Boy Scout Troop 305 of Kearny successfully reached the summit of Mount Washington in New Hampshire, the highest peak in the northeast, at 6,288 feet, as the apex of their first-ever high adventure outing this summer.

The Scouts and leaders hiked through terrain on the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail that varied from loose boulders, gorges, steep drop-offs, waterfalls and treeless rocky trails marked by cairns. This part of their outdoor adventure took a day and a half, including an overnight stay at the picturesque and rustic Lakes of the Clouds Hut at 5,012 feet.

The off-the-grid accommodations that sit above treelines are operated by the Appalachian Mountain Club on one of the faces of Mount Washington in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.

Following the Boy Scouts of America’s motto “Be Prepared,” Troop 305 planned for the erratic weather on Mount Washington that can change in an instant and turn dangerously windy and cold, even in mid-August. The temperature variance from the base of the mountain to its summit can be 40 degrees.

The Scouts packed accordingly, used trekking poles and carried sufficient water to stave off dehydration during the arduous climb up’s changing topography. All 10 of the Scouts chaperoned by seven adult leaders accomplished this feat, the first of this magnitude and altitude for Unit 305, with the additional direction of two professional guides from Northeast Mountaineering.

Once the hikers reached the geological summit, they explored the area of Mount Washington State Park. They toured the Mount Washington Observatory, historic Tip Top House, Sherman Adams Visitor Center and museum. To descend, the Scouts carried their backpacks aboard the legendary Cog Railway for a scenic ride back down to the base.

In addition to climbing the mountain, the Scouts and leaders challenged their orienteering skills by learning survival techniques in mapping, triangulation and navigation, including using the sun and moon as reference points.

After a morning wilderness-navigation class, teams hiked up to the ledge of Pinkham Notch. While taking in the breathtaking mountain views, the Scouts took compass bearings with adjustment for declination, utilizing their newly-honed orienteering skills to identify various peaks of the wide range of the White Mountains.

Teams were challenged to meet at various set locations after bushwhacking through the dense forest and rocky terrain which opened through fields of wildflowers onto grass-covered ski trails of Wildcat Mountain. Ever searching for the elusive moose, a few Scouts found compelling evidence that moose had passed through the same trail the previous evening.

After three days of learning intense outdoor skills, the Scouts earned a day of fun at Whale’s Tale Waterpark in Lincoln, New Hampshire.

John Reverendo, Scoutmaster of Troop 305, says the Scouts gained a lot of knowledge about outdoor life in their time away.

“All the boys and leaders who attended the trip thoroughly enjoyed the adventure,” Reverendo said. “The boys work very hard in our program to learn the fundamentals of outdoor skills. We were so glad that we had an opportunity to implement them.”

Dennis Rakauckas, Cubmaster of Pack 305 agreed.

“This trip began with a causal idea and grew over a year of planning into an excellent adventure,” he said. “We are very grateful for all of the support that Unit 305 received, both actual and financial, from many local organizations, including the Pioneer Boys and the Kearny PBA. Without their assistance and support, we could not have pulled this off and given our Scouts such a wonderful experience.”


About half-way back to New Jersey, Troop 305 recouped overnight at Jupiter Point in Groton, Connecticut, where they went fishing and crabbing off a dock in the bay of Pine Island. The unusually high tide that evening necessitated a change in plans from camping on the beach at the point to pitching tents on a grassy area.

The final excursion included a tour of the USS Nautilus (SSN-571), the world’s first nuclear-powered submarine in operation, docked as a museum in Groton, honorably dubbed the “Submarine Capital of the World.”

The week-long activities of Unit 305’s trip took a year to plan as a customized outdoor experience. Scouts who had earned the rank of First Class and above were eligible to participate.

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