Sea Cliff Boy Scout Troop 43 recently braved the elements and hiked more than 20 miles over three days on their annual “high adventure” summer trip. The scouts hiked through the Presidential Traverse trail near Randolph, N.H., an advanced trail running through the White Mountains featuring peaks named after past U.S. presidents.
“The highlight of the trip was summiting Mount Washington, the highest peak in the Northeast,” Grant Kletter, Troop 43 scoutmaster, said. “I’ve gone hiking many times over the years, and this was definitely the most strenuous hike I’ve ever done. I give major props to the guys for completing the hike.”
Along the trail, the scouts slept in huts each night, and made breakfast and dinner while taking a break from hiking. The huts allowed the scouts to hike the trail over multiple days without having to carry the heavy load of camping equipment. While in the huts, they learned about the Appalachian Mountain Club’s conservation efforts and how the organization keeps the huts running off the grid, using solar power and a minimum supplies.
“College students cook meals for the guests and maintain the huts,” said Elena Bogts, scout parent and chaperone of the trip. “They also entertain guests by doing skits and singing. It was so fun. One day we even had enough time to play Settlers of Catan for five hours with other hikers. Overall, it was a great experience.”
Each year the troop goes on a high adventure trip, where the scouts participate in challenging outdoor activities over three days. This year’s trip to the Presidential Trail was originally slated to be last summer’s trip, but Covid prevented the scouts from making the trek because the huts were closed to prevent the spread of the virus. Previous trips included white water rafting in the Adirondacks and hiking through Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
“Overall, the boys that attended had a good time,” Kevin White, assistant scoutmaster and organizer of the trip, said. “The hike was not easy; going up and down what ended up being a nearly 6,000 feet mountain made it very challenging. It’s nice that in the end they can say they accomplished something incredible.”
White chose the Presidential Trail when another member of the scouting community suggested it to him after hiking it himself several times. “It was close enough to home and sounded like something the boys would be able to do, while still challenging them,” White said. “Since it didn’t require air travel, like some other high adventure trips have in the past, this trip was a lot more accessible to the scouts. Those who wanted to go were able to go.”
Now it’s on to next summer, and planning what trip the troop will end up doing for White and the troop. “We want the scouts to be a part of making these decisions,” White said. “We take suggestions from the scouts on where they want to go and what they want to do for their yearly trip. We, as parents, can vet those ideas and help them plan it out.”
Troop 43 has roots spanning three generations and is one of the oldest chartered Boy Scout troops in Nassau County’s Theodore Roosevelt Council. “We’re always looking to recruit new members,” Kletter said. “During the pandemic, we were able to do outdoor activities and allow the scouts to still be a little active and interact with one another.”
The troop meets every week and has an outdoor trip once a month in addition to its annual high adventure trip.
Troop 43 is hosting a registration event on Sept. 29 from 6 to 8 p.m. at St. Luke’s for all children in grades six through 12 who are interested in becoming scouts.