On Saturday, June 30, 17 Venture Crew scouts and three Assistant Scoutmasters from Troop 8 in Chatham boarded a bus for Sabattis, a scout reservation in the New York State Adirondack Mountain Range. The Venture Crew Scouts were separated into 2 crews—the Yellow Crew and the Green Crew.
I, Andrew Ziegler, was on the Yellow Crew which was led by Hunter Stusnick, with support from Assistant Scoutmasters Peter Basso and Branimir Cvetkovic, and included Filip Bahunek, Evan Bressler, Erik Britt, Matthew Harris, Grant Hauk, David Kass, and Michael Kellstrom.
After a six-hour ride, we arrived at Sabattis and were met by BSA guides. We stowed our uniforms and smellables (personal hygiene items) at the base camp. After an orientation, a swim test was given to each scout to ensure that each of us knew how to swim.
The crews planned separate week-long treks of canoeing, swimming, hiking, fishing, and cooking in the wilderness. We carried our gear, shelter, food, bear bags, garbage, and water supplies on our backs. Our meals were dehydrated, but we also caught, gutted, and cooked fish over an open fire.
Mornings on the trail were spent breaking camp, eating breakfast, and preparing for a day of adventure. We each had assigned jobs to do, such as cook, water purifier, bear bag person, trash compactor, navigator, and chaplains aid. Teamwork was very important.
Half of our time was spent on the water and half was spent on land. We carried the canoes for a 1-mile portage between Long Pond and Floodwood Pond.
This was difficult but rewarding. We also canoed through two locks (between Middle and Lower Saranac Lakes and between Second Pond and Oseetah Lake), and some of us were able to operate them. We canoed through 5 rivers in total, giving us each a chance to navigate on the treks.
On July 4, we climbed Ampersand Mountain and were rewarded with a beautiful view of the lake and valley below. Back in camp that afternoon, we saw a bald eagle in flight.
It was neat to see a symbol of America on the 4th of July!
Another fun activity was swimming in Middle Saranac Lake for a game of Frisbee.
In five days on the trail, we hiked and canoed a total of 45 miles between Hole Pond and Lake Flower. All in all, the trip was a great adventure.
Author’s note, the Green Crew was led by Stephen Kamionek, with support from Assistant Scoutmaster Larry Iofreddo, and included Tommy Guy, Bryan Heu, Michael Iofreddo, William Macchia, Vincent Maddi, Matthew Piechnik, and Graydon Vanderveer. They planned and executed a different trek than the Yellow Crew.