Boy Scouts’ 3-Day Backpacking Trek
Submitted by Suzanne Graham
Boy Scouts from Troop 25 went on a spectacular 3-day backpacking adventure in Harriman State Park in April 2021. They hiked a total of 15 miles on difficult terrain with a total elevation gain of 3,500 ft.
Star-ranking Scout Timmy Rauschenberger said he learned a lot on the hike. His favorite part of the hike was his “arrival at camp on Saturday. It was extremely satisfying to finish a very challenging hike, and the sunset was amazing.”
Scouts hiked in with everything they would need for the 3-day trek, including gear, food and water. Each backpack weighed an average of 35-40lbs. They set camp at 2 different sites along the Appalachian Trail. One site was on a cliff overlooking a pond, and the other was on top of a plateau with amazing views. It was a little rainy and foggy both nights but the elevation was so high the second night that they were above the fog and could see for miles.
The Scouts were responsible for setting up their own tent and cooking their own food. Scouts filtered their own water from a stream with pump purifiers. First-class Scout Jack Graham said he enjoyed collecting large pieces of wood for the bonfire. He said they kept the fire burning for at least 3 hours each night.
Scouts followed the BSA “Leave no Trace” policy. Anything they carried in, they carried out. Nothing was left behind. Bear bags (bags used to suspend food in a tree) were hung each evening to avoid animals from entering the campsite.
The trek was part of a training program the Troop put together in order to prepare Scouts for a high adventure camp in New Mexico this Summer, where they’ll hike roughly 80 miles over the course of 11 days in the wilderness. Troop 25 has two 12-person crews that will go to Philmont, which is the Boy Scouts of America’s largest National High Adventure Base. Many Scouts also fulfilled a requirement for their Backpacking merit badge.
For information about Madison Boy Scout Troop 25 or to attend a meeting, call Scoutmaster Wayne Dieckmann at 973-769-4059. Visit online at troopwebhost.org/troop25madison/index.htm