drove back to the Green Meadow Camping Area through the famed scenic byway of the Kancamagus Highway which served as the base camp in Glen, New Hampshire. About half-way back to New Jersey, Troop 305 recouped overnight at Jupiter Point in Groton, Connecticut where they went fishing and crabbing off a dock in the bay of Pine Island. The unusually high tide that evening necessitated a change in plans from camping on the beach at the point to pitching tents on a grassy area with views of the bay on all sides.
The final excursion included a tour of the USS Nautilus (SSN-571), the world’s first nuclear-powered submarine in operation, docked as a museum in Groton, honorably dubbed the “Submarine Capital of the World.” Troop 305 learned about the life and duties of submariners and the production and usage of nuclear-powered submarines in our country’s defense. They also experienced a windshield tour of the Naval Submarine Base New London where the Scouts and leaders dined with submariners in the award-winning SUBASE Cross Hall Galley. The week-long activities of Unit 305’s first annual High Adventure trip took a year to plan as a customized experience in the outdoors. The challenges honed fitness and orienteering skills, encouraged active leadership scenarios, and provided a unique environment for bonding, all while having fun.