Boy Scout Troop 39 of Summit is about to embark on its biggest trip and adventure of the season.
Befitting the famous Boy Scout motto, “Always Be Prepared”, 12 troop members and seven adult leaders have been training on Johnson's Pond the past few months for an adventure-packed, 648-mile round trip to Maine.
On the August 9-14 trip, the boys and their adult leaders will traverse a total of 35.5 miles of flat-river canoeing on the largest lake in Maine, Moosehead Lake. They will camp out on Sugar Island and then hike up and down 700-foot high Mt. Kineo. The trip concludes with 20 miles of white-water rafting on the Kennebec River.
Joe Lachance and Eric Sheeler, who were on a 50-mile trip by the troop from Hartford, CT to Long Island last year, say they will be prepared for almost any difficulty on water or land. “It was lots of fun even though it was pouring rain and we had a flood watch the first few days,” said Lachance.
Today’s Boy Scout camp trips are much like those of the past, though there have been some significant changes. Computers help in communication and planning throughout the year. Frozen and dehydrated food is used and there is a pump that can filter water for safe drinking. Solar showers can be used to heat water for washing and cooking. There have also been advances in designs of tents, backpacks, sleeping bags and other equipment.
But out in the woods or on the water, little else has changed. Tents, bug spray, whistles, clothing, food, sleeping bags and other supplies are carried in and out by the troop members on backpacks. Members have to learn how to safely paddle canoes and must learn how to haul them in and out of the water.
Another rule also keeps the modern world out. “Only adult leaders carry cell phones and that is for emergency purposes only,” said Assistant Scoutmaster George Gesner, noting there are no electronic devices carried by members.
Almost every other aspect of the trip, including meal planning and preparation, cleanup, safety, fire patrol and privy duties are all assigned to a troop member. And there are contingency plans involving other parents.
At the end of Indian Pond on Moosehead Lake is a dam where Troop 39 will store their canoes and then prepare for its trip down the Kennebec River on a trip led by Adventure Bound of Caratunk. Troop members will earn a Boy Scout merit badge for white-water rafting upon completion of the trip down the Kennebec River.
“There will be Class II and maybe Class III rapids,” Gesner explained.
“White water rafting is what I am looking forward to the most,” said Lachance, an eighth grader at Alan Shawn Feinstein Middle School. “That’s going to be fun!”
Scouts are Brent Sinay, Nick Clavette, Derek Clavette, Brian Soucy, Alex Gesner, Cole Stevenson, Luke Beauchain, Joe Lachance, Nick Doyle, Jacob Murphy, Zach Murphy and Eric Sheeler.
Troop 39 meets on Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m. at Summit Baptist Church. All those interested in learning more about the troop can call Scoutmaster Bernie George at 397-7529.