Instead of the meeting at the Bronxville Church, we met at the Layton’s home only a block away. We drove for hours in freezing temperatures the entire ride to Ookpik. Arriving late at night, it was far below what we expected. The wind felt like it would never cease blowing, but the warm cabin filled with other troops helped us think we could actually survive.
The Camp Director gave us a PowerPoint lecture on ‘Surviving Ookpik’. It featured helpful advice from making your Quinzee (snow shelter) to your basic first aid. They even offered gear for those who came unprepared for the night like I was. There was a small fee that I wish I paid for. We spent the first night in a cold cabin then awoke to an amazingly cooked breakfast. It was filled with warm eggs, bacon, even cake and hot chocolate. I said to myself “This trip is easier than I thought”.
The Moment of Truth has arrived. We received lunch bags for tonight and for the morning. The bags were full of things I would never eat on a daily basis. Everything from Pop Tarts, to Ramen, to Jell-O. Before we could have our ‘food’, we had to make our snow shelters. To make them, you must have a pile of snow, wait a few hours, then dig a big hole to fit us both. Our guide bought shovels that eventually ran out so my tent mate Xavier and I invented a useful tool for shoveling snow. The “Snowshoevil”. We took some leftover shovelheads and attached them to the end of our snowshoes. Finally, we began to make progress, but not enough. There were two shelters that had to be made were Tommy and Kenny’s and Xavier and mine. Everyone in the troop contributed to our shelters. First ours, then Tommy and Kenny’s. After a great lunch, we dug a hole into our pile or pile of snow. With the help of Mr. Layton, we finished our shelter. We unpacked our ground tarps and sleeping bags to prepare for the night. Xavier’s dad built a small wall to keep crosswinds from coming into our door and poked small holes on the top and the two sides to allow us to breathe. It soon became night and the temperature dropped slowly. It had to be below 5 degrees but the guide started a hobo fire and we all stood around the barrel talking about the Super Bowl. As we were talking, one of the Cabin’s cooks drove to the site(why we did not do that I will never know) in a Yukon and gave us homemade brownies to eat and water to drink. It was late, so we headed back to the makeshift shelter and stayed for a long, cold night.
The shelter was cold but it was even colder outside. 25 degrees in the Quinzee and -5 degrees outside. Meanwhile, my hot chocolate froze. However we got plenty of sleep and had a funny conversation of how worse things could have been, in reality, we were fine but it just comes to say, “Be Prepared”.
The next morning was bright and cold. My shoelaces froze to the boot and we ran out of junk food to eat but that did not stop us. We packed everything, woke up Kenny and Tommy, and put our packs on our sleds. Before we left, Charlie and I took a look at the frozen lake, even walked on it. Before it was too late, we hiked back to the Ookpik cabin and had another wonderful breakfast. The troop loaded the trunks of the cars, bought soda known to Maine as ‘Moxie’ and drove back to Westchester. After that trip, Global Warming did not exist. -Giovanni La Vecchia

Unlike any of the camping trips I have been on, Troop 5 has let my younger brother(Webelo, Pack 6 Crestwood) and my mom come with us to our annual Skiing Trip in upstate New York. On Friday, Martin Luther King weekend, the  Westchester-Putnam Boy Scouting Council ,using their Yukon’s, drove us and our equipment for 4 hours to where the troop normally goes to summer camp. In Camp Read in the Adirondacks.

The First Night went by in what feels like a few minutes. The Troop and my family slept in the Camp Read Staff Cabin along with our kind Council Drivers. Downstairs the staff cook made us dinner, made lunch for the following day and explained the details of the upcoming trip. After a few drinks of bug juice and 2 plate full’s of Oreos and chips, we took showers, brushed our teeth and set up our sleeping bags. The First full day of skiing I took a refresher course of how to ski with my family. Being a little experienced, my dad and I excelled in the class. With everything I reviewed, I set off on some trails to try. The day was filled with a cold snap, fun and a freezing wind. The night was a repeat of the last but Mission Impossible III was added to the things we did. The Second day, we went to a new ski resort. It was home to the 1980 Winter Olympics Skiing competition. Mount Whiteface, Lake Placid. The entrance was lined up with flags from all around the world, Its peak stood taller than the clouds and it’s top slopes were on a 70 degree slope. It made Gore Mountain seem like a Ridge. I tagged along with my friends the Modesetts and Tora ,who are all more experienced than I at skiing. Thinking it was a good idea, I followed them into about halfway up the mountain and skiing down blue squares at which I fell every 100 yards. I slid down on my stomach like a penguin more than ski down like you are supposed to. Mr. Modesett gave me some helpful advice on sharper turns and I eventually got better at this skill. However, I took a  accidentally wrong turn at a green circle and abandoned my crew on the mountain. When I reached the bottom alone I found my family and texted them my well being. I spent the rest of the day on green circles with my family until we decided to take a look on the spectacular view from Little White Face Peak and caught a snack at a great bistro in the resort. Everything went great until we returned to Camp. The road to the Staff Cabin was covered with an inch thick sheet of ice, the Yukon was too dangerous to drive on the slick road and we could not walk without slipping. We had to get a large truck to dump sand on the road then switched to a Ford in order to get us back to camp. Being so tired, we did not hesitate to fall asleep that night, after brownies of course. The next morning was full of packing up, everyone was getting ready for one last day at Gore Mountain. My family and I spent 3 hours on the slopes together ready to leave the cold.


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