At 4 a.m., this past St. Patrick's Day, four Scouts and three adult alumni from Boy Scout Troop 195 in Glen Head began a 5-hour car ride to the High Peaks region of Adirondack Park. The purpose? To summit Mount Marcy, located in Keene, New York, not far from Lake Placid, a town of miracles. Mount Marcy has an elevation of 5,344 feet, making it the highest point in New York State.
The Scouts were four North Shore High School students—senior Jeremy Lee, and juniors, Erik Busse, Ty Puskuldjian and Eric Yadoo. They were accompanied by Troop alumni Peter Benchimol and Ted McGurn, and current Troop 195 Scoutmaster, Scott Rudegeair. Here’s an account of this awesome adventure, co-written by Jeremy, Erik, Ty, and Eric:
We stopped at the Mountaineer, an outfitting service, to rent backcountry skis and snowshoes, then continued driving about another half hour to the South Meadows Road parking area in the High Peaks region of the park. There, we distributed food and gear and began backcountry skiing for 3 miles along a beautiful, wintery trail. With blue skies and no wind, it made for a great afternoon with amazing views of the mountains. After some blood-pumping skiing, we made it to Marcy Dam lean-to, where we planned to spend the night. We immediately dived into some appetizers to keep our calorie count high and gathered water from the pond in front of the dam to stay hydrated. Some of the group went back out on skis before sunset and hit the Whales Tail ski trail for a fast, downhill run. As the sun set and the temperature quickly dropped close to 0 degrees, we cooked a meal of ramen noodles and chicken fajitas on backpacking stoves before going to bed. We filled our water bottles with boiling water to keep us warm in our sleeping bags—the temperature was reported to be approximately -5 degrees!
The next morning, we mustered the energy to get out of our warm bags and face the cold. We cooked a quick hot breakfast before heading up a 5-mile stretch toward the summit of Mount Marcy, the Scouts on snowshoes and the adults on backcountry skis. Along the way, we stopped for the breathtaking views at Indian Falls where we were able to see Mount Marcy in the distance, then continued another 3 miles to the top. We snacked on power bars. Right before the top, we crossed the tree line where the winds increased from nothing to 50 mph within seconds! At the top of the mountain, Ty commented that “it was really, really, windy and I was surprised to see, despite all the snow on the hike up, there was little left on the top where the winds had blown the peak clean of snow.”
After summiting Mount Marcy around the middle of the afternoon, we started the 5-mile trek back to our lean-tos. Erik said of the experience, “it was a worthwhile trip in retrospect, however during the hike and ascent to the top I found it all to be shocking.” Satisfied that the day’s mission was met, we cooked another series of meals and drank hot beverages to help fight the cold. We dozed off as temperatures again dropped several digits below zero.
Early Monday morning, after oatmeal and fruit, we packed up our gear, put on our backpacks and skis and started our 3-mile stretch back to the cars. Around 12:45 p.m., we packed up for home, everyone tired, but proud of what they had accomplished. We arrived at the Glen Head Community center at around 7 p.m. In the spirit of “no pain, no gain’”, Eric said “the feet took a beating with the hiking and the freezing temperatures, but it was totally worth it.” With Marcy bagged and everyone back home safely, all agreed: it was a great trip!
The Mount Marcy weekend is one example of the leadership trips for older Scouts that Troop 195 participates in. Scouts between the ages of 11-18 benefit from the camping, skills building activities, and community service projects the Troop is active in year-round. To learn about our awesome adventures, and how to join in, visit our website at troop195.info or email firstname.lastname@example.org.