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North Salem Scouts Go For High Adventure

NORTH SALEM, N.Y. – Ten Boy Scouts from North Salem’s Troop 1 have recently returned from 12 days of backpacking through the high country of New Mexico, climaxed by a climb to the summit of Mount Baldy, more than 12,000 feet above sea level.

It happened at the Boy Scouts of America’s Philmont Scout Ranch, a complex of campsites and challenge courses ranging over 200 square miles of wilderness in the Sangre de Cristo range of the Rocky Mountains.

The Scouts  were Chris Brethower, Nick Constantino, John Finnegan, Brian and Kevin Giacchetto, Mickey Jacobsen, Jack Merrit, John Rich, Liam Schaub and Chris Woloshyn.

Troop Leaders Anthony Giacchetto and Jon Jacobsen guided the boys through the adventure, teaching them along the way about orienteering, rock climbing and rappelling, navigating, cooking, and setting up bear cables to protect their supplies from predators.

Anthony Giacchetto kept a log of the trip, day by day.

On Day Two he wrote: “Colin (a Philmont employee) dropped to the back of the line where I was walking, with a look of terror on his face.”

He and Jack (Merrit) had seen, “the yellow eyes of a mountain lion in the woods near the trail, stalking us. He advised us to walk faster, closer together, and louder, so we high-tailed it to Zastrow. Scary indeed!”

On Day Three they saw a bear in the woods, so they made significant noise. “He turned and ambled into the trees,” Giacchetto wrote.

Day Four brought them to Miners Park, where everyone finally got to shower. Dinner that day, described by Giacchetto as “delicious!” was canned turkey and Stove Top stuffing, embellished with mayonnaise.

Day Six brought a noon-day thunderstorm and continuing rain. Day Seven was dark and threatening, but the rains never came.

On Day Eight Giacchetto noted, “The boys were moving particularly slowly this morning.” Day Nine saw diminishing supplies, but Day Ten brought the challenging trek up Mount Baldy, which started about 4:30 a.m.

Day Eleven introduced a couple of burros, along with several mild buck-offs, and Day Twelve brought them back to base camp, with an evening of laughs and reminiscencing around the campfire.

“The kids loved being outside, being dirty and meeting Scouts from all over the country,” said Giacchetto. “The adults loved the disconnect from the real world – no cellphones, no electronics.”

Troop 1 applied to the Boy Scouts of America in January 2010. Troops are chosen by lottery. “We were lucky to get in, because everyone wants to go,” said Allison Giachetto, mother of scouts Brian and Kevin. “It’s the ultimate scouting trip.”

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