By Liam Kiggins
The morning of the 24th of June this year saw a group of 12 people, including scouts, troop alumni, and adults take part in a camping trip to the presidential range in the White Mountains. The mountain that was the main focus of the trip was Mount Washington, the tallest mountain in the Northeast, with an elevation of 6,298 feet. This three-day trip was designed to allow scouts to improve their skills on a trip with a much more challenging itinerary than a standard monthly campout. We departed at 8 a.m. from the Glen Head community center and stopped for lunch at White River Junction in Vermont. After lunch we drove to the AMC Highland Center before parking at the trailhead. After we arrived at the trailhead, we distributed troop gear between all of the backpacks before heading out on the trail. We hiked late into the afternoon when we stopped at the Mizpah Spring Hut to rest and refill our canteens. After our quick break we continued down to our campsite near Dry River Falls, arriving at the site at dusk after hiking down a steep, muddy and overgrown trail. We set up camp and began cooking our first meal, a delicious pasta dinner. Following dinner everyone went to their tents for a much needed sleep after hiking a tough five miles during our first day.
We woke up at 8:30 a.m. the next morning and cooked a quick breakfast of pancakes and sausage, while preparing for our hike to the summit of Mount Washington. For the hike we did not bring our full packs, but instead hiked up the mountain with day packs. The day packs we used on the second day included essentials like rain gear, a first aid kit and of course lots of water. The water came in handy as it was hot throughout the day. At 10:30 a.m. we started hiking up the Eisenhower Trail to the ridge line of the mountains. Once we reached the ridge line, we took the Crawford Path Trail to the summits of Mount Franklin and Mount Monroe. From the ridge line we could see for miles in all directions including seeing the imposing outline of Mount Washington which dominated the ridge line. After passing these mountains we reached the Lake of the Clouds Hut where we stopped for lunch before beginning our ascent to the top of Washington. We then set out on the steep trail to the mountain and reached the summit at around 4 p.m. After resting and taking a few pictures at the summit we began the trek back down to the Hut where we enjoyed some cool lemonade before hiking back down the same way we hiked up to our campsite. In total on Saturday, we hiked a difficult 10 miles. Once we arrived at the campsite we cooked dinner which consisted of a vegetable stew followed by delicious chicken and bean burritos.
The next morning we had an early 7:45 a.m. start and packed up camp while cooking oatmeal for breakfast. We hiked up to the Mizpah Springs Hut and then we continued on down to the trailhead. There we packed up the cars with all of our gear in the packs and headed home. We stopped in White River Junction again, stumbling upon and eating lunch at Big Fatty’s BBQ. We continued the drive home after lunch arriving at around 10 p.m. The trip was an overwhelming success with everyone who set out for the summit on the second day making it there. The trip as a whole went smoothly and while the total distance hiked of 20 miles was formidable, it was manageable to everyone on the trip since it was broken up over the three days. Everyone who reached the summit should be proud of themselves and any standard hiking campouts should now be a piece of cake. Troop 195 has at least one campout a month throughout the year and speaking as a veteran of countless camping trips, while this trip was one of the hardest hikes I’ve participated in, it was more than worth it to see the breathtaking beauty of these mountains.