This year’s canoeing trip, held at St. Regis canoeing area within a stone’s throw of the Canadian border in the Adirondacks, was one of the best canoeing trips Troop 5 has ever had. The changing color of the leaves on the trees provided a scenic backdrop of beautiful red, yellow and green hues that could only be described as breathtaking. The adventure began on Friday night when we drove to Camp Read, slept in the farmhouse and enjoyed running water, bathrooms, a stove, and even a television set (Luxuries we weren’t going to see for over 24 hours).  Early Saturday morning, we were treated to one of the best breakfasts I have ever had on a camping trip: delicious pancakes and breakfast burritos courtesy of Michael Landy (first class cooking), Jack McCann (Tenderfoot and Second Class cooking) and Chris Hopkins (Tenderfoot cooking). After breakfast, we drove 90 miles from Camp Reed to St. Regis Canoe Outfitters, where we were outfitted with canoes.

Most of Saturday, we paddled through narrow bog-like streams in the woods to enormous lakes that reflected the azure autumn skies.  We stopped briefly for a quick lunch of PBJ, liverwurst and salami slices.  Finally, at the end of the day we set up camp on an abandoned island complete with plenty of firewood, an abandoned outhouse and our very own bear noises which rumour has it was one, if not all, of the adult leaders on the trip.  We were treated to another great meal of grilled ham and cheese sandwiches and chicken stir fry by our various cooks.  Unfortunately, the temperature dropped precipitously over the clear and starry night to near freezing, which left some scouts shivering in their sleeping bags.

On Sunday morning, we woke up early, quickly devoured Charlie Vorbach’s specialty oatmeal with cocoa breakfast and left the island as soon as possible to continue our loop back to St. Regis.  We paddled hard all day and even managed two portages (The Adirondack elite call them “carries”) which totaled about a mile.  Then, we thought wisely, dropped our bags off near a road to be picked up later so that we didn’t have to lug them all of the way to our next port of entry.  We put our canoes in Hoel Pond to finish the final leg but soon learned a thing or two about canoeing.  The wind had picked up considerably and, because we left all of our ballast on the side of the road (not so wise after all!), we blew like sailboards across the pond and found it difficult to make headway.  After about an hour of hard labor, we called it quits.  The canoe outfitters picked us (and our canoes) up and dropped us off at the cars.  We learned a couple of very valuable lesson on the trip: First, canoes need to ride low in the water and the front needs to be weighed down so you can control it (even if you have to put a log in alongside James King and Michael Landy so that they could equal Mr. Landy’s weight in the rear); and second, study your knots!  This author landed on his backside in a canoe while testing a flawed double half hitch.

The long trip home passed quickly with lots of singing, dreams of a near detour to Woodstock and a taste of my first Subway sandwich.  Overall the Troop 5 Canoe Trip was a blast, and all of the scouts said they would do it again.

Savino Brusco