Adventure for Chappaqua’s Boy Scout Troop 1 in Harriman State Park

By Dr. William H. Flank
November 30, 2007

In mid-November, Chappaqua Boy Scout Troop 1 tackled a challenging overnight backpacking trip across the Hudson River in Harriman State Park.


A total of 12 Scouts, aged 11 to 16, and four adults set off into the woods in small groups, each with an adult advisor, following a complex set of blazed trails with a topographic map, compass and brief trail guide put together by Assistant Scoutmaster Marc Toonkel.

Their goal was to camp near the Bald Rocks shelter on Black Rock Mountain. The route traversed sections of three trails, calling on the scouts’ skills of map and guide reading, trail marker (or blaze) identification and recognition of trail intersections, before culminating in a rocky climb of 500 vertical feet to the highest spot in Harriman. The Scouts encountered brisk winds on the trails, but enjoyed some spectacular views, which by the next morning included some Manhattan skyscrapers far off to the south.

A night around the campfire

The groups set up tents in a protected hollow, and the boys each prepared their trail meals up on top of a scenic rock outcrop. An evening campfire featured toasted marshmallows and some local history about the Native Americans, early settlers and the important role the area played in the mining industry and the Civil War. They also heard some traditional campfire stories with a local twist before heading off to some well-earned rest.

The hike out the next morning featured a trail route leading past the Boston Mine and a chance to see the abandoned mine pit and the surrounding rocks streaked with iron ore. It was a beautiful day for hiking, cool and sunny, and the natural surroundings provided a perfect backdrop. Scouts in Troop 1 get to experience a wide variety of outdoor activities throughout the year, and this was certainly one of the most challenging.

Dr. William H. Flank is a professor of chemistry and environmental science at Pace University. He has been a Chappaqua resident for over 35 years and a local Scoutmaster since 1990.


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