By Derek Clavette, Troop 39 Summit
Members of Boy Scout Troop 39 Summit recently completed a successful 26-mile Presidential Traverse trek in New Hampshire's White Mountains.
During the 3-day expedition from Aug. 12-14, Scouts "bagged" a total of eight peaks, each stretching more than 4,000 feet into the sky, including Mount Washington, which boasts a 6,289-foot elevation.
In preparation for the trip, scouts and adults ranging in age from 12 to 54 years old, were expected to hike a minimum of 80 miles in the woods of Rhode Island. To do this, the Troop utilized the North-South trail, which runs from Blue Shutters beach in Westerly to the Massachusetts and Rhode Island border. The 76-mile trail was completed in six sections. The Troop also hiked around various other trails in Rhode Island to complete their 80 mile minimum.
To complete the Presidential traverse, the Troop split into two groups: one group climbed from the east side and headed south while the second group drove to the western side of the mountains and headed north.
The northbound group summited Mt. Eisenhower, Franklin, and Monroe the first day and spent the night at Lakes of the Clouds hut, run by the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC). The hut held 90 people with several different bunking rooms, and staff members prepared a hearty dinner and breakfast for the guests. While the northbound group enjoyed good food and a restful sleep complete with a mattress and pillows, the southbound group had a rougher night, with some scouts and adults sleeping under the stars and others inside of a three-sided shelter tucked away on a ridge with a view of Gorham, New Hampshire. The southbound group summited Mt. Madison and skirted Mt. Adams due to the need to reach the first come/first serve shelter.
On the second day, the two groups crossed paths and switched sleeping arrangements. The first two days were beautiful with long range views enjoyed throughout the journey. Mt. Washington, Mt. Clay and Mt. Jefferson were summited and the boys were treated like stars by the Cog Railway travelers as they ascended Washington, the highest peak in the Northeastern U.S.
The third day brought nearly continuous rain and slick conditions, however the southbound group was able to also summit Mt. Pierce, bringing their total to eight peaks.
Both groups experienced hardships during the trek, with the northbound group running out of fuel for their lightweight cooking stove, which yielded an inability to cook their breakfast, and the southbound group hiking a 10+ hour first day due to the very challenging ascent of the Daniel Webster Scout Trail.
The groups were fortunate with everyone finishing safe and sound. This was a difficult trek with a total elevation gain of nearly 11,000 feet. Thankfully the hikers were certainly prepared due to all the local training. This trip provided great memories for all.
Troop 39 Summit meets at 6:30 p.m. every Tuesday at Summit Baptist Church, located at 1176 Victory Highway (Rt. 102) in Greene, just north of the Rt. 117 intersection. Anyone interested in Troop 39 is welcome to come and see what they're all about!