Tree Top Adventures

The scouts had a blast on the ropes course at Tree Top Adventures in Canton.

Winter Camping 2024

We rented a Ford Expedition so that we could all fit in a single vehicle and headed out at 7:30am on Saturday morning. We stopped by the Hookset pit stop and got some cider donuts.

We parked at the trailhead for West Rattlesnake Mountain and hiked to the summit where we ate lunch with fine views over Squam Lake and beyond. There was only patchy snow on the ground, but some sections of the trail were icy and tricky to cross.

Since the temperature was in the low 40s, the dirt road to our usual parking spot for camp was too muddy. Instead, we started our hike to camp from driveway of the Russ family house. The hike to camp was about the same distance. Since there wasn’t enough snow, we didn’t build snow trenches and setup tents instead. Then we prepared camp by splitting logs for firewood.

We hiked down the roads to BeeDee Falls which wasn’t frozen this year and just had some ice on the outside edges of the stream. A scout hiked slowly which slowed the group, but we made it back to camp in the twilight.

We got the fire going well in the cabin stove using the split logs, scraps of wood and some charcoal that we brought. We were able to boil water fairly quickly and got the cabin up to a toasty 80 degrees. We had Mountain House meals for dinner which the scouts really enjoyed especially after all the hiking that day. The scouts also did Jiffy popcorn on the stove which was fun and tasty. The scouts also played card games. Meanwhile the weather outside got colder and started snowing.

We settled into our tents around 10pm. One scout setup a hammock instead of a tent which it didn’t work out well because the hammock wasn’t fully secured and slid down to the ground during the night. Overnight the snow was thick and heavy. Around 3am, snow fell from a tree branch onto the tent of an adult and smooshed his tent. The adult had to dig out of his tent and shelter in cabin. The other tents made it thru the night fine although buried with the 8 inches of snow overnight that piled up around the tents.

In the morning, the snow switched to light drizzle. We hiked thru the snow back to our car. Russ kindly came by with his front-end loader to dig out the driveway for us. We stopped at Dunkin Donuts for breakfast on our drive home.

 

Ski Trip 2024

We drove to Steele Hill Resort in Sanbornton, NH on Friday after school. We had two condos with two bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, kitchen and living room each.

On Saturday, we woke up early and saw a beautiful sunrise of the mountain view from our condo. We ate a quick breakfast of fruit and bagels, and then drove over to Gunstock. At the mountain, we split up into different groups based on skier abilities. Several scouts were 1st time skiers and had a half-day ski lesson. The weather was perfect for skiing with temperature in the low 30’s, sunny skies and light wind. The slopes were nicely groomed but a bit icy in spots.

After ski, we went for a swim in the Steele Hill Resort pool that had a water slide and hot tub too. Then the scouts made chicken alfredo dinner and played board games.

On Sunday, the scouts made egg sandwiches and bacon for breakfast. Then we went back to Gunstock for cross-country skiing. It was the 1st time for cross-country skiing for most of the scouts. The weather was great and the snow conditions very good for cross-country. We all completed the Brook Trail loop and many did the Lakeside trail too. Then we left for home around lunchtime. 

Klondike Derby 2024

It felt like the Klondike with the temperature at 18 degrees, some windchill and snow. But the scouts were dressed for it and the sun was out. Plus we put handwarmers in our gloves. So we stayed comfortable as we went to the different stations including knots, building a shelter, orienteering, tomahawk throw, sled rescue, chasm crossing, and fire building. The scouts were prepared for each station, didn’t have any long waits and were able to complete all the stations by the lunch break.

The scouts did well at each station especially the fire building and lashings for the chasm crossing.

For lunch, we setup at the tables under the Tee Pee. The scouts used our backpacking gas stoves to cook grilled cheese with ham sandwiches. Then we stopped at the Trading Post for some hot chocolate and snacks.

Mass Maritime Academy

We had a guided tour of the Mass Maritime Academy including their classrooms, dorms and engine rooms. An extra cool display had a lot of historic small model ships. We learned about the different programs for the students and some about student life. Usually there’s a ship docked at campus this time of year, but not this year because there’s a new ship under construction for them that will be delivered in a few months.

Then we went to the Air and Space Museum in Hyannis which had displays on the Coast Guard on Cape Cod and people from Massachusetts who have been a part of the flight and space programs. They also had a couple flight simulators that we got to try.

 

Turkey Shoot 2023

We arrived around 5pm Friday at the Stonewall campsite which was an especially nice campsite in a grove of tall pines and next to the ballfield. It was also the best location for getting to the Turkey Shoot events. We also had nice dry weather with temperatures in the 50s.

After setting up tents, we cooked rice and beef for our burrito dinner. We also made a good campfire. Then we went to the gun safety session at the camp pavilion.

On Saturday, we got up early and made a quick breakfast of bananas and toasted bagels. We got over to the shotguns right before opening at 8am and were the first troop to get to shoot. Then we went to archery. Next we got in line for rifles. There didn’t seem to be too many in line but the line moved very slowly. A little before lunch, the staff let us leave for lunch and held our spot for after lunch. A nice lunch was provided by the OA for $5 and included chicken soup, hot sandwich, pasta, chips and brownie. After lunch, we did get to do rifles without much more of a wait. Then we did tomahawk toss. We also had a basketball game of scouts vs dads with the dads surprisingly edging ahead on the scoring.

After some downtime including visiting the trading post, there was an awards ceremony with the top 5 finishers in each event getting a free turkey. Our troop won 4 turkeys with Xavier winning 1st place in rifles, Luca getting turkeys for both rifles and tomahawk, and Jake getting a turkey for tomahawk.

We went back to camp for spaghetti dinner with Texas toast and a good campfire. Then we went to the OA campfire program which had two bonfires and skits by the troops. All the scouts showed a good spirit of fun and respect for each other. After the campfire, the scouts played manhunt in the ballfield.

For Sunday morning, the scouts were up before dawn and restarted our fire. We made breakfast including bacon cooked on the fire and egg/cheese muffin sandwiches. Then we packed up and headed home.

 

Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge

We went on a camping out on Monomoy Island on Saturday. Our timing had to fit with the weather conditions. It was too windy Friday and early Saturday morning. We were able to go from the Barn Hill Town Landing at 11am on Saturday. The ranger and Stage Harbor Excursions ferried us over.  We hiked about half a mile from the beach landing to the lighthouse and setup our tents in an open area to the east of the lighthouse.

After a peanut butter and jelly sandwich lunch, we did service projects. We split up into 3 groups. One group pickup trash along the beach north of our campsite, another picked up trash to the south, and another worked on digging out a modern boat shipwreck on the beach. For the trash pickup, each scout carried a large garbage bag. We collected a fair bit of trash including bouys, rope, bottles, balloons and lightbulbs with thick glass.

It became increasingly windy in the late afternoon. The tents had to be extra secured, especially the larger tents. A couple scouts packed up their tents and joined tents of other scouts. Without trees or other shelters, the wind was strong on the tents and pushed them around.

We had a chance to climb to the top of the lighthouse for great 360-degree views.

For dinner, we setup our gas stoves on the deck of the lighthouse. We boiled water to make Mountain House meals, mac-n-cheese and some oatmeal. After dinner we visited a bit with the ranger and a couple staff members working on bird studies. The lighthouse had some posters on the history. We didn’t stay very long because we wanted to get back to camp to check on how the tents were holding up to the wind.

We hunkered down in our tents and went to bed fairly early because we couldn’t have a campfire and it was so cool and windy. Overnight it rained lightly.

We got up an hour before sunrise to pack up and then hiked out to the landing beach by 7am. There was a storm to the south and it was getting more windy with some whitecaps. So we wanted to head back as early as possible. Fortunately the rain stopped by sunrise. The boat ride was a bit spotty on the way home and not too rough.

Monomoy Island was quiet, beautiful and large. We saw several large flocks of birds and many seals.

Province Lands Bike Trip

We camped out at Wellfleet Hollow State Campground on Friday night and made spaghetti dinner. We had a campfire and made smores. The campground was less than half full and we had 6 campsites but the campmaster still hassled us about having 2 tents on a couple sites when the rule was 1 tent per site.

On Saturday morning, we made egg muffin breakfast sandwiches. Then a light rain started. We drove with our bikes up to the National Seashore Visitor Center at Province Lands. We biked clockwise around the Province Land bike trail loop. We took a side trip on the Hatches Harbor trail. It was a gravel and sand trail that we were able to ride on bikes on most of the time and walk our bikes when it got too sandy. We walked the last part of the trail out to the Race Point Lighthouse. Despite the light rain, we still had fun and made it back to the visitor center for a late lunch.

We drove to the Race Point beach to check it out but didn’t stay long since it was windy and wet. Then we drove back to camp. We had planned to camp Saturday night but we decided to pack up and head home since the camp staff was unfriendly and the weather forecast had heavier rain coming.

Sandy Neck 2023

We had a beautiful day for our hike out to the campsite. We stopped for lunch on the beach along the way and setup our tents in the early afternoon. Then we explored the end of Sandy Neck by hiking down the beach until we could see the lighthouse. We had a bit of an adventure following a new trail on the way back to camp. Then scouts had time for games like pine cone baseball.

Dinner was spaghetti and zucchini which was a hit with some scouts having thirds. Then we had a campfire on the beach with smores and stories. We also retired some US flags.

On Sunday morning, we hiked back along the marsh trail. When we got back to the parking lot, we got snacks and lunch from the park cafe.

Shawme-Crowell Camping

After finishing installing the benches in Riverbay, we arrived at the Shawme-Crowell State Forest at 1pm. We setup our tents at group site 2 and then spent the rest of the day exploring camp, playing ball and manhunt. A few scouts brought bikes and rode around the campground. Other scouts walked over to the scout store. The weather was terrific which was extra enjoyable.

We could hear distant traffic noise from Route 6 during the evening especially. Also there were a few families in the group site next to us who played a radio, had barking dogs and did loud shouting games that kept some of us awake well past the quiet hour. The campground was less than half full, so it was unfortunate to be next to the one noisy area.

The campground had nice, clean “comfort stations” with running water. The playground was also nice and new. There’s a one mile path to go to the Heritage Museum but we didn’t have time for that. Besides these, the campground doesn’t have many other activities.

The scouts cooked hot dogs, burgers, beans and popcorn for dinner. For the breakfast, the scouts made eggs, sausage, bagels and hot cocoa. Our campsite had a fire ring with a grate which we used for cooking. We were able to find plenty of wood from around our campsite.